Color of Solutions

farnell

Full Member
May 15, 2012
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  1. Pre-Medical
    I recently ran into a problem on a practice test where it wanted to know why a metal produced a color in an aqueous solution. The answer was because the metal had unfilled d orbitals, and electrons can jump up and down between the orbital levels.

    I know that going back to the ground state will emit a photon of certain wavelength, but why would putting a metal in solution cause the electrons to be excited? Furthermore, does this mean that metals with a filled d orbital will be colorless in an aqueous solution?

    Colors of solutions were not in my review books so I am a little confused. Thanks in advance for the help!!
     

    jcb123

    Full Member
    5+ Year Member
    Feb 6, 2014
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    1. Medical Student
      This question is sort of advanced. I'm pretty confident that you would not need to know more than the fact that transition metals produce colors because of d orbital transitions.

      So the color is caused by splitting of un-filled d orbitals and white light passing through the solution essentially causes the transitions. This is really an upper level inorganic chem sort of question but if ur curious u can find a bit more about it here

      http://www.chemguide.co.uk/inorganic/complexions/colour.html
       
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