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Beakers are simple cylindrical pieces of glassware used for holding and handling liquids.
Beakers are usually roughly graduated, but these graduations should not be used for precise measuring, only to give a general idea of the volume contained in the beaker. They will also usually have a pouring spout to ease pouring from them into another container. Beakers generally come in sizes such as 25, 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000, 2000, 2500, 3000 or 5000 mL. Some beakers are thin walled, while others have thick walls.
The presence of a spout means that the beaker cannot have a lid. However, when in use, beakers may be covered by a watch glass to prevent contamination or loss of the contents, but allowing venting via the spout. Alternatively, a round-bottom flask may be used.
There are three main types of beakers:
- Low-form or Griffin form beaker: Most often used in labs. They typically have a height about 1.4 or 1.5 times the diameter.
- Tall-form or Berzelius beaker: Tend to have a height about twice their diameter. More often used for titrations or dissolving solids for the preparation of solutions.
- Flat: Also known as crystallizing dish.
Beakers can be bought from lab suppliers. They are sometimes found in hardware stores.
Beakers are available in glass (borosilicate glass), plastic (PE, PTFE) or metal (stainless steel, aluminium). Porcelain beakers are also available, but they are relative hard to find. One supplier sells such items. Fused quartz beakers are also available, though they're very expensive and less common.
- Heat and prepare solutions
- Recrystallize compounds from solution
- Convenient reaction flask for simple or tricky reactions
Beakers should not be used for boiling flammable liquids, as the flammable vapors can pose a serious fire hazard.