O Chemistree, O Chemistree!

By Becca Smithers

Here at science made simple we are big fans of chemistrees in this festive season. Chemistrees are Christmas trees made out of chemistry! Here are some great examples that you can make out of clamp stands, flasks, and coloured liquid!

Crystal Chemistree

Our chemistry is on a small scale and is made by growing crystals on tree shaped card dipped in food dye!

To get your crystals you need to have a solution containing water, salt, ammonium, and laundry blueing. Our chemistree came from a pre-made kit, but instructions on how to make your own can be found here.

The crystals grew on the Chemistree in around 17 hours. CC-BY science made simple

The crystals grew on the Chemistree in around 17 hours. CC-BY science made simple

Ammonium chloride crystals. CC-BY science made simple

Ammonium chloride crystals. CC-BY science made simple

How does it work?

The solution containing the ammonia and salts is poured into the bottom container where the tree is held. The water is absorbed into the card and is drawn up to the top of the tree through capillary action, where liquid can travel through narrow spaces and tubes. Capillary action means that water can travel upwards against the force due to gravity, and our solution reaches the top of the tree.

Evaporation takes place next. The water in the solution evaporates into the air surrounding the tree and the ammonium chloride salt crystals are left behind. The more evaporation, the bigger the crystals. The crystals are green because of the dye on the card.

 

 

The final stage was to decorate our chemistree!

O chemistree, o chemistree! CC-BY science made simple

O chemistree, o chemistree! CC-BY science made simple

 

We have lots of activities where you can make your own crystals! Try this one to make your own sugar crystal sticks, perfect tasty tree decorations!

 

If you want more festive science have a look at these blogs:

Top 10 Christmas Science Demonstrations

‘Tis the season to be jolly… scientists!

 


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Posted in Activity, Chemistry