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Topic: Why use a spectrometre?  (Read 2535 times)

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Offline jebus197

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Why use a spectrometre?
« on: August 10, 2011, 06:26:02 PM »
Can someone please explain why you would use a spectrometer rather than a simple flame test to identify the atoms in an unknown mixture? I'm guessing that the spectrometre would divide the spectra into a much more specific pattern, so that you could identify the individual elements in the unknown mixure, wheras the flame would only give you a mix of colours, thus giving the flame a single coulour consisting of all of these different colours. So the flame test would make guessing the elements of the unknown mixture impossible. But I'm not sure if this is the best answer I can give to this question? Maybe they are looking for something more specific, or am I just overcomplicating things?

Offline Dan

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Re: Why use a spectrometre?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 03:09:18 AM »
Your answer seems perfectly sensible to me. How many marks is the question worth?
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Offline t0ph@t

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Re: Why use a spectrometre?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2011, 07:18:22 PM »
A simple flame test can tell you what atoms certain compounds may contain such as copper which will give you a blue/green flame making it easy to identify. If you were to use a spectrometer along with the flame you would have a greater perception of what color is actually being produce at the flame allowing you to determine metals that may burn at similar colors such as the diffrence between burning sodium or lithium salts. Although if you mean to say the advantage of using a spectrophotometer over a simple flame test, well that would be a different story. When it comes down to it the simplest answer I could give you is that a spectrometer allows the operator to measure what he could not just with his/her unaided eyes.

Offline jebus197

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Re: Why use a spectrometre?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2011, 08:45:29 PM »
Thanks. It's not worth that many marks. And really it just boils down to the spectrometer allowing much more specificity...

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