Lesson 17 – Technicolor Atoms

Today I learned how to roughly hypothesize an element based upon the color of the flame produced when the solution of the chemical formula and heat are combined. I learned this through a flame test. This test is used to find the existence of certain metals through a reaction created by the heat of the flame. This color reaction is the result of when an electron in a metal atom becomes “excited” and moves away from the nucleus and then back once more, releasing energy in the form of light. Here are some practice problems. (:

– Predict the color of the flame for the compound sodium hydroxide, NaOH. Explain your reasoning.
* I would predict the color to be yellow-orange because the first element in the formula, and
also the metal, is sodium and therefore would fall under the other sodium formulas that
produced a yellow-orange color.

– Does nitrate produce a colored flame? Explain your thinking.
* No, nitrate does not produce a colored flame because both nitrogen and oxygen are not
metals and therefore do not react with heat to create the light energy seen with metals.



1 Comment

  1. Kolt

    Good explanation!

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