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Properties of Chemicals and Materials: Home

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.

These resources are restricted to UC San Diego faculty, staff and students. Use the AnyConnect VPN Client for off campus access, with the group setting on 2 Step Secured - althruucsd (Duo Two-Step required). On campus, use the UCSD-Protected wifi network.


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: