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Calcite Cleavage Kit

  • Calcite Cleavage Kit
    Item #: RM-670
  • - +
  • Refill for Calcite Cleavage Kit
    Item #: RM-675
  • 12 pieces of Calcite
  • Out of Stock
Give your students the opportunity to cleave their own sample.

Description

Often used as the first step in the creation of beautiful gemstones, cleavage is the tendency of crystalline minerals to fracture along structural planes. These planes of comparative weakness are a result of the regular arrangement of atoms in the crystal, which create repeating surfaces that are apparent when the mineral is subjected to forces such as a sharp impact. Calcite, while not as exciting as a diamond, has the unique trait of having perfect cleavage planes in three directions, forming rhombehedrons. Each kit contains 12 pieces of calcite and six chisels. Each calcite sample is large enough to allow each student to cleave the mineral several times. Hammer and eye protection not included.

Lesson Ideas

Download the pdf of the instructions.

Often used as the first step in the creation of beautiful gemstones, cleavage is the tendency of crystalline minerals to fracture along structural planes. These planes of comparative weakness are a result of the regular arrangement of atoms in the crystal, which create repeating surfaces that are apparent when the mineral is subjected to forces such as a sharp impact. Calcite, while not as exciting as a diamond, has the unique trait of having perfect cleavage planes in 3 directions, forming rhombehedrons.

Cleaving your Calcite sample is actually quite simple.

But first a note on safety:

BE SURE TO USE EYE PROTECTION AT ALL TIMES. When the calcite shatters, small fragments can be thrown out in random directions. All participants in the experiment should wear eye protection at all times in order to prevent injury.

Once eye protection is in place, place the calcite sample on a solid surface. You might want to use one layer of towel to keep it from sliding around.

Place the tapered end of the chisel perpendicular to the surface of the calcite, and tap the flat end of the chisel sharply with a hammer.

The calcite will shatter into 2 or more pieces, all keeping the same general shape as the original sample. While the proportions may change, the overall shape will remain the same. There will usually be some small amount debris (dust/grit) as well.

If you repeat the process with one of the smaller pieces you have just created, the resulting pieces will again retain the same shape as the original sample.

Q & A



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