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I recently got a decent stereo microscope. Besides using the scope to teach my children, I have been thinking of picking up something new to learn myself. I have been interested about chemistry for a long time but never studied it after upper secondary school. I was thinking would there be some experiments that would allow me to learn more microscopy and chemistry at the same time? I have ~10 years of experience in machine vision, signal processing, neuroscience, programming etc., so research-grade problems are welcome too.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to chemistry.SE! Please take some of your time to visit the help center or take a tour of the site. $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Jan 9 '15 at 19:26
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For starters, it might be fun to grow different kinds of crystals in shallow dishes and watch them grow in real time under a microscope. Either a low melting solid, melted and resolidified, or growing from a saturated solution. Also, looking at how a metal surface is etched by acid using a microscope would be fascinating.

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  • $\begingroup$ Could you elaborate on the home-experiment part (see tags in the question)? Anyway, nice answer. $\endgroup$ – mmh Feb 28 '15 at 20:34
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    $\begingroup$ For crystals, sodium acetate is a good one to grow quickly by cooling a saturated solution. You can make it from vinegar and baking soda. Alum (aluminum potassium sulfate) and potassium sodium tartrate produce spectacular crystals with striking geometric shapes. Sodium chloride produces cubic crystals that often have indented faces. $\endgroup$ – iad22agp Mar 1 '15 at 0:18
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    $\begingroup$ Common metals that can be etched might include copper (that requires nitric acid - might be hard to get), iron, aluminum, and magnesium. You can get hydrochloric "muriatic" acid at Home Depot and sulfuric acid at an auto parts store ( battery acid). You might get better results etching the metal first, then rinsing it off and looking at it under the microscope. $\endgroup$ – iad22agp Mar 1 '15 at 0:27

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