• Question: what mineral creates the smallest crystals

    Asked by Rebekahxxx<3 to William, Rebecca, Martyna, Callum, Alice, Adam on 12 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Rebecca Roddan

      Rebecca Roddan answered on 12 Nov 2018:


      I’m not sure, lots of crystals are so small you can’t see them by eye, only with a microscope.

    • Photo: Alice Loasby

      Alice Loasby answered on 12 Nov 2018:


      I don’t know what mineral makes the smallest crystals, but protein crystals are normally a lot smaller than organic ones!

    • Photo: Adam Berlie

      Adam Berlie answered on 12 Nov 2018:


      This question is quite complicated, so nice one. It really depends on how small is small… Even if you take what looks like a powder, it can actually be made up of lots of tiny crystals, so really, any crystal can come in a small size. What makes it a crystal is how the atoms are arranged, if they are all nicely slotted together, or well ordered, then can say that it is crystalline or a very tiny crystal. You can find crystals of lots of different types of materials can excist down to 100 nm or 0.0000001 metres! This is very small, but even things this small have properties like that of larger crystals. Once you get a bit smaller then this, you enter the world of nano-technology where things can start getting very weird indeed.

    • Photo: Callum McHugh

      Callum McHugh answered on 13 Nov 2018:


      I can’t answer this question…I’m not sure anyone could.

      The process of crystallization is complex and begins with an event which is called nucleation.

      This process results in the formation of a crystal from a solution, a liquid, or a vapour, in which a small number of ions, atoms, or molecules become arranged in a pattern characteristic of a crystalline solid, forming a site upon which additional particles are deposited as the crystal grows.

      I guess the smallest nucleation sites involve single molecules or atoms and therefore these would be the dimensions of the smallest crystals. Its incredibly difficult to measure these sites as they are so small.

    • Photo: Martyna Pastok

      Martyna Pastok answered on 14 Nov 2018:


      Not sure what mineral creates the smallest crystals. Some protein crystals are very very tiny, microcrystalines… and need microscopes to see them and special equipment to test them….I think it would be difficult even to identify the smallest crystal ever as some crystals are growing only in particular conditions, if you will not find the conditions, you may never know if you can produce smallest crystals ever. 😉

    • Photo: William Glass

      William Glass answered on 14 Nov 2018:


      That’s a good question and to be honest I’m not sure! All sorts of crystals are “small”, I’m sure there are a variety of tiny crystals that can only ever be seen down a microscope.

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