HOW TO – make piezo crystals at home

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Rochellesalt

Piezoelectric crystals are fascinating – when physical stress is applied, these materials produce a voltage. The effect can be reversed as well, apply electricity, produce a stress/vibration. Rochelle salt(potassium sodium tartrate) is an easily synthesized piezoelectric substance you can make with readily available items –

  • 500 g (1 lb) of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)[NaHCO3]

  • 200 g (7 oz) of cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate)[KHC4H4O6] [see note below]
  • Oven
  • Pyrex container
  • Jar with lid
  • 500 mL (2 cup) glass beaker or Pyrex measuring cup
  • Sauce pan with water
  • 2 mL (1/2 tsp) measuring spoon
  • Spoon for stirring
  • Coffee Filter
  • Filter paper or paper towelling

This could be a great way to get started making your own custom guitar pickups, contact mics, etc. Either way, tapping on a crystal you’ve grown and watching it produce 26 volts is pretty darn cool!

Making the Rochelle Salt

Rochelle salt synthesis

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