2020 Small World in Motion Competition

Crystallization of a callus removal solution

Wojtek Plonka

Krakow, Malopolskie, Poland
Polarized Light
6.3X (Objective Lens Magnification)

The 5th place movie shows crystals from an over-the-counter callus remover growing as moisture is removed from the sample. Although Mr. Plonka’s main work involves computer simulations in chemistry (primarily for the purpose of drug design), he enjoys capturing stunning images of crystallization through the microscope as a sideline. Callus remover, which is a combination of lactic acid and salicylic acid, is a particularly popular sample due to its ability to crystalize into beautiful structures. It does require practice and talent to capture crystallization at this quality. From an equipment perspective, however, callus removal solution crystals can be observed with a standard high school science laboratory microscope.