What Is a Conical Flask?

Also known as an Erlenmeyer flask, a conical flask is a glass vessel used in chemistry laboratories, and it has a wide flat bottom that tapers up into a narrow cylindrical neck. They’re usually used for mixing liquids.

Invented by the German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer, conical flasks are generally found in laboratories. The wide base and narrow neck of the glass flask makes them perfect for swirling liquids or other compounds together. The contents of the flask stay inside and don’t spill. Some Erlenmeyer flasks have measuring marks up the side and sometimes have a spot for a penciled-in label. Stoppers of cotton, rubber, or glass may be used. The contents can also be heated on a burner, although a round-bottomed flask is preferable.

Plastic Erlenmeyer flasks can be used to grow microbial cultures in laboratories for microbiologists. Its unique shape promotes and enhances growth with the correct ventilation.