Bunsen Burner - History of Bunsen Burner

Bunsen Burner

The Bunsen burner was created in 1855, and is named after its inventor, Doctor Robert Bunsen. He was a German chemist, who taught and performed research at the University of Heidelberg. In 1854, a new laboratory at the university was designed with coal-gas lines running to it. Coal gas was commonly used for street lights at the time. To make use of the gas lines, Doctor Bunsen worked with the university's mechanic, Peter Desaga, to create a new and improved burner design. By the time the laboratory opened, the first fifty Bunsen burners were ready to use.

The Bunsen burner is now a very important tool in modern chemistry laboratories. It can burn a number of types of fuel, and produces a single clean and hot flame. The Bunsen burner has a valve for gas intake, and a needle valve that allows precise control of the amount of air that mixes with the fuel.

  • The user of a Bunsen burner can turn a needle valve to change the color and temperature of the flame. A bright, yellow flame is produced when there is very little air. The hottest flame is small and blue.

  • The burner provides a very stable source of heat for heating chemicals, causing chemical reactions, sterilizing tools, or starting combustion.

  • Doctor Robert Bunsen also used the invention in his own research. He used it to study the light that is generated by chemical elements when they are heated. He showed that each element has its own pattern, which is called its "emission spectrum".

  • Doctor Bunsen made a number of important advances in chemistry. He co-discovered the elements cesium (Cs), and rubidium (Rb), adding them to the periodic table.

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