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safe chemicals to color flames?
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John Savage
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Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:20 pm    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

"Nichevo" <nichevo@gmail.com> writes:
Quote:
That is pretty cool. I mixed up some borax with some %90 ethanol, I had
to substitute a couple drops of muriatic acid and it worked! A light
green flame.

I don't know about potassium nitrate though, I would probably have to
get some potash lye or is their an easier way to make it?

The salt-substitute that some people (sufferers of high blood pressure)
use at meals in place of sodium salt is, I think, KCl so you could try
that for your potassium flame.

Borax (it disolves in hot water) should give a very deep orange flame.
--
John Savage (my news address is not valid for email)
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Solvay
science forum beginner


Joined: 26 Feb 2006
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:46 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

tressure@gmail.com wrote:
Quote:
Copper salts of any sort will give some quite nice greens and blues
(even purple in some spots, with copper perchlorate).

Potassium nitrate will give a nice purple, as well.

Other salts (such as those of lithium and strontium) give nice reds,
but would be hard to obtain for the non-professional.

Boric acid dissolved in methanol with a little sulphuric acid

Use care when mixing methanol and sulfuric acid. Even though it would
be produced only with fuming H2SO4, dimethyl sulfate is insidiously
toxic. Battery acid and windshield fluid mix pretty often in the
automotive realm, with no bad effects, but still, maybe muriatic acid
would be safer.

will burn
Quote:
with agreen flame, but isn't sometyhing that can be poured on a
campfire (spoken from long experience- if you have a large quantity of
m/ethyl borate, you pour small quantities of it -beside- the fire, not
directly on it, to get the green flames).

Magnesium ribbon is always fun to toss on a campfire, as well.
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dave e
science forum beginner


Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 46

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

Mark Thorson wrote:
Quote:
Martin Brown wrote:

Nichevo wrote:

I don't know about potassium nitrate though, I would probably have to
get some potash lye or is their an easier way to make it?

Potassium won't colour most flames because sodium is such a common
element that unles you can filter out its yellow light (and also that
from a sooty flame) any lilac emission will be swamped.

Salt substitute for sodium-restricted diets is
widely available at supermarkets, and is nearly
pure potassium chloride. However, note that Morton
"Lite Salt" is a mixture of sodium and potassium
chlorides (about 50/50 molar %).

I remember seeing cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate) also used as a
source of household potassium for flame test demos.

Dave
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tressure@gmail.com
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 6:14 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

I stand corrected. But strontium carbonate won't colour the flame
(I've tried- my audience declared it a dud)- you'll have to convert it
to the chloride or nitrate first.
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terphenyl@hotmail.com
science forum beginner


Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:40 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

tressure@gmail.com wrote:
Quote:

Other salts (such as those of lithium and strontium) give nice reds,
but would be hard to obtain for the non-professional.


ebay.
1 lb lithium carbonate $9.99
1 lb strontium carbonate $5.99
1 lb copper sulfate $3.49 (for reference as "tree root killer" to
compare prices.)
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Louis Hom
science forum beginner


Joined: 21 Jun 2005
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

To address the "easily available to the non-professional" aspect, you can
often buy copper sulfate from the hardware store as tree root killer.
Someone else already mentioned potassium salts as table salt substitute.
Potassium nitrate is also often available as tree stump remover. Borax is
in the cleaning aisle.
--
______________________________________________________________________________
Lou Hom >K'93
lhom@ocf.berkeley.edu
http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/
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John Decker
science forum beginner


Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:32 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

In article <1140637483.713286.145670@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
shoemakerted@yahoo.com says...
Quote:

When I was a child, my parents bought chemically treated pine cones to
throw in the fireplace, which then burned with beautiful colors. Could
someone recommend some chemicals which are safe and easily available to
the non-professional, which will change the colors of a flame?

Thank you for all replies.

Ted Shoemaker
--------------------

Directions for making pinecones that produce colors when introduced into a
fireplace.

http://www.coscosci.com/sci-exper/flamecolors.htm


JD
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Bob111
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:16 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

On 23 Feb 2006 03:47:41 GMT,
pbdelete@spamnuke.ludd.luthdelete.se.invalid wrote:

Quote:
tressure@gmail.com wrote:
Copper salts of any sort will give some quite nice greens and blues
(even purple in some spots, with copper perchlorate).

