Wilhelm Schlenk bigraphy, stories - German chemist

Wilhelm Schlenk : biography

22 March 1879 - 29 April 1943
Wilhelm Johann Schlenk

Schlenk was an organic chemist who discovered organolithium compounds around 1917. He also investigated free radicals and carbanions and discovered (together with his son) that organomagnesium halides are capable of participating in a complex chemical equilibrium, now known as a Schlenk equilibrium.

Today Schlenk is remembered mostly for developing techniques to handle air-sensitive compounds, and for his invention of the Schlenk flask. The latter is a reaction vessel with a glass or Teflon tap for the addition and removal of gases, such as nitrogen or argon. He is also known for the Schlenk line, a double manifold incorporating a vacuum system and a gas line joined by double oblique taps that allow the user to switch between vacuum and gas for the manipulation of air-sensitive compounds.

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