Chemical Pricing Information for Student Design Projects and Cost Engineering: Challenges and Opportunities
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Chemical prices are an important component of cost engineering for chemical engineering students and researchers, as well as other disciplines that might be interested in chemical processes (e.g., agricultural engineering, business, economics, and industrial engineering). Students in chemical engineering senior design (or capstone) courses are especially in need of chemical pricing to demonstrate the economic feasibility of their process designs. Over the last 12 years, bulk chemical prices have become increasingly difficult to locate as information providers publishing such information have consolidated and gradually removed that content from their publications. This paper first summarizes the history of published chemical prices in the literature and then reports on a quantitative content analysis of library research guides containing chemical pricing sources at institutions with ABET-accredited chemical engineering programs. Despite the aforementioned challenges, there are some opportunities for engineering librarians. One such opportunity involves locating citations for chemical prices from a variety of sources and placing them into a searchable database that could be a community-based solution.