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THE DEMAND for Purification of Laboratory Chemicals has not abated since the publication of the fourth edition as evidenced by the number of printings and the sales. The request by the Editor for a fifth edition offered an opportunity to increase the usefulness of this book for laboratory purposes. It is with deep regret that mention should be made that Dr Douglas D. Perrin had passed away soon after the fourth edition was published. His input in the first three editions was considerable and his presence has been greatly missed.
A fresh, new and young outlook was required in order to increase the utility of this book and it is with great pleasure that Dr Christina L.L. Chai, a Reader in Chemistry and leader of a research group in organic and bioorganic chemistry, has agreed to coauthor this edition. The new features of the fifth edition have been detailed below. Chapters 1 and 2 have been reorganised and updated in line with recent developments. A new chapter on the ‘Future of Purification’ has been added. It outlines developments in syntheses on solid supports, combinatorial chemistry as well as the use of ionic liquids for chemical reactions and reactions in fluorous media.
These technologies are becoming increasingly useful and popular so much so that many future commercially available substances will most probably be prepared using these procedures. Consequently, a knowledge of their basic principles will be helpful in many purification methods of the future. Chapters 4,5 and 6 (3,4 and 5 in the 4th edn) form the bulk of the book.
The number of entries has been increased to include the purification of many recent commercially available reagents that have become more and more popular in the syntheses of organic, inorganic and bio-organic compounds. Several purification procedures for commonly used liquids, e.g. solvents, had been entered with excessive thoroughness, but in many cases the laboratory worker only requires a simple, rapid but effective purification procedure for immediate use. In such cases a Rapid purification procedure has been inserted at the end of the respective entry, and should be satisfactory for most purposes. With the increased use of solid phase synthesis, even for small molecules, and the use of reagents on solid support (e.g. on polystyrene) for reactions in liquid media, compounds on solid support have become increasingly commercially available.
These have been inserted at the end of the respective entry and have been listed in the General Index together with the above rapid purification entries. A large number of substances are ionisable in aqueous solutions and a knowledge of their ionisation constants, stated as pK (pKa) values, can be of importance not only in their purification but also in their reactivity. Literature values of the pKs have been inserted for ionisable substances, and where values could not be found they were estimated (pK~~t). The estimates are usually so close to the true values as not to affect the purification process or the reactivity seriously.
The book will thus be a good compilation of pK values for ionisable substances. Almost all the entries in Chapters 4, 5 and 6 have CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) Registry Numbers to identify them, and these have been entered for each substance. Unlike chemical names which may have more than one synonymous name, there is only one CAS Registry Number for each substance (with only a few exceptions, e.g. where a substance may have another number before purification, or before determination of absolute configuration). To simplify the method for locating the purification of a substance, a CAS Registry Number Index with the respective page numbers has been included after the General Index at the end of the book.