First off, I don't have a chemistry background so please forgive me for any mistakes and feel free to move this if it is in the wrong section. I have an architecture background and a question related to it.
I'm doing a research on building with salt in desert environments. I'd like to know if it's possible to melt/sinter salt together and what happens if you try it. Can you melt the crystals together to form one big crystal? Would you theoretically be able to pour in a mold to get any shape you want? Will it be brittle or strong?
One idea i'm playing with is to use a large lens or parabolic mirror to focus the sun's energy on the salt. With this I believe you could even 3D-print the salt. But somehow I can't find anything on the internet related to sintering/melting salt. Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance!
I was playing with the idea for a few hours. WHen you say "crystals" first thing that comes to mind is a recrystallization. Salt is soluble in water, this means it breaks up in water. It doesn't break up in other solvents(water is also a solvent). I was able to make a layer of salt crystals. It was thin. The trick is, to find a solvent that doesn't dissolve salt at room temperature but it does dissolve the salt at it's boiling temperature. What happens you put the salt in to the solvent(will remain solid) you boil it, and then it dissolves the salt turning the solvent clear. You let it cold down once it's dissolved. This will cause the ions Na+ and Cl- to find each other, and they will bond together in to a a crystal structure.
I didn't read the original post too well, I just saw "desert" and "salt." I thought you wanted to make like a licking block(like what horses have) for people in the desert, didn't know you wanted to build structures.
I saw this video how to make sugar cubes, i am doing it right now with salt. It should result in the same thing, tiny bit of water, and salt, just lightly moisten the salt, and clump it together, shape it and put it in the oven(this gets rid of the water). Any shape you want, how strong/brittle? I don't know yet.
You mentioned putting a coat on the blocks, I just don't understand... If you're willing to put a coat on the blocks(which changes the integrity of the block), why is it so important to use NaCl? Why not just use differentr compound?