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Questions tagged [smell]

For questions regarding the chemical processes or chemicals involved in distinguishable smells

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1 answer
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The smell of wet gypsum

Not strictly chemistry, but where does the distinctive smell of wet gypsum come from? It is not like wet earth from geosmin.
Gyro Gearloose's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
96 views

Why does tert-butyl alcohol smell like camphor?

Industrial alcohol sold in Taiwan often have a pronounced smell that resembles camphor. When I checked the ingredients at the back, it included tert-butyl alcohol $\ce{(CH_3)_3COH}$, which Wikipedia ...
Jonathan Huang's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
596 views

I left scented candles in a polypropylene container. How do I remove the smell?

I left scented candles in a polypropylene container, for many weeks. How do I remove the smell? I've tried: Hand wash with Dish Soap (a few times) Hand wipe with Isopropyl Alcohol (a few times) ...
JJ123's user avatar
  • 73
3 votes
1 answer
177 views

Smell of orange peel travels super fast

Many years ago, my college chemistry teacher squeezed an orange peel in the front of the auditorium asking us to raise our hands when we smelled it. Hands rippled through the auditorium (at least 40 ...
Greg's user avatar
  • 139
-1 votes
2 answers
696 views

What is the difference between "smell/odor" and "vapor" of a substance? [closed]

A solid chemical substance with a very high vaporization temperature can still produce potent smells at room temperature. What, then, produces smell, and could smelling some potent solid substance ...
Kyle's user avatar
  • 7
2 votes
1 answer
328 views

What chemicals can remove or greatly reduce the smell of burning diesel fuel?

I am not a chemist myself but I am trying to solve a practical problem I am experiencing. I have a nicely working diesel stove but it produces some smell. I've read that adding urea to the exhaust may ...
Boris D. Teoharov's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
92 views

Smell through Plastic [duplicate]

Can smell go through plastic bags/gloves? If it can, does the things in the bag ACTUALLY touch you? Like cat poop, if it's in the bag my hands starts smelling but I don't feel it on my hands or see it ...
Muhammad Abubakar's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

What compounds smell like burning rubber or tar?

Background: A couple of friends of mine live next door to each other in a 10-year old block of flats in London, UK. They say that in the early hours of the morning, a toxic smell appears in their ...
Rocketmagnet's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Smell produced in reaction of sodium hydroxide and aluminium

I was doing an experiment with $\ce{NaOH}$ dissolved in some $\ce{H2O}$ and aluminium. My textbook says that the following reaction takes place $$\ce{2 NaOH + 2 H2O + 2 Al -> 2 NaAlO2 + 3 H2}$$ It ...
Maharsh Jani's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there a type of fabric that absorbs smoke and odors, but also washes out? [closed]

I don't know where else to post this, and I also saw a question asking why fabric absorb odors so well so I'm hoping it fits here. Any explanation as to why one fabric over another would absorb odor ...
Eric's user avatar
  • 99
4 votes
0 answers
86 views

What does pentamethylarsenic smell of? [closed]

Trimethylarsine smells of garlic. According to Wikipedia, pentamethylarsenic smells like pentamethylantimony but I can't find the smell of that anywhere. What does pentamethylarsenic smell of?
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

How to I neutralize the smell of (VERY) spoiled milk [closed]

Let's say I have a cup full of milk that had been at room temperature for months (apparently my son was running an experiment...). The smell started seeping out of the makeshift lid, and it's horrible....
Duars's user avatar
  • 107
0 votes
2 answers
179 views

Is there any relation between resonance and smell of a hydrocarbon? [closed]

I came across several examples (such as many benzene derivatives) of hydrocarbons having resonance that also seem to have a sharp odour. So, does resonance have an effect on smell?
Matthew jk's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
638 views

What characterises the smell of alkane hydrocarbons?

I have heard that aromatic hydrocarbons smell fruity and like petrol. However, I understand that there is a class of hydrocarbons called alkane, as for example propane or butane. I wondered if I might ...
Mikkel Rev's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
842 views

How do I get the smell of Febreeze (uncomplexed cyclodextrin composition) out of my carpet?

Help! I sprayed my old carpet, which had gotten a little mildewy from some wet towels left on it, with Febreeze original scent. Now I can't get that horrible scent out! It might also be mixed with ...
Annette R.'s user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
180 views

Why do old buildings in the UK smell like ammonia / boar taint?

