MadSci Network: Physics

Re: How can I examine Halite and Gypsum structurally?

Date: Fri Dec 21 21:11:24 2001
Posted By: Artem Evdokimov, Postdoc
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1008272413.Ph

Dear User,

Generally speaking, the crystals that appear in nature and those that you 
are going to produce artificially would not be very different. In many 
cases, crystals are affected by the environment in which they grow, 
however in the case of NaCl and MgSO4 you would not necessarily be able to 
observe any differences other than those based on purity of the crystals. 
NaCl can be crystallized in several 'habits' (crystal shapes) however it 
would take some fiddling to obtain them, and natural Halite is just cubic 
NaCl of the same sort you'd grow via evaporation of saturated solution. 
You can add certain substances, such as amino acids, to NaCl solution to 
induce growth of octahedral-looking crystals (there's a very old reference 
in one of the scientific journals but I can't say I remember the details).

In general, if you were to experiment with crystal growth, I'd suggest to 
study effects that other substances would have on crystallization of some 
sort of common inorganic salt. You may stumble on something interesting or 
even something unknown.

Best regards,


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