Already have an ACS ID? Log in
Renew your membership, and continue to enjoy these benefits.
Already an ACS Member? Log in here
Choose the membership that is right for you. Discounts will be applied automatically at checkout.
Enjoy these benefits no matter which membership you pick.
Ben Cromwell investigates flame retardants at the University of Rhode Island. His group normally uses cotton balls like the ones shown for small-scale tests of the fire-suppressing power of new substances and methods. But in this demonstration, they wanted to capture the colors of copper bromide (left) and cesium carbonate flames. So he doped the cotton balls with the metal salts, added methanol, and set them alight. Different metals produce differently colored flames, an effect also employed in fireworks.
Safety note: Cromwell and his colleagues are trained in fire safety and conducted this demonstration in an appropriate apparatus. To do a similar demonstration at home or in a classroom, C&EN recommends a different procedure, detailed at goo.gl/scPZ1m.
Submitted by Ben B. Cromwell/University of Rhode Island
Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.
Related C&EN Content:
This article has been sent to the following recipient: