What Is an Erlenmeyer Flask?

What Is an Erlenmeyer Flask?

An Erlenmeyer flask is a type of laboratory flask featuring a flat bottom, a conical body, and a cylindrical neck. It is named after the German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer who created it in 18601

Erlenmeyer flasks are used for a variety of laboratory liquid handling applications such as pouring, mixing, storage, and suspension cell culture.

The flask is designed with a wide base and narrow neck which makes it easy to swirl liquids without spilling. The narrow neck also helps to prevent splashes and spills when pouring liquids1.

Erlenmeyer flasks may be graduated and often spots of ground glass or enamel are used where they can be labeled with a pencil1.

Erlenmeyer flasks are available in a broad range of sizes and come in wide or narrow mouth designs. They may be constructed from glass or plastic depending on the application1.

Erlenmeyer flasks are commonly used in chemistry labs for titration experiments. Titration is the process of adding one solution to another solution until the reaction between the two solutions is complete3. The conical shape of the flask allows for easy swirling of the solution during titration.

In addition to titration experiments, Erlenmeyer flasks are also used for growing bacterial cultures. The conical shape of the flask allows for better oxygenation of the culture medium which promotes bacterial growth3.

Erlenmeyer flasks are also used in suspension cell culture. 

Suspension cell culture is the process of growing cells that are suspended in a liquid medium. The conical shape of the flask allows for better mixing of the cells and the medium which promotes cell growth.

While glass Erlenmeyer flasks are reusable, many labs have turned to plastic alternatives for their culture work.

Plastic Erlenmeyer flasks are available with flat or baffled bottoms in sizes ranging from 125mL up to 5L; with vented or plug caps. 

Also called shaker flasks, plastic Erlenmeyer flasks are typically made from either PET (a polystyrene) or PETG which is more durable when exposed to heat and environmental conditions. 

Vented flasks allow for gas exchange while reducing or eliminating concerns of cross contamination. 

Stellar Scientific offers a wide range of Erlenmeyer flasks in different sizes and materials. 

Check out our glass Erlenmeyer flasks here, and our selection of plastic shaker flasks here.