Crystals. Their Role in Nature and in Science by Charles Bunn, Henry Booker, D. Allan Bromley and Nicholas

By Charles Bunn, Henry Booker, D. Allan Bromley and Nicholas Declaris (Auth.)

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Additional resources for Crystals. Their Role in Nature and in Science

Sample text

T h e whole process of crystal growth from solution is so complex, involving the diffusion of heat and material as well as the key process of the arrangement and stacking of molecules as they join the crystal, that it has not yet proved possible to account in a quantitative way for the rates of growth of crystals in terms of what we know of molecular motions. I mean that nobody has yet been able to start off with some figures for the properties and motions of the molecules, work out the rate of growth of the crystal, and get the right answer.

C R Y S T A L G R O W T H : BIRTH O F A N U C L E U S 37 dish or jar covered with a lid, and left to cool until the next day. If too many crystals form, so that the final size is too small, the solution may have been too strong; remove some of the solid and dissolve the rest again by warming, filter off, rewarm the solution a little in case nuclei have been formed by the disturbance, cover it, and leave it again. If only a few crystals are formed this time but they are disappointingly small, the lid can be raised a little and propped up, so that slow evaporation can go on; if the solution is undisturbed, in a few days the crystals grow larger.

W H Y C R Y S T A L S E X I S T 25 tions, and the molecules have to do the best they can in the circumstances. There is nearly always one arrangement which is the most stable of any, and this is the one that is formed; but for some substances there are two or three arrangements which contain very nearly the same amount of free energy, and when this is so, the substance can exist in two or three different crystal forms. Electrical forces seem to play a very important part in holding crystals together, and also, in certain crystals, in actually deciding which arrangement is formed.

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