Update: CAS Number added to output
Update 2: DESKTOP GADGETS are here! See awesome update below!
If you’re like me, you don’t remember chemicals’ physical properties off the top of your head. You’re ready to run a reaction, and it’s time to fill out your reagent table. This usually means pulling out your calculator or the Aldrich catalog. Sure you can look it up online, but you always wonder if someone had some fun with a Wikipedia page – would you second guess if someone changed one of the digits in a Wikipedia entry? Maybe you used that chemical a few pages back… or was it in the last notebook?
I’ve really grown to like Wolfram|Alpha. I like the interface and the way they present the data. So I created a small Wolfram|Alpha widgit specifically for filling in reagent tables. Type in the chemical name, and it returns the molecular formula and structure (just to verify you entered the right compound), and tells you the molecular mass, density, boiling point (if you need to distill that liquid first), and a few other physical properties – everything you need to fill in your reagent table. It also recognizes chemical formulas, like TiCl4, and shorthand notation, like EtOH.
So be sure you bookmark this page and use this widgit next time you’re ready to run a reaction and can’t quite remember the density of that liquid.
Update 2: A few people, both in the comments and by email, asked if I could make a desktop gadget for the reagent table widget. Ask and you shall receive! Read about their development here.
NOTE: they’re not perfect and have some annoying bugs. The PCSmall version opens the results in a new internet explorer window, but works fine otherwise. The PCLarge version remains on the desktop with a flyout for the results, more like a ‘real’ gadget… but for whatever reason, the X button doesn’t work and you can’t make the flyout go away, so it stays large with your results open. Also, you must hit the enter button, the Submit button is not clickable. The Mac version’s X button works fine, but has scroll bars for the resulting flyout, and you can’t click and drag the scroll bars to see results. You must click in the results flyout and use the arrow keys to navigate.
Bad news: they have annoying aesthetic problems. Good news: they work, and you have the reagent table widget on your desktop for your reagent table needs at any time.
Installation instructions: download them and open them. The computer takes care of the rest!