Date: Mon Feb 7 20:26:17 2005
Posted By: Lynn Bry, MD/PhD, Dept. Pathology, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Area of science: Chemistry
Hi Rachael -
Here are a few thoughts you can investigate.
Hope this helps and good luck with your experiments!
- Make certain you weren't using diet Kool-Aid, which has aspartame as the
sweetner, and not sugar.
- How were you trying to grow crystals - by evaporation, or by placing your
sugar/Kool Aid solutions at lower temperature (in the refrigerator, for instance?).
- Set up a *positive control* for the situation in which you grew your
crystals to make certain your conditions successfully support the growth of
crystals. An example of a positive control might be the following:
- Look at the Kool-Aid packet to see how much sugar you are adding to a given
volume of water. Make your positive control the addition of that same amount of
*sugar only* to the water. Treat your sugar-water identically to how you treat
the Kool-Aid solution - if you place 1 cup of Kool-Aid solution in the freezer
to grow crystals, do so with your sugar solution and see if that solution grows
crystals, even if the Kool-Aid doesn't.
If your positive control doesn't grow crystals, then you need to modify your
conditions to obtain crystal growth. Some things to try might be:
- Add a piece of string to the sugar water and Kool-Aid to act a nucleus for
- Increase the concentration of sugar (or Kool-Aid) in the water to obtain a
more highly saturated solution.
Lynn Bry, Moderator MadSci Network
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