Erlenmeyer flask

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Table of Contents

DEFINITION

The Erlenmeyer flask (also known as the conical flask or titration flask) is a conical laboratory flask with a broad bottom and a narrow neck[1].

INVENTION

The German chemist Richard August Carl Emil Erlenmeyer invented[2] the conical flask that bears his name in 1857 in an effort to make activities involving laboratory chemicals more convenient. In his 1860 publication, he notes the following advantages of using his flask:

  • Due to its conical shape, the contents of the flask can be contained during reactions that carry a risk of spillage.
  • Because of the narrow neck, precipitates formed on the walls of the flask can easily be washed by shaking and swirling the flask.
  • Decantation can be performed better using the flask as compared to a beaker. For example, in a flask with a long neck and narrow mouth, the thumb can be used to aid decantation of silver chloride.

Here is a photograph[3] of Erlenmeyer flasks of different sizes:

INVENTOR

Here is a photograph[4] of Emil Erlenmeyer:

1825-1909