What Is the Purpose of Wire Gauze?

U.S. Army RDECOM/CC-BY-2.0

Wire gauze is primarily used in science laboratories as a flame shield and is used at both the high school, college and professional levels. Wire gauze comes in several square sizes including 4 inches by 4 inches, 5 inches by 5 inches and 6 inches by 6 inches to fit different Bunsen burners and other equipment.

Most wire gauze used in the lab setting is made out of nichrome wire. Nichrome is a material that has a lifetime expectancy and can withstand ongoing use. It can be placed between a crucible or other porcelain or glass vessel and the Bunsen burner flame. Glassware should never be heated directly with a flame so wire gauze can be a good protectant as it diffuses the heat. To take additional safety precautions, be sure to fold the ends of the gauze under for maximum heat diffusion. For the gauze to work the best, a person should use a glassware item with a flat bottom. A good example of a flat bottom glassware item would be a beaker or an Erlenmeyer flask. The Florence flask has a partially flat bottom and can also be used.

Wire gauze can also be purchased with a ceramic center for advanced science experiments on a ring stand. Wire gauze can be purchased online at any science retailer such as Ward’s Science or Flinn SCI.