How do crystals work? – Graham Baird


Deep beneath the geysers and hot springs
of Yellowstone Caldera lies a magma chamber produced by a
hot spot in the earth’s mantle. As the magma moves towards
the Earth’s surface, it crystallizes to form young,
hot igneous rocks. The heat from these rocks drives
groundwater towards the surface. As the water cools, ions precipitate out
as mineral crystals, including quartz crystals from silicon
and oxygen, feldspar from potassium, aluminum,
silicon, and oxygen, galena from lead and sulfur. Many of these crystals have signature
shapes— take this cascade of pointed quartz,
or this pile of galena cubes. But what causes them to grow into these
shapes again and again? Part of the answer lies in their atoms. Every crystal’s atoms are arranged
in a highly organized, repeating pattern. This pattern is the defining
feature of a crystal, and isn’t restricted to minerals— sand, ice, sugar, chocolate, ceramics,
metals, DNA, and even some liquids have
crystalline structures. Each crystalline material’s atomic
arrangement falls into one of six different families: cubic, tetragonal, orthorhombic,
monoclinic, triclinic, and hexagonal. Given the appropriate conditions, crystals will grow into geometric shapes that reflect the arrangement
of their atoms. Take galena, which has a cubic structure
composed of lead and sulfur atoms. The relatively large lead atoms are arranged in a three-dimensional
grid 90 degrees from one another, while the relatively small sulfur atoms
fit neatly between them. As the crystal grows, locations like these
attract sulfur atoms, while lead will tend to
bond to these places. Eventually, they will complete the grid
of bonded atoms. This means the 90 degree grid pattern
of galena’s crystalline structure is reflected in the visible
shape of the crystal. Quartz, meanwhile, has a hexagonal
crystalline structure. This means that on one plane its atoms
are arranged in hexagons. In three dimensions, these hexagons are
composed of many interlocking pyramids made up of one silicon atom
and four oxygen atoms. So the signature shape of a quartz
crystal is a six-sided column with pointed tips. Depending on environmental conditions, most crystals have the potential to form
multiple geometric shapes. For example, diamonds, which form deep
in the Earth’s mantle, have a cubic crystalline structure and can
grow into either cubes or octahedrons. Which shape a particular
diamond grows into depends on the conditions where it grows, including pressure, temperature,
and chemical environment. While we can’t directly observe growth
conditions in the mantle, laboratory experiments have shown some
evidence that diamonds tend to grow into cubes at
lower temperatures and octahedrons at higher temperatures. Trace amounts of water, silicon,
germanium, or magnesium might also influence a diamond’s shape. And diamonds never naturally grow into the
shapes found in jewelry— those diamonds have been cut to
showcase sparkle and clarity. Environmental conditions can also
influence whether crystals form at all. Glass is made of melted quartz sand, but it isn’t crystalline. That’s because glass cools
relatively quickly, and the atoms do not have time to arrange
themselves into the ordered structure
of a quartz crystal. Instead, the random arrangement
of the atoms in the melted glass is locked in upon cooling. Many crystals don’t form geometric shapes because they grow in extremely close
quarters with other crystals. Rocks like granite are full of crystals, but none have recognizable shapes. As magma cools and solidifies, many minerals within it crystallize at the
same time and quickly run out of space. And certain crystals, like turquoise, don’t grow into any discernible geometric
shape in most environmental conditions, even given adequate space. Every crystal’s atomic structure has
unique properties, and while these properties may not have
any bearing on human emotional needs, they do have powerful applications
in materials science and medicine.

100 thoughts on “How do crystals work? – Graham Baird

  1. Have you ever wondered why you can see through glass, or what fire is made of? Find out more about the fascinating makeup of our environment with these videos: http://bit.ly/2KlSnUp

  2. Wow that's cool, can u tells me what's the different of crystals and diamonds?

  3. Just here for the comments about how they didn't learn this in school….

  4. Dear ted ed
    Ive been watching ur videos about 4 years but this i just want to comment about that diamond shape..

    When i was little as 10 years old i use to examine sand on my home
    Those sand was use for the construction of our home .
    Meanwhile as i played with it , i notice that some of the sands has crystals that is literally in a shape of diamonds and about big of 1 to 2 millimeters..
    I live in the Philippines and dose shape does exist..

    Those sand has million of diamond shape crystals and i assume those where naturally forrmed.
    But those crystal was not as hard as true diamond but still it has the same shape

    Those sand they used was more likely from the sand of the beach..
    And we literally know that those sand came from volcanoes .

    Plss consider my comment as a part of your investigation upon my late childhood statement.

  5. Wikipedia: Shows knowledges and explanations
    TED-Ed: Steals and makes videos
    Subs:9.3M
    TED-Ed:Mission passed,Respect+

  6. People talking aboht rocks: LAME
    TedEd talks about rocks: THIS IS AWESOME

  7. I came here to know how crystals work "magically". Instead, I was click-baited to actually learn something… /s

  8. This is the most informative video than I have ever learned in school

  9. 2:26 "Pyramids". Those are tetrahedrons… cmon TED-Ed, get your shapes right.

  10. Can you upload new video every weeks? I don’t wanna go to school. Learn from is enough. I will watch the ads in return.

  11. Addison Anderson should narrate documentaries too. I love his narration.

  12. I'm mineralogiest and finally I can show people right animation when I'm explaining how this works! Thanks!

  13. How can havin contact with lava in crystal form not affect you emotionally?Are you made of stone?Do you even like dolphins?what kind of materialistic loving robots are you?pff “Pure Logic is the Ruin of the Spirit” dudes

  14. Hahaha when @teded lowkey rousts all the crystal lovers saying it may not have any emotional impact

  15. In other words they are antennas receiving an transmitting different frequencies.

  16. I was waiting for them to say "it cures autism #antivax" 😂 😂 😂

  17. Why wasn't the geologist hungry?
    They'd lost their apatite.

  18. They definitely do have bearings on emotional needs but otherwise cool vid

  19. Trigonal planer tetrahefrons…. Have studied something earlier🤔

  20. It seems like a different animation than usual
    I don't like it.

  21. False. Crystals were placed down by the spirit world to reconfigure the positive ions of your aura by balancing the energy of your vibes. And they cure cancer by realigning your spirit Chee and removing toxins from your body. 😉

  22. 3 days worth of school discussion in a 5 min. video ❤

  23. I only watch this video because my real name is Crystal.

    Only me? Okay then.

  24. As a metallurgist/materials scientist who studies this , I say yes!!!

  25. Wow i just studied crystalline solid structure in my textbook.. Im so glad I came across it.!

  26. [I swear] by Heaven which returns and the earth which splits. (Qur'an, 86:11-12)

    The Arabic word "sadA" in the above verse means "cracking, splitting apart." Allah's swearing by the splitting of the Earth points to an important phenomenon, as do the other scientific miracles in the Qur'an. Scientists first descended to the depths of the seas and oceans in order to study mineral resources in 1945-1946. One of the most important facts to emerge from that research was the fissured structure of the Earth. The rock layer on the external surface of the Earth was split by large numbers of cracks (faults), tens of thousands of kilometres long, running from north to south and east to west. Scientists also realised that there was molten magma under the sea, at depths of 100-150 km.

    The magma layer under the Earth’s crust is allowed to escape to the surface by a fragmented structure. This significantly reduces the temperature of the Earth.

    Due to these splits and cracks, lava flows from volcanoes on the sea bed. Due to this fissured structure, a significant amount of heat is also given off, and a large part of molten rocks forms the mountains under the oceans. If the Earth did not possess this structure, which allows large amounts of heat to escape from its crust, life on Earth would become impossible.

    If the Earth’s surface did not permit high levels of heat to escape, life on Earth would be impossible.

    There is no doubt that such information, which required such advanced technology to be discovered, being given 1,400 years ago is yet another proof that the Qur'an is the Word of Allah.

  27. They used ‘thisissand’ for their scene on glass! 🤣 oh teded

  28. Nice video!
    Also, I think pressure sure also be mentioned in the beginning as temperature alone (as suggested by the illustration) would not be enough.

  29. Oh I thought crystals work by making you see weird things and giving you superpowers.

  30. 1:24 I don’t wanna sound like a condescending or anything , but aren’t there 7 crystals systems which are then classified into 14 Bravis lattices ?

  31. I am concerned more on how to prevent crystals from forming 🙂

  32. This is amazing channel. I appreciate so many videos uploaded by Ted Ed.

  33. am I the only one who thought this was going to explain the magic crystal craze going on rn lol

  34. I always felt like glass reminded me of quartz. turns out its like quartz's cousin.

  35. As a materials scientist, this should have been shown in our intro class.

  36. Me before the video: I bet this might come off as a hippie spiritual healing video due to the title but actually is a geology video.

    Video: is geology

    Me: h a h

  37. came here thinking Ted-Ed was gonna explain how crystals help chakras. /s

  38. I didn't know the natural, macro shape of Liquid Crystal was a cell phone…

  39. This channel always make science more fun than on my school days…

  40. This is the best explanation I have ever received about how the geometric patterns of crystals are formed and crystallography in general

  41. I want to hear more about how gold doesn't originally come from our planet. Where can I learn about that?

  42. … they have PiezzoEffect – ist works in your gas lightfire for cigaretts – and works in modern manometers for pressure.
    If you play with your teeth in your mouth – U feel sometime like nerves do Work – its electricity in your Body by Mikrovolt of your Kristall DNA with electropherese. To feel somebody on teeth is a wisdom in holy Bibel. And by the Weber-Fechner Effekt – you can mess the Impuls of nerves and the law.

  43. i came thinking this has something to do with reiki or pranic healing… did learn something else though

  44. These crystals have 3 kinds of lattice formations:-
    1. Simple Cubic Lattice
    2. Face Centred Cubic Lattice
    3. Body Centred Cubic lattice
    Packing efficiency of Face Centred lattice is the highest while of the simple cubic lattice it is lowest.

  45. 4:33 "…and while these properties may not have any bearing on human emotional needs…." You just threw a whole coven of witches under the earth's mantle, Sir.

  46. Science has an answer of how stuff functions, but not why it is so. A true wisdom is to find the why , by finding the why the how will have reasonably different and deeper meaning and will not be only a dry mechanical product of formulas of research actions that were lead in laboratory. In order to find the how the core believe in our existence followed by scientific research in closed doors must be reprogrammed , this way every human would find things by himself using his own brain and wisdom as his paraphernalia of his scientific research. That way there will be no need for narrowed limited search of information, the knowledge thirst will be satisfied by drinking of our own fountain of truth avoiding a centralized science to become another tool for manipulation.

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