Funnel


Funnel
A typical kitchen funnel.
A funnel on a ship, like this one on the Mauretania

A funnel is a pipe with a wide, often conical mouth and a narrow stem. It is used to channel liquid or fine-grained substances into containers with a small opening. Without a funnel, spillage would occur.

Funnels are usually made of stainless steel, aluminium, glass, or plastic. The material used in its construction should be sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the substance being transferred, and it should not react with the substance. For this reason, stainless steel or glass are useful in transferring diesel, while plastic funnels are useful in the kitchen. Sometimes disposable paper funnels are used in cases where it would be difficult to adequately clean the funnel afterward (for example, in adding motor oil to a car). Dropper funnels, also called dropping funnels or tap funnels, have a tap to allow the controlled release of a liquid.

The term funnel is sometimes used to refer to the chimney or smokestack on a steam locomotive and usually used in referring to the same on a ship. There is also a type of spider known as a funnel-web due to its habit of building its web in the shape of a funnel. The term funnel is even applied to other seemingly strange objects like a smoking pipe or even a humble kitchen bin.

Contents

Laboratory funnels

See Funnels (laboratory)

A Büchner funnel with a sintered glass disc

There are many different kinds of funnels that have been adapted for specialized applications in the laboratory. Filter funnels, thistle funnels (shaped like thistle flowers), and dropping funnels have stopcocks which allow the fluids to be added to a flask slowly. For solids, a powder funnel with a wide and short stem is more appropriate as it does not clog easily.

When used with filter paper, filter funnels, Büchner and Hirsch funnels can be used to remove fine particles from a liquid in a process called filtration. For more demanding applications, the filter paper in the latter two may be replaced with a sintered glass frit.

Separatory funnels are used in liquid-liquid extractions.

Construction

Glass is the material of choice for laboratory applications due to its inertness compared with metals or plastics. However, plastic funnels made of nonreactive polyethylene are used for transferring aqueous solutions. Plastic is most often used for powder funnels that do not come into contact with solvent in normal use.

In culture

The inverted funnel is a symbol of madness. It appears in many Medieval depictions of the mad. For example in Hieronymus Bosch's Ship of Fools and Allegory of Gluttony and Lust.

In popular culture, the Tin Woodman in L. Frank Baum's classic novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (and in most dramatizations of it) uses an inverted funnel for a hat, though that is never specifically mentioned in the story—it originated in W.W. Denslow's original illustrations for the book.

In the East Coast of the United States, "beer funnel" is another term for "beer bong". "Funneling" a beer involves pouring an entire beer into a funnel attached to a tube, in which a person then consumes the beer via the tube.

See also

External links


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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Funnel — Fun nel, n. [OE. funel, fonel, prob. through OF. fr, L. fundibulum, infundibulum, funnel, fr. infundere to pour in; in in + fundere to pour; cf. Armor. founil funnel, W. ffynel air hole, chimney. See {Fuse}, v. t.] 1. A vessel of the shape of an… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • funnel — [fun′əl] n. [ME fonel < (prob. via an OFr form) Prov fonilh, enfonilh < L fundibulum, infundibulum, a funnel < infundere, to pour in < in , IN 1 + fundere, to pour: see FOUND3] 1. an instrument consisting of an inverted cone with a… …   English World dictionary

  • funnel — (n.) c.1400, from M.Fr. fonel, from Prov. enfounilh, a word from the Southern wine trade [Weekley], from L.L. fundibulum, shortened from L. infundibulum a funnel or hopper in a mill, from infundere pour in, from in in + fundere pour (see FOUND… …   Etymology dictionary

  • funnel — ► NOUN 1) a utensil that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening. 2) a metal chimney on a ship or steam engine. ► VERB (funnelled, funnelling; US funneled, funneling) ▪ guide or move… …   English terms dictionary

  • funnel — verb has inflected forms funnelled, funnelling in BrE and funneled, funneling in AmE …   Modern English usage

  • funnel — [v] direct down a path carry, channel, conduct, convey, filter, move, pass, pipe, pour, siphon, traject, transmit; concepts 187,217 …   New thesaurus

  • funnel — I UK [ˈfʌn(ə)l] / US noun [countable] Word forms funnel : singular funnel plural funnels 1) a tube that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for pouring liquid or powder into a container 2) a tube that lets out smoke and steam from… …   English dictionary

  • funnel — I. noun Etymology: Middle English fonel, from Anglo French fonyle, from Old Occitan fonilh, from Medieval Latin fundibulum, short for Latin infundibulum, from infundere to pour in, from in + fundere to pour more at found Date: 15th century 1. a.… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • funnel — [[t]fʌ̱n(ə)l[/t]] funnels, funnelling, funnelled (in AM, use funneling, funneled) 1) N COUNT A funnel is an object with a wide, circular top and a narrow short tube at the bottom. Funnels are used to pour liquids into containers which have a… …   English dictionary

  • funnel — fun|nel1 [ˈfʌnl] n [Date: 1400 1500; : Old Provençal; Origin: fonilh, from Latin infundibulum, from fundere to pour ] 1.) a thin tube with a wide top that you use for pouring liquid into a container with a narrow opening, such as a bottle 2.) BrE …   Dictionary of contemporary English


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