Büchner funnel

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A Büchner funnel (incorrectly, but often spelled Buchner funnel) is a piece of laboratory equipment used in filtration.

Design

A Büchner funnel is a funnel shaped object, traditionally made of glazed porcelain, though glass and plastic funnels are also available. On top of the funnel-shaped part there is a cylinder with a fritted glass disc/perforated plate separating it from the funnel. Some Büchner funnels have a ground glass joint or a lateral vacuum inlet tube, or both. Büchner funnels are often used with a side-arm flask (also known as Büchner or Kitasato flask) when doing vacuum filtration, though if vacuum adaptors are used, ordinary flasks can also be used.

Hirsch funnel

Similar in construction to the Büchner funnel, the Hirsch funnel has an appearance almost identical to that of a classical funnel, with the walls of the funnel angle outward instead of being vertical. The funnel has a small diameter perforated disk near it's "neck". They are sometimes used for filtering smaller amounts of material or dilute suspensions.

Availability

Büchner funnels can be purchased from lab suppliers, both the porcelain and glass fritted disk models. Plastic Büchner funnels are also available. Aluminium or stainless steel Büchner funnels can be found in hardware stores, as spare parts for coffee machines.

Hirsch funnels can also be purchased from lab suppliers and online. Plastic Hirsch funnels can sometimes be found in hardware stores, albeit of a lower quality.

Maintenance

Porcelain Büchner funnels should not be used to filter extremely corrosive reagents, as it might slowly corrode its protective enamel.

Büchner funnels with fritted disks are notorious for being hard to clean. If a base bath is used, they should not be left for more than a day as the base will dissolve the glass bonding between the fritted glass particles. A strong oxidizing solution, like aqua regia or in extreme cases piranha solution can be used to remove even the most persistent stains. They are one of the few items that can destroy graphite.

References

Relevant Sciencemadness threads