1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Spectra from a candle

  1. Oct 4, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I'm having a bit of trouble explaining this physics phenomenon:

    A sodium lamp emits yellow light; that to the human eye appears to be quite similar to a
    candle flame in colour. When light from these two sources is viewed through a
    spectroscope, it is found that their spectra are very different. Explain the differences in the
    two spectra produced.

    I understand that when the electrons of the sodium atoms are excited and fall down to ground state they will release a yellow photon, which explains the line emission spectra from the lamp but I don't know what spectra will be produced by the candle.

    Thank you!

    2. Relevant equations
    No relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    see above
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Here is a hint: Candle wax contains paraffin. So when this burns it contains an element that burns yellow as it is being oxidized. This element also forms as black soot sometimes.
  4. Oct 4, 2009 #3
    Thank you! i get it now
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Spectra candle Date
Emission Spectra of Stars Jan 21, 2018
Target element in Coolidge tube and x-rays Jun 5, 2017
Get vibration frequency form absorption spectra line Apr 19, 2017
Light spectra Jan 22, 2017
Rolling candle Sep 5, 2015