Salts and Flames

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Materials

  1. Potassium Chloride (water softener salt) - PURPLE flame

  2. Copper Chloride - BLUE flame

  3. Borax (laundry) - LIGHT GREEN flame

  4. Copper Sulfate (tree root killer for plumbers) - GREEN flame

  5. Alum - GREEN flame

  6. Strontium Chloride - RED flame

  7. Lithium Chloride - RED flame

  8. Calcium Chloride - ORANGE flame

  9. Sodium Chloride (table salt) - YELLOW flame

  10. Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom salts) - WHITE flame

 

Procedure:

  1.  Wear protection for your arms and face.

  2. Place a salt into the flames from a safe distance.

Results:

The color of the flame should change for some time because of the salts. Some will turn purple, some will turn green, and some will stay reddish-orange.

flames_of_colors.jpg

Associated text: 

Science behind this experiment:

Energy release

The atoms in the salts are excited when they are being heated up by the flames. Because the atoms are excited, the atoms release that energy in the form of light. Each salt has its own color of light depending on the amount of light energy being released by that salt. For example, Strontium Chloride and Lithium Chloride release less energy than Potassium Chloride does.