Life’s a Box of Chocolates
Water-soluble salts have deliquescent points (a relative humidity above which they begin to dissolve in the moisture that is adsorbed on their surfaces). These salt crystals were compacted and subsequently exposed to a controlled relative humidity above their deliquescent point. New structures re-crystallized at the particles interfaces.
In simpler terms:
As salt started to dissolve, new structures formed where the salt crystals touched.
Julie Anderson and Libby Kupp were research assistants and Gary Messing was faculty on this project for Materials Science and Engineering
at Penn State.
This image won first place in the scientific category in the MATERIALS VISUALIZATION COMPETITION (MVC).
MVC is a scientific visual and artistic competition sponsored by the Penn State Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Materials Research Institute.