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The Bunsen burner in the laboratory: places of use

The Bunsen burner is used in many laboratories. However, the main area of use for laboratory gas burners is for preliminary samples in analytical chemistry, where, for example, Ltube samples, flame samples or borax samples are carried out. For areas such as microbiology or biotechnology, where sterile procedures are often essential, it is particularly important that a sterile environment is created around the flame when the air supply is fully open.

The burner is also essential for chemistry laboratories in schools or as a utensil in the experimental kitchen, where the Bunsen burner or flambé burner in a more handy design is used for heating various foods.

Construction of a classic Bunsen burner

A Bunsen burner is a small gas burner used to carry out small heating processes in the laboratory. It burns natural gas or a mixture of propane and butane, which feeds a small flame.

Bunsen burners for laboratories typically consist of:

  • a heavy metal foot
  • a connection for the gas hose
  • a gas nozzle
  • a gas control (either a lever or a rotary wheel)
  • a burner tube
  • an opening for air supply

At the top end of the metal fuse is the connection for the hose, which is connected to the gas tap or other source. Often there is also a lever or dial to adjust the amount of gas. Once connected, the gas flows upwards through the burner tube. If no air supply is desired, it can be closed off by means of an adjusting ring.

How a Bunsen burner works

To produce the flame in a Bun sen burner, gas (usually propane, butane or natural gas) is fed upwards through the burner tube. There is an opening through which an oxidiser (air) is sucked in and mixed with the gas. The opening through which the air is sucked in can be closed by an adjusting ring. In this way, the proportions of gas and air can be changed, which also allows the flame to be regulated. The following flames can be produced:

  • valve closed (diffusion flame): luminous, almost noiseless flame (approx. 900 C)
  • Valve half open: unlit flame (approx. 1,000 C)
  • Valve open (pre-mix flame): non-luminous, noisy flame (approx. 1,300 C)

The correct use of the Bunsen burner

Under certain circumstances, working with an open flame can be dangerous. Therefore, some safety criteria should be observed when using a Bunsen burner in the laboratory:

  • Keep loose, long hair, long fabric sleeves or loose-fitting clothing away from the flame. It is best to tie up long hair with a hair band.
  • Also, keep your head away from the burner at all times.
  • When you are not using the Bunsen burner, always switch it off completely: Emitting gas can be highly dangerous!
  • Always keep the burner steady on the stand and never tip or shake it.
  • Wear safety goggles when working with certain substances.
  • Also make sure that warning devices such as gas or smoke detectors are installed in the room. These are sometimes even required by law.

Putting the Bunsen burner into operation

When commissioning a Bunsen burner, it makes sense to observe not only the safety measures. Regulated process sequences should also be firmly specified and followed.

  1. The first step is to put on your safety goggles and tie up your hair so that it is out of reach of the flame.
  2. Check the air supply and gas regulation: Is it closed?
  3. Ignite the flame by holding the match over the burner tube .
  4. Now you can open the gas regulator. The flame should be bright.
  5. Also open the air supply to adjust the flame between non-luminous or noisy.

Laboratory Bunsen burners: Types and names

There are several types and names of laboratory gas burners, but how do they differ? The best known is, of course, the Bunsen burner, which comes in various designs and sizes. For example, there are small hand torches for use in the kitchen where food is flambéed.

The Bunsen burner is named after Robert Wilhelm Bunsen (who did not invent it, but only improved it) and works on the principle of the jet pump, whereby air is led up the burner tube to the flame.

Another well-known burner is the Teclu burner, named after its inventor Nicolae Teclu, a Roman-Austrian chemist and architect. The Teclu burner works very similarly to the Bunsen burner, but the air is guided to the flame differently: It is sucked in from below through a conically flared burner tube instead of being directed. The Teclu burner also has a slightly more comfortable and precise regulation of the flame than the Bunsen burner.

The third important laboratory gas burner is the Meker-Fisher burner, which, because of its larger burner tube, can burn more gas and thus heat larger volumes more quickly than the Bunsen burner. It produces several open gas flames and is used for heating processes, sterilisation processes and combustion processes.

