What does “Erlenmeyer flask” mean in chemistry?

What does “Erlenmeyer flask” mean in chemistry?


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra

  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 11 Mar,2023

Laboratory flasks with a flat base, conical body, and cylindrical neck are known as Erlenmeyer flasks. They are also sometimes called conical flasks or titration flasks. Emil Erlenmeyer (1825-1909), a German chemist, developed it in 1860 and gave it his namesake.

Whether you call it a conical flask, Erlenmeyer flask, or something else entirely, it’s a piece of glassware that most of us have used at some point in our lives, whether or not we’re chemists. 28th June, 1825 is the birthday of Victor H. Erlenmeyer, who designed the Erlenmeyer flask, the most iconic piece of science glassware.

Structure of the Erlenmeyer flask

They come in a variety of sizes and can be purchased either as glass or plastic. Typically, conical flasks are clear, although amber-colored flasks are also available for use with compounds that are sensitive to light. A cotton plug or Aluminium foil can be used to seal off these flasks if they don’t come with a stopper or other means of preventing the introduction of contaminants.

As a result of their unique design, contents of the flask can be mixed without the risk of spilling. Because of the wide mouth and flat bottom, these flasks are well-suited for titration and can be used with filter funnels and a burette. A conical flask can be used for a variety of purposes, including heating, chilling, and storing substances.

The versatility of the Erlenmeyer flask is the main reason for its widespread adoption. Unlike round-bottomed flasks, which are also commonplace in the lab, this one won’t tumble over as readily because to its flat base. Its short neck and tapering, cone-like design make it possible to swirl liquids inside without them pouring out. Vapors condense on the walls of the flask, reducing the rate at which liquids escape during heating. A rubber or glass stopper fits snugly into the tiny neck.

The most Common flask sizes include 50 mL, 100 mL, 250 mL, 500 mL, and 1000 mL volumes.

Uses of Erlenmeyer flasks

 Many different applications call for the usage of an Erlenmeyers flask. They can be used to store layers during an extraction, as a reaction flask, to heat the solvent in preparation for crystallisation, as the crystallisation flask, and so on. Flasks with sloping sides are ideal for recrystallization because they allow less of the hot solvent to evaporate.

Erlenmeyer flasks application in chemistry

Because Erlenmeyer was also an outstanding chemist, it is probably a little unfair that he is mostly remembered for his flask. He was, after all, an innovator in the field of chemistry. He was the first person to propose the possibility of double and triple chemical bonds forming between two carbon atoms, and he did it independently. In addition, he was the first person to successfully synthesise or isolate a variety of chemical substances, including the glycolic acid that is derived from grapes. In addition to this, he proposed the structure of the fused ring for naphthalene.

It’s not widely recognised, but the Erlenmeyer rule is another piece of chemistry equipment that bears Erlenmeyer’s name in addition to the flask that bears his name. In the context of tautomerism involving alcohols, the Erlenmeyer rule is relevant. Isomers are chemical compounds that have the same chemical formula but a distinct arrangement of atoms within the molecule. Tautomerism is a sort of isomerism; isomers are chemical compounds. Isomers of molecules can be referred to as tautomers if they can readily switch between each other by moving an atom or group of atoms within the molecule.

Alcohols, which are organic compounds that contain the OH group, fall under the purview of Erlenmeyer’s rule. This rule applies to situations in which the OH group is directly attached to a carbon that is also involved in a double bond with another carbon. It was observed by him that these molecules rapidly tautomerize into either aldehydes or ketones, both of which are forms of organic compounds that are distinct from one another. This is done due to the fact that these molecules are, in general, more stable than the tautomer that contains alcohol. This concept is currently more frequently known as keto-enol tautomerism.

Erlenmeyer flasks application in Biology

In Microbiology, Erlenmeyer flasks are used to cultivate microorganisms. Cell culture requires the use of sterile Erlenmeyer flasks, some of which include vented caps to improve gas exchange during incubation and shaking. Maximum gas transmission and chaotic mixing during orbital shaking are achieved through the use of low liquid quantities, often no more than one fifth of the total flask volume, and baffles moulded into the flask’s internal surface.

Why Erlenmeyer flasks?

When compared to using glass, Erlenmeyer Flasks present a much lower risk to the user. Even with the normal bumps and jostling that occurs in a laboratory, they will remain intact. Take pleasure in how manageable their little weight makes them. Nalgene Erlenmeyer Flasks are constructed from materials with consistently low extractables, including Polypropylene Copolymer (PPCO), Polycarbonate (PC), Polymethylpentene (PMP), and Fluoropolymer (FEP).Polypropylene is a suitable option because it is inexpensive and can be used with a wide variety of chemicals found in the laboratory.

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