Classroom experiments with artificial sweeteners: Growing single crystals and simple calorimetry

Johan Wouters, Luc Van Meervelt, S. Parkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


An easily accessible experimental set-up to grow large single crystals of two sweeteners readily available in supermarkets, erythritol and xylitol, is described. The crystallization of these compounds illustrates the principles of crystallization by evaporation. As these artificial sweeteners are also known to induce a cool sensation in the mouth, the crystal-growing experiment is complemented with a simple calorimetric set-up to demonstrate the endothermic nature of the dissolution of the selected sweeteners in a more quantitative approach by measuring the heat of dissolution (ΔH diss). The choice of these two sweeteners also allows use of the freely available WebCSD and Mercury tools to visualize their three-dimensional structure, crystal packing and powder diffractograms, and to deepen stereochemical concepts such as stereoisomers and meso compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)874-879
Number of pages6
JournalActa Crystallographica Section E: Crystallographic Communications
Issue numberPt 9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wouters and Van Meervelt.


  • Mercury
  • WebCSD
  • calorimetry
  • crystal growth
  • erythritol
  • xylitol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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