A Quick Guide to Commonly Used Flasks in the Laboratory
No laboratory can function as it should without the use of proper tools and equipment. Ever since laboratories came to exist, you will also find these tools. As the years passed, these tools have undergone important developments and changes. Today, you will find that these instruments have become much more reliable and accurate.
When you check out labs, flasks are considered as the most popular instruments inside. There are different types of laboratory flasks that you will find in the present market. They are a kind of lab glassware that deals with liquids as well as facilitate in processing them like heating, mixing, cooling, condensation, and precipitation. These laboratory flasks come in an array of uses, materials, and sizes.
Inside the lab, you will find commonly used flasks. Aside from volumetric flasks, you also have Erlenmeyer flasks, Florence flasks, fleakers, Buchner flasks, retort flasks, and Schlenk flasks. This article will explain the basics for these flasks.
One of the most common lab flasks is the Erlenmeyer flask that is also called a conical flask. With this flask, you will find that it has a small and cylindrical neck as well as a conical base. This shape enables lab personnel to seal the flask using a bung so that they can heat it. In addition to heating, researchers will not have to worry about spilling the liquid when they stir or shake the flask. You can use these flasks for measuring and holding chemical liquid samples as well as boiling, heating, and mixing them.
Another flask that you will come across in labs is the sidearm or Buchner flask. If you look at this flask, it is, in essence, an Erlenmeyer flask with an extended small tube at the side of the neck. Its bottom still comes in conical shape, along with a short neck where a small tube extrudes. The whole flask often comes in a thick glass material. The tiny sidearm tube comes in a hose barb. This is the section that allows catching of a flexible hose. Having this design, the Buchner flask can create vacuums with the help of a Buchner funnel.
One other lab instrument that you should be aware of is the fleaker, which is a combination of a flask, particularly the Erlenmeyer flask, and beaker. Having a cylindrical body, the tool ends with a neck that goes inward through a curve and flares out through a rounded opening. Although fleakers function most similarly to Erlenmeyer flasks, they are intended for liquids.
Lastly, you have the so-called Florence flask or boiling flask that is a round and big sphere of flaks with a rim opening that is slightly flared and a thin and long neck. The rounded bottom design ensures that one can heat the solution inside of the flask with the use of Bunsen burner. Florence flasks with rounded bottoms require proper support for standing upright. You will find some variants with flat bottoms, however.