Everyone remembers the first time they saw a bismuth crystal and it blew their tiny human mind. What, just me? Regardless, no one can deny that this bizarre, rainbow-hued mineral is seriously cool, and now NightHawkInLight on YouTube has got the recipe you need to make your very own bismuth crystals on your stove at home.
First you're gonna need some solid bismuth ingots, which you buy online really cheaply. Then you'll need safety goggles and leather gloves, because while bismuth has a much lower melting point than many other types of metals - 271.5 °C (520.7 °F) - you don't exactly want to expose your naked flesh and eyeballs to that kind of heat.
You need to place your bismuth ingots in a small, stainless steel saucepan, and pop it on the stovetop. "I suggest using a pan you're not attached to, because it will likely never be clean again," says the video above. Solid advice from NightHawk.
Once the ingots have melted completely, you need to turn the heat off and wait a while for the metal to cool. This part is amazing, because during the cooling process, all the oxides and contaminants in the bismuth will rise to the top so you can scrape them off. Even if you're never going to follow this recipe, you should see this in the video above, it looks incredible to see the pure bismuth floating beneath a thin, silvery skin.
Once the bismuth has cooled down enough, crystals will start forming on the surface, and grow down into the molten metal pool below. If you peel back the top layer, you'll have yourself some brand new bismuth crystals.
"At first, the crystals appear only silver, but a layer of oxidation quickly adds colour, the shade of which is determined by what temperature the crystals are when they first contact the air," says NightHawk.
The video also shows you how to make bismuth crystal geodes, but this is more of an 'advanced' activity, so you probably don't want to try this one at home. But you can marvel at it from the comfort of your couch, so that's something.
As the folks over at Digg say, "No one really needs a whole bunch of bismuth. So why would you make a bunch of it? Because it looks cool. Obviously."