Potassium nitrate will give a nice purple, as well.

Other salts (such as those of lithium and strontium) give nice reds,
but would be hard to obtain for the non-professional.

Isn't strontium extremly toxic ..? (and radioactive)

no and no.

But radioactive strontium is bad for you. And that is probably how you
have heard about it - the radioactive Sr that occurs in some types of
nuclear fallout. It can be incorporated into your bones, since it
looks rather like calcium. Once incorporated, it irradiates you, from
the inside -- not so good.

But ordinary Sr is not much more toxic than calcium. And it is less
radioactive than potassium.

bob
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pbdelete@spamnuke.ludd.lu
science forum beginner


Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:47 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

tressure@gmail.com wrote:
Quote:
Copper salts of any sort will give some quite nice greens and blues
(even purple in some spots, with copper perchlorate).

Potassium nitrate will give a nice purple, as well.

Other salts (such as those of lithium and strontium) give nice reds,
but would be hard to obtain for the non-professional.

Isn't strontium extremly toxic ..? (and radioactive)
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Nichevo
science forum beginner


Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:06 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

I've seen the stuff, I just wasn't sure how pure it was. I'll give it a
shot, thanks!
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Mark Thorson
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

Martin Brown wrote:
Quote:

Nichevo wrote:

I don't know about potassium nitrate though, I would probably have to
get some potash lye or is their an easier way to make it?

Potassium won't colour most flames because sodium is such a common
element that unles you can filter out its yellow light (and also that
from a sooty flame) any lilac emission will be swamped.

Salt substitute for sodium-restricted diets is
widely available at supermarkets, and is nearly
pure potassium chloride. However, note that Morton
"Lite Salt" is a mixture of sodium and potassium
chlorides (about 50/50 molar %).
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heather
science forum beginner


Joined: 23 Feb 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:16 am    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

I have used chloride salts and they have worked fairly well. For
example, cupric chloride, potassium chloride, and strontium chloride.
These are fairly easy to obtain and are not extremely dangerous.
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tressure@gmail.com
science forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know about potassium nitrate though, I would probably have to
get some potash lye or is their an easier way to make it?

Other potassium salts should probably work, possibly including potash
lye. I prefer nitrates and other oxidizing anions because the metal
salts give better colours in hotter flames; the reaction of nitrates,
chlorates, perchlorates, &c. with the wood increases the temperature of
the flame and thus the intensity of the colour. Carbonates that I've
tried have tended to have the opposite effect- they put the fire out in
that area, and no colours are seen.

Potash lye and muriatic acid will give you potassium chloride, which
may work better than the carbonate.

Don't bother with sodium salts- they give a bright yellow colour, which
looks exactly like a lot of normal flames. Dull.
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Martin Brown
science forum addict


Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 82

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 10:46 pm    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

Nichevo wrote:

Quote:
That is pretty cool. I mixed up some borax with some %90 ethanol, I had
to substitute a couple drops of muriatic acid and it worked! A light
green flame.

I'll try making some copper salts later.

I don't know about potassium nitrate though, I would probably have to
get some potash lye or is their an easier way to make it?

Potassium won't colour most flames because sodium is such a common
element that unles you can filter out its yellow light (and also that
from a sooty flame) any lilac emission will be swamped.

You can use a shovelware CD as a crude spectroscope to see the elemental
emission lines in various light sources.

Potassium nitrate makes cute smouldering writing as a school demo.

Regards,
Martin Brown
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Nichevo
science forum beginner


Joined: 18 Dec 2005
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 10:34 pm    Post subject: Re: safe chemicals to color flames? Reply with quote

That is pretty cool. I mixed up some borax with some %90 ethanol, I had
to substitute a couple drops of muriatic acid and it worked! A light
green flame.

I'll try making some copper salts later.

I don't know about potassium nitrate though, I would probably have to
get some potash lye or is their an easier way to make it?
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