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Elements and Compounds
Acids and Bases

Explain why a metallic ion produces a characteristic color in a flame test regardless of the compound used as the source of the ion?


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December 07, 2009 4:38PM

When a metallic ion is heated in a flame test, the heat (energy) causes an electron to be exicted to a higher energy state. When this electron returns to a lower energy state, energy is emitted as visible light. Depending on how much energy is released when the electron returns from the higher to lower energy state will determine what color the flame will be.