Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Grignard, (François Auguste) Victor

organic compounds research chemistry

[green-yah®] (1871–1935) French organic chemist: discovered use of organomagnesium compounds in synthesis.

Grignard, a sailmaker’s son, studied at Lyon to become a teacher of mathematics. Later he moved to chemistry and to research in organic chemistry under P A Barbier (1848–1922), who gave him a research project ‘as one throws a bone to a dog’. He found that magnesium would combine with reactive organic halogen compounds in dry diethyl ether solution to give an organomagnesium compound. Such compounds could be used (without isolating them) in reactions with a variety of carbonyl and other compounds to give organic alcohols, organometallics and other useful products. These Grignard reactions became the most useful of organic synthetic methods, were greatly used in research, and led also to increased interest in other organometallic compounds.

In the First World War Grignard (who had done military service in 1892 and become a corporal) began by guarding a railway bridge but was soon transferred to chemical warfare; he worked on the detection of mustard gas and the making of phosgene (COCl 2 ). In 1919 he succeeded Barbier at Lyon, and remained there, largely working on extensions of his major discovery. He shared the Nobel Prize in 1912 with another French organic chemist, Paul Sabatier (1854–1941), who found that some finely divided metals (Ni, Pd or Pt) could be used to catalyse the addition of hydrogen to a range of organic compounds. Ever since, catalytic hydrogenation has been much used in organic syntheses, including industrial processes such as hardening fats for margarine and improving petroleum products.

[back] Griffin, Eddie (1968–)

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or