The Bunsen burner is a type of gas burner designed by a German scientist named Robert Bunsen in 1857. It produces a smokeless and non-luminous flame which is required to initiate various chemical reactions. The source of flame is a mixture of gases, such as methane, ethane, propane, etc. These gases are called natural gases and can be controlled by adjusting the bunsen burner.
Bunsen burner has the following parts:
Barrel or chimney
It is the longest part of the burner. It is made up of metal tube. Its length is about 5 to 6 inches. It is a non-moveable part of the bunsen burner. From the inside, the chimney is hollow and narrow that increases the flow of mixing of gas and oxygen.
Collar (air regulator)
It is located at the base of the barrel. It increases heat by mixing more oxygen coming from air valves. It can rotate clockwise or anticlockwise. Rotating clockwise decreases the amount of heat that is indicated by the yellow color flame. However, rotating anticlockwise increases the amount of heat. This changes the color of the flame from yellow to blue.
These are opening on the bunsen burner. They allow oxygen to enter the barrel from the collar.
It is internally connected with the gas receiving part (gas nozzle). The supply of gas can be controlled by rotating the gas valve right or left.
The gas nozzle allows the natural gas to enter the bunsen burner. This can be achieved by connecting the nozzle to the gas source with a rubber or plastic pipe.
It is a lower and heavy part of the bunsen burner. It helps to stabilize the burner vertically. Normally, it is disc or flat shaped. Disc-shaped is preferable as it gives more surface area to maintain the central point of gravity.
When gas flows from the source to the bunsen burner through the gas nozzle, it goes from the bottom to the upward direction. This happens via a small hole between the chimney and the bottom part of the burner.
Air enters the barrel through the air holes by using the venturi effect. This is the reason gas exits from the barrel with speed and starts burning into flame. The amount of air mixed with gas affects the strength of the flame. More air supply increases the strength of flame while less air supply decreases the power of the flame.
The combustion strength of the flame can be identified by its color. It is observed that adjusting the collar or air hole gives different colors of flame.
For example, if the air hole is,
- Completely closed, it gives a yellow flame (safety fire).
- Slightly opened gives a reddish flame (slightly combustion power).
- Half opened gives a purple flame (half combustion power).
- Fully opened gives a blue flame (powerful combustion, dangerous).
There are three types of Bunsen burners:
Meker Fisher Burner
The barrel is larger in diameter as compared to the bunsen burner. There is more mixing of air and gas due to the larger size. The top of the barrel is covered with a grid that separates the flame into smaller flames. The supply of gas can be controlled by a gas valve that is located below the chimney or barrel.
This burner is more efficient in producing heat as compared to the bunsen burner. Its barrel tube is longer than other burners. The mixing of air and gas occurs very well. This results increase in the combustion power of the flame. There is also a screw nut below the barrel tube to adjust the gas source.
It has a disc valve at the bottom of the barrel. The valve can control the amount of gas that goes inside the burner. The temperature of the blue flame is about 1560-1575 oC.
Bunsen burner is used for:
- Dehydration of complexes
- Drying of salts
- Identification of water of crystallization
- Flammability of compounds
- Moisture analysis
- Flash point of solvents
- Determination of melting point using classical calorimetry
- Boiling point by using thiele tube method
Can I use a bunsen burner at home?
Yes, you can use them in our homes. They are, however, specially designed for chemical laboratories.
When was the bunsen burner invented?
It was invented in 1857. The inventor was Robert Bunsen and his coworker.
Why is the bunsen burner important?
In laboratories, it is used for various purposes, such as heating, sterilization, combustion, etc.
What are the 4 flames on a bunsen burner?
There are 4 flames of bunsen burners that is yellow, reddish, purple, and blue.
What are the types of Bunsen burners?
There are three types of the bunsen burner:
- Meker Fisher Burner
- Tirrill Burner
- Teclu Berner
How do you use a bunsen burner safely?
Some precautionary measures should be followed in order to use the Bunsen burner safely: It should be checked if the flame is blue or yellow. The yellow flame is safe as it has the least combustion power.
Which gas is used in the bunsen burner?
Natural gas is used in the bunsen burner. It is composed of methane, ethane, propane, butane, etc,
What causes a Bunsen burner to be noisy?
The noise we hear from the bunsen burner is basically due to the venturi effect. This effect allows the gas to speed up and the pressure becomes low. This makes random noise during the burning of gases.
- Bunsen burner (microbiologie-clinique.com)
- What are bunsen burners (rdworldonline.com)
- Bunsen burner and its types (wikipedia.org)