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I will be competing in a contest and one part of it is qualitative analysis. And a fully legit way to help yourself during it is smelling compounds (to just get a theory to prove, you have to give a proof mixing given compounds, smelling is just to help, it is no proof). Oh, and I have a good nose, I think that much better than people usually have.

I mean by that I can quite easily distinguish solutions of e.g.:

  • Iodium (in $\ce{KI}$, 0.05 mol/l)
  • $\ce{Fe^3+}$ jones (0.05 mol/l)
  • Thymol blue (0,02 mol/l)
  • Sodium thiosulfate (0,05 mol/l)

or distinguish sugar from salt (kitchen ones).

And I have a access to most of the compounds used in analytical chemistry.

And my question is to write a list of compounds that should be able to be distinguished by smell. I also mean the most obvious things like ammonia. I don't mean just water solutions. I would really appreciate you being specific like "Acetate salts' water solutions, smelling like acetate acid" rather than "Acetate(s)". Thanks.

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closed as too broad by Jan, Loong, Geoff Hutchison, Martin - マーチン Dec 14 '15 at 7:11

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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This is a terrible idea, chemists stopped using smell and taste as a means of chemical analysis many years ago.

Of course, when working with compounds, you occasionally catch a smell of something (DMS being an unpleasant example), but purposefully smelling compounds is dangerous and potentially fatal if you're presented with some unknown compound for which you haven't looked up the safety data form.

Even simple chemicals that you list, such as ammonia and acetic acid will quite happily destroy the linings of your nose and respiratory tract, leaving you unable to smell for the near future. In more severe examples, the chemicals could leave you with permanent damage.

There are many many tools available for qualitative and quantitive analysis in the lab today, make use of them.

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