New edition of pre-eminent handbook released

For more than 70 years, if one reference has epitomized what chemical engineering is all about it’s been "Perry’s Chemical Engineers' Handbook." Now, a new edition — the first in a decade — has just come out.

By Mark Rosenzweig

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For more than 70 years, if one reference has epitomized what chemical engineering is all about it’s been “Perry’s Chemical Engineers’ Handbook.” Now, a new edition — the first in a decade — has just come out. With 25 sections and more than 700 illustrations crammed into about 2,400 pages, the 8th Edition is similar in size and scope to its predecessors.

Sections have been updated to cover advances in technology and also extensively revised, according to Don Green of the University of Kansas, the handbook’s editor in chief. For instance, the listings of physical and chemical data now include information from the Design Institute for Physical Properties of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, he notes.

A detailed review of the new Perry’s requires more expertise than I have. However, some areas where the handbook benefits from updating are abundantly obvious. For example, the section on Liquid-Liquid Extraction and Other Liquid-Liquid Operations and Equipment covers emerging developments such as the potential role of ionic liquids (for more on them, see: Another good example: the Process Safety section contains nearly six pages on security, including information on security vulnerability assessment methodologies, by Dave Moore, who co-authored our recent cover story on the new Dept. of Homeland Security regulations (

As with previous editions, Section 2, Physical and Chemical Data, is by far the largest, accounting for more than 500 pages. However, 10 other sections take up more than 100 pages each, lead by Transport and Storage of Fluids, which runs 159 pages, Liquid-Solid Operations and Equipment, 151 pages, and Solid-Solid Operations and Processing, 147 pages. Distillation gets 115 pages, but there’s a separate 129-page section on Equipment for Distillation, Gas Absorption, Phase Dispersion and Phase Separation. Heat Transfer garners 121 pages, while Psychrometry, Evaporative Cooling, and Solids Drying; Liquid-Liquid Extraction and Other Liquid-Liquid Operations and Equipment; Waste Management; and Process Safety also exceed 100 pages.

I’m pleased to note that two members of CP’s Editorial Board worked on sections — Vic Edwards (Transport and Storage..) and Tim Frank (Liquid-Liquid…). In addition, several of the authorities who handle questions on our Web site’s Ask the Experts feature ( also were involved — Dave Dickey (Liquid-Solid…), Wayne Genck (Liquid-Solid…), Dennis Hendershot (Process Safety), Dave Moore (Process Safety), Frank Seibert (Liquid-Liquid…) and Cecil Smith (Process Control) — as were CP authors Angela Summers (Process Safety) and Trevor Kletz (Process Safety).

Perry’s is up-to-date in more than content, too. It comes in a conventional hardcover edition, which lists for $199, but also as a “print on demand” paperback from Amazon in which you can order the particular sections you want — at prices ranging from $50 for Physical and Chemical Data to $30 for Transport and Storage of Fluids and Solid-Solid Operations and Processing to $25 for each of the other sections. Another alternative is to download individual sections from — at the same prices as on Amazon — and print them yourself. Publisher McGraw-Hill also is planning to shortly offer downloads of sections.

Also testifying to how Perry’s has changed with the times, the hardcover handbook is printed in China.

Mark Rosenzweig
Editor in Chief

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