Cool crystal orange creation

GROWING A CRYSTAL: Emmanuel Anglican College Year 2 student grows a crystal after another he grew won a University of Canberra competition.
GROWING A CRYSTAL: Emmanuel Anglican College Year 2 student grows a crystal after another he grew won a University of Canberra competition. Graham Broadhead

AS SEVEN-year-old Emmanuel Anglican College student Finnian Campbell watched a crystal grow, he thought it was "really cool".

And that very crystal on August 15 won the Year 2 boy the University of Canberra's Crystal Growing Competition in the Kindy to Year 3 division.

Finnian's crystal will now be on display at the popular Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre in the nation's capital, for 12 months.

Now many of you will be wondering how young Finnian "grew" a crystal.

The kids dissolved alum powder - aluminium potassium sulphate, which is the type of alum used in pickling and baking powder - in hot water and left it overnight to then find small crystals at the bottom of the beaker the next day.

Those small "seed" crystals were tied to a piece of string and suspended in another solution of alum dissolved in water.

The dissolved alum powder collects on the seed crystal, and it grows.

After six weeks, Finnian's crystal ended up being about 2.5cm in length.

Tracy Waters, a science teacher at the Ballina school, said Finnian's crystal won because it was clear, very delicate and had a "lovely shape".

She said the college takes part in the competition as a way of encouraging young children to get interested in science. The college had 200 entrants in the crystal-growing competition.

She said there were plenty of crystal-growing kits available in various shops for children who want to try making their own crystals.



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