Crystal Structure Study Experience
You will need: 2 balloons, 12-inch funnel, salt, sugar, hand lens tray or plate (not white)
- Fill one balloon with salt, pinch tight, and tie off. Then fill the second balloon with sugar, pinch and tie off.
- Manipulate the balloons and observe differences between the sugar and salt.
- Place a pinch of salt and sugar on a tray. Study the crystal using a hand lens. Compare and contrast the crystal shapes and structures.
Minerals have a crystal form (shape) that reflects their atomic structure. Salt (NaCl), has angles that lock together more readily when confined by the barriers of a balloon. Sugar has a crystal form, but is not a mineral. Crystal form is one technique we can use to identify rocks and minerals. Cave formations are crystals of the mineral calcite.