The purpose of this lab was to see what colors are characteristic of particular metallic ions in a flame test and use their characteristic color to identify other elements. Another purpose is to understand how fireworks work. This experiment will help one understand how a flame test is performed and that every metal has a unique bright line spectra. This means a bright line spectra can be used to identify any element. This information can be used to identify elements in space to tell whether a planet has oxygen on it or not. If one can tell if a planet has oxygen on it based on its bright line spectra, research could be done to tell if people can live on the planet or not. This would be a huge advance in science if it was possible to tell if people can live on other planets by knowing the elements on the other planets. This would solve the problem of the world becoming over-populated and would help prevent the spread of disease.
Introduction- The purpose of this lab was to see what colors are characteristic of particular metallic ions in a flame test and use their characteristic color to identify other elements. Another purpose is to understand how fireworks work.
A flame test is used to identify certain metals in a compound or single element.1 When an electron jumps up to a higher energy state the element is in its excited state. Elements are only in their excited for a brief moment. When the electron moves back down to a lower energy state, it emits light and produce a flame color.1 Sometimes there is more than one flame color because an electron might go from the 4s orbital then go to the 2p orbital which means two colors will be produced. Every element emits a different flame color or colors. These colors can be put on a bright line spectra which shows every color that the element produces in a flame test.1 Each element has a unique bright line spectra and thus can be identified by using its bright line spectra. When the element is in a compound, it can be burned to produce the flame. The color of the flame corresponds with each element.
When there is an unknown compound, the metal can be found by using previous data from previous tests. By looking at the color you can see if it matches any previous tests and possibly find the name of the metal. Flame tests can also be used to find the color of fireworks one wants to use. By using the metal that emits the color one wants in fireworks, one can get the desired color. This experiment will be conducted using the same spatula, the same Bunsen burner, the same kind of acid and nitrate bonded to every one of the metals.
It will also be conducted with everyone in the lab using safety goggles and everyone wearing closed toed shoes. There are no relevant waste concerns in this lab This experiment will show that every element has a different bright line spectra and this can be used to identify elements in space or anywhere. It will also show that flame tests can be used to make certain colored fireworks. I predict that all of the metals tested will emit different colors of light. I also predict that all of the metals will emit a color in the visible spectrum.
•Chemical Splash Goggles
•Barium Nitrate (Ba(NO3)2)
•Copper Nitrate (Cu(NO3)2)
•Strontium Nitrate (Sr(NO3)2)
•Lithium Nitrate (Li(NO3))
•Potassium Nitrate (K(NO3))
•Sodium Chloride (NaCl)
•Calcium Nitrate (Ca(NO3)2)
•Nichrome wire loop
•Wash Bottle with distilled water
•1 Unknown Solution
Experimental- The safety equipment was put on. The spatula was cleaned off to make sure there is no residue on it. The Bunsen burner was set up and the flame was adjusted to the desired height. One of the samples was put on the spatula and the formula of the salt solution was recorded into Table 1. The spatula with the salt solution was put over the flame. The color of the flame was recorded in table 1. The spatula was put in hydrochloric acid, then put into water, and then put over the flame to burn off any residue from the salt solution. This procedure was repeated for the other seven salt solutions and the one unknown solution. The equipment was cleaned off and put away at the end of the experiment
Table 2: Test of Unknown Solution
Results and Discussion- The data in table 1 shows that every metal tested emits a different color during a flame test. This happens because every metal has a different bright line spectra. Table 2 shows that you can identify a metal in a compound by using a flame test. The metal in the compound was identified by the light orange color seen during the flame test. Table 1 proves my hypothesis to be correct. Conclusion- The purpose of this lab was to see what colors are characteristic of particular metallic ions in a flame test and use their characteristic color to identify other elements. Another purpose was to understand how fireworks work. This experiment can help to identify elements in space to help scientists know whether a planet has oxygen or not. It can also help one determine what metal to use in fireworks to portray a certain color.
The experiment was conducted by burning a salt and recording the color of the flame. This experiment showed that every metal emits a different color and this proves the hypothesis to be correct, that every metal emits a different color when put into a flame. This experiment also shows that a metal can be identified by looking at the color of the flame and matching it to previous data results. This also proves my hypothesis to be correct. Table 1 and Table 2 prove both of my hypotheses to be correct.
More experiments can be done with machines to find the exact wavelengths of light for every element. If the exact wavelengths can be found, it would be easier to identify elements with a flame test. Possible sources of error in this experiment were that the nichrome wire may not have been fully cleaned off every time, the color might have looked different because of other light sources, and there could have been particles in the bottom of the Bunsen burner. Acknowledgments: The author of this paper thanks Union Springs High School for use of their facilities to conduct this experiment with.