Flame Test, a method of detecting the presence of certain metals by the colors they give off in the flame of a Bunsen burner. A platinum or nichrome wire is dipped in a powder or solution of the compound to be tested, and the compound is then placed in the flame. Barium gives a green flame; calcium, orange; cesium, blue; copper, greenish blue; potassium, violet.
If more than one metal is present, the test is unreliable, for one color obscures another. Except in rough, preliminary analyses, the flame test is little used by chemists. There are more precise methods of identifying elements.