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Thread: HOT BODIES GLOW

  1. #1 HOT BODIES GLOW 
    Forum Freshman hyderstungg's Avatar
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    How is it that when a sodium crystal is heated to a very high temperature, it glows yellow, whereas when quartz is heated to about 1073 K, it barely glows ?


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  3. #2 HOT BODIES GLOW 
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    The reason different compounds and elements glow when heat is added is due to their electron configuration and the amount of electrons in the valence (outermost) shell. I will use an example of a coordination compound for simplicity. The most common electron configuration structures for coordination compounds are linear, square planar, tetrahedral and octahedral, and electrons "fit" in their own place in the different structures. Some electrons will not be paired (thus, the compound will be called paramagnetic), whereas other electrons in compounds will be paired (called diamagnetic). Depending on the amount of energy given to the molecule, or atom, the electron(s) may move up a subshell and fall back down, subsequently shooting a beam of energy out in the form of light. If violet is emitted, strong energy is released. Similarly, if red is emitted, weak energy is released. In your example, the sodium crystal's valence electrons (I'm not sure how many valence electrons sodium crystal has) will move up an orbital and emit a yellow light (fairly low energy). The quartz's electrons are relatively stable and will not go to a higher orbital, therefore, emitting no light. Hope this helped!


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