Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Worst smell known to mankind

OrganicGuy - 2-3-2020 at 01:10

I am interested in extreme compounds in chemistry, compounds that stands out and makes people jaw drop when hearing about it first time. Recentrly I read some articles about thioacetone, and that truly is some weird shit.

Thioacetone" (CAS 828-26-2)

Has anyone worked with this compound?
What is it used for?
If that extreme like articles describing it, why isn't it a controlled substance of some sort (warfare agent)?

I was amused reading an article about a lab accident working on "cracking trithioacetone to thioacetone". Only couple of milliliters of the thioacetone leaked and a whole village was about to be avecuated because of that. Is it really the bad smell ... or is it the danger to mhumans because f the biological effects the compund has on man?
What does "cracking" mean in chemistry?

What is the absolutely worst smell you have been around in the lab as a chemist, and please describe it if possible?

nzlostpass - 2-3-2020 at 03:37

Thioacetone is considered a dangerous chemical due to its extremely foul odor and ability to render people unconscious, induce vomiting, and be detected over long distances.......from Wiki

j_sum1 - 2-3-2020 at 04:04

Here is some light reading for you.
Carbon diselenide

Derek Lowe has a fine way with words. "Whip up a batch of Satan's kimchi" and "suited up like your'e going to spay a velociraptor" spring to mind.
But yeah, there's chemistry smells and then there's smells of a whole other level.

Herr Haber - 2-3-2020 at 04:42

I'd go for amines if looking for horrible smells.

Cadaverine and putrescine are easy to produce from easily sourced amino acids.
Even in the most inefficient setup you'll produce enough. Enough for you to stop. Never tried bio synthesis though :)
Pyridine smells awful as far as I'm concerned: Something between rotting fish, sewer and pussy.
I also remember smelling something that must have been close to chloropicrin but worst. It was a biocide to clean well… indoor gardens between crops. It was pretty much like being punched in the nose.

I dont have experience with: thiol analogues using Selenium or Tellurium.
The latter one even has it's own desease: tellurium breath and I believe caused a couple of towns in Germany to be evacuated in the 20's.