The Electrochemical Glass was created in 1997. It was an experimental work consisting of three metal discs, copper, iron and aluminium, cotton wool and conductive fluid sandwiched between glass sheets.

I expected a reaction between the differing metals, and the formation of bright blue and green colours from the metal salts. However I was not prepared for the root like formations emerging from the iron!

I later discovered that alchemists, including Isaac Newton had also explored techniques for producing what they termed Vegetative Metals, organic forms resulting from alchemical processes, with names such as Tree of Diana (silver) and Tree of Mars (iron).

To this day I have not yet reproduced this surprising example of emergence, only suggestions of the effect with the assistance of external electrical stimuli as can be seen in the images below.


A solar panel provided the electricity causing copper dendrites to grow over a few days, unlike ‘The Electrochemical Glass’, where the dendritic formations took five years to begin to emerge, followed by one long dendritic root emerging over a period of five months (July – December 2003).

My theory is that the metals and fluid in ‘The Electrochemical Glass’ act as a very weak battery and the iron took a long time to dissolve and provide sufficient metal ions necessary for the formation of the iron dendrites.

In contrast, the alchemical experiments Tree of Mars/Diana used exceedingly strong acids to dissolve the metals such as “Spirit of Nitre”, “Aqueous Forte” aka Nitric acid.

The electrochemical formation of copper dendrites powered by a solar panel (24/8/2020) was further assisted by copper ions being readily available in the copper sulphate electrolyte, a solution obtained by dissolving copper in sulphuric acid.

Given the above observations it should be possible to replicate the Electrochemical Glass where the iron dendrites emerge over a much shorter time period than five years!