Crystals Creating Electricity
Name: Nisarg and Patrick
Can crystals create energy in the form of
Hi Nisarg and Patrick
Well, sort of. You may be thinking of something called
triboluminescence. It is a huge word that means rubbing causes light.
You can see it yourself if you get some Wintergreen Life Savers.
Darken the room and when your eyes become accustomed to the dark,
look at yourself in a mirror when you chomp on a Life Saver (you will
have to do it so you can see the Life Saver!). You will see some blue
flashes of light when the candy breaks. This comes from the sugar
molecules breaking apart and creating electricity! You can see it
very well in Wintergreen Life Savers because there is a material in
the candy that will fluoresce, that is, it make some of the light
that is invisible to you become visible.
Certain crystals can generate a voltage when they are put under a
stress...this is called piezoelectricity. BUT crystals do not put out energy
on their own. They have to absorb energy in some form and will put out less
energy than they absorb.
Yes they can! Well, some of them anyhow.
The property is referred to as "Piezo-electric". One of the more common
such materials is quartz. Under pressure, a small electrical charge can be
generated. On the other hand, if a small charge is placed across a thin
enough piece of quartz, it will bend or distort slightly. Where this comes
in VERY useful is in timing circuits. A small piece of quartz is very
precisely tuned to a very specific frequency. This means that they can
tune a radio, or keep time with incredible precision, by regulating how fast
For example, take a piece of quartz tuned to vibrate 10,000 times per
second. If you use a simple counter, and only advance once per 10,000
cycles, you can move the second hand on a watch with a tiny magnet. In
another 10,000 cycles, you can do it again!
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Update: June 2012