Crystals and Crystal Growing (MIT Press) by Alan Holden

By Alan Holden

This essentially illustrated rationalization of the fundamental rules of crystals can be utilized as a textual content or supplementary sourcebook by way of high-school scholars (for which it was once initially written), scholars on the junior university or undergraduate point, or the overall reader with an curiosity in science.

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Extra resources for Crystals and Crystal Growing (MIT Press)

Example text

This is why it is rare to see large single crystals, and especially rare to find them with many natural faces exposed and well developed. Usually, both in nature and in man's manufacturing processes, a great many crystals of the same material start growing at about the same time in many different places. They grow until something gets in their way, or until they get in one another's way, and then they stop. Since they start with no knowledge of one another, they all have different orientations, and when they meet they cannot join to form a single big crystal.

The ratio of potassium sulfate to aluminum sulfate is precisely one to one, in terms of numbers of molecules. Each substance has its own role to play in the construction, different from its partner's role. Both must co-operate; and since neither can replace the other, there is no way for the crystal to include more or less than a fixed ratio of its ingredients. In the case of mercury and silver, alloys with several different simple ratios are observed. But each ratio is fixed, and to each there corresponds a different alloy, with a different example of orderliness.

But many rocks formed in this way do not survive: < previous page page_47 next page > < previous page page_48 next page > Page 48 things happen to change them. " In dry climates the alternations of heat by day and cold by night crack the surface of the rock enough for wind to pick up the fragments and batter the rock with them still further. In humid climates the expansion of water freezing in cracks does the initial damage. Streams of water carry the fragments away, tumbling and rubbing them against one another until they are even smaller than the original crystals.

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