The key difference between beaker and Erlenmeyer flask is that beaker is a cylindrical container whereas Erlenmeyer flask is a conical container.
We use different laboratory equipment to measure liquids in the laboratory. Beaker and Erlenmeyer flask are two such pieces of equipment that are important in handling liquids or solutions. These two instruments have different shapes, as well as different applications.
What is a Beaker?
Beaker is a piece of laboratory equipment having a cylindrical shape and a flat bottom. Most beakers have a small spout or a “beak” that is important in pouring liquids. There is a wide range of sizes of beakers, ranging from one millilitre to several litres. We can easily distinguish beakers from conical flasks because beakers have straight sides rather than sloping sides.
Generally, beakers are made of glass. But, there are some beakers made of metal such as stainless steel and aluminium. Sometimes, beakers are made of plastic. In the above image, the beaker A typically has a height that is about 1.4 times the diameter. Beaker B has a height that is twice the diameter. Moreover, beaker C has comparatively a small height, and it is named as a crystallizer.
Due to the presence of a spout, a beaker cannot have a lid. But in general use, we can cover the beaker with a watch glass. That is to prevent contaminations and to avoid the loss of components inside. Alternatively, we can cover a beaker with a large beaker as well.
What is Erlenmeyer Flask?
Erlenmeyer flask is a laboratory flask that has a conical shape and a flat bottom. It is a type of titration flask that is important in performing titrations. In titrations, the flask is placed under the burette. Erlenmeyer flask contains the analyte of the titration. This flask was named after the scientist Emil Erlenmeyer after its creation in 1860.
The shape of an Erlenmeyer flask varies in its base as well as in its sidewalls. Erlenmeyer flasks differ from beakers in their tapered body and the narrow neck. We can produce these flasks depending on the application, e.g. using glass or plastic. Also, there can be a wide range of volumes in these flasks.
Sometimes, the mouth of the Erlenmeyer flask has a beaded lip, which is important in stopping or covering. We can also easily cover the flask mouth using a ground glass or some other connector.
Buchner flask is a derivation of the Erlenmeyer flask which is important in vacuum filtration. The slanted sides and the narrow neck of Erlenmeyer flask is important in mixing and swirling things inside the flask without any considerable spoilage. Moreover, this flask is suitable for boiling liquids. During the boiling, the hot vapour condenses on the upper section of the flask, which helps to reduce the solvent loss. Moreover, the narrow neck of this flask allows a funnel to be placed on top of it.
What is the Difference Between Beaker and Erlenmeyer Flask?
Baker and Erlenmeyer flask are two different laboratory equipment. The key difference between beaker and Erlenmeyer flask is that beaker is a cylindrical container whereas Erlenmeyer flask is a conical container. We can easily cover the mouth of the Erlenmeyer flask because it has a narrow neck but covering a beaker is comparatively difficult due to the presence of a spout and its wide mouth. However, we can cover it with a watch glass or using another large beaker.
Below infographic tabulates the differences between beaker and Erlenmeyer flask.
Summary – Beaker vs Erlenmeyer Flask
Baker and Erlenmeyer flask are two different laboratory equipment. The key difference between beaker and Erlenmeyer flask is that beaker is a cylindrical container whereas Erlenmeyer flask is a conical container.
1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Chemistry Glassware Names and Uses.” ThoughtCo, Feb. 11, 2020, Available here.
1. “Beakers diagrams” By Wersję rastrową wykonał użytkownik polskiego projektu wikipedii: Polimerek, Zwektoryzował: Krzysztof Zajączkowski (GFDL) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Erlenmeyer flask ben” By Maytouch L. – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia