Why are different colors observed when compounds are subjected to flame?

1 Answer
Dec 25, 2017

The colors are determined by the amount of energy that excited metal electrons give off as they fall back to a lower energy level, giving off visible light.


The compounds are ionic compounds containing a metal cation and an anion. When subjected to a flame, the electrons of the metal become excited and move to a higher energy level, which is very unstable. Therefore, the electrons fall back to a lower level, giving off the same amount of energy that was absorbed. Some of this energy is in the form of visible light. Each metal has a specific color associated with it.