viernes, 15 de julio de 2016

Emil Erlenmeyer and the Erlenmeyer Flask

Whether you know it as an Erlenmeyer flask, conical flask, or by some other name, it’s a piece of glassware most of us, chemists or not, have likely used at some point. The Erlenmeyer flask is the most stereotypical piece of chemistry glassware there is, and today marks its creator’s birthday. Emil Erlenmeyer was born on 28 June in 1825; here we take a look at his eponymous flask, as well as some of his other achievements.
Firstly, to give Erlenmeyer his full name: Richard August Carl Emil Erlenmeyer. Perhaps not surprising that he chose to shorten it! He was a German chemist who originally specialised in pharmacy, but eventually gravitated back toward chemistry. During his career, he synthesised or isolated numerous organic compounds for the first time, and also made some significant contributions to our understanding of the structure of organic molecules.
Despite this, the flask that bears his name is what Erlenmeyer is invariably remembered for, though in some countries it’s known by other names. In the UK, hearing it referred to as a conical flask is more common, whereas in Italy they sometimes call it a ‘beuta’. Erlenmeyer designed his flask in the late 1850s; he first described it in a paper published at the beginning of 1860, by which point he had already arranged its commercial production and sale.

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