Ammonium Nitrate
NH4NO3

Ammonium nitrate is probably the most extensively used chemical in alchemy. It's use dates back as far as the times of ancient Egypt, which is were it was named after the god Amon.

When evaporating the water from an ammonium nitrate solution, a curious thing can happen which gives the illusion the material is 'growing' out of the container. If the water is evaporated at very low temperature in a wide container, then long needle shaped crystals will form. But if the water is evaporate in a narrow container, like a beaker, then instead of long crystals, a sort of growth happens which seems impossible because it goes right out the top and over the sides. 




 

Here can be seen the beaker with a coffee filter that was left on to keep out dust. The ammonium nitrate grew right through the filter and down the sides of the beaker.

 


Here at the bottom of the beaker are more typical crystals. But for some reason, at the top of the beaker the ammonium nitrate clings to the walls and 'grows' upwards as the water evaporates. It's a mystery how it ascends upwards out of the water when it shouldn't be able to vaporize at room temperature.




These two close ups show how instead of crystals, it seems to have grown much the way coral does.






Here is the outside lip of the beaker after removing the coffee filter paper.





This shows the inside of the beaker. Only a small hole remains in the center.









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"Because the very elixir that pours a more glorious life into the frame, so sharpens the senses that those larvae of the air become to thee audible and apparent"
Edward Bulwer (Lord Lytton) a high grade initiate of the Hermetic Lodge at Alexandria
"...and I behold the glory of our future life with my eyes and rejoice over it."
The Cosmopolite, Alexander Setonious Scotus

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