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The Chemistry Behind Colored Flames

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Lindsay Davis

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of The Chemistry Behind Colored Flames

The Chemistry Behind Colored Flames
Flame Tests
A
flame test
is an analytic procedure used in Chemistry to detect the presence of certain elements. The color of the flame, primarily emitted from metal ions and salts, is based on an element's
emission spectrum
.
Element vs. Flame:
Lithium Chloride
Lithium salts as well as lithium chloride emit a bright red flame. It's most common use is in road flares.
Element vs. Flame:
Calcium Chloride
Calcium salts emit an orange flame, and is commonly sold as a de-icing salt or as a drying agent.
Element vs. Flame:
Sodium Chloride
Sodium compounds like sodium chloride (table salt) or sodium carbonate (baking soda) emit a yellow flame.
Element vs. Flame:
Copper (II) Sulfate
Copper (II) Sulfate emits a turquoise/ green-blue flame.
Introduction
Colored fire is a common pyrotechnic effect used in theatre productions, fireworks, by fire performers and is generally used by chemists to test and indicate chemical elements. Generally, the color of a flame may be red, orange, blue, yellow, green, purple, or white based on which chemical is used and ignited. So, the flame will appear a different color dependent upon the chemical additives.
Flame tests are typically simple experiments that require introducing a sample element to a flame and observing visible results.
emission spectrum
:
spectrum of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation emitted due to an atom's electrons making a high-to-low energy state transition
Element vs. Flame:
Copper Chloride
Copper Chloride emits a vivid blue flame, as well as ethanol, methanol, and isopropyl alcohol,and natural gas.
Element vs. Flame:
P
o
t
a
s
s
i
u
m

c
h
l
o
r
i
d
e
A purple-pink hue is emitted when potassium compounds are burned.
by Lindsay Davis
AP Chem // 2nd hour

Applications
birthday candles
fireworks
fire performers
road and safety flares
sparklers
A Take on Fireworks
In making fireworks, the metal salts are put into stars, small clay or dough-like lumps or cubes 3 to 4 cm in diameter.
Stars consist of a blend of...
-oxidizing agent
-reducing agent
-coloring agent (metal salt)
-binders (keep stuff packed together)
When ignited, the stars produce light effects. The color appearance of a firework is determined by which chemicals are used in its stars, which are in compartments within the firework shell, where they lay ready for ignition by a time-delay fuse.
luminescence
: light provided from other sources; "cold light"
incandescence
: light from heat
-created by heat/ignition
-when an electron becomes "excited"/unstable, it returns to a lower energy level, and the energy releases as a photon
-energy of a photon emits a wavelength of color
*Fireworks solely depend on incandescence and luminescence.
References
http://chemistry.about.com/od/coloredfire/tp/colored-fire-rainbow.htm
http://chemistry.about.com/od/fireworkspyrotechnics/a/fireworkcolors.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colored_fire
http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/chemweek/fireworks/fireworks.htm
https://www.google.com/search?q=colored+flame&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=jB0MU7ENh7ytAdq8gMAO&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=886
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627154146.htm

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