An important aspect of school chemistry is the ability to analyse unknown substances. There is a variety of techniques that can be used and, in the case of some organic chemistry, it can get very complicated: looking at melting points IR spectra, NMR spectra etc.

Here, however, we focus on a series of simple, test-tube tests for common anions and cations.

Further tests for cations take the form of flame tests. These have already been described and you can find details here (Flame Colours)

Testing for Anions – Student

Testing for Anions – Teacher/Technician

Testing for Anions – Risk Assessment

Testing for Cations – Student

Testing for Cations – Teacher/Technician

Testing for Cations – Risk Assessment