Uses for a Conical Flask

Written by jessica mccahon
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Uses for a Conical Flask
The broad, flat base of a conical flask makes it ideal for heating and mixing solutions. (flasks image by Wolszczak from Fotolia.com)

Conical flasks -- also known as Erlenmeyer flasks after the man who invented them -- are laboratory vessels that have a wide, flat base and a narrow neck. They are most commonly used in laboratories, but they can also be used anywhere liquids are handled.

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Mixing Substances

According to Erlenmeyer flask, one of the most common uses for conical flasks is titration, during which two substances are gradually mixed while the experimenter watches for a reaction. The narrow neck of the flash makes it easy for the experimenter to swirl or mix solutions within the flask with less likelihood of spilling them.

Heating Solutions

According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, the broad, flat base of the conical flask makes it ideal for heating liquids, such as during a recrystallization procedure. The wide base speeds up the heating process because more of the contained solution is close to the heat source.

A Stable Receptacle

Another benefit of the conical flask's wide base is the stability it provides. This is particularly important in the laboratory where the experimenter must often handle highly reactive and even dangerous substances.

Home Brewing

Outside the lab, conical flasks are used by brewers and wine makers, according to Erlenmeyer flask. Here again, the flasks prove useful when stable and spill-free handling of various liquids and liquid mixtures is required.

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