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I'm a non-chemist attempting to put together a chemistry paper. Up to now I've got my thermodynamic data from various random pdf files found on the web, together with Wikipedia. Now that the paper is nearly finished I need to replace these with values from a single, respectable source. But I've realised I don't know how to find such a source. I have a few chemistry textbooks on my desk, which tend to have tables in the back, but they're not terribly comprehensive and none of them have all the data I need.

So is there a standard resource for thermodynamic tables? I particularly need the Gibbs energy and enthalpies of formation for gases found in the atmosphere, such as $\ce{O2}$, $\ce{CO2}$, $\ce{CH4}$ and $\ce{H2O(vapour)}$? In an ideal world this would either be something I can access online or a book that's likely to be found in my institute's rather small library.

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A reference that I've used quite a lot (as a student) is SI Chemical Data, which I guess is quite common. It should contain the data you ask for, among other things.

If you are looking for an online source, the NIST-JANAF Thermochemical Tables or NIST Chemistry WebBook should be good places to start. I think both should be respectable enough. The Chemistry WebBook might be a bit more comprehensive, but I suspect that much of the data is from the same source anyway, since NIST is behind both services.

Hope you can use one or the other!

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info. Our library doesn't have SI Chemical data. The NIST-Janaf table looks good (the WebBook is too detailed, as it gives multiple figures from different sources for each quantity) - but I currently have no idea how the NIST online tables should be cited in the bibliography. If you can tell me that I'll accept this answer. $\endgroup$ – Nathaniel Aug 17 '12 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Nat, see this. $\endgroup$ – user95 Aug 17 '12 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ There is a credits page which you might already have found that could prove useful. $\endgroup$ – Kjetil Sonerud Aug 17 '12 at 15:35
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What you'll want to look at is the Landolt-Börnstein series of handbooks, particularly Group IV (Physical Chemistry). Volume 19 deals with the "Thermodynamic Properties of Inorganic Materials", which will have the Gibbs energy and formation enthalpy included among the tabulated properties.

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I too usually refer to the CRC Handbook. Both of my copies (86th ed, 2005-06 and 46th ed, 1965-66) have a section on thermodynamic properties of materials. The CRC Handbook works for the most of the general data I need to look up. There is some field-specific data I need that isn't in the CRC Handbook; I use the Polymer Handbook for that.

In terms of actually citing the data in your manuscript, I consider it to be best practice to cite an original research paper if possible. The CRC Handbook and Polymer Handbook cite every datum they contain (sometimes with more than one source). Ideally, you would look up that citation, verify both the datum and the method, and then cite that source.

I personally consider a citation to the reference book itself to be sub-optimal, but acceptable. NIST is a slightly different beast, as they often are the original source of the data they compile. They usually supply a preferred format for citations, so I'm a little surprised that it's not obviously placed on the NIST-JANAF page that @Kjetil Sonerud linked to. Google led me to a citation page that you might find useful, in addition to the other page Kjetil linked. EDIT: The page @J.M. linked to in his comment is exactly what I was thinking of. I can't figure out if that's the same source as the NIST-JANAF tables.

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I think the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is a very good source to look for all sorts of physical or chemical data and it can be considered as a kind of standard reference. You can also find an Internet version of the book which would be a bit more "lightweight" than the printed book with its more than 2600 pages.

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