AUSTIN, Texas - If you love crystals, here’s an easy way to make some at home!
Things you’ll need:
- Glass container
- Pipe cleaners
- Pencil or popsicle stick
- Food coloring
- Heat-proof gloves
For this experiment, you’ll need 3 tbsp of borax per cup of water. In the video, I used 3 cups of water and 9 tbsp of borax.
For your hand and eye protection, put on your gloves and goggles.
Boil the water.
While the water is boiling, shape the pipe cleaner into any shape you’d like. When you get the desired shape, use the twine or string to tie the pipe cleaner to the pencil. Use enough to twine to keep the pipe cleaner suspended without touching the sides or the bottom of the glass. Don’t put the pipe cleaner in the container until after we’ve added the water.
When the water has started to boil, pour it into the glass container.
Mix in the borax and stir it until it’s dissolved completely. Once dissolved, add the desired food coloring. Now you’ll place your pipe cleaner into the solution by putting the pencil across the rim of the glass.
Leave everything alone for a few hours, enough time for the water to cool.
After a while, you’ll notice that crystals have started to grow on your pipe cleaner. The longer the pipe cleaner is left alone, the larger the crystals will get.
The Science Behind It:
By dissolving the borax into the boiling water, you’re creating a solution. The solute is the borax and the solvent is the boiling water.
Boiling the water adds energy to it, essentially creating more space between the molecules. You’re also increasing the solubility, or the ability of a solute to dissolve into a solvent.
The borax will dissolve into the boiling water while the water is very hot.
As the water begins to cool, the molecules get closer together, forcing the borax to crystalize on the pipe cleaner.
This is a great experiment because you’re only limited by your imagination and what you can make with pipe cleaners. Have fun, be safe, and let us know what kind of neat shapes you come up with!