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 Crystals

Find out more about how atoms can combine together to form elements which may create crystals that were sent with the kids science project on crystals.

Why do Atoms connect together?
What's in an atom?
What are Crystals
How to grow Crystals

 

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Why do atoms connect to one another?

There are many different types of bond that will exist between atoms. One of the most common types is a covalent bond the sharing of electrons. The electrons of an atom exist in orbits, with each orbit holding a certain number.

The orbits and the number of electrons that they can hold are:

1st orbit 2               2nd orbit 8                 3rd orbit 8            4th orbit 18

When an atom's outer electron shell is completely full, it is stable and will not react with other atoms. All of the Noble Gases Argon, Helium, Xenon, Krypton, Radon, and Neon are inert, and will not naturally react with other elements. Due to this, single atoms of these gases can be found in nature.

Other elements such as Oxygen (O) and Hydrogen (H) are not stable as single atoms.

In the picture to the left, the larger Oxygen atom has only 6 electrons in its outer electron shell, needing 2 more to completely fill it.
The 2 smaller Hydrogen atoms both need 1 electron to fill their outer electron shell.
In the picture, the Hydrogen atoms are "sharing" their one electron with the Oxygen atom and the Oxygen atom is sharing one electron to each of the Hydrogen atoms. Now each of the atoms have complete outer electron shells, making this molecule stable.

What's in an Atom?

All matter is composed of atoms. Each individual atom is composed of three parts: electrons, protons, and neutrons.

Protons

  • Found in the nucleus of the atom
  • Has a positive (+) electric charge.
  • Weighs less than one billionth of a gram
  • Is approximately 2000 times more massive than an electron

 

Electron

  • Orbits the nucleus of the atom
  • Has a negative (-) electric charge
  • Weights approximately 1/2000 of a proton

 

 

Neutrons

  • Found in the nucleus of the atom
  • Has no electrical charge
  • Weighs approximately the same as a proton

 

 

For each atom, in its natural state, the number of Electrons and the number of Protons is equal. This number may or may not be the same as the number of Neutrons within that atom, in fact, there may be several different numbers of Neutrons within the nucleolus of the atoms of the same type.

Atoms of the same Element that have different amounts of Neutrons within its nucleolus are called Isotopes. An example of this is Chlorine; there may be 18 or 20 Neutrons within its nucleolus.

Check the Interesting Websites for more information on science of crystals and the elements that make them,  or check out our webpage on Crystals.

 

Interesting Web Sites

http://www.seawhy.com/xllink.html - links to web pages that deal with crystalization.

http://www.mii.org/commonminerals.php - common minerals and their uses.

http://www.chemicalelements.com/ - an online periodic table listing all known elements.

 

Note to Parents:

Creative Kids at Home has checked every weblink on this page.  We believe these links provide interesting information that is appropriate for kids.  However, the internet is a constantly changing place.  You are responsible for supervising your own children.  If you ever find a link from our page that you feel is inappropriate, please let us know. 

 

Crystal Growing Geodes (Special Deal)

Crystal Growing Geodes (Special Deal)

Grow your own collection of crystals in 3 different sparkling colors.


 

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