As a US resident who visited the UK, I was surprised that many wooden buildings built before say 1800 smelled strongly of pork, an ammonia-like smell but most precisely like boar taint. I have never ...
fritzo's user avatar
  • 173
1 vote
1 answer
289 views

what causes the smell of a room ionizer? If ozone, what are we actually smelling when ozone interacts with nasal mucous? [closed]

This touches on how smell works, but my intent is ask about the mechanism for why do ionised smell like they do? I would like to get one step past ozone if that is the primary mechanism.
xxyzzy's user avatar
  • 111
1 vote
0 answers
53 views

What makes the odor of flatulence fade away? [closed]

If an individual expelled their intestinal gas in an enclosed space, that smell would seemingly fade away. Why is this so? I would think of 3 possible explanations: The gases dilute in the air. If ...
M. Melcher's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
44 views

Can aroma compounds travel through metal boards and glass? [closed]

A friend from customs said "if drugs have been in a glass jar for more than a day, the aroma compounds travel through the lid and the dog can detect it, especially after 2-3 days. They can travel ...
bandybabboon's user avatar
45 votes
2 answers
8k views

What's the biggest organic molecule that could have a smell?

For a molecule to have a smell it's necessary that the molecule be volatile enough to be in the air. So I think that excludes molecules which are solid at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. ...
pentane's user avatar
  • 529
0 votes
0 answers
581 views

Should High Vacuum oil smell?

I recently have purchased a high vacuum pump and am currently repairing it, the internals have a strong smell of oil. I was going to do an oil change anyway but should I clean all the old oil. High ...
Eric B Ahapaid's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
402 views

Neutralize the smell of alcohol in liquid chalk

i'm trying to mix my own liquid chalk, which is a simple mixture of chalk and a high percentage alcohol in a ~2 part chalk 1 part alcohol relation. Unfortunately the smell is rather intensive and I ...
user81412's user avatar
31 votes
1 answer
13k views

Why does lemon juice reduce the "fish" odor of sea food — specifically fish?

In studying amines, I read that lemon juice is also used to wash fish because it reacts with the amines on and in the fish to convert the amines to its salt, just reducing the "fishy smell". ...
Winter Soldier's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
472 views

Why does copper jewelry & wire smell bad - even when I'm not wearing it? [duplicate]

I make jewelry by weaving a frame from copper wire for a gemstone, then making copper coils or spirals, etc for further decoration. Even 'on the roll', the copper wire smells bad - and the smell ...
CuriousQ's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do I reduce the smell of store-bought liquid soap? [closed]

I recently bought a brand of liquid soap I've never used before and it turns out they formulated it with a bit too much of the scent ingredients, to the point where I find it gets uncomfortably close ...
Don Joe's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
48 views

What is it in the composition of natural fabrics that cause them to retain smoke odors versus synthetics?

Just an observation I notice when around smoker friends or when I visit Las Vegas - polyester clothing doesn't seem to stay smelling of smoke for the rest of the day like my cotton shirts do (or also ...
squidlydeux's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
368 views

Why does my synthesized 4-bromoacetanilide smell like almonds?

So, I synthesized 4-bromoacetanilide in the lab by brominating acetanilide. Acetic acid was used as a catalyst. Sodium bisulfide was used to neutralize the reaction product. Then it was washed with ...
Eli's user avatar
  • 39
13 votes
3 answers
10k views

Does a smell imply particles or chemicals in the air? [duplicate]

(I know little science so please help me if I'm in the wrong place or if my question needs editing. I could use help with tagging, for example.) If I can smell something then does that mean there are ...
cja's user avatar
  • 343
1 vote
2 answers
82 views

Artificial nose sensors

I'm am doing research in creating an artificial nose. I need to know how this process works by someone with domain expertise; essentially, what technologies are available currently to detect a broader ...
travis haycock's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
63 views

Can you convert smells to variables? [closed]

Is there a way to map smells to numerical values of different variables? I.e. With RGB colours, each colour is made up of numerical values from 0-255. For example, red is (255,0,0), and yellow is (...
jacquesca's user avatar
43 votes
2 answers
13k views

What causes the "rotting fish smell"?

Rotting fish seem to give off the same (very pungent) kind of smell, regardless of the kind (salmon, seabreen, tuna, etc). What exactly is it that's responsible for this unique smell? (Though I've ...
paracetamol's user avatar
  • 18.8k
2 votes
0 answers
37 views

Is there any way of guessing what a compound smells like? [duplicate]

I am aware that we can predict the colours of compounds, on the basis of their electron transition energies, and many other physical properties (on the basis of other theories.) Smell works in an ...
Abhigyan's user avatar
  • 1,667
0 votes
1 answer
127 views

Why are some smells so hard to get rid of? [closed]

What may seem to be a silly question could actually have roots in some core chemistry principles. The other day, I was cooking fish when I noticed that I'd forgotten to use a fork, and touched the ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is responsible for the odor of gasoline?

