6.7 Flame Tests and atomic structure

Learning Intentions (L.I)

At the end of this video, you should be able to:

  • explain why flame tests give us information on the atomic structure of elements
  • draw a diagram to explain how the colours from flame tests are produced
  • state a use of flame tests
  • state a limitation of flame tests in the school lab for element identification and suggest a way to improve diagnosis

Success Criteria (S.C)

You should be able to do the following to illustrate how you know the L.I:

  • Correctly draw a diagram and explain how flame tests inform to us the atomic structure of an element
  • identifies a limitation of this technique and correctly identifies how this can be improved.



We have all done these tests in junior school, but what is its purpose? They look cool and make amazing colours, but why do we do them in the lab?

Well, it is all based around analysing a mixture and trying to identify a metal ion. This is used in water analysis for pollution, soil analysis and much more. In the lab, we just try to identify what metal ion is present BUT it can also give use information about the atomic structure of the metal's structure!

In this video we shall see why a colour in the lab can inform us the inner mystery of atomic structure and how this can be used as evidence that supports the electron configuration put forward by Neils Bohr and even how we can use this to move into the quantum realm!

Check out the two study cards here taken from our flame tests we conducted in the lab (seen in the lab series videos). These cards are part of the whole study card set that give you the visual power to master your chemistry.

Let's get going.