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Properties of Chemicals and Materials: Home

Locating Properties of Chemicals and Materials

Locating physical property data can sometimes be a challenge. We created this guide to help you locate properties for chemicals and materials (metals, polymers, ceramics, etc.), including:

  • The top databases to begin your search for property data.
  • Where to go for specialized topics like spectra or phase diagrams.
  • Additional print and electronic resources for your search, organized by property name.

Considerations When Searching for Properties of Chemicals and Materials

As you search for physical property data:

  • Your chemical/material may be in a database or handbook under another name. Note alternate names as you come across them, and for chemical substances note the CAS Registry Number, as many databases include CAS-RNs in the substance record.
  • The data you're looking for could be in the journal/primary literature, either within the text of the article or the supporting/supplementary information. The data you're looking for could also be in secondary sources like databases, handbooks and reference works.
  • If you're in database that indexes journal articles, you may find the data point in the database, or a note directing you to refer back to the original article. 
  • Some data are easy to find in multiple online sources, and some data may be much harder to find. It may only be in a print source.
  • The data you want may not exist in the literature, or you may have to calculate values based on the data you can find.
  • There may be multiple values for the property in question. Experimental conditions, equipment, and even errors (measurement, calculation, editing) can account for varying property data values.
  • The quality of the data is not uniform. If the data is from a journal article, are you sure there were no experimental or measurement errors? If the data is from a secondary sources like a database or handbook, do you know what sources were used to compile the data?  Has the data been critically evaluated by the provider?

Other resources: