Welcome to practical physicsPracticle physics - practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11 to 19 year olds

Radiation from Bunsen flames

Class practical

A simple comparison of the energy radiating from two Bunsen flames.


Apparatus and materials

For each group of students

Bunsen burners, 2

Insulating screens

Health & Safety and Technical notes

Set up insulating screens with central apertures 1 metre from each flame. Then there is no danger of students putting their hands too close.

Read our standard health & safety guidance



Light the two Bunsen burners and adjust them so that one flame is clear blue and the other yellow. Ask students to hold the back of their hand about 1 metre from the flames so that they can compare the energy radiating from each.



Teaching notes

1 The object of the experiment is to decide which flame is hotter.

2 If the air-hole collars of the burners are easy to adjust, students may use a single burner and change the flame from clear to yellow.
This experiment was safety-checked in March 2006


Related guidance

Conduction, convection and radiation


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