Video: Alkaline Earth Metal Resembling Copper in a Flame Test

Which alkaline earth metal most resembles copper when analysed using a flame test?

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Video Transcript

Which alkaline earth metal most resembles copper when analysed using a flame test?

A flame test produces a colour depending on the ion. The alkaline earth metals are otherwise known as group two on the periodic table. The elements in group two are beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium. Radium is rare and radioactive, so for the purposes of this question, we can ignore it.

Each of these elements tends to form ions with a two plus charge. To answer this question, we need to recall what colour flame copper produces in a flame test and compare it to those of beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, and barium. Depending on the compound of copper will produce a blue-green flame. Beryllium and magnesium have no characteristic flame test colour. Calcium ions turn flames orange-red. Strontium ions turn them bright red. And the flame test colour for barium ions is green.

The closest colour of these to blue-green is the green of barium. So, the alkaline earth metal whose flame test colour most resembles that of copper is barium.

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