MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Why do we need crystallization?

Date: Mon Oct 30 05:15:55 2006
Posted By: Levy Pascua, Grad student, food science, bakery industry
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 1156412349.Ch

Hi there.

Crystallization is a technique which chemists use to purify solid
compounds. It is essentially a solid-liquid separation technique and a very
important one at that.  It is based on the principles of solubility:
compounds (solutes) tend to be more soluble in hot liquids (solvents) than
they are in cold liquids. If a saturated hot solution is allowed to cool,
the solute is no longer soluble in the solvent and forms crystals of pure
compound. Impurities are excluded from the growing crystals and the pure
solid crystals can be separated from the dissolved impurities by filtration.

Crystallization occurs in nature like water freezing and snow flakes
formation, stalactites/stalagmites, rings formation, natural (mineral)
crystal formation, removing sucrose from beet solutions, removing KCl from
an aqueous solution.

It also applied in medical field.  The importance of protein
crystallization is that it serves as the basis for X-ray crystallography,
wherein a crystallized protein is used to determine the proteinís
three-dimensional structure via X-ray diffraction.  

In understanding crystallization you will learn to appreciate what is
happening around you.

Until then, levy

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