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A wire gauze is a sheet of metallic wire mesh with a fireproof fabric woven in the center, used to support beakers or other flasks when heated with an open flame.
The wire gauze is usually placed on a tripod, while the burner is placed below.
A wire gauze consists of a square wire mesh, made of steel, stainless steel or some other refractory alloy (Nichrome e.g.), with a circular ceramic or asbestos fabric sandwiched in the middle of the wire mesh. During use, the wire gauze is placed on a tripod or support ring that is attached to the retort stand between the Bunsen burner and the beakers in order to support the beakers or other glassware or flasks during heating.
Wire gauzes can be purchased from lab suppliers or online.
Asbestos-containing wire gauzes have largely being phased out, and instead a ceramic fiber cloth is used.
DIY wire mesh
Wire gauzes containing asbestos fabric pose a health hazard if the fibers are inhaled. Ceramic fibers are less harmful, though they are still irritant.