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What is a Bunsen Burner? | Bunsen Burner Parts, Diagram & Function

Keta Bhakta, Elizabeth (Nikki) Wyman
  • Author
    Keta Bhakta

    Keta Bhakta graduated from University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Neuroscience and then with a D.D.S. as a dentist. She has tutored many students in various math and science subjects. She began working as a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2013.

  • Instructor
    Elizabeth (Nikki) Wyman

    Nikki has a master's degree in teaching chemistry and has taught high school chemistry, biology and astronomy.

What is a bunsen burner? Identify, label, and understand functions of the various parts of a bunsen burner. Learn what a bunsen burner can be used for. Updated: 07/29/2021

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Bunsen Burner

A Bunsen burner is a type of gas burner that is used in many chemistry procedures in a laboratory setting. It is used to heat substances, to combust substances, and to sterilize objects on high heat. Many different types of gases can be used in a burner such as methane, butane, propane, or a mixture of them. It produces a hotter flame than with regular air and gas mixture. It is named after a German chemist, Robert Bunsen, who introduced it in mid-1800s.

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Bunsen burner image

Bunsen burner image

The Parts of a Bunsen Burner

The entire burner is typically made of metal and it burner sits on the bench via a sturdy base. The main gas inlet at the base of the burner is attached to gas nozzle on a lab bench with the use of a rubber tubing. When the lab gas nozzle is turned on, the gas will flow up into the burner from the base. There are small holes in the vertical tube above the gas inlet to allow air to be admitted into the gas mixture from the sides. Once ignited at the top with a lighter or match, the gas burns at the very top of the burner.

The different parts of a Bunsen burner include:

  • Barrel: vertical metal tube connected to base
  • Collar: connects the barrel to the base
  • Air holes: present in the collar and allow adjustable flow of air into the gas mixture in the barrel
  • Gas intake: connects to the gas source at the lab bench via a rubber hose
  • Gas valve: regulates flow of gas
  • Stand/base: used to set the burner on the bench

The parts of a Bunsen burner

Labelled diagram of a Bunsen burner

More air mixed in with gas allows for a hotter or more combustible reaction (more blue) as more oxygen is mixed in. Again, this air flow is controlled by the air slots or holes in the vertical tube attached to the barrel. The hottest part of the flame is at the tip of the inner flame, while the entire inner flame is the coolest part. An increase in gas flow will increase the flame size; however, more air must also be allowed to mix in to allow the temperature to rise also as more oxygen is needed with increased gas flow.

How to Use a Bunsen Burner?

There are many steps that must be kept in mind before, during, and after the use of Bunsen burner. If these precautions and steps are overlooked, then a large fire hazard can occur which would risk lives of the operator as well as others present in the laboratory.

Before lighting a Bunsen burner:

  1. Use correct tubing and inspect all equipment for any damage and replace any equipment as needed.
  2. Let everyone in the lab know that a burner will be used.
  3. Remove all combustible materials from the area and secure any dangling hair, jewelry, or clothing.

While lighting a Bunsen burner:

  1. Have a lighter or sparker ready. Do not use matches.
  2. Check all connections and close needle valve or collar completely.
  3. Open gas flow and turn needle valve one half turn before lighting.
  4. Adjust collar as needed to regulate air flow to achieve an ideal blue flame

During the use of a Bunsen burner:

  1. Never leave it unattended.
  2. Make sure gas valve is shut off if flame is accidentally extinguished while burner is still on.

After using a Bunsen burner:

  1. Shut off the gas valve completely.
  2. Do not touch anything until it cools down first.
  3. Shut off main gas valve in the lab, if appropriate.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the barrel used for in a Bunsen burner?

The barrel is the vertical metal tube connected to the base via a collar where the gas flows up vertically towards the top.

Are Bunsen burners used in biology?

Yes! Bunsen burners are used in biology for many purposes like sterilizing laboratory equipment so that contamination does not occur during different processes of an experiment.

What is the function and uses of Bunsen burner?

A Bunsen burner is used to heat reactions, dessicate reactions, sterilize laboratory equipment, and to allow combustion reactions to occur.

How do you use a Bunsen burner?

There are many steps involved in using a Bunsen burner. A lighter or sparker should be used and all gas valves should be shut off when done using. All equipment and materials should be 12 inches away from an operating Bunsen burner at all times for safety.

What are the parts of a Bunsen burner?

The different parts of a Bunsen burner are: barrel, collar, air holes, gas intake, gas valve, and the base. Each part plays a crucial role in the process of flame generation.

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