Students take a piece of aluminium sheet bent into a wave-like strip (or any shape they wish) and lower it into a petri dish containing an agar gel with Cu2+ ions. Over the next 5-60 minutes, intricate branched copper crystals will grow on the aluminium surface. Students can observe the crystal growth in real time with a hand-held digital microscope.
This activity was modified from the following citation.
Xu, X., Wu, M., Wang, X., Yang, Y., Shi, X. & Wang, G. (2016). Experimenting with a Visible Copper−Aluminum Displacement Reaction in Agar Gel and Observing Copper Crystal Growth Patterns to Engage Student Interest and Inquiry, Journal of Chemical Education, 93, 1612-1615.
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