Flame test gives Mustangs chemical insight

phelps flame experiment
LRHS students use flame to study chemical elements.

Lexi Tibbetts – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS Chemistry classes are engaging in some hands-on experiments.

Chemistry teacher Tana Phelps’s chemistry class recently completed their “Flame Lab.” Students burn different elements to determine how their flame colors differ. The experiments resulted in a wide variety of colors;  some elements, such as copper, burn green and others, like lithium, burn red.

The purpose of the experiment is to, “identify unknown metal ions based on energy of their flames,” said Phelps.

“The experiment is teaching students information about electron energy levels and the electromagnetic spectrum.” said Phelps.

Phelps has been doing these types of experiments since 2005 when she began teaching. For students to prepare for experiments Phelps said, “Students review lab safety and basic rules like, no horseplay at the lab stations and hair that is past chin length must be tied back.”

“They (students) think it’s fun. We put the blinds down and lower the lights so we can see the flames and their colors better.” said Phelps.

Other interesting experiments scheduled for her classes later in the year include the gas law lab, nuclear lab, sunset in a bag lab, and the chalk lab.

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