Question: Spectrometer experiment

rjane20082 is asking a question about general
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by rjane20082 | July 10, 2019 23:36 | #20064

I see that you are chossing to use your spectrometers as transmission spectroscopes but have you tried setting materials on fire and analyzing the emission spectras i have a rudimentary spectroscope made from paper, cd and smart phone with ir filter still inside and can still detect the difference spectra between burning butane and wood. What are the limitations?


There are a number of emission spectra used with the spectrometer. As an example, the instrument is calibrated with the emission spectrum from a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL).

Having said that, could you attach the spectra? They would be interesting to examine. What parts of the spectrum showed the difference between the wood and butane?


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I believe the yellow color you see when burning wood or paper is the atomic emission from sodium ions in the material. It is the same color you see from old style sodium vapor street lights. If you see two lines at 589 to 590 nm, that is what you've got.

I'm not sure burning paper or wood are hot enough to cause the atomic emission of elements like sodium. The doublet emission lines of sodium are produced by electrons hopping between shells and releasing energy. This might take more energy input than is present in burning wood or paper in open air at 1500°K. The orange glow of a wood fire is probably black body radiation which produces different colors as a function of temperature. Much hotter wood fires can have blue flames because of emissions from excited molecules.


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