CH224: Organic Chemistry Lab - Literature Search Assignment
See your lab notebook for more information on the literature searching assignment and the Library resources you will use. Please read this section before beginning this lab assignment.
This site compiles several sources recommended for the CH224 literature searching lab assignment. Every chemical compound is different, and relevant information may be found in any number of sources. You will likely need to check several sources to find the data you require. Keep track of sources you use as you go, so you can cite all the information you find.
This information should be readily available in multiple sources and easily found online. Get the CAS number first, gather synonyms as you encounter them throughout your research. Use CAS number to search, instead of name, whenever possible.
Physical and Chemical Properties
Physical property information, such as molecular formula, boiling point, etc., might be available in hundreds of places if the chemical is simple, common, or useful. This is one area of information for which you can even try Wikipedia or a general internet search. You should not CITE Wikipedia, but it can lead you to other information. You should try to verify anything you find in Wikipedia or an unfamiliar source by checking multiple sources. You’ll find that a lot of physical property information is copied and pasted throughout hundreds of websites.
It’s important to understand that the availability of information will be different for every compound. Your colleague researching benzene might find every required physical property in the first source he checks. Meanwhile, you are trying to find a complex or rare chemical, and will have to look through four sources to find five different pieces of data, and you still won’t find everything you want. You can’t count on the goodness of Wikipedia users to compile information like this for you. This is where professional reference sources come in handy. They are quick to search and contain a wealth of data.
For properties not found in either Sigma-Aldrich or CHEMnetBASE, try the following sources:
Other useful databases for chemical property information are available through the NCSU Libraries Chemistry subject page or the physical properties guide in the PAMS wiki. Knovel, NIST Webbook, and DIPPR are some first places to look among the many choices.
You can find an endless number of property information sites online as well. Wikipedia can even present a good compilation of information for compounds in widespread use. These sites are usually harvesting information from the larger, more established free sources in an effort to either present chemical information in a more useful way, or just to attract web traffic.
Tried several sources and still can’t find a particular property? Consider if there may be a logical reason why your chemical might not have information on a property. Like, does it explode when you heat it? That might make it difficult to establish a boiling point! Are the crystals too small to allow chemists to find a refractive index?
Hazard and safety information is usually easy to find. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make this information widely available, and standardize its format for easy reading.
Other sources of hazardous property information are below. Some have MSDSs, others have compiled safety information in different formats:
Other possible sources of hazardous property information are listed on the hazardous properties guide in the PAMS wiki.
Like physical properties, information for any particular chemical compound could be in a number of sources—you might find it the first place you look or the fourth. Unlike physical property information, you might struggle find this specialized information with a simple Google search. Use a good source of compiled spectra rather than a broad internet search and save time.
Other possible sources:
Other possible sources of hazardous property information are listed on the spectra guide in the PAMS wiki.
Preparation or Synthesis
This a very important but challenging research task for any organic chemist. See the Synthesis page for information.
See also: using SciFinder to find synthesis
See also: using Reaxys to find synthesis
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