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Using a Bunsen burner

Refer to CLEAPSS Laboratory Handbook, Section 9.10 and Student Safety Sheet 92.

A simple Bunsen burner consists of a mixing tube in which gas and air are mixed. The flame can be adjusted by opening or closing the adjustable air hole. A luminous flame (air hole completely closed) should never be used for heating because it deposits too much soot.

If a small flame is required for gentle heating, the gas supply should be adjusted at the gas tap and the air hole half opened.

Bunsen burners should be lit with the air hole closed (although note that this is not the case for some piezo–electric lighters which require a gas/air mix). Students can usually be allowed to light their own Bunsen burners. They may use a splint lit from a central flame (or perhaps from a flame on each bench), matches, or various types of lighter as appropriate.

When lighted Bunsen burners are not being used, the air holes should be closed to give luminous flames which are easier to see, are less hot, and so are safer.

Bunsen burners

Health and safety checked November 2007


Page last updated on 16 December 2011