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Searching by Properties

Literature Searching

Quality of Data


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Touloukian's Bibliography

The physicist Y.S. Touloukian (1920-1981) recognized that traditional bibliographic indexes such as Chemical Abstracts did a relatively poor job of helping the researcher locate physical property data buried within the primary literature. He advocated improving the quality of scientific data collection and evaluation and, equally importantly, improving access to that data after the fact. In the 1960s and 70s he undertook a project to identify and adequately index documents that contained property data. The result was the Thermophysical Properties Research Literature Retrieval Guide. The 3rd edition of this work (1982) covered 1900-1980 and indexed over 75,000 source documents and over 44,000 substances. It complements the Thermophysical Properties of Matter series (1970-79) which contains actual evaluated data, and its online successor the TPMD database.

Properties Covered

The term "thermophysical properties" as used by this project signifies macroscopic (bulk) transport and thermodynamic properties, including:

Materials Covered

The bibliography's focus was on solid state materials, especially inorganic, metals, alloys, and composites both natural and manmade: Elements and their compounds; ferrous and nonferrous alloys; mixtures; composites; polymers; refractories; glasses; natural products; minerals; paints and coatings; slags, scales, aggregates, etc. Small organic molecules were not emphasized, since they are widely covered elsewhere. The 3rd edition organized material classes into self-contained volumes:
  1. Elements
  2. Inorganic compounds
  3. Organic compounds and polymeric materials
  4. Alloys, intermetallics, and cermets
  5. Oxide mixtures and minerals
  6. Mixtures and solutions
  7. Coatings, systems, composites, foods, animal and vegetable products

Arrangement and Use

The volumes contain explanations and examples in the prefatory sections and on the end pages. These are the basic search steps:
  1. Determine the "class" of desired substance.
  2. Look up the name of the substance in the appropriate class section (each of which is a separate volume in the 2nd ed. Supplements and 3rd edition).
  3. Refer to the Property column to see if the desired property code is listed for that substance. If it's not, you're finished.
  4. Note the substance number and look it up in the corresponding chapter for that specific property.
  5. Entries in the property sections are annotated according to physical state, subject, temperature range, and language. If an entry seems to match the conditions you're looking for, note the serial number.
  6. Look up the serial number in the Bibliography section to get the complete reference. There is also an author index. Some references are obscure, and include foreign language material, technical reports, conference papers, and other ephemera, so consult with a librarian if necessary.


3rd edition: TA 418.52 P872 1982, Chemistry Library Reference (lack vol.4)
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