Buying a Bunsen burner important selection criteria

When it comes to buying the right burner for the laboratory, industry or kitchen, there are a few things to consider. This already starts with the type of gas burner: In addition to the classic Bunsen burner, do you perhaps want a pistol-grip lantern for particularly long burning times, a gas burner with an attachment for overhead lanterns or a flambé burner as a small version for the kitchen?

The following criteria are also important:

Burn time

Before you make a purchase, you should take a look at the maximum burning time. This must be specified by the manufacturer and is influenced by the size of the gas cartridge and the individual gas consumption of the burner. Burn times usually last between 60 and 210 minutes. If you want a longer burn time, make sure that the gas consumption per minute is rather low.

Heating time

If you want to use appliances that are ready for immediate use, make sure that you buy them with a short warm-up time. This heating time usually takes 30 to 45 seconds for high-quality whips. It should never take longer than this before the tool is ready for use. On the one hand, the work can be started more quickly, on the other hand, the gas consumption is also reduced by the shortest possible idle time.

Flame temperature

The maximum flame temperature, which is measured inside the flame during combustion, is essential for experiments with the Bunsen burner in the laboratory. It indicates how hot the flame can be set at maximum when the air supply is fully open. There are very different values here in the trade, which is why you should make sure you buy a high-quality burner. Such a burner must reach at least 1,100C, although for many applications a temperature of 1,800C is necessary.

Control options

Depending on how detailed and meticulous your work is, you should have some range of control available when buying a Bunsen burner for your laboratory. Adjustment options affect the size of the flame as well as the temperature of the flame. They are mounted on the nozzle of the gas burner and their function supports their use in many applications.


It is also important what accessories a Bunsen burner has. Safe operation can only be guaranteed if all parts are available. The following is required for connection to a propane or butane gas cylinder:

  • two connecting pieces each with tlle and hose clamps
  • a hose through which the gas can be fed
  • a gas regulator with 50 mbar
  • and a corresponding hose rupture safety device

In addition, there are extra accessories that can facilitate applications. On the market, for example, there are Bunsen burners with a safety fuse (which is now compulsory for use in laboratories) or various beak attachments.

SCHUETT Bunsen burners at MedSolut

The gas safety burners from Schuett are characterised by their special performance and numerous practical functions:

  • Convenient ignition of the Bunsen burner by means of a push-button or by pressing a button.
  • Control of burning time and flame regulation
  • Overheating protection
  • UV-resistant housing
  • Tilt adjustment
  • Support of individual preferences in the mode of operation by manual operation, foot switch or motion sensor
  • and much more

Schuett is a manufacturer of high-end equipment used in biotechnology, microbiology and molecular biology. The development and production is managed and carried out by Schuett itself, which has enabled it to establish a worldwide network of customers and dealers who trust in the quality of Schuett.

Buy high quality Bunsen Burners at MedSolut

Find the best Bunsen burner for your laboratory at and convince yourself of the high quality construction as well as the easy use and performance of the devices. Our competent customer service will be pleased to answer your questions. [email protected] e-mail.


What is the difference between a gas burner and a Bunsen burner?

A Bunsen burner is a gas burner, like the Teclu burner or the Meker-Fisher burner. The difference between the gas burners is mainly in how the air is guided to the flame. The Meker-Fisher burner heats larger volumes the fastest.

How does a Bunsen burner work?

The Bunsen burner is made up of a metal stand and a burner tube. The gas is supplied via the gas connection. With many burners, the flame can be regulated by the air opening and adjusting screws.

How much does a Bunsen burner cost?

Bunsen burners are used in many businesses from schools to industry and laboratories. Depending on the quality of the burner, it can be purchased for as little as 20 euros, but high-quality safety Bunsen burners can quickly reach a price of 400 euros.

Who invented the Bunsen burner?

The Bunsen burner is named after its inventor, Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, who is not the real inventor. Michael Faraday was the original inventor of the device, which was further developed for Bunsen’s needs. The gas burner was optimised by Peter Desaga.