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Author: Subject: Best and worst smelling chemicals?
JohnWW
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[*] posted on 25-7-2010 at 00:09


Tributyltin(IV) compounds have been used in marine anti-fouling paints for ship hulls, but they have fallen out of favor for causing genetic damage to non-target marine species.
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mr.crow
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[*] posted on 25-7-2010 at 18:17


Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  
I find myself living in Central New York where I am daily
reminded that the smell of even the largest barnyard in August
is perfume compared to that which arose from the smoldering
remains of the Twin Towers after the homicidal 9/11 attack.


Yikes, I wonder if anyone kept any of the ash in a jar so people (tourists) could smell it. I remember Anderson Cooper on TV saying how bad it smelled.




Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble
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The WiZard is In
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[*] posted on 26-7-2010 at 06:58


Quote: Originally posted by mr.crow  
Quote: Originally posted by The WiZard is In  
I find myself living in Central New York where I am daily
reminded that the smell of even the largest barnyard in August
is perfume compared to that which arose from the smoldering
remains of the Twin Towers after the homicidal 9/11 attack.


Yikes, I wonder if anyone kept any of the ash in a jar so people (tourists) could smell it. I remember Anderson Cooper on TV saying how bad it smelled.



Brings upon my mind - be having on a bookcase shelf —

A black cardboard box labeled La Borne de Terre Sacèe, containing
a grave stone shaped ceramic jar inscribed Cette borne renfermé
une parcelle de terre sacrée de France
. On its back the single
word Somme.

Contained is a certificate — La Borne de Terre Sacrée 1914-1918
A La Mémoire des Morts de la Grange Guerre aux Mutilés aux
Combattants. Dated 2 December 1922.


djh
----
In terms of the number of lives lost, relative to the ground gained, the actions of
the First World War make dismal reading, In the first two hours of the battle of
Loos we lost more men than were lost by all the services together in the whole of
D-Day 1944. On the first day of the Somme offensive the British Army suffered
57,000 casualties – the biggest loss ever suffered by an army in a single day.
And yet, as one historian has put it, to see the ground gained one needs a
magnifying glass and large-scale map.

Norman F. Dixon, On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, 1976


THE BIVOUAC OF THE DEAD [First stanza]

The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

The Bivouac of the Dead, written to commemorate
the American Dead at Buena Vista, 22 February 1847,
required by a 19th century act of Congress, to be
displayed in every National Cemetery.
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redox
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[*] posted on 10-4-2011 at 05:16


Love (in reasonable concentration):

acetone
dichloromethane
chloroform
ethanol
methyl benzoate
vanillin
gasoline
menthol
camphor

Neutral:

ethyl acetate
xylene
tetrahydrofuran
diethyl ether
heptane

HATE:

hydrogen sulfide
skatole
HCl fumes
napthalene
p- dichlorobenzene

On a side note, I agree with the above posters, I cannot smell ammonia or methanol.




[Edited on 10-4-2011 by redox]
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HydroCarbon
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[*] posted on 10-4-2011 at 11:59


Some of the worst one's I've encountered are:

Ethane dithiol- smells like burning rotten garbage.

Morpholine- Classic amine fish odour, but this one has an extra note to it that makes it really bad.

Ethyl acrylate- Extremely potent, very sharp odour. This stuff can be smelled through a sealed bottle.

Hexafluoroisopropanol- Doesn't necessarily smell bad, but the odours are irritating to the respiratory system, and the association of the smell reminding me how toxic the stuff is doesn't help.

My favorites are:

Phenol- Toxic, but something about the smell I like. It reminds me of lillys.

Ethyl formate- smells like rum raisin. Butyl formate smells good too, it smells like chapstick brand chapstick.

Isoamyl acetate- who doesn't like this stuff!

Methyl salicylate- fresh smell

Iodine- Full bodied clean, sharp smell, good in low concentrations



Imagine getting a large amount of a really bad smelling chemical spilled on you, something that really sticks to the skin and won't wash off easily. That would be horrid.

