The word crystal is used in different ways but scientists mean something special when using the word crystal. A tiny particle called an atom is the building block for everything on earth. In crystals the atoms repeat the same pattern over and over tomake a certain shape. Glass and plastic would not be considered a crystal since the atoms in them do not have an exact repeating pattern.
A crystal is able to grow by adding the same number of atoms to all its sides in the same pattern as the ones before, making sides called facets. The crystal will get bigger but keep it;s original shape.
Science for Kids CrystalsWhat are crystals?
Crystals are a specia
How do they form?
The process of crystal forming is called crystallization. Crystals often form in nature when liquids cool and start to harden. Certain molecules in the liquid gather together as they attempt to become stable. They do this in a uniform and repeating pattern that forms the crystal.
In nature, crystals can form as liquid rock, called magma, cools. If it cools slowly, then crystals may form. Many valuable crystals such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds form this way.
Another way crystals from is when water evaporates from a mixture. Salt crystals often form as salt water evaporates.
What unique properties do crystals have?
Crystals can have very flat surfaces called facets. They can form geometric shapes such as triangles, rectangles, and squares. The shapes are a direct result of the type of molecules and atoms that make up the crystal. Smaller crystals and larger crystals that were formed of the same molecules and in the same method should have similar shapes.
There are seven basic crystal shapes, also called lattices. They are Cubic, Trigonal, Triclinic, Orthorhombic, Hexagonal, Tetragonal, and Monoclinic.
Interesting Types of Crystals
Snow flakes - Snow flakes are ice crystals that are formed high in the clouds when water freezes. They always have six sides or arms, but every one of them is unique.
Timing crystals - When an electric current is sent through some crystals they vibrate at a very precise frequency. Quartz crystals are used in watches and other electronics to keep and accurate time.
Quartz - Quartz is a common mineral and crystal. It is one of the hardest common minerals. The gemstone amethyst is a purple type of quartz.