Mystical Crystals of Silica

  • Christina De La RochaEmail author
  • Daniel J. Conley


People split into two different camps—those who believe that crystals have special powers and those who roll their eyes. We (the authors) have long been eye rollers. We are scientists, after all. Acquaintances professing spiritual exuberance for quartz or steeping Himalayan rocks to make crystal energy tea send us into stammers of embarrassment. Crystals are solids surely as mystical as butter. So, alas, the joke was on us when we knuckled down and read up on the scientific behavior of crystalline silica. It’s not exactly as the New Agers and several other more traditional traditions have it, but give a quartz crystal a squeeze and it will give off electricity. Who knew? Physical chemists, physicists, mineral physicists, materials scientists, crystallographers, and engineers, for one (or six) and, hey, now we have a lot of modern technology. Let us explain.


Quartz Crystal Piezoelectric Effect Hexagonal Prism Piezoelectric Crystal Crystal Classis 
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Further Reading

  1. Duck F (2009) ‘The electrical expansion of quartz’ by Jacques and Pierre Curie. Ultrasound 17:197–203Google Scholar
  2. Langevin P (1941) Piezoelectric signaling apparatus. US Patent 2,248,870. Submitted 21 June 192, issued 8 July 8 1941Google Scholar
  3. Manbachi A, Cobbold RSC (2011) Development and application of piezoelectric materials for ultrasound generation and detection. Ultrasound 19:187–196Google Scholar
  4. Marrison W A (1948) The evolution of the quartz crystal clock. Bell Syst Tech J 27:510–588Google Scholar
  5. McWhan D (2012) Sand and Silicon. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeologyLund UniversityLundSweden

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