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Chemistry International
Vol. 24, No. 2
March 2002


New Books and Publications

Characterization of Compounds in Solution: Theory and Practice

William H. Streng, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 2001. (ISBN 3-306-46595-7)

The purpose of this book is to discuss concisely and comprehensively solution properties of compounds that are most important in the area of pharmaceutics. While there are many topics that can be included in a discussion on solution properties of compounds, the following are the most critical in the area of pharmaceutics: equilibrium constants, partition efficients, general solubility, solubility in protic solvents, and solution stability. The ambitious concept of this book is to bring together these topics in a logical and concise manner.

After an introductory chapter on compound characterization, the theoretical chapters of Streng's book cover thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium constants, partition coefficient, solubility, solubility of weak acids and bases, solution stability, and instrumentation.

Clearly, most of these chapters could easily fill a volume in itself, but the truly original idea of the book is the self-sufficient description of theory and practice used for characterizing compounds in solution. The remaining chapters cover procedures and examples for the practical investigation of equilibria, partitioning, solubility, and solution kinetics.

The strength of this book lies in the chapters on instrumentation and solution kinetics. Here the author draws from his scientific experience and convincingly shows how a general knowledge in physical chemistry is applied to obtain experimentally reliable information and theoretically sound interpretations.

The digressions in some of the introductory remarks of the individual chapters are doubtless a matter of taste. For example, the comparison of chemical kinetics with a road between two cities that are separated by a small or a tall mountain seems—from the reviewer's point of view—a bit too simplistic.

In addition, some misleading statements in the theoretical chapters should be eliminated in the next edition. For example, in one section a catalyst is described as "shifting the equilibrium to the right." However, catalysts increase the rate at which equilibrium is attained, but do not effect its position.

To summarize, it can be said that Streng's book covers compactly a wide variety of theoretical and practical aspects of characterizing compounds of pharmaceutical relevance using physicochemical methods. It will be most beneficial to readers who plan to set up their own experimental investigations to characterize compounds in solution.

Reviewed by Heinz Gamsjäger, Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria.






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