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In this exercise, the class will grow a variety of crystals of the same mineral, but with different chemical compositions. These crystals will be made from mixtures of halite (NaCl)and sylvite (KCl) that are melted and cooled. Because K+1 is significantly larger than Na+1,the unit cell is larger in sylvite than in halite. Intermediate compositions have intermediate unit cell sizes. Thus, a measurement of the lattice spacing of the crystalline products of your experiments can be used to determine their chemical composition. The principle goal of these experiments is to demonstrate that solid solutions do occur and that their physical properties vary with their chemical composition. Additional goals include studying the effect of composition on melting, exploring the process of exsolution as a function of temperature, and seeing the effect of fluids and deformation on crystallization kinetics.
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