This guide was made to help students in organic and general chemistry laboratory courses find the information they need to complete their lab reports and pre-lab assignments.
If you need more help, don't hesitate to ask!
Citations for this class should be in the ACS style
For more details, as well as information about citing other types of sources, consult Chapter 14 (References) of the ACS Style Guide:
When citing sources, remember that a citation should allow the reader to be able to identify where a piece of information came from, and trace it back to its source.
It may be helpful to look at articles published in journals that use the ACS style, in order to get a better sense of how references should look. For instance, try skimming some of the articles in this journal:
The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is easy to use and provides much of the information you will need to complete your pre-lab chemical table.
Section 3 of the handbook contains tables of physical constants of organic compounds. CRC data comes from primary literature and secondary literature, including other handbooks. Tables include the following data:
SciFinder is a great place to search for chemical data and chemical reactions. Before using SciFinder for the first time, you'll need to create an account (by clicking on the SciFinder Registration link).
1. Choose how you search
There are multiple ways to search for chemical substances. You can search by specifying:
Chemical Structure – Use the structure editor to search by Exact Structure, Substructure, or Similarity.
Markush – Search chemical patent references
Molecular Formula – Search by molecular formula
Property – Search for substances that match your specified experimental or predicted chemical property values
Substance Identifier – Search by CAS Registry Numbers or chemical names
I'm going to click "Substance Identifier" and search by chemical name for "ethanol."
2. On the results screen, click “substance detail” to view more information
3. Substance Record
A substance record has the following information:
CAS Registry Number—Chemical Abstracts Registry Number, each substance is given a unique number. The CAS RN is a very useful tool to use when searching for a substance that may have multiple names or a non-unique molecular formula.
Links to records that cite the substance. The CAS Role Table categorizes the references by how the substance is used in the article.
Predicted Properties tables generated by ACD/Labs computer algorithms
Experimental Properties tables with links to the reference that reports the data
SciFinder can be used to find information about reactions. Search for a reaction by drawing your reactants and/or product substances in the reaction search. Or, if you've just done a substance search, click "find reactions" at the top of that search to find reactions that invovle your substance.
If you are new to the SciFinder reaction search, check out this tutorial:
Percent yield is listed with the reaction, when reported in the literature. The percent yield and citation for the original research can be found on the results page for a reaction. The "sort by" option can be used to re-order the results set by product yield.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are the first source of chemical safety information. MSDS are available from chemical manufacturers and in online databases. Below are a few links.