Name: ______________________________ Core Class Period: ______ Date: ___________________
Lighting a Bunsen Burner
Overview: The Bunsen burner is a common laboratory equipment that produces a single, gas flame. It was
designed by Robert Bunsen more than 100 years ago when he was a researcher at the University of Heidelberg
in Germany. The Bunsen burner produces a flame by mixing gaseous fuel with air. Unlike ordinary flames,
Bunsen burners burn blue and very hot because they are designed to burn without producing any soot.
Purpose: As part of laboratory activities, you will often be asked to light a Bunsen burner. The instructions in this
activity will help you acquire this useful technique.
Materials: Bunsen burner; lighter; apron; safety goggles
1. Put on your apron and safety goggles. Tie back loose hair and roll up
2. Study the illustration of the Bunsen burner to become familiar with the
parts of the burner. On the Bunsen burner you are working with, locate
the gas- supply valve, gas intake, air intake, and barrel.
3. Check to make sure the hose of the Bunsen burner is in good condition.
Connect the hose to the gas outlet on the lab table. Do not turn on the
4. Light the lighter. Then slowly open the gas outlet partway. Hold the
lighter near the top edge of the burner until the gas ignites: Do not hold
the lighter directly over the burner. CAUTION: If you cannot light the
burner or if the flame goes out, immediately turn off the gas outlet on
the lab table. Then ask your teacher for assistance. Never leave the gas
outlet on when there is no flame.
5. If the flame roars or blows itself out, there is too much air. To decrease
the air supply, turn the barrel of the burner clockwise.
6. If the flame is yellow, there is not enough air. To increase the air supply,
turn the barrel of the Bunsen burner counterclockwise.
7. The size of the flame can be adjusted with the gas-supply valve. Adjust
the size and color of the flame until it is pale blue and burns quietly.
Lighting a Bunsen Burner Correctly
Put on goggles!
Lab partner 1: Lights the burner.
1. Light the lighter first.
2. Turn on the gas. Light at arm’s length.
3. Regulate air intake to get a blue flame (hot).
Lab partner 2: Heats water to boiling.
1. Look at the 10 mL of water in the test tube. Is there anything in the water?
2. Fasten the clamp near the top of the tube.
3. Hold at an angle over the flame.
4. Boil all the water away. Was anything in the water? How do you know?
Lab partner 3: Finds the hottest part of the flame.
1. Place wood splint in the center of the flame.
2. Watch where is starts to burn.
3. Remove from flame and blow out. Place in pie pan.
4. Where is the hottest part of the flame?
Lab partner 4: Burns wood splint tip dipped in chemical.
1. Take a wood splint dipped in chemical.
2. Place only the end with chemical in flame for a few seconds. What color is the flame?
3. Put out flame in pie pan.
Turn off gas and place materials in pie pan.
Place goggles in sterilizing cabinet.
Return to seat and wait for dismissal.
1. What do you do if, after turning on the gas supply, the burner will not light or the flame goes
2. What should you do if the flame is yellow?
3. What two points concerning eye safety must your remember when heating a test tube?
1. Name the parts of the figure indicated by the lettered lines and according to information
provided by your teacher.
A. ___________________________ B. ______________________________
2. Where does the gas enter your burner?
3. How is the amount of gas that enters the burner controlled?
4. Where does air enter the burner?
5. How can you control the amount of air that mixes with the gas?
Recall and also describe the safety rules to be followed in each of the following situations:
1. To use the burner, you are about to turn on the gas and light the gas with a match. Which must
be done first?
2. How would you use a test tube holder when holding a test tube in a flame?
3. What two points concerning eye safety must you remember when heating a test tube?