Laboratory Techniques:

Using a Bunsen Burner


Lighting the Bunsen burner:

Step 1

The first step is to check for safety - lab coat on, long hair tied back, safety glasses on, books and papers away from the flame, apparatus set up not too close to the edge of the table...

Step 2

The second step is to look at the holes.  Check that the holes are closed.  The holes can be adjusted to let in more or less air by turning the collar (see photos below).

 Open: Closed:

Step 3

Wait for the teacher's permission, then light the match.   Some people prefer to turn the gas on and light the match after.  The problem is, if the match breaks or goes out, the gas is leaking out of the tap while you get a new match.

Step 4

Light the Bunsen burner.  When you have a flame from the match, turn on the gas tap.  To turn it on, you must first push down, then turn the tap. This is a safety feature so the taps are not accidentally pushed open. Approach the match to the top of the Bunsen burner and it should light.

Tap closed: Tap open:

Step 5

Adjust the flame by turning the collar so that you have the appropriate flame for the experiment (usually the medium blue flame). 

Step 6

During the experiment, stay vigilant so that if a problem occurs, you are ready to turn off the flame quickly.  This means that you should not leave your table unattended. 


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