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Flame Test Lab

By: Jillian Solomon and Vivian Yip

Authors Name/s Goes Here, Authors Name/s Goes Here, Authors Name/s Goes Here

When metallic elements are dissolved in a solution and put
over a Bunsen burner each different metallic element emits
a different color of light and changes the color of the flame.
Whether it is light blue or dark blue, green or yellow, each
metal creates a different color of light even though they
may seem similar. Now one may ask himself or herself why
is that light emitted and why does the color of the flame
change. In this lab the goal was to answer that question and
find out why the color of the flame was changed for each
element. By testing many different elements dissolved in
solutions and using my previous knowledge about metallic
ions I came to a conclusion about why the color changes
with each element. The color of the flame changes due to
electrons in the element to change energy levels which
results in the release of visible light of many shades. The
electrons start at the ground state, or the lowest energy
level possible, and when they are heated to high
temperatures energy is absorbed by the electrons and they
move to a higher energy level. When the electrons return to
normal levels some energy is emitted as visible light and
the color is the visible light emitted. The color emitted is
specific to each element and can be used to determine
which elements are in a solution. Such as, copper emitting
green light and lithium emitting red light. This information
can help identify elements in certain solutions and will
likely impact what elements are used in certain creations,
like fireworks.

In this lab we are trying to answer the question
as to why light is emitted when metallic
elements are heated and why is the color of the
flame changed when that happens. By using
many metallic elements dissolved into solutions
and heating them over a Bunsen burner one is
able to observe changes in color to the flame
and how each element is different when heated.
Essentially we are determining what colors are
emitted by each and element and why that




For this experiment many stations were set up to

test from and obtain information from. At each
station there was a Bunsen burner, a solution with
a metal dissolved in it, and wooden sticks dipped
into the solution. Also, each station was either
labeled as a certain compound or an unknown
compound. Once at the station we took one of the
wooden sticks that had absorbed the solution and
held it into the already lit Bunsen burner. Based on
the color we saw we recorded what color was
created and observed. Once indicated and
recorded we moved on to the next station and
repeated the same process.

This is typically how a

station would be set up.
Each station had a lit
Bunsen burner, wooden
sticks dipped in the
solution, and a label
indicating the element.

From the experiment we found out that the

flames changed colors due to the elements
electrons being in an excited state. The color or
visible light was emitted in the flame because of
the electrons absorbing energy in its excited
state and then relaxing back to its ground state.
When the electrons relax that is when the
energy is released in the form of visible light.
We were able to figure out what color each
metal ion created in a the flame. We saw from
the experiment that Lithium Chloride was the
strongest element because it showed up as a
bright red when it was vaporized in the flame.
We also found that Potassium Chloride was the
weakest element because it was hard to see
what color it was in the flame.

These are the results of

each element and the
colors that they created.
As seen here, once at a
station the stick that was
in the solution would be
placed in the flame
causing this type of


are other observations that would be seen when as someone

travelled to each station. Each element creates a different color.

This diagram shows how the electrons became excited and then
relaxed and emitted light when energy was absorbed by them.

The data in the experiment showed that

each metal ion created a different color
from each other when their electrons
released energy moving from the excited
state back to its ground state. From this
experiment we learned that when
electrons are heated they absorb that
energy and that is how they move from
their ground state to their excited state.
We learned from this experiment that
elements are able to emit light into
flames and create things such as
fireworks and fireplace logs. This allows
people to have colored flames for
commercial uses such as art and