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Questions tagged [smell]

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

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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 ...
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0answers
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What is odour/smell/aroma? [duplicate]

Anything I know about this world, I would like to understand everything at an atomic level just like colour and excitation of electrons. But what really is the cause of odour? Is it something that ...
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3answers
4k 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 ...
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1answer
54 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 ...
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0answers
46 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 (...
36
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2answers
4k 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 ...
2
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0answers
29 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 ...
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1answer
58 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 ...
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2answers
226 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... ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Do plasma globes generate ozone?

My kids and I were playing with a small plasma globe like this: After touching it we all noted a faint smell like that created by other high voltage static discharges, which I always understood to be ...
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0answers
61 views

Getting rid of cadaverine via carboxylation

So our fridge ended up getting switched off for a fortnight with very smelly repercussions. Its been throughly scrubbed out etc... but still stinks of rotten meat (which I believe is actually the ...
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1answer
5k 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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0answers
124 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 ...
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2answers
156 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 ...
2
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0answers
158 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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?
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1answer
93 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?
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1answer
79 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 ...
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0answers
70 views

Do proteins have a smell?

Proteins are heavy and not so volatile. Does it mean that pure proteins do not have a smell?
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2answers
272 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 ...
7
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1answer
834 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 ...
1
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1answer
49 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 ...
10
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1answer
1k 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. ...
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2answers
685 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, ...
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3answers
15k 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 ...
5
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1answer
98 views

What kind of molecules do I smell when draining cooked potatoes or rice?

When I drain potatoes after cooking them, they exhibit a nice smelling odor. It is not very strong. Now I know that some perfumes use natural molecules and one of them could come from potatoes (or ...
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0answers
55 views

Why do esters smell more like fruit as their mass increases? [duplicate]

Is it all subjective or is there an actual reason? Additionally, does the structure of an ester affect its smell? Are there any general trends with the type of smell and the type of ester?
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0answers
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Why does formic acid smell like getting hit in the head? [closed]

I was cleaning up a concentrated formic acid spill and when I was close enough to the hood to get a whiff it smelled exactly like the smell sensation from hitting my head. We know that olfactory ...
4
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1answer
144 views

Volatile (aroma/scent-defining) compounds from Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)?

Has anyone identified the compound(s) that make up the distinctive and intense scent of Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)? I’ve found a number of compounds associated with Impatiens sp., but ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Why is O2 (Oxygen) colorless and odorless while O3 (Ozone) is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell?

Why does adding one more oxygen molecule to the bond make it smelly and have color?!
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1answer
635 views

Effect of pH on volatility (odor) of organic acid

Based on two assumptions: Ionic solutes can generally be considered nonvolatile As the pH of a solution of organic acid is increased, an increasing percentage of it is deprotonated, or ionized (...
4
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1answer
763 views

What molecule is mostly responsible for the smell of petrol/gasoline when I refill my car?

Is it benzene or is there another aromatic molecule in gasoline with "heavier scents"? Does anybody know of a scientific investigation to provide evidence for an answer?
0
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1answer
819 views

Volatile nature and odour

Will it be correct to make a general statement that all compounds having odour are volatile? My reasoning: if a compound has odour then to smell that it must evaporate ( ie. some molecules must ...
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1answer
5k views

Smell of the methanol [closed]

When I first time smell the methanol, for me it was similar to the benzene (completely different from the ethanol). But almost everywhere information says, that it should me very similar to the ...
65
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5answers
14k views

How do people know HCN smells like almonds?

I was told by my chemistry teacher that $\ce{HCN}$ smells like almonds. She then went on to tell a story about how some of her students tried to play a prank on her by pouring almond extract down the ...
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0answers
587 views

There are three things in the world that smell like fish. But why? [closed]

As a philospher once said, there are three things in the world that smell like fish. One of them is fish. What connects these three things that gives them this particular, characteristic smell? What ...
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2answers
2k views

Are there any colorful, odorless gases?

Gases are frequently described as "colorless, odorless, and tasteless." I am wondering if this is redundant, since I can't think of many gases that have a detectable color to begin with, much less ...
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4answers
122 views

Books showing colorful images of elementary particles…is this true? [closed]

Do electrons or protons or any other elementary particle have colors of their own or do they have smell?
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1answer
72 views

What chemical compounds used in qualitative chemistry can be distinguished by smell? [closed]

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 ...
7
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1answer
758 views

Is menthol an especially volatile molecule?

I have been studying a bit about odors and plant essential oils. Several sources claim that the fragrant terpenes found in these oils, such as menthol, eugenol, limonene, linalool, etc. are volatile ...
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1answer
2k views

Does diamond have a pungent smell like graphite?

I was writing down a chemical equation with my pencil and noticed the pungent smell of the graphite. This made me wonder if other substances made of carbon, such as diamond, have a similar pungent ...
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2answers
4k views

Why is the smell of car exhaust much stronger in winter?

I noticed that in winter, the smell of cars (to be precise the smell of the exhaust gases) is much stronger in winter. I just can't figure out why. Has this got something to do with the air ...
2
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1answer
109 views

Is every substance in equilibrium with its vapours?

In one of my previous questions, I got an answer from user Jan: The smell of a compound as we perceive it usually depends on which receptors in the nose will bind the molecule (or not). These ...
3
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3answers
2k views

How are odor and electronic structure related to aromaticity?

I know that cyclic planer molecules with $2n + 1$ $\pi$-electrons are aromatic. Also, the color of a compound is due to electronic transitions. But how is it related with aromaticity (smell)? Is there ...
10
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1answer
343 views

Why does rain have that smell?

What chemical reactions in the soil cause that smell when it rains? In particular, what reactions in the soil causes the petrichor smell?
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1answer
3k views

Why does ammonium carbonate smell?

Why is it that $\ce{(NH4)2CO3}$ smells while other salts with ammonium like $\ce{NH4Cl}$ does not smell? Does it have something to do with the equilibrium reaction? I know it has nothing to do with ...
11
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1answer
633 views

Urban air pollution and the smell of freshly cut lawn grass?

Recently, all the lawns in the apartment complex that I live in have had their lawns cut - giving that pleasant smell of freshly cut lawn. Now, I am aware that the smell arises from a chemical ...
4
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1answer
100 views

Olfactory Receptors Bonding with Organic Material

How strong is the bond between the olfactory receptors and an organic material, like a perfume? Is there a chemical that is safe for inhalation that would weaken this bond and prepare the olfactory ...
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1answer
620 views

If you can smell something does that mean that this thing loses molecules?

When you can smell something there must be some molecules in your nose which signalize the smell in your nose. Does that mean, that e.g. a cheese is losing molecules which fly into your nose? And does ...