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    800-372-6726

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  • Support
    800-372-6726

    Open Hours: Mon-Fri 9am - 5:30pm
    Saturday 10am-2pm MST (-7GMT)
    95 Lincoln St. Denver CO 80203-3922

Creating Flame Colors

Flame ColorFor a fun and colorful campfire or fireplace display, you can soak pine cones, wood chips or newspaper-rolls in chemical solutions prior to burning. Whether for personal use or as a club/group project, we indicate what to do and what to use to create these flame displays.

Project 1: Campfire or Fireplace Flame Colors

Start by soaking dry pine cones, wood chips, or even rolled up newspapers in specially prepared chemical solutions. See the list below for chemicals that produce colored effects when burned.

These chemical products shows the flame colors produced in PROJECT ONE.
Please click through for current pricing.

Flame Color Chemical Cat. ID  
    Blue     Cupric chloride, 125g NC-2010
    Red     Lithium chloride, 100g NC-4851
    Red     Strontium chloride, 100g NC-2718
    Green     Cupric sulfate, 500g NC-0304
    Orange     Borax (Sodium borate), 1lb. NC-1686
    Orange     Calcium chloride, 500g NC-3361
    Purple     Potassium chloride, 100g NC-6717
    Yellow     Sodium chloride, 500g NC-0870
    Yellow     Sodium carbonate, 1lb. NC-1687

The Procedure

To treat your dried material, mix about one pound (454g) of chemical per gallon of water in a plastic container. An empty five-gallon pail is ideal. Avoid metal containers because some chemicals may react and damage the container. Wear rubber gloves and safety glasses when handling chemicals. Work outside or in an appropriate work area. Some chemicals may stain your work surface.

Work with one batch of chemicals at a time to achieve the brightest colors. Dull colors could result if fuel is soaked in different solutions. A day of soaking should give the chemicals time to soak into the wood. Afterwards, lift and drain over the pail and spread on newspaper to dry. The newspaper can also be burned by rolling and wrapping tightly to form "logs".

Burn the treated material in a well-ventilated fireplace. Wait till your fire has burned down to some coals and low flame, then add the treated material to see the best show of colors.

Another variation for creating fireplace colors is to make wax cakes containing chemicals. Start by melting paraffin (from candle stubs or from blocks of canning wax from the grocery store) in a double boiler. Do not melt over an open flame or it may ignite. Stir in one or two tablespoons of the recommended dry chemical. Let it cool, but while it is still liquid, pour the wax into small paper cake cups. When these have set they can be placed into a fireplace just like the treated pine cones described above.

For longer burning pine cones or to make colorful fire starters, melt paraffin wax as above. Dip pine cones in the wax then sprinkle with one of the listed chemicals before the wax completely sets. Or, try coating dry pine cones in white glue and sprinkling them with chemicals to produce a firestarter that burns brightly with color.

Warning

Avoid permanganates, nitrates and chlorates. These produce harmful byproducts when burned.

Project 2: Flame Color Tests Using Metal Salts.

You can create a variety of colored flames by burning a small amount of different metal salts in a fire. In the lab, use a Bunsen burner or propane torch.

The Procedure

Some metals will burn with a characteristic flame color. To perform a flame test a powdered sample of chemical (see list below) is placed onto a platinum or Nichrome wire loop and suspended in a Bunsen burner (or propane torch) flame. It is important to first clean the wire loop in the flame so no contaminating dust interferes with the true color of the test sample flame.

What Is Happening?

When a metal or metal salt is burned, the input of thermal energy raises the electrons in the metal atom to a higher energy state. These electrons cannot remain in this excited state for too long and will emit energy in the form of light to return to the more stable, grounded state. It is this light we see when a metal atom is burned in a flame.

Each metal has a characteristic flame color which has been found to be useful in identifying minerals.

These chemical products shows the flame colors produced in PROJECT TWO.
Please click through for current pricing.

Flame Color Chemical Cat. ID  
    Blue     Cupric chloride, 125g NC-2010
    Red     Lithium chloride, 100g NC-4851
    Red     Strontium chloride, 100g NC-2718
    Green     Copper sulfate, 500g NC-0304
    Orange     Borax (Sodium borate), 1lb. NC-1686
    Orange     Calcium chloride, 500g NC-3361
    Purple     Potassium chloride, 100g NC-6717
    Yellow     Sodium chloride, 500g NC-0870
    Yellow     Sodium carbonate, 1lb. NC-1687
White sparks Magnesium ribbon, 12" NC-4266
Yellow sparks Iron filings, 1lb. NC-8536

For value, we offer the following Flame Test Kits...

Flame Test Kit With Accessories
You get 10 grams each of... Strontium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Cupric Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Cupric Chloride.
Plus... 12 inches of Magnesium Ribbon, an Alcohol Lamp, and Nichrome Wire.

    Red     |     Yellow     |     Green     |     Purple     |     Blue     | White sparks

NC-12779

Flame Test Chemical Kit With Five Chemicals
You get 10 grams each of... Strontium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Cupric Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Cupric Chloride.

    Red     |     Yellow     |     Green     |     Purple     |     Blue    


NC-12053

Bulk Flame Test Chemical Kit With Six Chemicals
You get 100 grams each of... Strontium Chloride, Sodium Carbonate, Cupric Sulfate, Potassium Chloride, Cupric Chloride. Plus a 12.5 gram roll of Magnesium Ribbon.

    Red     |     Yellow     |     Green     |     Purple     |     Blue     | White sparks


NC-12780