To use SOLV-DB effectively, it helps to know where you are starting from, and where you want to go to.

To get to the instructions relevant to your needs, find your starting point in the list below. A set of possible destinations is listed under each starting point. Click on your desired destination for specific instructions.

If you are starting with a specific solvent, and you are looking for:

If you have a set of criteria for a particular application and want:

If you know a supplier for a particular solvent and want:

Other Information On Using SOLV-DB

Who Are You, and Why Are You Here?

What Will You Find Here?

General Orientation

You will generally begin a SOLV-DB search from the Lookup Page, by selecting the type of search you need. You will then be asked for specific pieces of information relevant to the search.

Whenever possible, you will be presented with lists of possible choices to make your selection more convenient. Clicking on the arrow to the right of a data entry box will bring up a scrolling window listing possible choices. Clicking on an entry in the list of choices will transfer the entry to the box. You can then submit the entry by clicking the button under the box to begin the search. Data may also be typed directly into the box.

As an added convenience, alphabet buttons are provided for long lists of names. Clicking on an alphabet button will open the scrolling window with the scroll bar preset to the first entry in the list which begins with the selected letter. You can then find the desired entry nearby and click on it to enter it in the box.

After you have submitted the required information, SOLV-DB will return the results of the search.

From the general information table for each solvent, you can search SOLV-DB for related items of interest:

The Lookup Page

The Lookup Page is the nerve center of a SOLV-DB search. The buttons on this page allow you to select the search mode.

You can get to the Lookup Page from most other pages in SOLV-DB by clicking on the SOLV-DB logo on the upper right of the page, or on the "Lookup Page" button at the foot of each page.

Finding Information on a Specific Solvent

You can select a specific solvent in SOLV-DB by name, by Chemical Abstracts Number, by Sax Number or by Chemical Formula.

Selecting by Name

If you know the name of the solvent:

If you do not find the name you are looking for, consult the Synonyms Table.

Selecting by Chemical Abstracts Number

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) has assigned unique identifying numbers to specific chemical compounds. Many users find it easier to copy and check a series of digits than a long, complex name. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), lists of compounds specified in Federal and state regulations, and many technical references include the Chemical Abstracts Number along with the names of the compounds to which they refer. Users may get information on solvents in the SOLV-DB database by selecting the CAS number for the solvent.

Selecting by Sax Number

Health and safety professionals may prefer to use the alphanumeric scheme found in a standard reference (N. I. Sax, et al. Dangerous Properties of Industrial Materials) to designate the solvents for their search.

Selecting by Chemical Formula

This feature may be useful for chemists and process engineers looking for solvents with a given number of carbons, or including (or excluding) specific elements (such as chlorine). Single component solvents appearing in the database are listed by atom count, starting with carbon, followed (when present) by hydrogen, nitrogen, silicon, and halogens, and ending with oxygen and sulfur.

If You Can't Find a Solvent in SOLV-DB

Since the same solvent can be called a by a bewildering variety of different names, SOLV-DB includes a synonyms table.

To access the synonyms table:

Selecting Solvents That Meet Your Criteria

One of the most powerful features of SOLV-DB is its ability to select only those solvents in the database satisfying a set of criteria that you supply. SOLV-DB will also sort the solvents according to the property you specify. If you know what characteristics you require for a particular application, SOLV-DB will help you winnow out the possibilities.


A special feature of SOLV-DB is its ability to let you exclude from your search any solvent which falls within certain categories of concern. This includes health-related characteristics such as carcinogenicity or mutagenicity, regulatory concerns such as Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements under SARA 313, and environmental issues such as ozone depleting substances covered under the Montreal Protocol.

To use these features:

Selecting Solvents by Matching Text

SOLV-DB gives you the capability to search the database for descriptive text which contains specific character strings. This can provide some remarkably flexible capabilities for the imaginative user.

