Sodium Nitrate Crystal Growing SolutionFirst prepare a supersaturated solution.
- Dissolve 110 grams sodium nitrate per 100 ml hot water. This will be a supersaturated solution. One method of growing crystals is to allow this solution to cool in an undisturbed location and allow it to produce crystals as the liquid evaporates.
- Another method of growing this crystal is to grow a single crystal in a sealed contained from a supersaturated solution. If you choose to follow this method, prepare the aforementioned solution, allow this solution to cool, then add a couple of grains of sodium nitrate and seal the container. The excess sodium nitrate will deposit on the grains, producing a saturated sodium nitrate solution. Allow a couple of days for this to occur.
- Pour off the saturated solution. Pour a small amount of this solution into a shallow dish. Allow the liquid to evaporate, to produce small seed crystals. Select a crystal or two for further growth.
- To prepare the supersaturated growing solution, to your existing solution add 3 grams of sodium nitrate per 100 ml of water in the original solution. So, if you prepared 300 ml of solution, you would add an extra 9 grams of sodium nitrate.
- Carefully add your seed crystal to this liquid. You can suspend the crystal from a nylon monofilament. A nylon monofilament or wire is used because it won't wick up solution, causing evaporation.
- Seal the jar and allow the crystals to grow at a constant temperature, someplace they won't be disturbed. Sodium nitrate is very sensitive to temperature changes, so maintaining a constant temperature is important. If you have difficulty maintaining a temperature, you can place the sealed jar inside a water bath. If you don't see crystal growth after a few days, try lowering the temperature slightly.
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