Why is color emitted during the flame test?

Asked By: Chakira Abbey | Last Updated: 15th May, 2020
Category: science chemistry
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The colors observed during the flame test result from the excitement of the electrons caused by the increased temperature. The electrons "jump" from their ground state to a higher energy level. The color emitted by larger atoms is lower in energy than the light emitted by smaller atoms.

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Just so, why is light emitted during a flame test?

Flame tests can be used to detect the presence of some metallic elements in salts. When these excited electrons fall back to their lower energy levels, they emit energy in the form of light of a characteristic wavelength which is the colour of the flame we observe.

Also, why do some elements produce colorful flames? When electrons drop to lower, more stable energy levels, they emit energy. When the energy emitted is equal to that of visible light the emission produces a color unique to that element. Depending on the color of flame produced an unknown element can be identified.

Furthermore, why do the chemicals have to be heated in the flame before the colored light is emitted?

A: The chemicals have to be heated in the flame first before the colored light is emitted because the electrons get excited when they were heated by an electric field and that is when they jump to a higher energy shell and emit light.

How can you identify an unknown element using a flame test?

Chemists use this same principle to determine the identity of unknown metals using a flame test. During a flame test, chemists take an unknown metal and put it under a flame. The flame will turn different colors based on which metal is in the substance. The scientists can then identify their unknown substance.

29 Related Question Answers Found

What colors do different elements burn?

Because each element has an exactly defined line emission spectrum, scientists are able to identify them by the color of flame they produce. For example, copper produces a blue flame, lithium and strontium a red flame, calcium an orange flame, sodium a yellow flame, and barium a green flame.

How do you make fire turn different colors?

Identify the proper chemicals based on the color they produce.
  1. To create blue flames, use copper chloride or calcium chloride.
  2. To create turquoise flames, use copper sulfate.
  3. To create red flames, use strontium chloride.
  4. To create pink flames, use lithium chloride.
  5. To create light green flames, use borax.

Why are there different colors emitted in flame test?

The colors observed during the flame test result from the excitement of the electrons caused by the increased temperature. The electrons "jump" from their ground state to a higher energy level. The color emitted by larger atoms is lower in energy than the light emitted by smaller atoms.

Why is cation responsible for color?

While usually cations dictate the colour, anions are also known to create colourful flames. The reason usually cations produce colour is that the wavelength of the emitted photon happens to be in the visible spectrum - the above process occurs for all types of atoms; it's just that we can't see a lot of them.

What does a green flame mean?


The most common cause of a green flame is the presence of chemicals containing copper inside the fire. When copper is heated up (for example, by being in a hot fire) it can absorb energy in a process called “atomic excitation.” The electrons in the copper atoms move to new positions.

What color does nitrogen burn?

Dicyanoacetylene, a compound of carbon and nitrogen with chemical formula C4N2 burns in oxygen with a bright blue-white flame at a temperature of 5,260 K (4,990 °C; 9,010 °F), and at up to 6,000 K (5,730 °C; 10,340 °F) in ozone.

What are the limitations of flame test?

Limitations of the Flame Test
The test cannot detect low concentrations of most ions. The brightness of the signal varies from one sample to another. For example, the yellow emission from sodium is much brighter than the red emission from the same amount of lithium. Impurities or contaminants affect the test results.

Why do different elements produce different colors of light when heated?

Heating an atom excites its electrons and they jump to higher energy levels. When the electrons return to lower energy levels, they emit energy in the form of light. Every element has a different number of electrons and a different set of energy levels. Thus, each element emits its own set of colours.

Why do different chemicals emit different colors of light quizlet?

Each electron in an atom has a specific amount of energy. Because no two elements have the same set of energy levels, different elements emit different colors of light. Energy is released when electrons move from higher energy levels to lower ones (visible light).

Would flame tests be useful in determining identities of metals?


Could flame tests be useful in determining identities of metals in a mixture of two or more salts? -Yes, because you would be able to see a light of which you could narrow down to a few metals but some problems that might arise is determining the exact shade of color it is to identify the metal.

What do the different colors in a line spectrum represent?

Because each element has a different set of emission colors from the emission spectrum. What do the individual lines in a bright line emission spectrum represent? They represent the wavelengths of light that is absorbed by the spectrum They represent the energy that the atom gives off when their electrons are in place.

What chemicals are used in fireworks?

Metal salts commonly used in firework displays include: strontium carbonate (red fireworks), calcium chloride (orange fireworks), sodium nitrate (yellow fireworks), barium chloride (green fireworks) and copper chloride (blue fireworks).

Do you think we can use the flame test to determine the identity of unknowns in a mixture?

Do you think we can use the flame test to determine the identity of unknown in a mixture? This is because if there are to many different compounds, or elements, all of the colors of light mixed together would bring the flame closer to just emitting white light.

Why do certain elements produce color when heated in a flame quizlet?


Why do certain elements produce color when heated in a flame? Electrons absorb energy from the flame and become excited. Upon returning to ground state, they emit light. Electrons can jump from a lower energy level to a higher energy level, emitting a photon.

Why do we need to heat the samples to see the spectrums?

Electrons can also be excited by electrical excitation, where the original electron absorbs the energy of another, energetic electron. The simplest method is to heat the sample to a high temperature. The thermal energy produces collisions between the sample atoms causing the atom's electrons to be excited.

What produces the atomic spectrum of an element?

When the electrons in the atom are excited, for example by being heated, the additional energy pushes the electrons to higher energy orbitals. When the electrons fall back down and leave the excited state, energy is re-emitted in the form of a photon. These emitted photons form the element's spectrum.