Science Explains: Flame Color

Posted on February 18, 2008  Comments (4)

Have you ever wondered why some flames are yellow, while others are blue? Growing up, I was always told that it was a matter of temperature, that hot flames were blue and cooler flames were yellow. While there is a temperature difference, that difference is a “symptom” of what is going on, not the cause of the color difference.

Does that mean that there is solid stuff inside the candle flame? Let’s find out. Light the candle and be sure it is steady and won’t fall over. Hold the bottom of the plate in the candle flame for a few seconds. When you remove the plate, it has turned black!!! Don’t worry. You have not ruined it. Let it cool for a minute. Remember, it is HOT! Once it has cooled, rub your finger over the black spot. The black rubs off.

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4 Responses to “Science Explains: Flame Color”

  1. Matt
    February 21st, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

    I never knew this, and this is something that I have been curious about. Serious this is one of those things that I am interested in, but not enough to research about it. I am so glad for this blog and video that explains it. Very nice for me. Thanks.


  2. CuriousCat » Flint and Steel: What Causes the Sparks?
    March 4th, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

    “iron is a pyrophoric material; in the presence of oxygen, iron catches on fire automatically! It just starts burning…”

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    February 18th, 2009 @ 8:48 am

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