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Flame Tests

Hazards

Barium salts are highly toxic.

Chemicals and Solutions

Flame test cation solutions (methanolic)

Materials

  • Matches
  • Dishes with covers

Procedure

Place the cation solutions into dishes and ignite them with a match. To put them out, simply cover the dish.

  • Barium gives a green flame
  • Strontium gives a red flame
  • Lithium gives a red flame
  • Calcium gives a red orange flame
  • Sodium gives an orange flame
  • Potassium give a violet flame

Discussion

The metal ions are raised to an excited state by the high temperature of the flame and then return to the ground state emitting light of characteristic frequencies.

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