Erlenmeyer flask

November 1, 2021

For the mixture of substances in physics and chemistry laboratories, it is necessary to use a resistant container that helps to carry out each process correctly, the laboratory instrument indicated for these cases is an Erlenmeyer flask.

This tool is much safer than other laboratory materials, its structure and construction elements prevent liquids from spilling when shaking the solutions. All this is possible since the Erlenmeyer flasks can be covered with a cotton ball or a small lid.

What is an Erlenmeyer Flask?

The erlenmeyer flask or also called erlenmeyer flask, is a borosilicate glass container, whose structure is flat at the base, it also has a cylindrical neck and cone shape. This type of tool is used to heat liquids , especially when they must reach the point of evaporation.

These vessels are very easy to recognize, based on four external aspects: a conical base, a flat bottom, a short and narrow neck and finally a circular nozzle, which allows it to be connected to other distillation equipment.

This laboratory instrument is named after the German chemist Richard August Carl Emil Erlenmeyer. Richard invented and designed this glass in Germany in 1861. The purpose of the flask was to help speed up important chemical processes during the scientific advances that were being made at the time.

In principle, this laboratory instrument served to evaporate highly dangerous liquids in physics and chemistry laboratories, then its functions diversified over the years.

One of the main advantages of these flasks is that due to its narrow neck , it prevents boiling mixtures from being projected. Its use is necessary to bind substances and cover them, in order to preserve the chemical components, so that they are not damaged or altered by another external element.

What is an Erlenmeyer Flask for?

Erlenmeyer flasks are very useful in the assembly of distillation instruments and to carry out heating activities or to react substances. These containers are also of great advantage when you want to store liquids for long periods of time, without damaging or altering their components.

Due to their frustoconical property, these flasks are also suitable for mixing by shaking and during the evaporation process of liquid control. The structure of this object prevents the substance from spilling out.

Additionally, its narrow neck shape allows the placement of ground or cotton plugs, which allows the preservation of substances.

As I have already mentioned, this container is useful for physics, chemistry and also biology laboratories, below I will detail its usefulness in these three spaces:

In the field of chemistry, it allows mixing different liquids through the agitation process, in these cases the ideal is to use a funnel that allows the liquids to be integrated without any inconvenience.

In biology laboratories they are used for the elaboration of cultures by means of incubation , additionally, they are used as an object of volume measurement in the transfer of gases and the transfer of oxygen and speed.

On the other hand, in physics laboratories, it is used to measure the volumes of substances , all this thanks to the fact that Erlenmeyer flasks contain useful measurement marks during these processes.

How does an Erlenmeyer flask work?

The Erlenmeyer flask is a very delicate glass bottle, so it must be used correctly, taking into account the necessary precautions at the time of use. Here’s how to use this object:

  • If you are going to use it to bring a liquid to a boil, place it on a tripod.
  • To place it correctly on the tripod, in order to protect this instrument, it is best to place it on a metal ring or hoop.
  • You can hold it with tweezers or test tube holders by the neck of the flask.
  • Remember to place a wire mesh or asbestos grid between the flask and the metal ring or tripod.

This is how the Erlenmeyer flask should be held over a Bunsen burner so that it is heated by the flame. Remember that it must be handled with great care to ensure its integrity and your own.

Erlenmeyer flask uses

Unlike other laboratory materials, this equipment has various uses within the laboratory, one of the most common being during titrations. In this process, the Erlenmeyer flask is very useful so that the liquid does not spill , while the substance is stirred.

In some sciences such as microbiology the flasks are used during the preparation of culture broths, during the process the flasks can be covered without any problem.

Although this container can get hot, it is not recommended for melting violent chemicals, in these cases it is advisable to use a distillation flask. It is also important to note that these flasks should not be used for measuring liquids, as their measurements are imprecise.

When using the flasks in experiments, it is necessary to place them on asbestos screens for their protection. To hold the flask, the indicated laboratory parts to grasp are buret tongs .

The uses of the Erlenmeyer flask are varied and of great importance in the laboratory, for the development of experiments and analyzes. Knowing its potential will help you get the most out of it.

Erlenmeyer flask types

We can find Erlenmeyer flasks between 50 ml and 1000 ml, that is, their volume varies, as well as their structure and manufacturing materials. Here are the three types of Erlenmeyer flask that exist:

  • Erlenmeyer flask with wide nozzle

This container is used when you want to work with pipettes that must reach the bottom of the flask. It is also useful to add liquids with ease, without running the risk that they come out of the container, its volume is 125 ml.

  • Erlenmeyer flask with narrow spout

This type of flask has the characteristic of presenting a narrow nozzle , therefore, when introducing the liquids, it must be done with great care.

The advantage of this container is that, when shaking the mixture, it will not spill. That is why some come with a built-in lid, so that the substance remains in optimal conditions. The narrow neck flask is made in presentations from 10 ml to 6 L.

  • Flat bottom flask

The volume of this flask ranges from 125 ml to 5 L, generally this flask is made to culture cells and microbes . This type of material has a flat base that does not allow the agitation or spillage of the entire substance.

Depending on the type of process you want to carry out, you will need a specific Erlenmeyer flask, thus avoiding possible failures during its use.

Erlenmeyer Flask Features

Erlenmeyer flasks are very easy to recognize containers due to their external structure, below you will see some characteristics of this instrument:

  • It has a round and flat base
  • Its upper external structure is composed of a narrow neck
  • These flasks have marks on their external structure that determine their volume.
  • There are different capacities and sizes of Erlenmeyer flasks

Flasks are very useful and easily recognizable instruments, however, they are also very delicate containers that deserve special care to guarantee their useful life.

Importance of the Erlenmeyer Flask

The Erlenmeyer flask is recognized within chemistry as one of the most important and indispensable instruments for its wide utility and use.

The great advantage of this flask is that it is a much safer object than other materials such as the beaker, because if you want to shake the mixture it does not run the risk of spilling. If you use the flasks, you will hardly be able to lose the mixture, because its narrow and long neck structure prevents all kinds of splashing.

As well as these equipment are very useful, it is also necessary that these pieces be used with care and with the greatest possible hygiene, therefore it is advisable to wash the containers very well once they have already been used, this way you will guarantee a long useful time. longer.

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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