Estimation of Solubility Parameters from Refractive Index Data


THE solubility parameter, δ, of a polymer or compound is a measure of intermolecular forces and is useful for the studies of many polymer characteristics, particularly glass transition temperatures1, solubilities and diffusion or transport properties.2 It is therefore highly desirable to have a convenient method for quickly estimating δ values of polymers. It was suggested by Hildebrand and Scott, and later by Scatchard, that solubility parameters could be calculated from optical data such as refractive index measurements3,4. In this article we report some semiempirical correlations between solubility parameters and refractive indices for a series of model compounds and polymers. This work refers only to hydrocarbon and other organic materials; further work would be required to determine if an extension to inorganic polymers is possible.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Hayer, R. A., J. App. Polymer Sci., 15, 318 (1961).

  2. 2

    Van Amerongen, G. J., Rubber Rev., 37, 1092 (1964).

  3. 3

    Hildebrand, J., and Scott, R., The Solubility of Nonelectrolytes (Rheinhold, New York, 1948).

  4. 4

    Scatchard, G., Chem. Rev., 44, 24 (1949).

  5. 5

    Walden, P., Z. Phys. Chim., 70, 587 (1910).

  6. 6

    Sewell, J. H., RAE TR No. 66185, Ministry of Aviation, Farnborough, Hants, June (1966).

  7. 7

    Burrell, H., and Immergut, B., Polymer Handbook (Interscience, New York, P IV-341, 1966).

  8. 8

    Riddick, J. A., and Toaps, E. E., Technique of Organic Chemistry, 7, Organic Solvents, 43 (Interscience, New York, 1955).

  9. 9

    Crawford, G. H., Rice, D. E., and Sandrum, B. F., J. Polymer Sci., A-1, 565 (1963).

  10. 10

    Sheeham, C. J., and Bisio, A. L., Rubber Chemistry and Technology, 149 (1966).

  11. 11

    Lovelace, A. M., Rausch, D. A., and Postelnek, W., Aliphatic Fluorine Compounds, ACS Monograph Series No. 138 (1958).

  12. 12

    Huntress, E. H., Organic Chlorine Compounds, (Wiley, New York, 1948).

  13. 13

    Huntress, E. H., and Mulliken, S. P., Identification of Pure Organic Compounds (Wiley, New York, 1941).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

LAWSON, D., INGHAM, J. Estimation of Solubility Parameters from Refractive Index Data. Nature 223, 614–615 (1969).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.