The Different Types of Erlenmeyer Flasks

Erlenmeyer flasks are recognizable from their basic characteristics: flat bottom, conical body, and long, cylindrical neck. They are named for German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer.

Though the Erlenmeyer flask pictured above is what comes to mind when most people think of flasks, there are actually two different types of Erlenmeyer flasks.

The initial type of Erlenmeyer Flask is merely the flat- bottomed, conical flask that we recognize. This is used to host reactions, phase changes, or just hold solutions until further need. This is the most common type of flask in most labs.

The other type of Erlenmeyer flask is one with a textured base. This type of flask is used for when the flasks are placed on shaker plates, which are meant to mix/ agitate a solution to ensure it doesn’t separate. The rougher bottom of the second type of Erlenmeyer flask is meant to increase its grip strength, so it doesn’t shift on or slide off the shaker plate.  

Erlenmeyer flasks are great fro algae culturing due to their high surface area and volume. When culturing in an Erlenmeyer flask, use wadded paper towels as a stopper or an aluminum foil cap in order to keep debris out of the culture, but still allow airflow. Happy Culturing!

- Erin F. Fox, 2019