What Is a Volumetric Flask?

A close up of a volumetric flask containing a chemical formula in a laboratory
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A volumetric flask is a piece of laboratory glassware that is used to prepare and measure chemical solutions. It is used to make up a solution to a known volume. Volumetric flasks measure volumes much more precisely than beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks.

How to Recognize a Volumetric Flask

A volumetric flask is characterized by a bulb and a long neck. Most volumetric flasks have flattened bottoms so that they can be placed on a lab bench or other surface, though some volumetric flasks have rounded bottoms and must be handled with special protective equipment.

How to Use a Volumetric Flask

To prepare a solution in a volumetric flask, follow these steps:

  1. Measure and add the solute for the solution.
  2. Add enough solvent to dissolve the solute.
  3. Continue to add solvent until you near the line marked on the volumetric flask.
  4. Use a pipette or dropper to fill the volumetric flask, using the meniscus of the solution and the line on the flask to determine your endpoint.
  5. Seal the volumetric flask and invert it to thoroughly mix the solution.