Flame Test 05

Flame Test 05


this demonstration here’s a little bit
more exciting version of the flame test lab or demo that’s normally done. What I’m doing here, I’m pouring methyl alcohol across several different well plates
containing different metal salts, in what my students call a bartending look here,
but what I’ve done is I’ve pour the alcohol across all the salts. And when I light just one all the others catch on fire there real quick.
You can see there as they’ve caught on fire that we have several different colored of flames. Including down at the end just the blue
flame of the alcohol burning. Next, is the barium salt burning there. The next one
there a little hard to see is a green color that is boron. The next one is
strontium. The next one in line looks like it is the calcium to me the
orange flame there. Next one, fairly faint, lots of impurities in that one, but that is
lithium the pink color that you see. The next one is a yellow flame that is
sodium; followed by copper which is burning green and potassium which is
burning purple or lilac. And so, a beautiful demonstration,
of course, [and] although an awesome demonstration a lot of different
applications for these: including signal flares, including fireworks, as I’ve
mentioned previously this demonstration, or this process, has been used to
identify a lot of previously unknown elements. While previously unknown
elements were identified first by flame tests or spectral analysis of those
elements. There’s also some/many entertainment
versions of this including just tossing metal salts into a campfire, or buying fireplace
crystals for your home fireplace to see these beautiful colors also home. Also, Hollywood used to use these for
colored flames; although nowadays they tend to use special effects and computer generation,
rather than actual metal salts to produce these beautiful colors.

44 thoughts on “Flame Test 05

  1. Here I use ethanol because it is safer than most alrenatives although this does not mean that it is safe to do, only that it is safer. Please do not attempt to recreate, unless you are a trained professional.
    Also please see my other flame test videos (#7's the best).

  2. Nice colors! I got pretty good results from boric acid and "S-L-X denatured alcohol", which is a near 50/50 mixture of ethanol and methanol. My (warped) logic says methanol might work better because it burns cooler for less "wash out", but it seems you got excellent results from ethanol. Plus I don't know if the toxicity of Methanol is an issue or not.

  3. I think you mixed up the Barium color. Barium gives a greenish color very similar to copper. It's fairly difficult to tell the difference between the barium red to yellow spectral lines and Strontium. But Barium also produces a strong blue spectral line so the overall color seems to be something greenish towards yellow.

  4. No I'm sure that the chemical I used is barium. Barium is usually described as a muted yellow-green or dirty-yellow color. It is possible (because of hte number of times that I repeated this demo) that there are impuritiesaffecting its color. Personally, I have always thought that copper is more vibrant than barium and boron more vibrant than either.

  5. The reason I avoid methanol isn't so much the toxicity, but the temperature it burns at is slightly higher than that of ethanol. Although the ethanol I use is denatured (95-99% "pure").
    Something that I am going to test this year is a 50/50 ethanol/water mixture that I use in some other demonstrations. The water would help dissolve the salts and might make them show up more clearly, as well as, help make the flame a bit safer.

  6. That's interesting. It seems that I got my facts mixed up! I for some reason thought that ethanol was the hotter fuel. I remember in a Skylighter article on color alcohol flames they used methanol. Perhaps when they are viewed at a distance, colors may appear a little better – as in the firework applications reviewed in the Skylighter newsletter.

  7. I suppose you could try to make the flame last longer by using wood or something, but it is also probably going to contaminate the color.
    I've never had any problems using ethanol and CuSO4 of SrCl2. You may want to try to play around with your ratios of each (fuel & salt). Also I've never tried to use anhydrous copper sulfate which might have an effect. Lastly I've found it takes very little alcohol to get results and is very easy to over do.

  8. Yes but ethanol or even rubbing alcohol is safer than methanol. Also you have to be careful with boric acid because it is toxic (in addition to being an acid).

  9. It is actually a borate salt. I get mine from boric acid powder H3(BO3). I don't know where to get it commercially, although I have heard some insecticides (this would of course be very toxic).

  10. A Bunsen burner is not required, I jsut used a long lighter. A Bunsen burner of course requires a gas source to work also.
    Matches would work, but I would buy long grill/fireplace ones.

