Colored flame

Flame is colored when salts are incorporated in it

Scientific name: Salts flame test


Flame Test Lab

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Wear eye protection and lab gloves.

Make sure there is nothing flammable nearby.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

Men+ -[T]→ Men+* → Men+ + hv

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Ignite a burner.
  2. To incorporate the salt into the burner flame, prepare a saturated ethanol solution of the salt and moisten a cotton swab or metal loop in this solution. You may use a deflagration spoon and dry salts.
  3. Incorporate the salt into the flame. Observe the color of the flame that results.

Scientific background

Metal ions have a characteristic emission spectrum. The atoms of metal evaporate under heating and since they are hot, light emission occurs. Thus the flame becomes a specific color. The characteristic colors of the flame for various ions are:

Lithium - red;

Sodium - yellow;

Potassium - violet;

Barium - yellow-green;

Calcium - brick red;

Strontium - red-orange;

Magnesium - orange-yellow;

Copper(II) - green;


Published on 28 April 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst