Fairy Tail and the Flame Test

Teaching with anime- Fairy Tail and the flame test

 

There is a popular chemistry lab called the flame test.  The flame test is rather simple:

1- place a small metal loop into a solution containing metal ions

2- take the solution-soaked loop and place it into a Bunsen burner flame

3- observe how the color of the flame briefly changes

flame test

 

The test is observing the emission spectrum of the metal ions.  An emission spectrum is the light that is emitted by a compound or element.  It can be broken down further by using a prism or polarized lens to appear as bands of color instead of a single color as seen above.

emission spectrum

Emission spectrum of sodium

 

This is, of course more complex, and not something that is often done in a high school chemistry lab.  The reason that light is emitted by a substance or element when heated is that the energy causes the electrons to jump to a higher energy state, and when the electron returns to normal its normal state it emits light.

electron states

 

But you didn’t come here for all of that, you came here to see how you can use the flame test, which is often used as an example of physical properties in class.  The way I often see this test used is as a practical application of emission spectra, and physical properties.  It is then expanded on by giving the students an unknown solution and having the students determine what is in the solution based on the color it gives off during the flame test.  Instead of or in addition to that, you could have the students try to determine what substances you would need to add to a solution to create a flame of a particular color.

 

Flame Test Worksheet

Fairy Tail Fire Magic

 

Clearly creating flames using magic is impossible, but it is possible to make flames of different colors using real world chemistry.

1- Is this is a physical or chemical property?

2- What is an emission spectrum?

3- Why do substances give off light when heated?

4- Can an emission spectrum be used to identify an unknown substance?

5- Determine if it is possible to replicate the flame color from the various types of flame magic in Fairy Tail.  If it is possible, explain which element you would use to create the color.

 

Fire Dragon Roar- red fire

fire dragon roar

 

Zancrow’s Fire- black fire

black fire

 

Blue Fire

blue fire

 

Zera’s Fire- orange fire

zera

 

Romeo’s Rainbow Fire- yeah, it’s green fire

rainbow fire

 

Romeo’s Yellow Fire

Romeo

 

Purple Flare

purple flames

 

Prominence Flames

Bora

 

Flames of Rebuke

Jellal

 

6- How does the flame test apply to fireworks?

Flame Test Worksheet over

 

Conclusion

I’ve finally done it.  I now have an anime-based lab activity.  It’s not much but it could make an interesting extension to the more traditional flame test activities.  If you have any thoughts or ideas about this activity, I would love to hear them.

 

Sources

https://www.chemguide.co.uk/inorganic/group1/flametests.html

https://chem.libretexts.org/Core/Inorganic_Chemistry/Descriptive_Chemistry/Elements_Organized_by_Block/1_s-Block_Elements/Group__1%3A_The_Alkali_Metals/2Reactions_of_the_Group_1_Elements/Flame_Tests