A wire gauze is a sheet of thin metal that has net-like patterns or a wire mesh. Wire gauze is placed on the support ring that is attached to the retort stand between the Bunsen burner and the glassware to support the beakers, flasks or other glassware during heating. Wire gauze is an important piece of supporting equipment in a laboratory as glassware cannot be heated directly with the flame of a Bunsen burner, and requires the use of a wire gauze to diffuse the heat, helping to protect the glassware. Glassware has to be flat-bottomed to stay on the wire gauze.
There are two types of wire gauze: woven wire gauze and wire gauze with a ceramic centre. These two types of wire gauze that are made of metal have the same ability to transmit the heat efficiently, but the gauze with a ceramic center will allow the heat to be dispersed more evenly. The ceramic at the centre of the wire gauze is enmeshed at high pressure to prevent it from peeling.
Wire gauze may be woven from a number of different metal wires, such as iron, steel, copper, or nichrome. Nichrome alloy provides long life expectancy and tear resistance. The sides/corners of the wire gauze are turned inward to help prevent fraying, improve handling and reduce safety risk from protruding ends of wire.
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