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Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

A guide to finding books, articles, and technical information for your coursework in chemical and petroleum engineering.

About the Guide

The objective of this guide is to prepare the chemical process design students with the appropriate information searching skills to search engineering resources. If you need assistance with your research please contact:

Caitlin McClurg, the Engineering Librarian, at

Jennifer Lee, the Chemsitry Librarian, at

Zahra Premji, the Business Libraria, at


Preparing for your project - Questions to keep in mind

1) What information are you looking for?

2) Where will the information be? ("source")

3) What tools will you use to find the source?

Databases (Articles, technical reports, conference proceedings)

Database search tips:

These databases are not like Google - they have very little artificial intelligence. This means they are interpreting exactly what you type. They are not smart enough to look for synonyms (oil sands/tar sands), alternate spellings (center/centre), or alternate word endings (recover/recovery/recovered). The tips below allow you to create more precise searches, and work across databases.

  • Phrase searching: Tell the database to search for multiple words as a phrase by enclosing them in quotation marks. Example: "enhanced recovery".
  • Truncation: Put an asterisk on a word "stem" to look for alternate endings. Example: gasif* will search for gasify, gasified, gasification.
  • Use multiple search boxes to add in synonyms for concepts. Example: 

Engineering & Chemical Engineering Databases

Comprehensive interdisciplinary engineering database covering journal articles, technical reports, and conference papers and proceedings over the entire spectrum of engineering.

~20% chemical engineering, ~80% chemistry content. Journal and patent literature for chemistry and related disciplines, including substance data (REGISTRY), chemical reactions (CASREACT), chemical regulatory data (CHEMLIST), and chemical suppliers (CHEMCATS).
You will need to create an account (free for students, faculty, and staff) to access SciFinder Web. The account must be created on-campus with a U of C email address.
Once your account is created, you can access it from anywhere with an Internet connection.
More info and search guides

A unique library of technical documents and journal articles serving the E&P industry. This is the ONLY place you'll find the full text of SPE Papers.

A biomedical database. Includes "the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities,and information science as they relate to medicine and health care."

Business Databases - if you're looking for industry information rather than technical information

ABI Inform Global
Covers the global business scene with a heavy focus on trade journals. Also contains press releases from companies and industry reports.

Business Source Complete 
Business Source Complete is a comprehensive database of peer reviewed and trade journals. Great for finding information on specific companies.


Pricing resources

ICIS Indicative Chemical Prices

Most data from 2006, some updated in 2007 and 2008

ICIS Chemical Business 

Suggested search tips: 
A. Search for "chemical profile" and your chemical. Example: "chemical profile" polypropylene
B. Search x chemical and cost. Look for articles with just the chemical as the title. Example: phenol cost

Chemical Week 

A. The CW Price Report summarizes spot and contract prices for some popular bulk chemicals.
Search tip 1: "CW Price Report" AND x chemical. Example: "CW Price Report" AND cumene
Search tip 2: x chemical AND price. Example: cumene and price
B. Product Focus looks at the current market for a chemical. 
Search tip: "product focus" x chemical. Example: "product focus" ethylene

Buyers' Guides / Other Chemical Suppliers

*** You may need to email manufacturers directly for a bulk quote. This may take several days. ***


Mineral commodity summaries (USGS)

Polymer pricing
Search for (price or prices or pricing) and your polymer.

Cost estimating - plant design

Kent & Riegel's handbook of industrial chemistry and biotechnology (11th ed, 2007)

Kent & Riegel's handbook of industrial chemistry (hardcopy only, 10th ed, 2003)

Perry's chemical engineers' handbook - Section 9 online | in print

Chemical engineering (search CEPCI or "business indicators")
This is a trade journal. It has updates on cost indices and business indicators.

Determining manufacturing costs (Anderson J. 2009. Chemical Engineering Progress. 105(1):27-31.)
This is an article; click on "Full text - PDF" for a printable version.


Physical properties resources

DECHEMA Chemistry Data Series (hardcopy only) (VLE, LLE, SLE Data)

Engineering Data Book: FPS version, 13th ed., 2012 (reserve copy, hardcopy only)

Engineering Data Book: FPS version (hardcopy only), 12th ed., 2004 | 11th ed., 1998

GPSA Data Book, aka Engineering Data Book: SI Version, 12th ed., 2004 (hardcopy only)

Perry's chemical engineers' handbook online | in print

NIST Webbook

Knovel and Knovel Equations and help video


SDS (formerly MSDS) & Lab Safety


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