For instance, you can select all solvents whose names contain the string "butyl", even though that particular characteristics does not fall into a chemical category in the sense that "alcohol" or "ketone" does. You can find all solvents whose Department of Transportation (DOT) shipping name contains specific words or phrases. You can select all solvents whose odor descriptions contain the string "fruit", or even "banana".

To carry out a text matching search:

Searching Chemical Categories

It is often useful to try "variations on a theme" to meet a particular set of criteria. If a five-carbon alcohol won't quite do the job, perhaps a you will have better luck with a six-carbon alcohol. SOLV-DB allows you to see at a glance which compounds of the same chemical family (alcohol, ether, CFC, etc.) are included in the database.

To find all the compounds in a particular chemical category:

The SOLV-DB Information Tables

SOLV-DB presents the data listed for each solvent in a series of tables.

A general information table is presented when a solvent is first selected. This table contains many of the most frequently sought items, and also provides links to the Chemical Category and Supplier features of SOLV-DB.

Because of the large number of items covered in the database, the items have been grouped into four specific areas of interest. Detailed information tables are provided for four categories:

Capsule Definitions

Many of the items listed in the detailed information tables are of specialized interest, and may be unfamiliar to many users. For the convenience of the general user, clicking on the label for each item will bring up a capsule definition or some brief background information on the item. This is not intended to instruct you in the proper application of the item if you do not know already, but it may help jog your memory cells, or indicate where to look for a more detailed discussion.

The General Information Table

After you have narrowed your SOLV-DB search to a specific solvent, you are first presented with a general information table. This collects some commonly used data items, and serves as the fan-out point for accessing more specialized items. From the general information page, you can choose among six different directions. You can proceed to one of the four detailed information tables listed below. In addition, you can

The Health and Safety Table

The health and safety table contains items relating to toxicity, exposure limits, hazard categories, flammability, transportation classifications, and similar topics.

In many of these areas, it is important to specify the source of the data. In contrast to such items as molecular weight and boiling point, which are presumably insensitive to the laboratory performing the measurement, so long as it is performed correctly, health data and recommended exposure limits are notoriously dependent on the assumptions behind the measurements, and the purpose of the recommendations. A solvent may be unequivocally either a solid or a liquid at a given temperature, but it may be both a carcinogen and not a carcinogen at the same time, depending on the degree of proof required. Is it a "confirmed", a "probable", or merely a "suspected" carcinogen? For this reason, SOLV-DB lists toxicity characterizations and recommended exposure limits from several different agencies. The capsule definitions for each table entry label provides the full name for each agency listed. These agencies may be contacted for further information on how they arrived at the designations and recommendations listed in the tables.

The Chemical and Physical Properties Table

The chemical and physical properties table contains a wide variety of data relevant to the behavior, solvency, and conditions of use for a particular solvent. It includes both such typical "handbook" items as boiling point and viscosity, and more subjective items such as odor and color.

Note that certain properties, such as molecular weight, are relevant to single compounds, but not to mixtures. No data are provided for solvent blends in these categories.

The Regulatory Information Table

The regulatory information table contains data concerning hazard classifications, reporting requirements, and compounds specifically covered under various statutes and treaties.

Note that these classifications are subject to change. Users of solvents should also be aware of state and local regulations which may apply to them, in addition to those listed here.

The Environmental Fate Data Table

The environmental fate data table includes information which may be useful in evaluating the potential impact of air and water emissions and land disposal of solvents, and on the type and degree of waste treatment which may apply.

The capsule definitions offered for each table entry label may help orient users who are unfamiliar with these rather specialized topics.

Finding Suppliers for a Specific Solvent

SOLV-DB lists a selection of U. S. suppliers for solvents in the database, together with contact information. To use this feature:

What Else Does That Supplier Offer?

SOLV-DB offers a feature which you may find useful for evaluating the scope of a particular supplier's operations, or for determining other operations in your facility which may be impacted by the supplier's offerings. This feature allows you to list all the solvents in the SOLV-DB database provided by a given supplier. To use this feature: