Thursday, 22 January 2015

Crystal Update

I promised to update you on the potassium aluminium sulphate crystals I started growing in my airing cupboard. Due to the misleading nature of this blogpost's title and its accompanying photo, it proved to be my most popular post ever - garnering over 200 hits in the first hour. Which just goes to show no matter how long you spend carefully tailoring philosophical insights to delight your intended audience all they really want is the possibility of cheap drugs.

I'd always imagined growing crystals to be a spectacularly exciting thing to do. When I had my first chemistry set, I dutifully performed under appropriate supervision all the experiments included in the set except one: I was never allowed to grow copper sulphate crystals. My mother had read in the newspaper the story of a child who died as a result of waking thirsty in the night and, blindly groping in the dark, necking his copper sulphate solution instead of his glass of water. 

That didn't deter me though. I just figured I would wait twenty-three years until I was old enough to conduct my own experiments. But that I would conduct it safely in the airing cupboard because, as my mother knew all along, I am a terrible one for waking thirsty in the night and, blindly groping in the dark, necking the nearest wet thing to me. For all I know, potassium aluminium sulphate solution tastes exactly the same as three-day-old dusty ribena.

Over the course of a few weeks I turned this... 

...into this:

And now I have a load of aluminium sulphate crystals hanging around that really serve no purpose. They are not even very decorative. 

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