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How to search for information on a chemical compound

Using Chemical Name

Step 1: Find all the synonyms of the chemical.

A chemical can be called by different names and each reference book may use a different version of the name.

(e.g.) The list of synonyms for camphor is:

Bicyclo[2.2.1]heptan-2-one, 1,7,7-trimethyl- ; Camphor ; ()-Camphor; 1,7,7-Trimethylbicyclo[2.2.1]-2-heptanone; 1,7,7-Trimethylnorcamphor; 2-Bornanone; 2-Camphanone; Alphanon; DL-Camphor; dl-Camphor; Root bark oil; Spirit of camphor

Use Scifinder Scholar to get this list.

Step 2: Use appropriate data resources to find the information that you need

CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics -- physical property information

Merck Index odor, color, toxicity, and use information.

Aldrich Catalog physical property information & references to IR spectra.

MSDS toxicity information

Aldrich Library of FT-IR Spectra IR spectra.


Using Molecular Formula:

You have to use the Hill Order in order to search for a chemical compound using its molecular formula:

Step 1: Count all the carbons and hydrogens in the molecule.

Step 2: Arrange them in the following order

C, H, (then all other elements arranged alphabetically)

(e.g.) ClC6H3 (NO2)CF3 is written as C7H3ClF3NO2













Copyright 2001 -- Columbia University Chemistry Department and CCNMTL