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Good and bad chemical smells, list yours


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#1 latentheat

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:03 AM

Good

cinnamaldehyde: Great smell. I put some cinnamon bark in water and boiled it to fill the house with wonderful vapors of this aromatic aldehyde the other day. My mother, for once, did not object.

vanillin: People look at me strange when I sniff vanilla extract.

dilute ozone: Our hot tub has a corona discharge ozonator. I get a whiff of the gas every time I open the lid.

dilute chloroform: Working with this is pleasant. However, it becomes nasty as your nose approaches the container in which it is in.

ethanol: I always sniff my glass of wine before I drink it. Lovely smell.

toluene: This is pleasant to work with, eg when marking something with spray paint.


Bad

ethanoic acid: Vinegar, ugh, one of the nastiest things I've ever smelled.

hydrogen sulfide: I think most people would agree about this being bad.

bromine: Possibly the worst smell ever.

methanal: Fetal pig dissection was unbearable because of this chem

hydrochloric acid: Nasty, corrosive. Just disgusting.

ammonia: very annoying.
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#2 EwenM

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:43 AM

Good: Ethyne (acetylene) smells of lychees

Bad: Butanoic acid smells of vomit. Interestingly, you can get rid of the smell of vomit by scrubbing with sodium hydrogencarbonate (a weak alkali) which seems to neutralise things like butanoic acid.
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#3 raivo

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 06:23 AM

Bad:
H2S,
polyamide decomposition products,
nitrogen oxides

Good:
not easy to tell because all smells we know frome everyday life are due of some chemicals. There are lot of smells that are good if not too strong and bad if conc of fumes is high. HCl for example. Generally i do not like smells of chemicals but various essencial oils smell trully good.
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#4 Etacude

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 11:20 AM

Perhaps one of the most disgusting class of chemicals is mercaptan - sulphur-based organic molecules. Most of them smell rotten of every sort of food imaginable. For example, methanethiol (or methyl mercaptan) smells like a rotten vegetable. :eek:

One of the most pleasant smell class of chemicals would be esters - these give fruity smells. In fact, ripe fruits that give characteristic sweet smells are due to the presence of esters. :-)

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#5 budullewraagh

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 11:32 AM

Bad:
mercaptans, organoselenols/tellurols
hydrogen chalcogenides, (with exception of oxide)
hydrogen pnictides
hydrogen chloride
sulfur dioxide
oleum
most alcohols
butanoic acid
ammonia
ozone

Good:
most esters
ethanoic acid at low concentration
vanillin
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#6 YT2095

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 11:59 AM

bad: disulpher dichloride, butanic acid, cyano acrylate (when heated), formaldehyde, and whatever chem(s) are responsible for ANY rotten vegetable matter.

Good: Conc Nitric acid (dangerous but smells "clean" and sweetish), 1,1,1 trichloroethylene, glycerly trinitrate (in small doses), alkyl nitrates, that chem in indellible felt marker pens, petrol (gasoline), diethyl ether, paxolin when hot (old PCB boards).

there`s many others but I wanna leave room for someone else too :)
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#7 jdurg

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 01:49 PM

Bad: Chlorine, putrescine, cadaverine, amyl alcohol, most organic amines, skatole, thioesters, arsine, bromine, osmium tetroxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfuric acid, acetic acid, sulfur oxides, acetone, ammonia.

Good: Hydrogen cyanide, ethyl acetate, benzene, toluene, nitric acid, iodine, methanol, ethanol, diethyl ether, octane, cyanoacrylate, phosphorus oxides, most simple small chain organic esters, perchloric acid (I don't know why, but I like the smell of it as it's a bit 'different' than the bad chlorine smell), xylene.
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#8 budullewraagh

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 02:13 PM

jdurg, you've smelled osmium tetraoxide?
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#9 jdurg

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 02:42 PM

Yeah, I got a whiff of it in one of my analytical labs in college. I forget the exact details of the lab, but we were instructed to keep the small vial inside the fume hood and to not get any of it on our skin. Even though the fume hood was working quite well, if you got close enough to the opening of the hood you could get a tiny whiff of the stuff. It REALLY smells bad. It's a very unique, but very bad odor that's pretty difficult to describe. All I know is that I would not want to be anywhere near a vial of the stuff that isn't inside of a fume hood. It also makes me very thankful that my solid osmium pellets don't oxidize at all unlike their powdered bretheren.

