MCS Chemistry

Bunsen Burner and Glass Bending Lab

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Bunsen Burner Lab The Bunsen burner is named after a German chemist, Robert W. Bunsen, who invented this device in 1899. All burners operate in the same manner. The burner operates by mixing air with gas. The gas flows from the stopcock, located on the bench, and the air is sucked into the barrel through the vents located at the bottom of the barrel. In order to produce a hot blue flame, oxygen (air) must mix with the gas. Without sufficient oxygen (air), the flame will be yellow and sooty. The amount of air can be adjusted by rotating the barrel which opens (or closes) the vents. By trial and error, you can find the optimum position to provide a clean, blue flame. Below is a photograph of a proper flame.
outer luminous (cool) flame hottest part of the flame

barrel air vents gas control valve

inner blue cone

gas supply base

1. Study the photograph of the Bunsen burner to become familiar with all the parts. 2. Remove all papers, books and flammable material from near the burner. Tie back long hair and secure any loose clothing to prevent contact with the flame. 3. Set the Bunsen burner on the lab bench. Do not attach it to the gas valve yet. 4. When told to do so by your instructor, connect the flexible rubber tubing to the burner. Do not jam the hose on the valve or you will have a hard time removing it. 5. Obtain matches from your instructor. Practice lighting a match until you are confident with this operation. Turning on the gas: opening the gas stopcock When instructed to do so, turn the gas stopcock on as shown here:

The stopcock must be parallel with the gas outlet when it is in the “on” position. Do not leave the gas valve in any other position or the burner will not operate efficiently.

it can be snapped apart at the score. Get ready to turn the gas on at the stopcock. ______________________________________________________________ 2. 1. Cutting and fire polishing glass tubing Glass tubing can be broken easily by making a small scratch with a triangular file. The tubing must be scored only once. You should have a distinct inner blue cone. To score a piece of tubing. Reduce the gas flow by partially closing the gas control valve on the burner. this is called “scoring the glass”. Rotate the barrel counterclockwise to open the air vents. then light the flame again. If this happens.) After the barrel is rotated and the air vents are open. 2. Light a match then turn on the stopcock. Turn off the gas immediately. Once the flame is lit. the barrel of the burner can be rotated with your fingers. QUCIKLY describe the shape and color of the flame. Completely close the gas control valve on the burner by turning it to the right until it stops.MCS Chemistry Bunsen Burner and Glass Bending Lab page 2 Lighting the Bunsen burner 1. Now adjust the air vents until your flame looks like the photograph above. the flame will blow out and you will hear the gas escaping. Then try again to light the flame. Now open the control valve approximately ½ turn (turn to the left to open). The barrel will not become hot until after several minutes so you will not get burned as long as you keep your fingers out of the flame. close the gas control valve a little bit more. the flame produces a sputtering sound. observe the color and shape and QUICKLY record your observations: What is the color of the flame? ______________________________________________________________ Adjusting the flame While the flame is lit. turn off the gas. 3. 1. If the gas pressure is too high. Close the air vents by rotating the barrel to the right (Clockwise) until it stops. (If you open the vent too far. When properly adjusted. Rotating the barrel opens the air vents. the flame may blow out again. multiple scratches will produce jagged edges when broken. 4. After the tubing is scratched. make a firm slice with the file perpendicular to the tube: . Bring the lit match up to the top of the barrel.

To bend glass. To fire polish glass tubing. Making glass bends When glass is heated to high temperatures. Be mindful of the new edges. it becomes soft and starts to behave like a liquid. You should be able to see this without too much difficulty. Start with a piece of glass tubing approximately 8 inches long. we do not want to melt it. rotate the end in the Bunsen burner using the hottest part of the flame. The flame spreader makes the flame cooler. Hold the tubing at the ends and rotate continuously while keeping the middle part of the tube at the top of the inner blue cone. The fresh cut ends can be made smooth by a technique called fire polishing. You may use a wing tip on the burner to increase the area of the flame. Place your thumbs opposite the score and apply firm pressure by bending the tubing away from you. we just want to get it soft enough to deform. so you will need to heat the glass in the flame longer time period to soften it. Heat and rotate the tube until the edges are smooth. Continue to bend until the desired angle is achieved. it will start to sag due to gravity. The tubing should snap apart. they are sharp. When the tubing gets soft. . Remove from the flame and bend upwards in a smooth continuous motion.MCS Chemistry Bunsen Burner and Glass Bending Lab page 3 2. This is long enough to keep your fingers away from the flame.

be careful of hot glass. otherwise a dogleg bend results.MCS Chemistry Bunsen Burner and Glass Bending Lab page 4 When bending the tube. you should be able to hold the ends of the tube and proceed to the next bend without waiting for everything to cool right down. . If they are sufficiently far away from each other. both ends must be in the same plane. However. Corkscrew (if you are really adept) Use your imagination! Cut a piece of glass about 60 cm long."wobbles"on tabletop Bend the following shapes: 1. poor bend. A gas delivery tube has three bends. 90° bend (shown above) 2.flat on tabletop poor bend. then the smaller angle and finally the bend at the delivery end. and then another 90° bend up towards the collection bottle on the beehive shelf. another bend of approximately 45° angled downwards. each a different angle: a 90° bend coming out of the flask.partially collapsed good bend. Start with the first right-angle bend. Each bend should be heated and bent in turn. Gas delivery tube (shown below) 3.

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