Chemistry for Dummies
Part V. The Part of Tens
Chapter 22. Ten Useful Chemistry Web Sites
In This Chapter
· Looking for Web sites related to chemistry
· Surfing the sites for the chemical information you want
· Navigating through additional links that you find
The Web is a gold mine of useful information, with a lot of fool's gold thrown in. In this chapter, 1 provide you with some good starting places to find cool chemical information. Because Web sites come and go, I’m not promising that all, or even any, of these sites will be there when you start looking for them, but I tried to choose ones that have a good chance of being around. (Even though I know people who wish the EPA would go away, it’s quite likely that it’ll still be there.) Use the additional links that you find at each site to branch out and fulfill your interest in chemistry.
American Chemical Society
The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the largest scientific organization in the world devoted to a single scientific discipline. Its Web site offers a wealth of information and links to other sites. A chemical search engine is available, along with a molecule of the week. It has links to chemistry-related news stories, an online store (if you simply must have that coffee cup made out of a beaker — I have two!), and links to various divisions within the American Chemical Society. You can even join the ACS online.
Material Safety Bata Sheets
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provides a wealth of information concerning the safe handling, spill control, health hazards, and so on, of a chemical. Most places are required by law to maintain an MSDS for every chemical in stock. At this site, you can search by name, product name, or CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) registry number for an MSDS on a particular chemical and then print it out. This site also provides lots of information about chemicals, as well as links to other Internet MSDS sites and hazardous chemical reference sites.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This is the official EPA site. It has links to lots of information concerning the environment, hazardous chemicals, and such. You can browse through environmental laws and regulations, read the latest news articles concerning environmental issues, and check the status on toxic substances such as lead. The site even features a For Kids section that explains environmental issues in a way that’s appropriate for children. You can order EPA publications online and obtain educational materials, too. It’s your tax dollar — get the most out of it.
Chemi st ry. about. com is a commercial Web site geared to a wide range of ages. It has a section on homework for those in high school and college, a description of scientific toys, links to companies that sell scientific equipment, and links to the specific areas of chemistry: organic, physical, analytical, and so on. One of the most useful sets of links is to chemistry clip art. Beware, though: This site can be frustrating because of the advertising windows that keep opening. If you can deal with that aspect, this is a good general site.
This great British Web site is set up as a periodic table. Want to know something about the element tantalum? What about osmium? Need the melting point of zinc? Just click on an element, and you get all its pertinent physical properties and common compounds — and in most cases, you even get a photograph of it. This Web site also keeps you up to date on the discovery of new elements. You can even print a copy of the periodic table. This site definitely belongs on your favorites list.
Plastics.com is primarily for those who want to know a little more about plastics or are in the plastics industry. This site has numerous news articles about current events in the industry, and you can get information about many different types of plastics. This is a great Web site for someone with an upcoming job interview at a plastics-related company.
This site from the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a great source of data on thousands of chemical compounds. You can access thermochemical data (data dealing with the relationship of heat in chemical reactions) on more than 6,000 organic and inorganic compounds, and you can get infrared, mass spectrum (the spectrum of a stream of gaseous ions separated according to their mass and charge — it’s a way to identify the chemical constitution of a substance), and ultra violet and visible (UV/Vis) spectra (another way to determine the structure of molecules using energy) for numerous compounds. You can search the database by name, formula, CAS number, molecular weight, or numerous other properties.
ChemClub is a commercial site that provides access to a broad range of information about chemistry in general. It has numerous links to search engines, current events related to chemistry, and more. This well-developed site is useful to chemistry professionals or members of the general public who want an overall view of industrial chemistry.
Institute of Chemical Education
The Institute of Chemical Education (ICE) is associated with the University of Wisconsin. Its main emphasis is training in-service teachers. The institute’s Web site has links to other chemical-education sites. Information concerning the institute’s workshops and other presentations is available, too.
The Exploratorium, the “museum of science, art, and human perception,” in San Francisco, California, is one of the foremost science museums in the country. This must-see Web site is geared toward kids and families. It’s updated daily with news articles and current events. You can learn the science behind baseball, hockey, and other sports in its Sports! Science feature. The site presents a lot of activities for kids and adults in all the areas of science. The Exploratorium publications have been among my favorites for years.