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Quality crystal

Scientists have used X-ray crystallography to elucidate the structure of more than half a million substances. This powerful technique relies on complex mathematics, high energy X-rays, and the skill of crystallographers in making high quality crystals.

In this activity students make crystals of copper sulfate, potassium aluminium sulfate, or potassium hexacyanoferrate(III). They identify the factors that make high quality crystals, and consider briefly how crystals are used in X-ray crystallography to determine structure.

This activity takes place over several days. It is suitable for use in a science club as well as in science lessons.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students understand the importance of X-ray crystallography in elucidating structures.

  • Students identify factors in making high quality crystals.


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