What is an Erlenmeyer flask?

We explain what an Erlenmeyer flask is, how it is used in a laboratory and its characteristics. Also, who was Emil Erlenmeyer.

  1. What is an Erlenmeyer flask?

Erlenmeyer flask (also called Erlenmeyer flask or extreme chemical synthesis flask) is a type of glass container widely used in laboratories of chemistry , physics , biology , medicine and / or other scientific specialties. It is a container of liquid or solid substances of different nature.

The name of this instrument comes from its creator, the German chemist Emil Erlenmeyer (1825-1909). It is a transparent glass container, often with graduation on one side, equipped with a wide neck, ideal for the use of caps, but narrower than the bottom of the container .

Generally Erlenmeyer flask is used to store substances that are not affected by sunlight. It is ideal for stirring mixtures , since its shape prevents the spillage of liquids, which is particularly important in the handling of volatile or corrosive elements.

It can also be used for heating substances at high temperatures , for controlled evaporation or for the preparation of culture broths in medicine and microbiology .

Its long neck is ideal to hold it with tweezers or handles. In many cases it is more suitable than traditional test tubes, especially because its flat bottom allows it to rest quietly, or place it on tripods, lighters and other surfaces.

It is not usually used, however, for the thorough preparation of liquid mixtures , since its gradation is usually imprecise, only as a reference value.

  1. Emil Erlenmeyer Biography

Emil Erlenmeyer-flask
Emil Erlenmeyer was an important chemist of the 19th century.

The German chemist Richard August Carl Emil Erlenmeyer was born June 28, 1825 , in Taunusstein, near Wiesbaden. He studied medicine in Giessen and worked as a pharmacist during later years, as well as in the field of fertilizers along with Robert Bunsen.

He was a professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Munich between 1863 and 1883, making important contributions regarding the chemical synthesis of numerous compounds. He invented the flask that bears his name in 1861 .

He was one of the first chemistry scholars to adopt the atomic valency system . In 1880 he formulated the Erlenmeyer Rule on the conversion of alkenes into aldehydes or ketones. He died in Aschaffenburg in 1909, and his son Friedrich Gustav Carl Emil Erlenmeyer continued for years with his work.

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