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Why do atoms emit light of characteristic color when heated to a high temperature?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Atoms have what are called "orbitals" which are sorts of energy states that electrons can acheive. A certain set of orbitals are considered the ground state, which is to say that a neutral atom (meaning the atom has as many electrons as protons) will be at its lowest energy state when all electrons occupy the ground state orbitals. However, an electron can acquire extra energy which will raise the electron to a higher orbital. This can be done by heat or light. When an electron is elevated to a higher orbital, it is unstable, and it will eventually drop. When it drops back down to groundd state, it will release a photon which has a specific amount of energy--the difference in enrgy between the higher and lower orital.

    Energy in a photon relates to its wavelength, and wavelength relates to color. Hence, for a given type of atom, the transition between two orbitals (which is set by the nucleus involving physical chemistry matters that are way too complex to speel out here) will always require a certain amount of energy, and the relaxation of an electron between those states will always release a photon of a specific color.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Depending on the heat-energy,the electrons in the atom change orbits

    By falling bach they emit energy,which depending on frequency gives the colour (E=H times Frequency)

    (H is Plancks constant)

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  • 3 years ago

    ninety 9% of what you spot once you look at a hearth is the gleaming bits of carbon which will cool and become smoke. the certainly chemical reaction is occurring on the bottom of the flames, and what's occurring is that oxygen is chemically reacting with a gasoline. Its a chemical reaction that produces warmth yet oftentimes you're able to grant or grant an outstanding sort of warm temperature to commence the reaction... after that it really is virtually consistently self protecting.

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