Chemistry Unit C: Chemical Analysis

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Flame Tests

Flame Test Method

  • Set up a bunsen burner to a blue flame
  • Take a wet splint and dip the end into your unknown substance
  • Carefully hold the end of the splint in the flame
  • Look out for the colour of the flame!


Metal Ion                           Flame Colour

Lithium                               Crimson (Bright Red)            

Sodium                              Golden Yellow 

Potassium                          Lilac

Calcium                              Brick Red

Barium                               Green  

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Reactions With Sodium Hydroxide


  • Add 1cm^3 of your unknown substance to a test tube
  • Add 2cm^3 of NaOH to the test tube
  • Shake the test tube
  • Look for colour change


Copper- Light Blue Precipitate                                      Iron (III)- Brown Precipitate

Iron (II)- Light green precipitate which turns brown  

Alluminium- White precipitate which dissolves with excess NaOH

Magnesium- White precipitate which is insoluoble in excess NaOH (Distinguish with flame test)

Calcium- White precipitate which is insoluoble in excess NaOH (Distinguish with flame test)

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Halide Ions


  • Dilute nitric acid is added 
  • Nitric acid is added to get rid of any waste materials
  • Silver nitrate solution is added 
  • If a precipitate forms, halide ions are present


Chloride- White

Bromide- Cream

Iodide- Yellow

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Test for Carbonates


  • Dilute acid is added 
  • If bubbles appear, there are carbnates present.
  • If the lime water goes cloudy, the gas is CO2
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Test for Sulfates


  • Acid added to get rid of unwanted waste
  • Barium is then added
  • A precipitate (Barium Sulfate) is formed if sulfates are present
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Test for Double Bonds


  • Add Bromine water
  • Double Bonds present- Solution turns colourless
  • Single Bonds present- Solution turns red/brown.
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