Chemistry students grow crystals


Luyen Pham, Alexandria Rosin-Borlin, and Lauren Batley’s crystal “We were very happy with how our crystal turned out because at first they were very small, and eventually they grew quite large,” junior Luyen Pham said.

Deacon Eberhardy, Reporter

Science teacher Nick Kvam’s Honors Chemistry class finished off this year by growing crystals.

“The students are growing potassium dihydrogen phosphate crystals, which is a type of salt, they have a powder and they have to determine the correct amounts, and make a solution out of it,” Kvam said.

The class grew the crystals over the course of four weeks using various chemicals to create the clear crystals.

“You can get a crystal in a couple days, but to grow a big crystal some people will grow them for a couple months. They had about five weeks to grow,” Kvam said.

The crystals are part of the final project for the class where students use the chemistry knowledge they’ve gained throughout the year.

“The students heat up the solution so you can add more powder to it so that when it cools down it becomes super saturated, it has more [powder] dissolved than their should be, and if they get that ratio right then slowly over time the solid that is dissolved will settle out forming a crystal,” Kvam said.

The crystals grow in size depending on how long they are growing and how good the students’ solutions were. 

“At first our crystals did not grow at all, so we ere panicking, and then after a few days we redid it, and our crystals grew a lot bigger,” junior Luyen Pham said.

After the crystals are grown they are graded on a variety of criteria.

“It’s two factors, size and quality. The mass is easy, you just put it on a scale, the quality of the crystal is the clarity and also the shape of the crystal,” Kvam said.