1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Crystallization

CRYSTALLIZATION, the art of obtaining a substance in the form of crystals; it is an important process in chemistry since it permits the purification of a substance, or the separation of the constituents of a mixture. Generally a substance is more soluble in a solvent at a high temperature than at a low, and consequently, if a boiling concentrated solution be allowed to cool, the substance will separate in virtue of the diminished solubility, and the slower the cooling the larger and more perfect will be the crystals formed. If, as sometimes appears, such a solution refuses to crystallize, the expedient of inoculating the solution with a minute crystal of the same substance, or with a similar substance, may be adopted; shaking the solution, or the addition of a drop of another solvent, may also occasion the desired result. “Fractional crystallization” consists in repeatedly crystallizing a salt so as to separate the substances of different solubilities. Examples are especially presented in the study of the rare-earths. Other conditions under which crystals are formed are given in the article Crystallography.