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Name: ghodel
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Date: 1999 

What determines the colors which a substance will reflect? There must be some relationship between the chemical structure of a molecule and the color of that substance. Can someone give a simple explanation of this?

It's exactly the chemical structure of the molecule that determines the color of the solution. In organic molecules, it's usually the conjugation of double bonds (single bond-double bond-single-double, etc) that accounts for color. These bonds absorb certain wavelengths of white light thereby transmitting others thus giving off a color. For inorganics (the reason why copper solutions are blue in water), its the bonds again that absorb certain wavelengths and transmit others. The copper-water bond absorbs light in the 580-600 nanometer range (yellow-orange) so it transmits blue light. A yellow solution then absorbs blue light(450 nanometers).

-Joe Schultz

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