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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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9780596514921-2T
Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


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