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Flame Tests

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Zachary May



Flame Tests

Summary:  In this lab, our purpose was to determine the identity of an unknown solution.  We tested each of 9 solutions and a solid.  We identified the color by recording the spectroscope reading, through cobalt glass, and by observations by the naked eye.  Our procedure included using a wire to get a sample of the substance and perform the flame test.  To ensure proper colors, we cleaned each one by dipping them in HCl and then burning them.  By comparing the flame color of the unknown substance to the flame color of the other substances, we were able to determine the identity of the solution.




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SO4,BaCl2, the NaCl crystals, and the combination of Na2SO4plus K2SO4 all appeared to the naked eye to be about the same color.  In table 1, all values that are proceeded by a <?> did not have a clear spectroscope reading, or the flames for each didn’t last long enough to get an accurate reading.  The accurate spectroscope readings showed strontium chloride to have a spectrum reading from 490-640 on the second trial.  The unknown substance had a reading of 440.  The combination of sodium sulfate and potassium sulfate gave a reading of 450.  From the naked eye perspective, the potassium sulfate by its self looked light pink and light blue, but the spectroscope reading
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2, and the combination of Na2So4 and K2SO4.  In the spectroscope readings, it resembled barium chloride somewhat.  In the cobalt test, it resembled NaCl crystals.  My data concludes that the metal is a combination of sodium sulfate and potassium sulfate.

        7.  The flame test is not the best test to perform to find the identity of an element, because so many other factors are involved, such as room air, temperature, outside light, and contamination due to improper cleaning.  

        8.   The spectroscope can show the colors to both metals in a solution if they are mixed.  In the barium chloride, this was evident.  The spectrum showed an array of colors.  The best example of this is in the lithium chloride, where there were two distinct lines on the spectroscope, showing both metals.

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