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Flaming flame tests

>I did a flame test on Green Light Stump remover several years ago and
>got a bright yellow flame which is an indication that it is sodium (not
>potassium) nitrate.

It is easy to get a positive flame test for sodium--in fact one must be
scrupulously clean NOT to get a sodium emission. Unless you (1) dissolved
the stump remover in deionized (not just RO) water (2) repeatedly rinsed
and heated the sample wire and (3) touched nothing with your hands that
eventually ended up in contact with the test solution, you will get a
sodium emission. Sodium is everywhere, and flame tests are quite sensitive
for Na.

Michael Schmidt
California State University, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA