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The importance of ammonia in the formation of salt crystalsFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was done to understand the importance of ammonia in the formation of salt crystals. Tests were done to compare the resultant formation of salt crystals when ammonia was not used, compared to when different amounts of ammonia were used.

Hypothesis

When more ammonia used, more salt crystals are formed.

Scientific Terms

Crystals, atoms, molecules, sodium, chlorine, capillary action, evaporation

Background

Salt crystallization

Crystals are an organized arrangement of atoms and molecules, with each type of crystal having its own shape and properties. Salt crystals are made from sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl) atoms and have a cubic shape. A salt solution will contain sodium and chlorine atoms that are separated by water molecules. When the water evaporates from the solution, the sodium and chlorine atoms start bonding together to form crystals.

Placing a porous material like a sponge, charcoal or broken ceramic in the salt solution helps to draw in the mixture through capillary action. The water will evaporate from the surface of the porous material, leaving behind crystals. The crystallization process is driven by the evaporation of water and placing the solution in a dry place or under a slight breeze will help the crystals to grow faster.

A laundry agent known as bluing liquid is sometimes used to help the crystals to form. It contains a fine powder that acts as a nucleation site for crystals to grow. Bluing liquid also contains an iron compound that will react with ammonia to form iron salts.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
10
Time required:
1 hour for preparation, 10 days to conduct the science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Handle the ammonia carefully.