How can a flame test identify an unknown element?

1 Answer
Jun 25, 2018

Each flame color is unique to an element


Usually. Some elements share colors. However, this method is a simple way to define metals.

You may recall what the #color(blue)("bright line spectrum")# is:
when an electron goes from a high energy shell to a low energy shell to produce light. In other words, an electron goes from the excited state back down to the ground state. This produces a unique bright-line spectrum with specific wavelengths that is different for each element. This produces the different colored light that we see.