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CHE 432: Principles of Chemical Engineering Design

Library and internet resources for CHE 432 assignments.


This page shows where to find prices for chemicals, substances, and materials.  Price availability depends on whether you are interested in current or historical prices, and bulk purchasing vs. small quantities.   



ABI/Inform  (1923+)
Is an index to articles in business and trade magazines; all areas of the chemical industry are covered including bulk chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, cosmetics, metals, etc.   The type of information found will be of interest to the business side of chemistry, including news about the industry in general and about specific companies and products.   So in addition to prices, these sources will also include company ownership changes, financial outlooks, sales, marketing, demand, productivity, and employment information. 

Search strategies for ABI/Inform:

  1. Enter the chemical's name in the search box:

    • If a chemical is commonly called more than one name or has spelling variations, include those separated by OR.

    • If the name of a chemical is two or more separate words, put quote marks ("") around the words so that the computer searches them as a phrase.  

      Example:    "sodium sulfate" OR "sodium sulphate"

      Your results list will include all the articles from business and trade magazines in which that chemical is either featured or mentioned in the article.  Be careful not to eliminate articles in which the title does not include the chemical name or the words "price" or "cost".   This information is frequently buried deep down within an article and it may not be readily apparent from the title.  For example, an article simply titled "Sodium Sulfate" from the August 17, 1998 issue of Chemical Market Reporter had this section on prices: 

       Historical (1982-1997): High $127 per ton, list, sodium sulfate, East, bulk, c.l., works, frt. equald; low, $78 per ton, same basis.
      Current: $113-$114 per ton, same basis; $82 per ton, list, saltcake, East, bulk, c.l., works, frt. equald.

  2. If searching just the chemical name results in too large a list, you can try these two techniques:

    • Limit the search by requiring the words "price" and "cost" to be present anywhere in the record (aka "All Fields Plus Text") 

      Example:    (sodium sulfate OR sodium sulphate) AND (pric* OR cost*)
      The * is the truncation symbol that tells the computer to search for all forms of the word. 

    • Limit the search for the chemical to just words from the title, abstract, and subjects of the articles.  To do this:
      • Use the advanced search,
      • In the first search box put the chemical's name (and variants, if applicable) and then reset the field box for that line from "All Fields Plus Text" to "All Fields- No Full Text".   

        Your results list will include all the articles in which that chemical is the main focus of the article.  

Supplier Catalogs

If you are looking for the current price of a specific chemical, try supplier web sites such as: 

Don't know who supplies the specific chemical? Try these directories:


SciFinder (aka ChemCat)
Suppliers for chemicals may be found using the ChemCat section of SciFinder. Although there is section for pricing in each ChemCat record, many suppliers opt out by putting "Contact Supplier", rather than the purchase price. Because of the small amount of pricing information actually in the database, we recommend this as the very last resort for chemical pricing information.

Once in the database, click on the "Substance Identifier" link in the left-hand column, after the screen refreshes enter the chemical's exact name or CAS Registry Number in the search box.  From the results list, click on the chemical(s) you want and then click on the "commerical sources link" (the red flask) icon.  From the list of suppliers, click on the title for each one that's of interest to see the full information.  The price is part of the "Commercial Source Information" section. 

For the Future ..

A possible chemical price resource your future employer may have ... 

ICIS: Price Reports

ICIS: Chemical Business is one of the main trade magazines for the chemical industry. Previously, this title was known as the Chemical Market Reporter (1996-2006), Chemical Marketing Reporter (1972-1996), and the Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter (1871-1971) and was one of the main sources of chemical prices for the top-selling  bulk chemicals.   The new publisher moved the magazine from print to online but removed the pricing section. Pricing information is now a separate report from this publisher and is packaged and priced for businesses rather than libraries.    


Need More Help?

Having trouble with any of the resources on this guide? 

Contact your librarians with related expertise, OR use the ASU Library's "Ask a Librarian" service.

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