Saturday, June 18, 2011

Salt Crystals Experiment

This was to learn how crystals will grow out of salt.  Fill a glass about 3/4 full of water and add salt stirring until no more salt can be dissolved in the water.  Tie a metal paper clip to a cotton string and suspend it in the middle of the glass by tying the string to a pencil and setting it cross ways over the glass.  Let it sit in a warm spot, that won't be disturbed for about a week. 

Here is what is suppose to happen.  As the salt dissolves in the water, the salt molecules should separate into sodium and chloride ions.  As the water evaporates over the seven days,  these two components should recombine in a cubical pattern and crystals should grow on the paper clip which can be ooh and awed over.

Here is what did happen.  Our paper clip hung there and the finish got eaten off by the salt like a car in a Minnesota winter.  I think that we didn't put enough salt into the water for this to work correctly.  We did have it in a sunny window and the water was evaporating.  After about 10 days we grew weary of waiting anymore and dumped the experiment to get our glass back.  We did, however, get salt crystals on the cotton string and pencil.  The water that was wicked up the string evaporated and formed this large salt chunk.

Although this didn't work well as a chemistry experiment we did see a correlation between what did happen and what can happen to us as Christians.  The glass of water represented the church.  If we just hang around the church there is no guarantee that we will retain our saltiness, or that we will ever become salty in the first place.  I think of that saying, "Standing a garage doesn't make you car anymore than going to church makes you a Christian."  When we start acting like the string and sucking up God's goodness by reading the bible, praying, fasting, loving our neighbors,  showing mercy, being humble, being peacemakers, living the fruits of the spirit, etc. we start building up our salt into a stronger and stronger chunk that becomes harder and harder to break.  With our "salt chunk" we will be able to fulfill the Great Commission and withstand persecution if we are ever called to do so.   When we poured the now less salty water down the drain, we thought of Matthew 5:13 where Jesus says, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."  Maybe our experiment didn't really fail.

1 comment:

Amy Dingmann said...

Sounds like our house - we always get all excited to do an experiment, but often times it doesn't turn out like the "book" says its should. The kids are starting to get suspicious of my scientific abilities...

I am glad you were able to make the experiment work in a different way for you. :)