We are all used to flame being yellow, orange or blue. But can we turn a fire red? Yes, here’s how:
- Many metals and non-metals turn flame different colors
- Alkali and earth alkali metals have low ionization energies
- Lithium salts give a purplish-red, and strontium ones a red flame
How to make a Red Flame
- First, dissolve the lithium salt in the methanol. This might take some time.
- If you are using lithium metal, carefully react it with the methanol. The reaction is highly exothermic.
- Light the solution on fire. It might take some seconds for the red flame to appear.
How different flame colors work
“Many ions of metals and non-metals turn flame different colors. This is because when heated, atoms move to an excited (or unstable) state. When they return to their original (stable) state, the excess of accumulated energy is released in the form of light of a certain wavelength, which is characterized by the color we observe. This amazing property is used to make colored fireworks, in qualitative analysis of minerals, as a certain ion corresponds to a certain wavelength of color emitted. For example, sodium ions give a yellow color, which we can observe when heating soup on a gas stove. Potassium ions give a dark pink color, which we can observe when preparing a recipe which uses wine – wine contains potassium tartrate, potassium salt and tartaric acid. Boric acid gives a green color because of the presence of boron. Barium salt gives a yellowy-green color, copper salts — green, calcium salts — brick-red, strontium — a crimson color, etc. ” MEL science
Safety & Disposal
Wear protective gloves and glasses and work in a well-ventilated area. Observer safety rules when working with fire and flammable liquids.
GHS H&P: H(225, 331, 311, 301, 370) – P(210, 233, 280, 302+352, 304+340, 308+310, 403+235)
The use of this instruction and the information provided therein takes place at the user’s own risk.