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SWAIN CHEMISTRY AND CHEMICAL ENGINEERING LIBRARY
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Chemistry 130

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Molecular Formula Search Tips

To search by molecular formula, first summarize the line formula and then arrange elements in Hill System Order.

Line Formula Summarized Formula Hill System Order
BrCH2COOH C2H3O2Br C2H3BrO2
Definition of Hill System Order
  • Carbon first, Hydrogen second, and all remaining elements, including deuterium and tritium, in alphabetical order
  • If no carbon is present, put all elements in alphabetical order
  • Indicate the number after each element (ignore the fact that the numbers are subscripts)
Case-Sensitivity of Element Symbols
  • While the molecular formulas of most resources on campus are not case-sensitive (element symbols may be typed in either upper or lower case letters), the element symbols ARE case-sensitive in:
    • Chapman and Hall Chemical Dictionaries on CD-ROM (Organic Compounds, Natural Products, and Inorganic & Organometallic Compounds)
    • INSPEC (molecular formulas are put in the Chemical or CH Index)
    • For example, in the formula above, Bromine would need to be searched as Br.


Last modified: February 7, 2007

   
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