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How to Properly Light a Bunsen Burner

Updated July 20, 2017

Bunsen burners are crucial pieces of laboratory equipment because many chemistry experiments require heating substances. Being able to light a Bunsen burner properly will ensure your chemistry lab experiment proceeds as expected and that you don't endanger yourself or others.

Put your Bunsen burner on an uncluttered, flat workspace and put on your goggles and lab coat.

Check the gas tubing for the Bunsen burner for any cracks. Connect the tubing to the gas outlet nozzle in the lab and to the Bunsen burner, making sure the tubing fits snugly.

Locate the collar and air hole on the bottom of the Bunsen burner barrel. Turn the collar to close the air hole. This prevents air from mixing with the gas and will make the initial flame cooler, yellow and easily visible.

Open the gas outlet. A closed valve handle will be positioned perpendicular to the gas nozzle. Turn the handle until it is parallel to the nozzle. Listen for the flow of gas from your Bunsen burner.

Hold the striker or lighter about 2 inches above the Bunsen burner and light the flame.

Adjust the flame by increasing the amount of air mixing with the gas in the Bunsen burner. Locate the collar on the bottom of the barrel and turn it until the flame changes colour from yellowish to blue.

Adjust the gas flow, if needed, by turning the gas valve on your Bunsen burner, if it has one. Adjusting the flow will make the flame smaller or larger.

Warning

If you have long hair, tie it back. When not directly using the Bunsen burner, adjust the flame to burn yellow, so that you may see it easily. A blue flame is harder to see. Don't leave a lit Bunsen burner unattended.

Things You'll Need

  • Goggles
  • Lab coat
  • Gas tubing
  • Striker or lighter
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About the Author

Emma Francesca has a Bachelor of Science in biology and has been involved in tutoring students and writing educational materials throughout her college career. She is also a working artist with over a decade of experience with numerous art materials and techniques. She has been writing online professionally since 2011.