South Australia Crystal Growing Competition
This section is intended to provide information to students
and parents, and to teachers involved in crystal growing for fun or for
competitions such as the Oliphant Science Awards in South Australia
or other crystal growing competitions in other Australian states or indeed
The majority of competitions require the crystal material to
be potassium aluminium sulphate i.e. potash (common) alum. No other material is
acceptable for prize consideration.
Students are expected to carry out all manipulations of the
material with parent or teacher help where there is a safety issue e.g. hot
water. The operations may be carried out at home or at school according to the
supervising teacher’s discretion. To ensure the crystal growing is the
student’s own work, the required log book should be checked periodically and
some questions asked about the most recent activity.
Other rules which apply to the competition that a
participant wishes to enter should be located and read on the
appropriate website – for example, the rules for
the Oliphant crystal growing competition should be checked on the
Oliphant Science Awards website (www.oliphantscienceawards.com.au).
Packaging the finished crystal for the competition is important. The finished
dry crystal should be placed in small airtight ziplock bag and placed
in a Post Pak for posting. The accompanying logbook can be placed carefully
folded into the Post Pak or sent separately. [Any crystals wrapped using sticky
tape will not be judged]
Judging of the presented crystals is conducted by
experienced members of the RACI Chemical Education Group in any
Crystals will be judged on the following criteria:
i.e. sharpness of edges,
- overall aesthetic appeal
Size is no longer a major criterion. This will reduce
disadvantage to students, who for one reason or another, have less growing
time. However, crystals whose largest dimension is less than 9 mm will not be
considered for certificates of merit.
Where very similar crystals are difficult to rank for prizes
or certificates then the logbooks and the hypotheses proposed will be
considered to make a decision. The logbook should state dates from the start to
the finish of the growing period and each entry dated and countersigned where
Over recent years the best crystals grown have been smaller
and clear with flat, light-reflecting faces and sharp edges, usually suspended
from a thread to achieve symmetrical growth.
This link takes you to the rubric used for judging the SA crystals - http://www.oliphantscienceawards.com.au/files/1899_judging_rubric_for_website.pdf (page 11)
Closing dates for final entries to be delivered and judging are determined by SASTA.
Resources for schools are below:
Advice To Students
Log Book Model
Material Safety Data Sheet
Hints From Canada
Alum Crystals (David Katz)
Various Views Of AlumCrystals