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Colloidal Growth
The Chemical Garden

Colloidal growth can be observed when a few crystals of any soluble metallic salt (whose silicate is insoluble) is placed in a 50% solution of sodium silicate (waterglass).

Each metal 'grows' a different silicate structure

Each metallic salt produces within a few minutes its characteristic structure as a result of osmotic pressure and the breaking of the insoluble membrane of metal silicate. Previous addition of small amounts of sodium carbonate or phosphate to the sodium silicate effects a change in structure.

Most active are the salts of Fe, Ni, Co, Mn, Al, Mg, Ca, Ba. Least active are Cu, Pb, U.

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