Flame Test: Nicrome Wire


Purpose:

  1. To observe the different colors emitted by ions in a flame test.

Materials:

  1. Barium Nitrate
  2. Calcium Nitrate
  3. Lithium Nitrate
  4. Potassium Nitrate
  5. Sodium Nitrate
  6. Strontium Nitrate
  7. Copper Sulfate
  8. Matches
  9. Methyl Alcohol
  10. Nichrome Wire
  11. Bunsen Burner and Striker
  12. Hydrochloric Acid

Procedure:

  1. Place tip of nichrome wire in hydrochloric acid.
  2. Place tip of nichrome wire in flame until there is a constant orange/yellow color.
  3. Dip the tip of the nichrome wire into a salt (only put one or two crystals on the tip).
  4. Place the tip of the nichrome wire (with salt on it) in the flame.
  5. Observe the color of the salt as it burns.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each salt.

Data and Information

Metal Ion Formula of Salt Color of Flame
Ba+2 Ba(NO3)2 Color:
Ca+2 Ca(NO3)2 Color:
Li+ LiNO3 Color:
K+ KNO3 Color:
Na+ NaNO3 Color:
Sr+2 Sr(NO3)2 Color:
Cu+2 Cu(NO3)2 Color:


Questions:

  1. What kind of colors are emitted by the ions?
  2. Does the alcohol change the color of the flame? Why, or why not?
  3. Can a flame be used to identify a metal ion? Why, or why not?