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Flame Tests


To know how to carry out flame


Flame tests, metal cations.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the lesson you …… be able


Must (Grade E/F): State the colours of

the flames for sodium, potassium,
calcium, copper.

Should (Grade C/D): Identify the metals

in two unknown compounds.

Could (Grade B/C): Write a risk

assessment for flame tests.
Flame tests Standard
• Put 2 or 3 drops of
hydrochloric acid on a watch
• Light a Bunsen burner and
open the hole to give a
roaring flame.
• Dip the loop at the end of
the nichrome wire into the
hydrochloric acid
• Dip the wet loop into the
powder. Try to PICK UP
• Hold the loop
in the EDGE of
the flame.
• Notice the
colour the
flame changes
• Record the
colour of the

Metal Colour of Flame




Flame tests
Compounds containing lithium, sodium,
potassium, calcium and barium can be
recognised by burning the compound and
observing the colours produced:

Lithium Sodium Potassi Calciu Barium

um m
Red Yellow Green
Lilac Brick
Unknown Compound
Unknown Flame colour Metal present

Risk Assessment for Flame Tests

Use the following headings to write a Risk Assessment for this activity:
- Hazards
A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm.
A list of the apparatus required for the assignment:
- Unknown compounds A,B,C,D,E,F.
- 2M Hydrochloric acid
- Bunsen Burner
- Nichrome wire loop
- Measuring beaker
- Risks
A risk is the likelihood that the hazard will cause harm. A risk needs to be identified
as high or low risk
What is the chance of each hazard causing an injury? The hydrochloric acid has a
risk associated with it. Write down what the hazard symbol means.
Explain whether it is high or low risk and identify what the risk is from the hazard
- Those at risk
List all the people that could be affected by a hazard. Who is in the room? Who
could enter the room?
Control measures
What things can be done to make the risks as small as possible?
What safety equipment do you need to wear?
eg Reading the hazard cards before using the unknown compounds and
hydrochloric acid.
What were you trained to use? Who showed you how to do it?
eg Students shown how to undertake flame tests.
- Emergency Action
Write down what you would do if the hydrochloric acid is swallowed, spilt on skin or
spilt in the laboratory?
What would you do if a student was injured from the breakage of glass?
What would you do if a student burnt themselves?
When would you contact emergency services?

- Remaining risk
What other risks are there in the room?
Think about students property and behaviour.