Lithium flame test

Lithium flame test

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Credit: MARTYN F. CHILLMAID/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lithium flame test. Metal salt being sprayed in mist form into a bunsen burner flame from a pump action sprayer. The red colour indicates that this is a lithium salt. This is due to the excitation of electrons in the lithium by the heat of the flame. As these electrons lose their energy, they emit photons of red light. The colour of the flame is different for different elements and flame tests can be used to identify unknown substances.

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