Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Forming Candy Crystals
Name: Stephanie
Status: student
Grade: 4-5
Location: CA
Country: USA
Date: April 2009



Question:
How do candy crystals form?


Replies:
Hi Stephanie,

To get sugar crystals, you have to start by dissolving sugar in water, and then you have to make the sugar want to come back out of solution as a crystal. There are a couple ways to coax the sugar back out of solution -- the easiest way is to heat up water and dissolve as much sugar as you can, and then let the solution cool down. More sugar can 'fit' into the water when it is hot than when it is cold, so the extra sugar will form crystals once the water cools. If the water cools slowly, very large crystals can form. Sugar crystals made this way are known as 'rock candy'. The second way, which is more common in traditional candy making, is to dissolve sugar and water (the amounts do not matter that much as long as the sugar dissolves) and then start cooking it in a pan. The longer you cook, the harder the sugar crystals will be when they cool (longer cooking means more water evaporates, and less water means harder crystals). You can use a candy thermometer to tell you how hard your candy will be once it cools -- from chewy all the way to rock hard.

Hope this helps!
Burr Zimmerman



Click here to return to the Material Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory