Growing Borax Crystals - Science Fair Project

Geology Unit Study

Week 4: Do different ratios of borax to water affect the quantity of crystals grown?
(This project makes beautiful Christmas Ornaments.)

The following science fair project was done by my 12 year old daughter.

The versions of this project I’ve read on the internet all say to use 3 tablespoons of borax per cup of water.

My Hypothesis
I think that the crystals grown in borax water with the most borax will grow biggest, because I think that the most borax will make the most crystals.

borax, water, empty glass jars, one cup measuring cup, small saucepan (for boiling the water before adding the borax), tablespoon, pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, craft sticks

I used different ratios of borax to water to see which one grew the biggest crystals. I used one cup of boiling water, poured it into a glass jar, and stirred it until the borax dissolved. The amount of tablespoons of borax per cup of water were 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1. Then I soaked equal amounts of pipe cleaner in the mixture for 12 hours, checking on them five times and weighing them to see how many more crystals there were.

All of the triangles except the one with the ratio 1:1 grew crystals. The one with the ratio of 2:1 was just barely covered with tiny little crystals. The 3:1 was covered. 4:1 was covered with large cube crystals, which I like the best. The last one, 5:1, was covered half a centimeter with somewhat small cube crystals.

My hypothesis proved correct. The crystals grown in the cup with five tablespoons of borax to a cup of water grew the biggest. Any ratio of borax to water bigger than 1:1 will grow crystals. The triangle in the cup with the ratio of 2:1 was not totally covered with crystals, and it looks as though it needs a few more crystals. I think that the ratio of 3:1 is the smallest ratio of borax that will grow pretty, solid crystals, so that is why the instructions on the internet all said that. As the amount of borax increases, the crystals grow faster. It took all of the twelve hours for the pipe cleaner to be covered with crystals on the ratio of 2:1, but on the ratio of 5:1 there were as many crystals as grew on the 2:1 in only two hours.

For next time
What else could have an effect the results? Maybe light, dark, water temperature, air temperature or time of year?

For activity ideas from others visit these blog hops.

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