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Flame Colors of Metals

Sandra Perante
Rica Mae Reyes
Aradhell Romasanta
Joshua Salud

De La Salle University- Dasmarias


Dasmarias, Cavite Philippines

ABSTRACT
The experiment about flame colors of metals demonstrates how electrons jump into their psyched state from
their ground state as it comes in contact with heat. Nichrome wire was dipped into anHCL concentrate and
was heated to clean it. The wire was dipped into different salt solutions and ignited in order to determine the
metallic ions color and wavelength. Metal ions emitting a violet-colored flame has the largest amount of
energy while those that emit red-colored flame have the least amount of energy when calculated.

INTRODUCTION

An atom is the smallest particle of an element, which can exist and still have the properties of the element.
Electrons determine the chemical properties of atoms. The electrons in an atom exist in layers called shells
or energy levels. The negatively charged particles of an electron are kept in orbit in the energy levels.
Normally, atoms do not emit radiation but there are ways of causing radiation to be emitted. The simplest of
these is to heat the atoms. When an atom is heated, it absorbs energy causing its electrons to get excited to
positions of higher potential energy farther away from the nucleus. At this state, the atom becomes unstable.
When an electron goes back to its ground state, it radiates the absorbed energy in the form of light, which
has a characteristic wavelength. This is the basis of the flame test used to identify the element. The quantity
of energy absorbed will account for the presence of a spectral line. The emission spectrum may be used to
detect the presence of an element in both qualitative and quantitative way. Elements may often be
recognized by the color they impart to a flame

MATERIALS AND METHODS

In determining the colors salt solutions produced, Nichrome wire was dipped in an HCl concentrate first then
heated using an alcohol lamp.This was repeated several times before and after dipping into different samples.
CaCl2, KCl, NaCl, CuCl2, and LiCl were the given salt samples. A small quantity of each were dissolved with
water on separate watch glasses and observed the flame colors each of them produced when wire was
dipped and ignited in the hottest part of the alcohol lamp blue flame.

After carrying out the procedure and observing each outcome, recorded datas were calculated in search for
their energy, wavelength, and frequency of light.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

In this experiment, CaCl2, KCl, NaCl, CuCl2, and LiCl were used to show that different salt solutions
showcases different flame colors and each also vary with the energy posses. Table 1 below shows the
results of the different salt solutions, the colors each produced as they were introduced to fire and their
corresponding wavelength, frequency of light and energy.

Table 1. Salt Solutions with corresponding datas and values

Salt Solutions Flame Color (nm) v(Hz) E(J)

CaCl Orange 600 5 x10 3.32 x10

CuCl Green 525 5.71 x10 3.71 x10

NaCl Yellow 570 5.26 x10 3.49 x10

LiCl Red 710 4.23 x10 3.50 x10

KCl Violet 415 7.23 x10 4.79 x10


Basing the calculated datas as reference, it appears that different metals combined with Chlorine when
heated, emits varying colors. The colors each exhibits also help determine their amount of energy. Arranged
in decreasing manner, the graph will provide us a visual of which salt solution posses the largest amount of
energy in relation with their colors and wavelength.

Graph 1. Salts and their Corresponding Wavelengths


800

600

400

200

0
KCl CuCl2 NaCl CaCl2 LiCl
This experiment provided us knowledge on different colors produced by different metals. It gave us an idea
on the different values of energy each posses. Basing our calculated values and interpreted datas as
reference, I conclude that each metal posses different flame colors, and each color has wavelength ranges
thus gives us different definite values of energy when calculated. I can interpret and sum this experiment to
being a successful activity all was done in ease and objectives were aimed.

Reference:

Atom. (2014, June 12). Retrieved December 6, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom

Samonte, J., & Figueroa, L. (2014). GENERAL CHEMISTRY Laboratory Manual (4th ed., p. 119). Quezon
City: C&E Pub.