For the short communications and final report, I recommend using LaTeX with a GUI front–end called called LyX. This is a good compromise between the functionality of LaTeX alone with the ease of use of Microsoft Word.
LyX allows you to link figures, tables, sections and references by tag, rather than keeping track of every section, figure and reference number. It will remove most of the grunt work from writing reports, especially in multi-author collaborations, allowing you to save time and focus on your results.
Tutorial: Introduction to LyX by Michael Short and Tyrell Arment. (PDF)
JabRef is a very good, free reference import and tracking system that integrates seamlessly with LyX. You can install this at any time.
We'll use Elsevier's LaTeX document class elsarticle.cls.
EES is a commercial general equation solver that can solve thousands of coupled non-linear algebraic and differential equations. EES includes a library of thermodynamic and transport properties for hundreds of substances.