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  Lionel Chem-Lab - Chapter 18

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NOTE:  This book was published in 1942 as a manual to accompany several Lionel Chemistry sets of the time.  While some of the experiments and activities here may be safely done as written, a number of them use chemicals and methods no longer considered safe.  In addition, much of the information contained in this book about chemistry and other subjects is outdated and some of it is inaccurate.  Therefore, this book is probably best appreciated for its historical value rather than as a source for current information and good experiments.  If you try anything here, please understand that you do so at your own risk.  See our Terms of Use.
Pages 201 - 204

CHAPTER XVIII

FLAME AND BEAD TESTS

If you dip your nichrome wire into certain of the metals or their compounds, and then hold the wire in the flame of an alcohol lamp, the flame will have a characteristic color depending upon the metal used. This is a common test for metals.

EXPERIMENT No. 483 Flame Test For Sodium

(CL-66, CL-77)

APPARATUS: Sodium iodide, nichrome wire, alcohol lamp.

PROCEDURE: Moisten your nichrome wire and dip it into a little sodium iodide solution. Place the wire in the non-luminous flame of your alcohol lamp and note that sodium gives a yellow color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 484 Flame Test For Calcium

(CL-66, CL-77)

APPARATUS: Calcium carbonate, nichrome wire, alcohol lamp, test tubes.

PROCEDURE: Prepare a solution of calcium carbonate by dissolving one measure in a test tube one quarter full of water. Dip the nichrome wire into it and hold in the top portion of the flame. Calcium compounds impart a yellowish-red color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 485 A Test For Strontium

(CL-66, CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 483 substituting strontium chloride for sodium iodide. Volatile strontium compounds impart a characteristic carmine red color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 486 Flame Test For Detecting Copper

(CL-66, CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 483 substituting copper sulfate for sodium iodide. Copper salts impart a green color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 487 Flame Test For Phosphoric Acid

(CL-66, CL-77)

APPARATUS: Trisodium phosphate, hydrochloric acid, test tube, nichrome wire, alcohol lamp.

201


202 FLAME AND BEAD TESTS

making a flame test loop

FIGURE 19 

PROCEDURE: Dissolve one measure of trisodium phosphate in a test tube one quarter full of water. Add five drops of hydrochloric acid. Shake test tube thoroughly. Dip the clean nichrome wire into the solution, then hold wire in the luminous flame of the lamp.

SUMMARY: Phosphoric acid is formed when trisodium phosphate reacts with hydrochloric acid. The phosphoric acid imparts a bluish-green color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 488 A Flame Test For Boric Acid

(CL-66. CL-77)

APPARATUS: Nichrome wire, boric acid, test tube, alcohol lamp.

PROCEDURE: Dissolve one measure of boric acid in a test tube one quarter full of water. Use heat if necessary. Dip the clean nichrome wire into the solution, then hold in the non-luminous portion of the flame. Boric acid gives a peculiar green color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 489 A Flame Test For Molybdic Acid

(CL-77)

APPARATUS: Ammonium molybdate, hydrochloric acid, nichrome wire, test tubes and alcohol lamp.

PROCEDURE: Dissolve two measures of ammonium molybdate in a test tube one quarter full of water. Add four drops of hydrochloric acid and mix well. Dip the nichrome wire into the solution and hold in the non-luminous portion of the flame.


LIONEL CHEM-LAB 203

SUMMARY: Molybdic acid imparts a faint yellow-green color to the flame.

EXPERIMENT No. 490 Flame Test For Potassium

(CL-66, CL-77)

APPARATUS: Potassium nitrate, nichrome wire.

PROCEDURE: Moisten your nichrome wire and dip it into some potassium nitrate material. Place the nichrome wire in the oxidizing portion of the flame. Note the color of the flame. A glass filter made of blue cobalt glass is sometimes used in testing for potassium in the presence of sodium.

BORAX BEAD TESTS

When heated, borax froths up and melts into a clear glass. Certain metallic oxides dissolved in melted borax often color the glass with characteristic tints. Small borax beads are used in testing for the presence of such metals.

In each of the following experiments first prepare a borax bead by heating the loop of your nichrome wire, then dipping it into a little borax. Reheat the loop several times, each time adding a little more borax until a clear bead of the desired size is obtained. To clean the wire for another experiment, hold it in the flame until the material melts off.

EXPERIMENT No. 491 A Bead Test For Iron

(CL-66, CL-77)

APPARATUS: Borax, ferric ammonium sulfate, nichrome wire, alcohol lamp.

PROCEDURE: Dip bead into some ferric ammonium sulfate. Place the bead in the oxidizing portion of the flame. The bead is yellow while hot and colorless when cold.

EXPERIMENT No. 492 A Copper Bead Test

(CL-66, CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 491 substituting copper sulfate for ferric ammonium sulfate. Copper gives a green color to the bead when hot, and a blue color when cold.

EXPERIMENT No. 493 Bead Test For Nickel

(CL-66, CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 491 substituting nickle chloride for ferric ammonium sulfate. The bead is colored brown in the oxidizing flame due to the formation of nickel metaborate.

204 FLAME AND BEAD TESTS

EXPERIMENT No. 494 A Bead Test Fox Chromium

(CL-66, CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 491 substituting chrome alum for ferric ammonium sulfate. The bead is green in both oxidizing and reducing  flames.

EXPERIMENT No. 495 Bead Test For Manganese 

(CL-66, CL-77)
 
Repeat Experiment No. 491 substituting manganese sulfate for ferric ammonium sulfate. Note the color of the bead which will be violent when hot, and amethyst-red when cold.

EXPERIMENT No. 496 A Bead Test For Cobalt

(CL-66, CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 491 substituting cobalt chloride for ferric ammonium sulfate. A blue bead is formed in both the oxidizing and reducing flames due to cobalt metaborate.

EXPERIMENT No. 497 A Bead Test For Tungsten

(CL-77)

Repeat Experiment No. 491 substituting sodium tungstate for ferric ammonium sulfate. When the tungsten bead is hot, it is yellow; when cool, yellowish-brown.
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