(Now that I think about it, I think the lab had to do with fingerprint analysis so it was probably my forensics lab as opposed to my analytical lab).
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#10 Aspirin

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 02:42 PM

Good

Chlorine
Isopropyle Alcohol


Bad

Ammonia
SO2
H2S
Acetone
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#11 DQW

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 03:18 PM

Bad: ... bromine...

I hope you're not sniffing too much of that one either ! :eek:
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#12 jdurg

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 03:31 PM

Hehe. Nope. It's just another one of those chemicals where once you get a small whiff of the stuff, you never forget it. (Just like HCN and Arsine).
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#13 YT2095

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:16 PM

I agree with aspirin, isopropyl alcohol is a pleasant smell too, medi-wipes and tape head cleaner :)

jdurg HCN does smell quite nice too I must admit, and for some Strange reason always makes me feel hungry afterwards?
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#14 budullewraagh

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:25 PM

forgot to mention pyridine, etc.

also, i read once that an ever so slight exposure to hydrocinnamic acid results in an awful smell that lasts for weeks, but i dont know how true that is
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#15 YT2095

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:34 PM

I`m guessing here that since hydrocinnamic acid is an organic compound that it probably floods receptors leaving a lasting effect, a bit like calcium lockup on the tongue from capsciacin "over exposure"?

Glider would probably know :)

and to keep this on topic, Ozone is positively DREADFULL! I get such a headache from even small doses I`m ready to top myself!, it`s well nasty!
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#16 Guest_hsquared688_*

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:41 PM

i am quite particular to the smell 0f new cars, what is that smell? really.
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#17 YT2095

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:48 PM

i am quite particular to the smell 0f new cars, what is that smell? really.


if you mean the sort with leather interiors I`m SOooooo with ya on that one! same as the smell in a leather store, or a new leather jacket, maybe it`s Dry Cleaning fluid?

as for NON leather cars, it`ll be a massive combination of many different smells, I love the smell of new electronics and some plastics too, and of course you`ll get all of these in a new car and more, I`de hazzard that it`s no ONE particular smell.

My Opinion.
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#18 jdurg

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:59 PM

Mmmmm....... Ozone. I completely forgot how much I abhorr that smell! It's that odd smell you find when you're in the X-Ray room of a hospital. Just the slightest hint of Ozone really gives me the creeps as it reminds me of having to go into the back, dark corners of a hospital basement to get x-rays done, and the pain associated with the broken bones that required the x-rays. I always get the heebie-jeebies when I smell ozone due to those memories.
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#19 jdurg

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:00 PM

if you mean the sort with leather interiors I`m SOooooo with ya on that one! same as the smell in a leather store, or a new leather jacket, maybe it`s Dry Cleaning fluid?

as for NON leather cars, it`ll be a massive combination of many different smells, I love the smell of new electronics and some plastics too, and of course you`ll get all of these in a new car and more, I`de hazzard that it`s no ONE particular smell.

My Opinion.


NOTHING beats the smell of new electronics. I always remember as a kid getting a new videogame and spending hours just getting a whiff of the new electronics smell. Same thing when I built my computer. I must have have spent hours getting a whiff of all the new electronics. Dear god I'm such a geek. ;) :D
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#20 latentheat

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 05:09 PM

Wow, I guess my liking the smell of ozone is odd. Too bad it destroys the lungs.

I forgot some. I also hate sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and acetone. I like menthol.
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