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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Colored Flame Spray Bottles

By December 28, 2013

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Flame test chem demo at the Museum of Science and Industry (Anne Helmenstine)

Colored flame spray bottles are one of the easiest and most memorable chemistry demonstrations you can perform! The demo also makes a great chemistry "magic" trick, although of course it is based on the emission spectra seen in flame tests. Chemist Mitch at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago shows how to perform this demonstration safely and effectively:
  • Wear protective clothing. Lab coats look cool, plus they protect your clothes. You can't see this, but Mitch is wearing long pants and shoes that cover his feet.

  • Wear your safety goggles. Modern safety goggles are comfortable, fashionable and safe.

  • Direct the spray away from the audience. When the alcohol hits the flame, it produces a fairly dramatic plume of flame. You don't need to scare anyone or ignite any hair.

  • If you have one, use a clear blast shield. In this demonstration, droplets of liquid can splash harmlessly on the inside of the shield, controlling the flame.

  • Have fun with it! Excitement about science is contagious.

  • Explain the chemistry behind the demonstration. This hot pink color comes from lithium. Hot pink is the perfect color for a cool fire demonstration. Of course, you can make any color of the rainbow.
Make Colored Fire Spray Bottles | Flame Test Colors

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