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TRC Thermodynamic Tables - A Short History

TRC (the Thermodynamics Research Center) was founded in 1942 by Dr. Fredrick D. Rossini [Chief of the Section on Thermochemistry and Hydrocarbons at the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to undertake American Petroleum Institute Research Project 44. The purpose of that project was to obtain information on thermodynamic and thermophysical properties of selected hydrocarbons and their sulphur-containing analogs. Such information was critically important to the development of new refinery technologies that were vital during World War II. Data tables were first circulated in loose-leaf sheets, and then published by the Government Printing Office in bound book form around 1948. Selected Values of Physical and Thermodynamic Properties of Hydrocarbons and Related Compounds, comprising the tables of API-RP-44 extant as of December 31, 1952, were published for API by Carnegie Press. The outstanding accomplishments of the staff of API Research Project 44 were readily apparent by the uniform acceptance of the work by industry and educational institutions worldwide. API Research Project 44 operated at NBS from its beginning in 1942 until 1950, when it moved to the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), where Dr. Rossini was the Silliman Professor and Head of the Department of Chemistry.

In 1955 TRC started another national project — Manufacturing Chemists' Association (MCA), (subsequently the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and now the American Chemistry Council) Research Project — at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA. The purpose was to expand coverage to all organic compounds, using the same kind of loose-leaf tables as API-RP-44. Dr. Bruno Zwolinski joined API-RP-44 and the MCA Project as Associate Director in 1958. In 1961, Dr. Rossini left TRC to become Dean of the College of Science and Acting Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame. TRC was relocated to Texas A&M University as a part of the Chemistry Department. Dr. Bruno Zwolinski became the second Director of TRC.

Later, the project name was changed to the "Chemical Thermodynamic Properties Data Project" and the name of the tables was changed to "TRC Thermodynamic Tables - Hydrocarbons" and "TRC Thermodynamic Tables - Non-Hydrocarbons". The NIST Standard Reference Data program supported special data evaluation projects at TRC, but not for the TRC Thermodynamic Tables. The Thermodynamic Tables became self-supporting, and included spectral data sheets, which were part of the API-RP-44 and MCA projects from the beginning.

In 1986, Dr. Randolph C. Wilhoit designed and created an electronic database, "TRC SOURCE", for managing numerical values of thermodynamic, thermochemical and transport properties of pure compounds and mixtures extracted from the world's scientific literature. It marked the entrance for TRC into a new phase of computerized data management and processing. This led to an electronic version of the TRC Thermodynamic Tables, called the "TRC Table Database", for PCs.

In September, 2000 after TRC rejoining the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where it is currently operated within the Thermophysical Properties Division, the publication of both series of the TRC Thermodynamic Tables resumed at NIST.

Publication of the hardcopy version of the TRC Thermodynamic Tables ceased in 2010 with the migration to the present version of the NIST/TRC Web Thermo Tables (WTT) - NIST Standard Reference Subscription Databases 2 and 3.

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