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Author: Subject: Growing a CuSO4 crystal using a "hydrothermal" process
Twospoons
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thumbup.gif posted on 2-12-2017 at 15:06
Growing a CuSO4 crystal using a "hydrothermal" process


I thought I'd have a crack at growing a copper sulfate crystal using a setup based on hydrothermal crystal growing methods. Obviously I don't need high pressures or temperatures for CuSO4, so I built a simple setup using a 2000ml measuring cylinder and a cheap Chinese coffee cup warmer (~20W).
This is really just a proof of concept - no attempt has been made to optimize the process.

Initial setup:
1: A 2000ml measuring cylinder, with its plastic base removed, is placed on a heating plate (coffee cup warmer). I used a lab stand for extra stability as I have a kitten whose middle name is "trouble".
2: 1800ml of saturated CuSO4 solution @50C is added, along with 200g of solid CuSO4.
3: The bottom 1/4 of the cylinder is wrapped in insulation, a cover is added, and the heater is turned on.
4: The system is left to equilibriate for several days.
5: A small seed crystal is suspended in the top 1/4 of the cylinder.

My initial seed was about 9mm long. After 3 days it is already significantly bigger. I don't want to disturb the process by pull it out and measuring it so I'm trying to take pics through the cylinder.
At any rate, it looks like the process is working. It has a couple of nice advantages: Its sealed so there's no water loss, so no need to top up. And condensation at the top is continually washing the glass so there's no crust growing up the sides.
The photos are of the initial seed, then 3 days later. The last photo shows my setup (with the insulation pulled aside to show the heater and solid CuSO4)



Nov29.jpg - 33kB Dec2.jpg - 104kB CuSO4Grow.jpg - 162kB




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[*] posted on 11-12-2017 at 16:20


very intresting;)
a few weeks ago i was thinking to use the same process to make sulphur crystals from a saturated solution of toluene and sulphur, if it worked with CuSO4 i will definitely give it a shot
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[*] posted on 11-12-2017 at 20:08


The crystal is now ~40mm long. I'd post a pic, but unfortunately my phone turned into a brick yesterday.
I don't see why this wouldn't work with toluene - and it has the added bonus of no toluene vapor to get rid of.




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[*] posted on 12-12-2017 at 04:01


Now if only there was a low-pressure hydrothermal method of growing quartz... I'd be all over that.



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[*] posted on 16-12-2017 at 19:35


Yesterday I turned off the heater, as prep for terminating the experiment. This was a mistake - the crystal grew fast overnight, and at some point the suspension broke and it landed in the solid mess at the bottom. Result was not pretty. It did weigh 90g though - this is after 19 days growth.

I had noticed a missing corner on the crystal earlier - I think this was due to a less than perfect seed. Going to try again with a better seed. This is definitely a fairly quick way to grow large crystals.

My phone died last week, so no pic of the result sorry.




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[*] posted on 17-12-2017 at 04:49


Quote: Originally posted by Twospoons  
at some point the suspension broke and it landed in the solid mess at the bottom. Result was not pretty. It did weigh 90g though - this is after 19 days growth.


that's unfortunate:(
anyway, wow 90g!
i need to find a coffee mug heater and try it, bad news is that in italy they are not something common to find so probably i need to go to my trusty ebay and wait 1 month for a shipment from china...
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[*] posted on 17-12-2017 at 14:01


I got my heater from china - on Aliexpress. I've bought quite a lot of stuff that way, and only encountered issues a couple of times.



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[*] posted on 20-1-2018 at 17:28


Second attempt. This took about a week and a half to grow to this size. It has unfortunately sprouted a twin on one side.

IMG_20180121_141900729.jpg - 1MB




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[*] posted on 21-1-2018 at 03:35


Quote: Originally posted by Twospoons  
Second attempt. This took about a week and a half to grow to this size. It has unfortunately sprouted a twin on one side.



pretty damn fast.

what is the temperature in the hot and cold sides?
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[*] posted on 22-1-2018 at 17:39


At the top, and in fact most of the way down, its 34C. Right at the bottom, on top of the bulk CuSO4, its 42C.



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