Victor Grignard
François Auguste Victor Grignard (May 6, 1871 in Cherbourg - December 13, 1935 in Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

) was a Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

-winning French chemist
A chemist is a scientist trained in the study of chemistry. Chemists study the composition of matter and its properties such as density and acidity. Chemists carefully describe the properties they study in terms of quantities, with detail on the level of molecules and their component atoms...


Grignard was the son of a sail maker. After studying mathematics at Lyon he transferred to chemistry and discovered the synthetic reaction bearing his name (the Grignard reaction
Grignard reaction
The Grignard reaction is an organometallic chemical reaction in which alkyl- or aryl-magnesium halides add to a carbonyl group in an aldehyde or ketone. This reaction is an important tool for the formation of carbon–carbon bonds...

) in 1900. He became a professor at the University of Nancy in 1910 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature,...

 in 1912. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 he studied chemical warfare
Chemical warfare
Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of chemical substances as weapons. This type of warfare is distinct from Nuclear warfare and Biological warfare, which together make up NBC, the military acronym for Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical...

 agents, particularly the manufacture of phosgene
Phosgene is the chemical compound with the formula COCl2. This colorless gas gained infamy as a chemical weapon during World War I. It is also a valued industrial reagent and building block in synthesis of pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds. In low concentrations, its odor resembles...

 and the detection of mustard gas. His counterpart on the German side was another Nobel Prize winning Chemist, Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber
Fritz Haber was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid...


The Grignard reaction

Grignard is most noted for devising a new method for generating carbon-carbon bonds using magnesium to couple ketones and alkyl halides. This reaction is valuable in organic synthesis
Organic synthesis
Organic synthesis is a special branch of chemical synthesis and is concerned with the construction of organic compounds via organic reactions. Organic molecules can often contain a higher level of complexity compared to purely inorganic compounds, so the synthesis of organic compounds has...

. It occurs in two steps:
  1. Formation of the "Grignard reagent", which is an organomagnesium compound made by the reaction an organohalide, R-X (R = alkyl or aryl
    In the context of organic molecules, aryl refers to any functional group or substituent derived from an aromatic ring, be it phenyl, naphthyl, thienyl, indolyl, etc....

    ; and X is a halide
    A halide is a binary compound, of which one part is a halogen atom and the other part is an element or radical that is less electronegative than the halogen, to make a fluoride, chloride, bromide, iodide, or astatide compound. Many salts are halides...

    , usually bromide
    A bromide is a chemical compound containing bromide ion, that is bromine atom with effective charge of −1. The class name can include ionic compounds such as caesium bromide or covalent compounds such as sulfur dibromide.-Natural occurrence:...

     or iodide
    An iodide ion is the ion I−. Compounds with iodine in formal oxidation state −1 are called iodides. This page is for the iodide ion and its salts. For information on organoiodides, see organohalides. In everyday life, iodide is most commonly encountered as a component of iodized salt,...

    ) with magnesium
    Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

     metal. The Grignard reagent is usually described with the general chemical formula R-Mg-X, although its structure is more complex.
  2. Addition of the carbonyl
    In organic chemistry, a carbonyl group is a functional group composed of a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom: C=O. It is common to several classes of organic compounds, as part of many larger functional groups....

    , in which a ketone
    In organic chemistry, a ketone is an organic compound with the structure RCR', where R and R' can be a variety of atoms and groups of atoms. It features a carbonyl group bonded to two other carbon atoms. Many ketones are known and many are of great importance in industry and in biology...

     or an aldehyde
    An aldehyde is an organic compound containing a formyl group. This functional group, with the structure R-CHO, consists of a carbonyl center bonded to hydrogen and an R group....

     is added to the solution containing the Grignard reagent. The carbon atom that is bonded to Mg transfers to the carbonyl carbon atom, and the oxygen of the carbonyl carbon becomes attached to the magnesium to give an alkoxide
    An alkoxide is the conjugate base of an alcohol and therefore consists of an organic group bonded to a negatively charged oxygen atom. They can be written as RO−, where R is the organic substituent. Alkoxides are strong bases and, when R is not bulky, good nucleophiles and good ligands...

    . The process is an example of a nucleophilic addition
    Nucleophilic addition
    In organic chemistry, a nucleophilic addition reaction is an addition reaction where in a chemical compound a π bond is removed by the creation of two new covalent bonds by the addition of a nucleophile....

     to a carbonyl. After the addition, the reaction mixture is treated with aqueous acid to give an alcohol, and the magnesium salts are subsequently discarded.

The Grignard reaction is an important means of preparing organic compounds from smaller precursor molecules. For this work, Grignard was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in the various fields of chemistry. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895, awarded for outstanding contributions in chemistry, physics, literature,...

 in 1912 jointly with fellow Frenchman Paul Sabatier
Paul Sabatier (chemist)
Paul Sabatier FRS was a French chemist, born at Carcassonne. He taught science classes most of his life before he became Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Toulouse in 1905....



  • 1912 — Lavoisier Medal
    Lavoisier Medal
    A Lavoisier Medal is an award made by any of a number of bodies, for achievements in chemical related disciplines. The award is named for Antoine Lavoisier, considered by some to be a father of modern chemistry....

    , Société Chimique de France
    Société Chimique de France
    The Société Chimique de France is a learned society and professional association founded in 1857 to represent the interests of French chemists in a variety of ways in local, national and international contexts.-History:...

  • 1933 — Légion d'Honneur
    Légion d'honneur
    The Legion of Honour, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honour is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Consulat which succeeded to the First Republic, on 19 May 1802...

    , Commander.

External links

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