Crystal growing Inorganic Mineralogy Photography Synthesis

Synthetically prepared minerals – sulphur

Theory:

Typically, it takes thousands of years for mineral specimen to be formed in nature by slow precipitation or crystallization from a melt. These processes are complex and specific conditions must be maintained during the growth (e .g. aragonite formation).  Despite this, there is a number of minerals that can be prepared artificially in a moment. You have for sure come along growing crystals out of solution of metal salts – e.g. halite (NaCl)/sylvite (KCl), chalcanthite (CuSO4.5H2O). These minerals owing to their ionic structures and low lattice energy readily dissolve in water. The other group of soluble minerals is mostly represented by elements and molecular compounds such as sulfur and organic minerals (abelsonite, carphatite). These are conversely soluble in non-polar organic solvents (toluene, benzene, xylene).

Procedure:

Approximately 1 g of powdered sulphur (99% purity) was weighted and dissolved in 20 cc of pure boiling toluene (caution – perform this step outside or in a fuming hood). The resulting yellow solution was filtered and let freely to cool down overnight. After 12 hours many tiny orthorhombic crystals with size ranging from 1 mm up to 3 mm were formed.

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