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At the end of the experiment, the student should be able to:

1. identify the characteristic color emitted by some compounds on a Bunsen flame.
2. identify the particular metal present in the compound based on the color emitted.

1. Manipulating the equipment
2. Reporting findings
3. Synthesizing results into a concept
4. Applying new knowledge


Objects begin to emit visible radiation when sufficiently heated.When a metal atom is
strongly heated, its electrons absorb the heat energy and jump to a higher energy level. When
the electron returns to its original position, it gives off the energy it absorbed in the form of
light. Metal atoms emit distinct colours of light.


1 Bunsen burner
1 set LPG tank


7 vials, small laboratory gown

pair of gloves
7 nichrome wires with wooden handle
a box of matches


1 pc vial with 6 M hydrochloric acid

0.5 g of the following metal salts:

sodium chloride
calcium chloride
potassium iodide
copper sulfate
zinc chloride
boric acid


Figure 1. Flame Test


1. Prepare substances to be tested.

2. Let the students guess the possible colors of the flame that will be produced when these
substances are heated. Let them also guess the element which emits that distinctive color.
3. Distribute the equipment, materials and the students worksheets.
4. Let them verify their guesses by performing the experiment with your assistance.
5. Instruct students to record observations and tabulate results.


Metal atoms emit distinct colors of visible radiation in the form of light when sufficiently


The metal salts used in fireworks display are the same used in the flame test. When the
metal salt is heated, the electrons get excited making them jump to a higher energy level.
After some time, as they get less excited, they drop back down to a lower energy level. The
energy lost is manifested as the visible spectrum in the form of light, we see as the color.
Teachers ManualFlame Test (2 of 3)

Expected Results

Table 1 . Data and Results

Test Samples Metals Color of Flame

Sodium chloride sodium Intense yellow

Calcium chloride calcium Orange to red

Potassium iodide potassium Lilac to red

Copper sulfate copper Blue green

Zinc chloride zinc Bluish green to whitish


Boric acid boron Bright green

Water - None

Answers to Questions:
1. The colors of the flame produced are not the same because different elements will

emit different colors of visible radiation in the form of light.

2. The particles in the heated compounds responsible for the production of colored light
are the electrons.
3. The flame test is an easy experimental technique used to help identify a metal or ionic salt
based on its emission spectrum when it is heated in a gas flame.
4. The limitations of the flame test and it is not accurate for the following reasons:
a) The test cannot detect low concentrations of most ions.
b) The intensity of brightness varies from one sample to another.
c) Impurities or contaminants affect the test results.
d) The test cannot differentiate between all elements since several metals produce
the same flame color while some compounds do not change the color of the flame
at all.

Teachers ManualFlame Test (3 of 3)