mary’s blog

(where mary is always write)

Finding The Perfect (Blue) Flame

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
Research Triangle Park
North Carolina, USA

Dear Kind Sirs and/or Madams:

I would like to bring to your attention the proliferation of fake Bunsen burners in the Philippines.

The fake burners look and feel like the real ones except for one important detail: turning the gas valve/regulator on these things causes the flame to switch between two settings only: (1) unusably low and (2) flamethrower.

I believe this matter requires serious investigation as we have been led to believe that the gas regulator regulates the height of the flame, i.e. gradually increase or decrease it. My colleagues and I have yet to encounter a Bunsen burner that functions as expected.

Kindly recall all the defective Bunsen burners OR revise any laboratory procedure that requires a “blue flame”, as it is not possible to perform these experiments using the flamethrowers supplied to us.

A concerned (ex)student,
Mary Macapagal

Update: there are reports that it is possible, with guts and patience, to produce a perfect blue flame on these fake Bunsen burners. I have attached a simple guide to achieving that effect below.

Bunsen burner slash flamethrower

Figure 1. How to use flamethrowers in the Chemistry laboratory. Where ° refers to angle of rotation of the gas regulator.

Basically, don’t fidget and don’t blink or you will miss it.


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