(h) Chemical tests

2:44 describe tests for these gases: hydrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia, chlorine

Tests for gases

GasTestResult if gas present
hydrogen (H2)Use a lit splintGas pops
oxygen (O2)Use a glowing splintGlowing splint relights
carbon dioxide (CO2)Bubble the gas through limewaterLimewater turns cloudy
ammonia (NH3)Use red litmus paperTurns damp red litmus paper blue
chlorine (Cl2)Use moist litmus paperTurns moist litmus paper white (bleaches)

2:45 describe how to carry out a flame test

A flame test is used to show the presence of certain metal ions (cations) in a compound.

  • A platinum or nichrome wire is dipped into concentrated hydrochloric acid to remove any impurities.
  • The wire is dipped into the salt being tested so some salt sticks to the end.
  • The wire and salt are held in a non-luminous (roaring) bunsen burner flame.
  • The colour is observed.


2:46 know the colours formed in flame tests for these cations: Li⁺ is red, Na⁺ is yellow, K⁺ is lilac, Ca²⁺ is orange-red, Cu²⁺ is blue-green

When put into a roaring bunsen burner flame on a nichrome wire, compounds containing certain cations will give specific colours as follows.

IonColour in flame test
lithium (Li⁺)red
sodium (Na⁺)yellow
potassium (K⁺)lilac
calcium (Ca²⁺)orange-red
copper (II) (Cu²⁺)blue-green

2:47 describe tests for these cations: NH₄⁺ using sodium hydroxide solution and identifying the gas evolved, Cu²⁺, Fe²⁺ and Fe³⁺ using sodium hydroxide solution

Describe tests for the cation NH4+, using sodium hydroxide solution and identifying the ammonia evolved


Describe tests for the cations Cu2+, Fe2+ and Fe3+, using sodium hydroxide solution

First, add sodium hydroxide (NaOH), then observe the colour:

2:48 describe tests for these anions: Cl⁻, Br⁻ and I⁻ using acidified silver nitrate solution, SO₄²⁻ using acidified barium chloride solution, CO₃²⁻ using hydrochloric acid and identifying the gas evolved

Describe tests for anions: Halide ions (Cl, Br and I)


Describe tests for anions: Sulfate ions (SO42)


Describe tests for anions: Carbonate ions (CO32-)

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Section 1: Principles of chemistry

      a) States of matter

      b) Atoms

      c) Atomic structure

     d) Relative formula masses and molar volumes of gases

     e) Chemical formulae and chemical equations

     f) Ionic compounds

     g) Covalent substances

     h) Metallic crystals

     i) Electrolysis

 Section 2: Chemistry of the elements

     a) The Periodic Table

     b) Group 1 elements: lithium, sodium and potassium

     c) Group 7 elements: chlorine, bromine and iodine

     d) Oxygen and oxides

     e) Hydrogen and water

     f) Reactivity series

     g) Tests for ions and gases

Section 3: Organic chemistry

     a) Introduction

     b) Alkanes

     c) Alkenes

     d) Ethanol

Section 4: Physical chemistry

     a) Acids, alkalis and salts

     b) Energetics

     c) Rates of reaction

     d) Equilibria

Section 5: Chemistry in industry

     a) Extraction and uses of metals

     b) Crude oil

     c) Synthetic polymers

     d) The industrial manufacture of chemicals