This series of resources guides take a closer look at the databases our members have access to through the IMechE Library.

First up, we’re taking a closer look at Knovel – a technical reference database. Knovel provides access to core engineering handbooks, as well as tools to help with material and property data, an equation calculator and a unit converter.


Knovel’s collection of 400 core engineering handbooks covers topics from AUTOCAD to Wind Energy Systems, and features established handbooks such as Machinery’s Handbook, as well as encyclopaedias.

Knovel searches across the full-text of these handbooks, so for example, if you’re looking for information on ‘hoop stress’, the results will not only include book chapters, but also include equations, graphs, tables, and definitions, allowing you to discover useful books you may not have considered by just looking at their titles.

Screenshot of results for the search ‘hoop stress’

Material Property Search

Knovel’s material property search engine finds numeric data hidden in handbooks, manuals, and databases. There are thousands of materials and substances (metals, polymers, ceramics, chemicals, etc.) and more than 100 properties (physical, thermodynamic, electrical, corrosion, toxicity, etc.) to search.

Screenshot of Knovel’s Material Property search


Knovel’s equations tool lets you find and use engineering equations and worked examples. IMechE members have access to over 2,000 equations covering mathematics, fluid dynamics, machine design, strength of materials, thermodynamics, and more.

Screenshot of an interactive equation

Unit Converter

Knovel’s Unit Converter has over 1,000 built-in units, 95 engineering properties, multiple scientific notation systems, and supports 22 common scientific maths operators and functions. You can use the full unit converter or use the handy pop-out tool for quick conversions.

Periodic Table

You can also access the periodic table, and explore the properties, uses and other data for each element.

For tutorials on how to use various features of Knovel, check out their Support Centre for video tutorials.

So, to recap:

Knovel is a useful resource for any engineer.

Allows you to download, email or print the chapters or data you need.

Get instant access to materials property information.

Solve design problems.

Keep up to date on a new technology.

Maintain access to the technical data you need wherever you are.

Cut costs – access expensive handbooks for free.

You can access Knovel through our list of databases on our resources page here.

If you have any questions about Knovel, or you need help with any resources, please contact the Library team!


+44 (0)20 7973 1274

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