(335). Start a Alum Making Business
Alum is a salt that in chemistry is a combination of an alkali metal, such as sodium, potassium, or ammonium and a trivalent metal, such as aluminum, iron, or chromium. The most common form, potassium aluminum sulfate, or potash alum, is one form that has been used in food processing. Another, sodium aluminum sulfate, is an ingredient in commercially produced baking powder.The potassium-based alum has been used to produce crisp cucumber and watermelon-rind pickles as well as maraschino cherries, where the aluminum ions strengthen the fruits' cell-wall pectins.
Its constituents are sulphuric acid, alumina, an alkali and water. The alkali may be either potash, soda, or ammonia. Hence there are three district species of slum, depending upon the nature of the alkali which each contains. Potash alum (in which the alkali is potash) is the common alum of this country, although both soda alum and ammoniacal alum are manufactured. The term alum is now used in chemistry as a generic one, and is applied to the class of double slats formed by the union of the sulphates of alumina, chromium, or iron with the sulphates of the alkalies. The composition of the ordinary potash alum is represented by the formula AIK(SO4)2 12H2O.
Alums are useful for a range of industrial processes. They are soluble in water; have an astringent, acid, and sweetish taste; react acidto litmus; and crystallize in regular octahedra. When heated they liquefy; and if the heating is continued, the water of crystallization is driven off, the salt froths and swells, and at last an amorphous powder remains.
Throughout history, people have been fascinated with crystals. Individuals have used them as beautiful jewelry pieces, in religious ceremonies, and even as healing objects and as energy sources. Crystals are created when molecules arrange themselves to form a repeated pattern, such as when material dissolves in a fluid and then solidifies. But just because there are chemical reactions involved in the process doesn't mean you can't grow your own colored crystal at home. While other crystals may require the use of a lab, alum crystals can be grown with common household items, plus alum powder, which is used in pickling recipes as a preservative.
How to grow Color Alum Crystal
Growing crystals at home was suprisingly easy to accomplish. To grow Alum crystals I had to purchase "Alum" at the grocery store in the spice isle. I then mixed the powder with warm water and let it sit overnight. In the morning you can see a substantial amount of crystals growing in the bottom of the cup. By using a bigger "seed" crystal and the rest of the alum mixture, you can let your crystal grow until it is the size you want. This photograph was taken of a 2 week old alum crystal and was shot using transilluminated polarized light. Polarized lighting was accomplished by placing the crystal between two matched polarized filters and rotating the filters to obtain the image most desired.
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