The Bunsen Burner
Background Information

Bunsen burners are often used in lab to heat materials. The burner functions by the combustion of a
mixture of air and gas. The amount of air and gas used can and needs to be controlled for the burner to
function properly. In this lab, you will learn the parts of the Bunsen burner and their functions. You will
also learn how to best use the burner in future laboratory experiments.

Bunsen burner            2- 250 mL beakers                50 mL graduated cylinder
Ring stand               Wire gauze                       Striker
Iron ring                Beaker tongs


    1. Examine your burner before you connect it to the gas outlet. Look at Figure 1, and locate these
       parts on your burner.

Figure 1

    2. When finished, connect the rubber tube to the gas outlet. Be sure to remove all flammable
       materials from your lab station.
    3. Adjust the air intake valve until it is half-open. Have your striker on hand and slowly turn on the
       gas valve at your station until it is fully open. Hold the striker over the burner and strike it until
       your burner light. If after 2 or 3 tries the burner has not lit, turn off the gas valve clear the air
       and try again.
    4. Turn off the burner by turning off the gas valve
    5. Have each group member practice lighting the Bunsen burner. Adjust the air intake so that the
       flame is blue and a pale blue inner cone is visible. Put out the flame.
    6. Arrange your ring stand, iron ring, wire gauze and Bunsen burner as shown in below. Light the
       burner. Do not put the beaker on yet.

    7. Adjust the iron ring so that it is 2 cm above the base of the flame.
    8. Add 50 mL of water to one 250 mL beaker. Place the beaker on the wire mesh. Note what time
       you put the beaker on the flame. Record how long it takes for the water to boil. Use tongs to
       remove the beaker.
    9. Move the iron ring and wire mesh 6 cm above the base of the flame. Repeat Step 8.

Data Table:

Height above burner (cm)                            Time to boil (min)




    1.   What would happen if the air intake opening was made very small?
    2.   If the burner did not light after opening the gas valve, what might be wrong?
    3.   Where is the hottest part of the flame?
    4.   At what height to the water boil the quickest?
    5.   Why is it important to make sure the starting water volume was the same? Why did you need
         to use two separate beakers?

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