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Alcohol Burner Maintenance Tips

Students in chem lab using school lab supplies

If you’re operating a school laboratory, you know how important it is that you have all of your equipment operating at an optimum performance level. Not only is it most beneficial to your students to be working with the best equipment, you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to safety in a lab. Naturally, the same goes if you’re a home enthusiast or if you operate a business that relies on lab equipment. To make sure your laboratory is both safe and efficient, all of your school laboratory equipment will have to be maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. That goes especially for your lab’s burners.

Benefits of Using Alcohol Burners

Your school laboratory requires all kinds of equipment to keep it up and running. From microscopes and meters, to scales, glassware, and plasticware, you’ll need an extensive collection of devices to ensure that your students are exposed to a wide range of scientific knowledge. Indispensable to any laboratory are the burners.

There are two primary fuel sources for burners: natural gas and alcohol. While Bunsen burners are preferred by many, not everyone has access to natural gas. When that’s the case, only alcohol burners will do. Without requiring a natural gas line to operate, alcohol burners are the safer option.

Small, and easy to operate, alcohol burners also run at a lower temperature than their natural gas counterparts and are excellent burners whether you have access to gas or not. It is precisely for these reasons that alcohol burners have become the burner of choice among school laboratory suppliers for years.

Kids using burner from school lab supplies

Maintaining Your Alcohol Burner

While very safe, anything that involves fire and flammable liquids needs to be treated with great care. Leaving an alcohol burner untended for weeks or months at a time increases the likelihood of a lab accident taking place, so every burner in your laboratory should be maintained on a regular basis. Thankfully, because the alcohol burner is such a simple, effective piece of equipment, maintaining one is quite easy.

First, in a clean environment (with no fires nearby, obviously), remove the stopper and pull the cork with wick attached from the burner. Disassemble the cork and wick assembly, and lay the wick aside. Clean the stopper and the cork, ensuring to remove any residue. Commonly, most dirt and grime will form around the lid of the burner, so this is where a majority of the cleaning will take place.

Once finished with the stopper and cork, empty the burner of any remaining alcohol, and then rinse. Using a light cleanser and a tube brush, thoroughly clean the interior of the burner, and then rinse again. Let everything sit for 24 hours so that the burner and wick is completely dry before using. If you’re unsure the burner and wick are completely dry and ready for use, test with a small amount of alcohol first. If it burns without any trouble, then your alcohol burner is ready for use.

Having your students perform the cleaning themselves is a great way of teaching them the importance of caring for their equipment, and helps familiarize them with how burners operate. If you find yourself short of any alcohol burners—or any other type of school laboratory equipment—contact Hi Valley Chemical today for all your school lab needs!