Gasoline as we know it is a blend of combustible hydrocarbons and has a characteristic odor. The natural gas we use to heat our homes and (for some of us) cook our food has its own odor, except... ...
Anthony X's user avatar
  • 423
9 votes
2 answers
8k views

Do plasma globes generate ozone?

My kids and I were playing with a small plasma globe like this: Image source: Diliff on Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.5 After touching it we all noted a faint smell similar to that created by other high-...
feetwet's user avatar
  • 3,340
4 votes
1 answer
21k views

How to remove formaldehyde (smell) from clothes/jeans?

Bought several jeans, then to discover they have a really nauseating smell, that is not removed by washing. Reckon it's formaldehyde, from what I can read. Anyway, assuming you have jeans with ...
bretddog's user avatar
  • 149
8 votes
3 answers
5k views

How does the smell of a compound come about, and is it possible to define a smell?

Colour - and eyesight in general - arises because objects reflect/transmit certain wavelengths of colour, which is detected by our eyes. On the other hand, what gives rise to smell? Is there a branch ...
Chandramauli Chakraborty's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do many organic halogen compounds smell or taste sweet?

Is it just coincidence that many organic halogen compounds (especially chlorinated ones) tend to either taste or smell sweet? Examples include dichloromethane, vinyl chloride, chloroform, and ...
user51326's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
2k views

Rotten meat odor in plastic

I've been struggling for a few days with the cleaning of a fridge that was left off for a few weeks with raw chiken meat in the freezer compartment. When I found it, the meat had turned liquid with ...
jadsq's user avatar
  • 103
2 votes
0 answers
399 views

What is smell??How come 2 things have the same smell [closed]

I have been wondering how something smells. How come something smells the same as other thing? What is similar in them? Like what is the chemistry behind a particular smell of a substance? For ...
Sonic Splasher's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
19k views

Do almonds smell like they do because of cyanide?

I am guessing so otherwise it is quite a coincidence that cyanide smells of bitter almonds. And if so, are large quantities of almonds over a long period safe?
Jeff's user avatar
  • 431
1 vote
1 answer
254 views

What is the reason behind a good smell? [closed]

I know that volatile substance creates smell but how a good smell produce? Is there any common characteristics of the compounds having good smell?
Diptendu Roy's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
102 views

Getting rid of the stench

I recently cleaned my dogs kennel. My girlfriend has been putting her puppy in with my older dog. The kennel was thoroughly dirty. Much urine and fecal matter on the concrete. I used a solution of ...
Jeff Hallin's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
121 views

Do proteins have a smell?

Proteins are heavy and not so volatile. Does it mean that pure proteins do not have a smell?
Sparkler's user avatar
  • 4,265
0 votes
2 answers
720 views

How does alcohol keep smell and taste flavors in wine?

Nowadays alcohol free wine is also sometimes available. Now is seems that this wine has less taste and flavors in it. The cause for this is that alcohol seems to the capability to keep these flavors ...
Marijn 's user avatar
  • 515
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What causes the smell of something being "musty"?

You know the smell that arises when you leave a wet sponge out for too long? Does anybody know the chemical structure of the molecule that causes that smell? Similarly, what chemical process might be ...
mousadafousa's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
89 views

Usage of ammonia as odorant in fuel gases

Usually, thiols such as ethanethiol are added to fuel gases to warn the user of a leak. Why is a few percent of ammonia not used instead? Ammonia is flammable so it will burn to nitrogen and water in ...
sadljkfhalskdjfh's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
7k views

What chemical is responsible for the distinictive odor of Scotch tape?

Scotch Tape has a distinctive odor which is noticeable if you hold a piece close enough to smell. What chemical is responsible for this odor? The wikipedia page doesn't seem to mention composition. ...
dharmatech's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the "smell" of solid sulfur

A solid piece of sulfur has a characteristic smell. Is the smell of solid sulfur the result of the release of compounds like sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide from a reaction with air or moisture, ...
Joseph Hirsch's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
43k views

Why does burnt hair smell bad?

When I use hot stuff like hair straightener on my hair, my hair begins to smell bad, which is very different from smell produced from burning other things. So what's the gas produced that is ...
AksaK's user avatar
  • 1,005