Volumetric flask

November 1, 2021

The volumetric flask is a very useful glass container in laboratories because it allows determining the density or thickness of substances, it is also a piece of equipment that prevents liquids from spilling out of the container.

The origin of the flasks is derived from the beginning of the second century, a time in which alchemists began to investigate and develop physical and chemical processes. With the passage of time, its structure and materials were perfected until they are used today through activities of modern chemistry.

There are different types and models of flasks, some with a wide neck such as the Erlenmeyer flask and others with a long neck such as the volumetric flask and the volumetric flask.

What is a Volumetric Flask?

The volumetric flask is a laboratory vessel made of glass with a long neck and flat bottom structure that is used to measure the volume of mixtures. The container has a set of lines that measure the density of the substances.

Volumetric flasks arose from the need for laboratory workers and scientists to mix and match all kinds of mixtures without running the risk of them being emptied by accident when starting the boiling process. Another reason these flasks were created is to heat substances while carrying out chemical and physical processes.

As for the parts of a volumetric flask, I can mention three of them that can be perceived with the naked eye. The first, a flat and conical base that allows substances to be preserved within a surface.

The second is a cylindrical neck that shows lines or marks in which the quantities that can be measured in the flask are expressed. The third and last part we find a circular mouth that can be closed with a cork or any other material that allows it and that prevents the liquid from decomposing or spilling.

What is a Volumetric Flask for?

These laboratory instruments are used to measure the volume of substances accurately and precisely. Because this flask has a thin neck, it allows you to verify and determine if a change in volume of a mixture has caused a difference in length in the meniscus.

The volumetric flask is a calibrated container that also serves to avoid parallax errors, that is; a change in the position of an element produced by the variation of the position of the observer. To prevent this from happening, precautionary measures should be taken, for example properly cleaning the equipment before use, especially if it is full of grease.

How does a volumetric flask work?

If you don’t know how a volumetric flask works until now, don’t worry, I’ll tell you what to do next:

  • The first step is to take your volumetric flask, clean it very well and dry it. Make sure you have removed any trace of water or substance , as a drop of water could cause measurement errors.
  • Depending on the type of substance you want to heat, you can proceed to place the flask on a lighter. The temperature that these flasks can withstand range from 20 ° C minimum and 25 ° C maximum.
  • Start adding the solute. In such a case that the substance sticks to the surface or neck of the flask, you must remove it carefully. When starting the process, make sure the mixture reaches directly to the bottom of the material
  • Proceed to shake the flask so that the solute dissolves , be careful during this process, shake it precisely but be careful, this way you will avoid spilling the mixture.
  • Finally finish applying all the solute inside the container, put the cap on and you should shake with a little more force until the mixture becomes homogeneous and you can measure the accuracy of the volume of the substance.
  • You can use a funnel to ensure greater precision and safety, when introducing the mixture.
  • At the end of the measurement procedure, clean the container properly.

With these simple steps you can use your volumetric flask safely and without problems whenever you want.

Additionally, knowing what are the uses that can be given to this instrument can be of great help to obtain the best results, below, I show you some:

Uses of the Volumetric Flask

Volumetric flasks have been designed to measure the specific volume of a substance , this allows you to determine the precise measure that should be used for a new solution. It is necessary to know that making this measurement is not so simple, since the quantities are not completely exact due to absolute and relative errors that the volumetry of any mixture possesses.

Thus, the measurement indicated by the volumetric flask is not final. It is necessary to take into account the specific value of the measurement and the measured value indicated by the instrument, only in this way will the percentage of error of each measurement be determined. This is the best way to know the specific volume of a substance within the chemical or physics laboratory.

The volumetric flask is also a container that is used in volumetry, during this process they are used to heat elements and mix them, in this way the risk of a spill occurring is reduced.

Types of Volumetric Flask

Volumetric flasks are classified according to their capacity or measurements, below, I show you the types or classifications:

  • Small solutions

They range from 25 ml, 50 ml.

  • Dense solutions

100 ml, 200 ml.

  • Very dense solutions

500 ml y 1000 ml.

Depending on the type of solution to be measured, a precise volumetric flask must be used, for this, take into account whether the solution is titrated or standardized, all this will guarantee more precise results.

Volumetric Flask Features

The flasks are a very useful instrument in the laboratory, their structure and their resistant material of manufacture, allows that they can be heated without problems. Here are the main features:

  • They are containers made of glass.
  • Its external structure is composed of a flat bottom and a long neck.
  • They are calibrated to measure the volume of mixtures.
  • From their base to the neck, they have marks that indicate the volume of the mixtures.

Volumetric flasks unlike other types of containers, such as beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks, are easily recognizable by their elongated structure.

Importance of the Volumetric Flask

The flask is a very useful instrument for chemistry, physics and biology laboratories because they allow, measure, heat and store substances. However, despite its varieties, the volumetric flask is a really useful container because it allows the density of a solute or other type of substance to be measured to be determined, thus facilitating the processes.

But for these tools to have the desired durability, it is necessary to take into account that since it is a glass material, it is advisable to wash the volumetric flask with soap and water, preferably to rinse four times.

It is recommended to use special surfactant soaps that can be obtained in powder or solution, the great advantage of these materials is that since they do not produce foam, they do not generate any type of waste.

When the solution you have used is very thick, it is advisable to let the flask soak for several hours.

Another way to ensure the use of your volumetric flask for a longer time is to clean them with acids, for this a 10% nitric acid solution is used that allows to remove all kinds of residues of very dense substances from the glass structure, then it must be rinsed with deionized water.

Volumetric flasks are very useful containers but they must be used with the necessary care that these equipment deserve, for this reason it is not advisable to wash these containers with brushes because it could affect their structure.

It is necessary to use these laboratory equipment correctly, so you will obtain the expected results, and the precise measurements you need for your procedures.

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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