Nichrome wire is often used as an alternative to platinum for flame testing.
Flame testing can be used to identify the presence of a small number of metal ions in a compound (Not all metal ions give flame colours).
Flame tests are usually by far the easiest way of identifying Group 1 compounds to see which metal is present. For other metals, there are usually other methods which are more reliable – but the flame test can give a useful hint as to where to look.
The process involves cleaning the platinum or nichrome wire with concentrated hydrochloric acid and placing it in a flame until no colour is produced. Then the wire is dipped in the acid again and then into the compound to be tested and placed back in the flame. Different compounds produce different flame colours.
Platinum is the best choice for flame testing as it produces no colour whereas Nichrome wire will always produce a very slight orange tint in the flame, but due to the high cost of platinum Nichrome wire is often used.