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bright yellow spectral emission line in wood fire yellow flames?

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#1 hamishbarker

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 05:13 AM

Hopefully this is the right forum for this question

 

I bought a little spectroscope for my son, and looking at the light of the yellow flames from wood in the fireplace through it, there is a pretty obvious yellow emission line (perhaps 10% as obvious as the emission lines in the spectrum of a fluorescent tube light, as well as a continuous emission spectrum from the fire which is not so bright.

 

The LED lights of the room seem to have a fairly continuous spectrum without obvious lines.

 

At first I assumed the line was probably sodium, as I assume there must be some in wood, and I tried putting a bit of sodium bicarb onto the fire to see if I could compare the line I was seeing with the sodium line, but couldn't really get any additional emission.

 

The wood is just dry douglas fir, not any treated wood of course.

 

Looking at some google searches for spectra, it looks like maybe potassium or sodium could also be the cause. Potassium seems to have triple lines in the yellow, at a slightly lower wavelength than the sodium line.

 

Has anyone been looking at emission spectra from wood combustion or analysed sodium or potassium content of douglas fir, who might know what element the line is likely caused by?

 

Cheers all,

Hamish


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#2 Jim Davis

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 06:12 AM

I would say it was probably Carbon. See it's emission spectrum here: https://www.flickr.c...stro/5042452450


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#3 dkpath96

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 12:33 PM

Try putting the sodium bicarb (or just table salt) into a nice clean blue torch or propane flame - that will give you the sodium emission line.  Maybe the wood fire isn't hot enough, or the wood flame itself swamps the sodium.




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