Dewar flask 1
Dewar flask.(Deutsches Museum, Munich).
is a vessel designed to provide very good thermalinsulation. For instance, when filled with a hot liquid, the vessel willnot allow the heat to easily escape, and the liquid will stay hot for farlonger than in a typical container. The Dewar flask was named after itsinventor, the Scottish physicist Sir James Dewar (1842
Cross section of a Dewar flask. The red area is avacuum.
In form, a Dewar flask is a glass or metal bottle, with a double-layerconstruction; in fact, it can be considered to be two thin-walled bottlesnested one inside the other, and sealed together at the neck. The narrowspace between is evacuated almost entirely of air; the near vacuumminimizes convection of heat.The inner surfaces of the outer bottle, and the outer surface of the innerbottle, have a metallic or similarly reflective coating to prevent heatfrom being transmitted via radiation. Dewar himself used silver for thispurpose. The open end of the flask is reduced to a small diameterrelative to the body of the flask, reducing the only opening by whichheat loss can occur. The design of the Dewar flask is so effective thatwhat little heat transport does occur is almost entirely via conductionthrough the neck and stopper. Insulating materials such as cork areoften used to further reduce heat loss.A very common use of the Dewar flask in laboratories is the storage of liquid nitrogen; in this case, the leakage of heat into the extremely coldinterior of the bottle results in a slow boiling-off of the liquid (apressure relief valve is provided to prevent pressure from building up).The excellent insulation of the Dewar flask results in a very slow boiland thus the nitrogen lasts a long time without the need for expensiverefrigeration equipment.A Thermos bottle (trademarked), or vacuum flask (generic) used tokeep coffee or other beverages hot, is usually based on the design of aDewar flask; since glass dewar flasks are fragile and somewhatexpensive to fabricate, other constructions based on plastic or insulated metal are also popular.