Erlenmeyer flask, what is it, how to buy it?

November 2, 2021

Among the different laboratory materials such as the volumetric flask , the Bunsen burner and others, we find the Erlenmeyer flask . The latter is the one we will focus on this time, being a conical container used in a wide variety of materials.

Creator of the Erlenmeyer flask

The Erlenmeyer flask is known as a conical flask which has an opening at the narrow end. This laboratory material was created by a chemist of German origin who receives the name of Richard August Carl Emil Erlenmeyer or as Emil Erlenmeyer is also known.

He is known for being a professor who was part of the Munich Polytechnic Institute between 1863 and 1883. He has a good number of achievements, the most notable of which are the synthesis of guanidine and tyrosine. But he is also known for his explanation of the structure of compounds such as lactone.

It is thanks to this person that we owe the creation of the Erlenmeyer flask, which is why this experiment is named after its creator. Which created it specifically in the year 1860.

Erlenmeyer flask history

As we mentioned, this tool was created in 1860 by Erlenmeyer. Its creation responds to the need to streamline chemical processes of high relevance to scientific advances.

Basically Emil Erlenmeyer carried out the invention of the flask in the year 1860 with the aim of simplifying some chemical experiments . All this in order to obtain the best results, and to be able to carry out a great variety of more complex procedures.

This experiment had such an impact that today they can be found in different chemistry and physics laboratories . Its popularity lies a lot in its characteristics such as that of withstanding high temperatures to evaporate liquids with high levels of danger.

In fact, in the realm of chemistry, this is where this tool had the most significant impact. So much so that it is considered the most important invention.

What is the Erlenmeyer flask?

As we mentioned, a container with a conical shape is known as an Erlenmeyer flask. It can be defined as a device that has a flat base and a cylindrical nozzle . Being made in most cases by a glass that is characterized by being highly resistant to high temperatures.

But not only that since it has a high resistance to strong chemical reactions , transparent. Thanks to this instrument you have the opportunity of constant stirring of the liquid mixture, precipitates and / or chemical solutions. It is characterized by being a versatile tool, with a cylinder or nozzle size so it can easily be covered with corks or a stopper.

Erlenmeyer flask characteristics

Detecting this instrument is one of the easiest things we can do, since it has an easily identifiable shape. They are characterized by being bottles with a round base , which, as we have mentioned, has a conical structure in the middle area and in the upper area.

On the other hand, this is a type of graduated flask, which contains marks that serve to indicate a certain volume . At the same time, this apparatus has a great variety of capabilities.

On the other hand, these can be manufactured in borosilicate glass or plastic, with capacities ranging from 25 ml, up to about 2000 ml. As for the size of it, we can find that it is usually 100 to 250 ml.

How does the Erlenmeyer flask work?

This laboratory material works as a container, which allows both mixing and evaporating a good amount of chemical and biological liquids . Being commonly used to bring materials from a liquid or solid state to a gaseous state Which is achieved through evaporation.

At the same time this can work to conserve mixtures, liquids and to be able to prepare cultures. Regarding the way it is used or what is the same as using it, we must first place a supply grid or a metal ring next to a universal support, whenever it is going to be used to heat some liquid.

But if what we want is to use it as a container to stir the mixtures . All we have to do is place the mixture and make sure that the components are well incorporated. Then you can start to gently shake until you achieve what you want.

In the case of wanting to use it to preserve any mixture or liquid. We just have to add it to the flask and then save.

What is the Erlenmeyer flask for?

As we have already mentioned, this tool is used in laboratories, specifically we can find them in chemistry, physics or biology laboratories .

What is the Erlenmeyer flask for in chemistry?

If we focus on the case of chemistry we have to function as a container, which gives us the opportunity to mix different contents just by shaking the flask.

It is important to mention that in this case, the use of the funnel must be taken into account in order to correctly incorporate the liquids or solids that we are going to mix. Once this is done we must shake gently, until the mixture is as we need it. This instrument represents an advantage for this type of work since the volume of the mixtures can be measured by the measurement lines it has.

What is the Erlenmeyer flask good for in biology?

If we turn to what would be its application in the field of biology, we find that this flask has several applications. Although the most important and most used is for the preparation of cultures using incubation and shaking.

But when it is not used for what we already mentioned, we find that it is used as a measuring instrument, since as we mentioned it has measurement lines. At the same time, other uses such as maximizing the transfer of gases and for the speed and transfer of oxygen stand out.

On the other hand, we must emphasize that the most universal use that is given to this laboratory tool is to heat liquids to high temperatures. Thanks to this we achieve the formation of gases and the mixture of liquid components.

Erlenmeyer flask types

There are many models of these flasks , which vary considerably, for example we can find some of 50 ml and others that reach 1000 ml. At the same time, these laboratory materials can vary in terms of the materials used for their preparation, for example we find some made of glass and others made of plastic.

In both cases they are resistant to heat and the chemicals that are exposed, however the most common is to find them made of glass. To differentiate the different types of Erlenmeyer flask we must look at its mouth and its base. With this in mind we can say that its different types are;

  • Wide nozzle; In this case we have a type of Erlenmeyer flask, which, as its name indicates, has a wide mouth. Thanks to this nozzle it is ideal when you need to work with pipettes, since you can reach the end of the container without problems. Which is a great advantage because it is easier and safer to pour the liquid. They are usually around 125 ml.
  • Flat base; These differentiated flasks have a flat bottom, and are designed primarily for culturing microbes and cells. They generally do not need shaking, since their base is flat and spacious. They generally go from 125 ml to 2 liters.
  • Narrow mouthpiece; In this case we find a narrow nozzle, so it is much more difficult to get to introduce the liquid to be treated. However, this is a great advantage when it comes to shaking the content, as it cannot spill. On the other hand we find some that come with a built- in lid. This is mainly so that the mixture can be preserved without problems, without the elements of the environment being able to come into contact with them and therefore affect it.

Importance of the Erlenmeyer flask

As with other laboratory materials. Like the volumetric flask, the micropipettes, the Bunsen burner and the Alcohol Burner, known as the Erlenmeyer flask in honor of its creator, they have a great advantage when carrying out experiments in chemistry.

To begin with, it is a very safe laboratory instrument, especially when compared to a beaker. In the latter when the mixture is stirred there is the possibility that the liquid or any other material will spill.

In the case of this flask, the possibility of the liquid spilling is practically nil. We must bear in mind that it has a long and narrow neck . On the other hand, as we mentioned, these tools sometimes have built-in lids, and even if you don’t have one, we can use a cotton ball or a plastic lid to cover the nozzle and keep the liquid inside the container without spilling it.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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