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With bonfire season in full swing members the Chemistry department treated the U5th to a novel way of viewing the flame colours produced when ionic compounds are heated.

When ionic compounds are heated the electrons in the cations are energised. When the electrons fall back down to their ground state, visible light is released – the exact colour of the light is specific to the cation involved.

Balloons were filled with hydrogen along with a sample of ionic compound and then ignited; the results can be seen in the video.

Dr Ben Tyrrell