Chemical winter forest

These chemical trees grow right before your eyes!

Bet a tree can grow in min­utes? Sure it can – this tree is chem­i­cal!

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Warn­ing! Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion.


  • glass con­tain­er with sodi­um sil­i­cate so­lu­tion;
  • nick­el(II) sul­fate.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Drop some nick­el(II) sul­fate crys­tals into a glass con­tain­er with a so­lu­tion of sodi­um sil­i­cate. In 20 min­utes, ver­ti­cal green sticks re­sem­bling trees form.

Process de­scrip­tion

Once the nick­el(II) sul­fate crys­tals en­ter the so­lu­tion, they are im­me­di­ate­ly cov­ered with a brit­tle green film of nick­el(II) sil­i­cate:

NiSO₄ + Na₂­SiO₃ → Ni­SiO₃ ↓ + Na₂­SO₄

There are many cracks in this film, and they al­low the re­ac­tion to con­tin­ue and build upon it­self. In 20 min­utes, enough nick­el(II) sil­i­cate forms to make large green sticks.

A sim­i­lar ex­per­i­ment is in­clud­ed in the "Ar­ti­fi­cial Sea" set from the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!