  11. @floodser135 Any chemistry lab book will have this as a lab or demo.
    It works because the atoms gain energy from the heat of the fire and this excites the electrons which then give that energy off as light when they release it.
    The chemicals are all mentioned by name in flame test 07 (another video of mine). They are all chlorides of the elements I mention, except for the copper (it is the sulfate) and boric acid.

  12. @SallyLuvsYuh Most rubbing alcohol from the store is 70% and the rest is water and so it makes it harder to ignite. It is possible to find 90 or 99% and that might work. Also, personally, I've always found that I get a sore throat when I've burned rubbing alcohol versus other alcohols- I don't know that there is actual evidence to support this safety concern though.

  13. @Nguli34689 Thanks for the suggestion of PARLON- I've heard of it but I have not been clear on why it is used and your explanation makes sense.
    As for the quality of the video this is one of my first videos and I have a better camera and I have picked up filming experience since then. I've not taken down my old videos for sentimental reasons and because some people have them favorited. Having said that check out my "Flame Test 07" video which is better quality and more popular here on YouTube.

  14. @Yashanna42 I agree, I filmed this one straight from a lecture. I like 07 better for just the demo- at the time I wasn't sure which type of video to post and how online audiences would receive either.
    As a side note, if you'd like to preform this one live I can give you directions for setup if you would like, but I always love to hear that one of my videos is being put to educational, not just entertainment, use.

  15. @s0ul101 I mention all of the elements in the video, they come from chloride compounds with those metals except for copper which is the sulfate.

  16. @Butterfly122695 The time it burns is based on the amount of alcohol which burns at a pretty regular rate, so if I was meticulous and measured out a certain amount of it I could get it to burn for set times.
    I'm not sure what about this demo your teacher thinks is too dangerous. I assure you I take all necessary safety precautions. If you'd like send me a message and I can get you my e-mail address to get to her so I can share the procedure I use and maybe she'll reconsider.

  17. For the green flame I use boric acid for one and copper (ii) sulfate for the other. I get mine from a chemical supply company.

  18. Yes, one of the green ones is copper (ii) sulfate and the other is boric acid. They are made flammable with an alcohol.

  19. First, methanol is an alcohol and I am using an alcohol here. I go for low toxicity and low burning temperature for safety here . Other flammables may work, but the flame color of the fuel can interfere with the results of the flame test itself. I'd experiment with burning the fuel first and then using the fuel with salts.

  20. Im doing a similar experiment for my project and i'm using copper, lithium, barium, and strontium chloride using sterno as the oxidizing agent to create a flare like tool.
    The main problem i've been facing is creating the balanced formula. My teacher never went over specifically so I'm really stumped.
    Can you tell me, or can you at least point me in the right direction, or even teach me how to make the equations?

  21. There is not a significant chemical change going on. For the most part the heat is providing heat energy which excites the electrons in the metal atoms and then those metals are losing that energy in the form of light.
    If you are using a hydrate it will become dehydrated e.g. CuSO4 5H2O -> CuSO4 + 5 H2O.
    There is a reaction for the sterno, which is usually a mix of methanol and ethanol: CH3OH + C2H5OH +O2 -> CO2 + H2O, although technically the two alcohols are reacted independent of each other.

  22. The last equation still needs balanced. And again, technically the two alcohols are reacted independent of each other.

  23. No, flames give off energy in the form of heat and light. Since black is the absence (or absorption) of all light this isn't possible. Now it is possible to have a hot object be cool enough that it doesn't glow or emit visible light- this is called Black Body Radiation, but that isn't really the same thing.
    PhD Comics TV on YouTube, just did a video on stars that includes a really good explanation of black body radiation: /watch?v=uG4xe9cNpP0 or search for it.

  24. I've found when trying to mix colors that the flames of one will wash out the flame of another or that the colors won't mix, but instead be independent next to each other. Also, no element has gray as its natural color.

  25. I'm doing a project about the flame test but we have to do a graph with results do you know how i can do a graph for it

  26. If only, this material is safe
    I think im going to prepare candle light dinner

    Candle with different color of fire seems fun to watch

  27. +Tionna McCullough I can't imagine graphing data here.  Maybe if you actually measured the wavelength or frequency of the color of light that could be one axis, but the other would just have to be the chemical.

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