DAVID TAYLOR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID TAYLOR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flame test for copper. A compound containing the element copper (symbol Cu) produces a characteristic blue-green flame when heated in a bunsen burner. This colour is produced when copper electrons give off extra energy as a specific type of radiation (in this case it is visible light but it can be radio waves or gamma rays). This distinct energy release is known as an emission spectrum. Each element has its own emission spectrum, which allows it to be identified in different materials.
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