Increasing the Safety of the Rainbow Flame Test


  • Abigail Rossi


The rainbow flame test is meant to capture the attention of chemistry students and show them how flames can be used in identifying salts. However, the danger involved with the test is not to be taken lightly - in the last two years, at least 11 students were injured while conducting the rainbow flame test. Due to the flammability of methanol and the toxicity of barium, the test may soon be abolished because of its safety violations. However, there is a way to continue using the test, and it is through using water as a solvent and readily available household cleaning products as the solutes. Through testing multiple household salts such as boric acid and epsom salts, and using water to dissolve them, we hope to eliminate at least some of the safety concerns concerning the rainbow flame test.