Crystal Electricity • The Sparkle that Ignites

Nature is full of beautiful bounties that include rocks, crystals, and other minerals. Humans share a very deep and ancient relation with crystals. These sparkling, shining rocks, along with their healing properties, have many industrial properties. These qualities combine to make them one of the most prized possessions of the modern-day industrial and technological world. In fact, this post is about some of the ways our industrial society benefits from crystal electricity.

Of course, different crystals have different properties. Interestingly, the family of quartz possesses a rare property of converting mechanical pressure into electrical energy. Not only this, but these crystals also convert electrical energy into mechanical vibrations. This is the basic working concept of earphones and ultrasonic radiators. This entire mechanism is known as the ‘Piezoelectric effect’. #Fascintating!

If this is something that interests you, I invite you to continue reading to learn more fascinating facts about crystal electricity.

The Spark Behind the Sparkle 💎 Crystal Electricity

Pyroelectricity Crystals

When you heat the opposing faces of tourmaline or quartz, they develop electric charges. Accordingly, the term pyro-electricity applies to this technique. Interestingly, to determine the temperature change when electrical charges separate in crystalline material, scientists use a pyroelectric thermometer to measure the voltage.

Piezoelectric Effect

Interestingly, the piezoelectric effect derives from the Greek word, piezo which means “to press.” It happens when the quartz crystal is put under pressure which temporarily deforms the lattice structure, thus moving the positive ions on one side and negative ones to the other. Doing so creates a strong and different opposite charge.

How to Demonstrate Piezoelectricity 💎 Take two quartz crystals (right) with no termination and at least one flat, unpolished, side. Two nuggets of rose quartz are ideal. In a dark room, rub or bang the two flat sides of the crystals together. Friction causes the quartz to light up. Do not attempt this with prized crystals or those with flaws.

The Book of Crystal Healing by Liz Simpson

The piezoelectric property of quartz is very beneficial for industries. However, pure quartz in its natural form is rare. That’s why to generate the piezoelectric effect and to leverage its benefits, laboratories produce such crystals artificially. Piezoelectricity is a valuable property and since its discovery, it’s in use in many different beneficial ways.

Nanotechnology

Earlier, when scientists discussed crystals, their discussions focused on the crystal structure and its properties. But not anymore! With advancements in technology, these properties change by working and tweaking the lattice structure of crystals. In addition, the technology behind this is ‘nanotechnology’ and this is slowly becoming the most widespread technology in use.

The whole technology is about the accurate placement of every single atom to augment manufacturing. This was earlier considered impossible. Nanotechnology is relatively new with the conception taking place in 1959 when American physicist Richard Feynman envisioned rearranging objects atom by atom. However, this technology isn’t just about developing smaller objects but extending the accurate molecular structure control to the big objects.

For this purpose, there is a need for highly advanced computer-aided designs or CAD. With such tools, crystalline material and even diamonds, are susceptible to manipulation. Of course, diamond is the hardest substance we know, which is way lighter than steel or iron. In fact, scientists are working their way toward developing aircraft from diamond like material. The implications are an aircraft that is one-hundredth the weight of present aircraft but ten thousand times in strength.

Goals of Crystal Electricity & Nanotechnology

One of the key goals of nanotechnology is to transform the manufacturing sector by reducing costs. Thankfully, this technology has the essential capabilities to manipulate the atomic structures of crystals. By using computer-generated ‘selection lattices’, the operator easily edits either an individual atom or a group of atoms to change or enhance the overall structure of the crystal. Nanotechnology is going to be a game-changer in the era that we call the ‘Diamond Age’.

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