Helpful advice for growing single crystals can be found at the following:
Step-by-stepvideo tutorialby Dr. Jason Benedict on the Benedict Research Labs YouTube
Wisconsin Crystal Growing Contest run by Dr. Ilia Guzei
Great examples of alum single crystals - Winners of the Canadian Crystal Growing Contest!
Or follow the instructions below.
Expert Crystal Growing Guide:
1. What you'll need
-100 g of starting material (alum or copper sulfate)
-Large container (e.g. large cup, 400 mL beaker)
2. Making a supersaturated solution
A supersaturated solution is a key component of growing a crystal. a supersaturated solution is a
solution which has more solute (stuff dissolved in the solution) in it than it would typically be able
to hold at that particular temperature. To make a supersaturated solution put too much of your
starting material in solution than will dissolve, then heat the solution up until all the solid
dissolves. When your solution cools down it will be SUPERsaturated.
3. Growing a seed crystal
Make a supersaturated solution then stare in amazement as it creates seed crystals of your
material as it cools and the solution becomes too saturated. Alternately, you can grow a seed
crystal from a saturated solution by letting the solvent slowly evaporate out of the container. This
can lead to better seed crystals, which in turn gives you better final crystals in the end.
4. Growing your final crystal
Either suspend your seed crystal in a supersaturated solution and let it cool, or suspend it in a
saturated solution and let the solvent evaporate. Some of the material will form new crystals,
and some will add to the size of your seed crystal. Repeat this as many times as you want to
grow a larger and larger crystal.
Try different methods of suspending the seed crystals to see which works best for you!
Want to get you or your class started
The deadline for entry form submission
is Oct. 1st! Complete the form on our
Entry Form page to register and
receive your materials.
The Rules page includes all of the rules
you need to know before you begin
growing your crystals. It also includes a
rubric outlining the judging criteria and
the grading scheme.
For tips on growing large single
crystals, click on the Crystal Growing
tab to view our crystal growing guide,
complete with tips and tricks from
professional crystallographers Dr.
Jason Benedict of the University at
Buffalo and Dr. Ilia Guzei of the
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Be sure to check out our sponsors page
for more information on the great
people and companies who have made
this contest possible.