How to make Red Fire

We are all used to flame being yellow, orange or blue. But can we turn a fire red? Yes, here’s how:

Key Takeaways

  • 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

What chemicals will turn fire red

The preparation is quite easy and only requires two chemicals. Methanol is toxic, please make sure to put on proper safety equipment.

How to make a Red Flame

  1. First, dissolve the lithium salt in the methanol. This might take some time. 
  2. If you are using lithium metal, carefully react it with the methanol. The reaction is highly exothermic. 
  3. 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.