Author ORCID Identifier

Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2021

Degree Name

Chemistry (BA, BS)



First Advisor

Dr. John Swierk

Second Advisor

Christof Grewer

Third Advisor

Clarice Kelleher


Science and Mathematics

Subject Heading(s)

Chemistry -- Study and teaching; Atomic emission spectroscopy; Tattooing


An effective way to promote student engagement in the laboratory is to substitute traditional reagents for recognizable, real-world products. In this work, two laboratory experiments are outlined – one geared toward undergraduate general chemistry students and one for high school introductory level chemistry students – which replace solutions of metal salts with tattoo inks in the classic flame test experiment. The main objective of both experiments is to familiarize students with the subatomic mechanism occurring during atomic emission. Additionally, the undergraduate level experiment features the use of spectroscopy to identify metals present within tattoo inks through analysis of atomic emission spectra.

Included in

Chemistry Commons