[Edited on 10-4-2011 by HydroCarbon]
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plante1999
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[*] posted on 10-4-2011 at 12:26


love:
chlorine gas
chloroform
And the HCl fume , not in high conc, but i like this smell.

hate:
H2S
nitrogen dioxide
and iodine , every time i smell it , the air smell like oil for about 2 day.




I never asked for this.
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food
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[*] posted on 10-4-2011 at 12:59


I like that phenol smell, it's awesome! When I was a lad this was a smell that was much more common than it is today. I cadged a litre or so of weak solution from a friend a while back. I used it as a sanitizer, but it was to have that smell around that was the real motivation.



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quicksilver
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[*] posted on 12-4-2011 at 13:03


Somewhere I have a patent for a "riot or crowd control agent" that I had THOUGHT would contain the usual suspects (H2S, etc) but made use of a complex versions of "ptomaines" in what appears to be a well conceived trial. It was rather recent so there was an element of 'trade secret issues' in that it didn't"spell out" the totally of the agent per se'. I will dig this up and post it as it apparently IS now in use as an effective non-lethal technique for riot control in that it is billed as being SO unbearable to human olfactory sensibilities that one cannot maintain proximity to it for ANY duration. It is apparently well known that the smell of bacterial interaction with certain proteins triggers an almost "programmed response" to avoidance of that smell.



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[*] posted on 12-4-2011 at 14:28


Best:
cis-3-Hexenal, which smells like freshly mowed grass

Worst:
Many alkynes. We had to prepare various alkynes once (I did 1-butyn), and all of them were unbelievably smelly. It doesn't resemble anyhting I have ever smelled.

Also, primary amines. Cadaverine and putresceine have those names for a reason. TEMED also comes to mind, an amine reagent commonly used in protein electrophoresis.




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HydroCarbon
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[*] posted on 15-4-2011 at 16:50


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
Best:
cis-3-Hexenal, which smells like freshly mowed grass



I've always wanted to catch a whiff of the "freshly cut grass" chemicals! I think n-heptanol is another one.

Recently I was talking to somebody who told me that there are labs out there that do gas chromatography with olfactory detection. The instruments actually have nose ports where the operator inserts his nose and assigns descriptions of odour to specific peaks! Imagine having that job, the odours you would encounter! Not to mention probably some health risks.

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phlogiston
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[*] posted on 16-4-2011 at 15:09


One of my current collegues used to do that. He says the 'sniffers' could outperform the mass spectrometer in terms of sensitivity in many cases.

Sometimes you have to. He was working on identifying a bad smelling compound that would form only when customers used a certain combination of laundry detergents.




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nezza
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[*] posted on 17-4-2011 at 11:54


Best - diethyl ether

Worst - pyridine and 2 mercaptoethanol
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[*] posted on 18-4-2011 at 11:18


Not sure about best or worst, but there are some smells which I find very interesting.
Hexamine is one - it would be horrible if it was a little stronger, but it is always just a little too faint to be really unpleasant.
NO2 - Interesting because now I often smell it when, say, behind buses, but it's not something I was even aware before I encountered it in the lab
2-Ethyl-hexanol has a nice, sort of minty smell
I love Cyclohexene

Presumably the smell of ethanol is mainly due to the ethanal, ethanoic acid and esters in it? My home-brew ethanol, which is probably around 80%, has an obvious odour, but the stuff we're given to use in school has a much fainter smell.
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[*] posted on 18-4-2011 at 12:10


Quote: Originally posted by Mossydie  

I love Cyclohexene
.


Wow, you like cyclohexene! I didn't list it, but that stuff is close to the top of the list of my worst! I'll always remember it too since it was the first horrible smelling chemical I worked with in the lab back in school.
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Dr.Bob
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[*] posted on 18-4-2011 at 20:07


Favorites: diethyl ether, benzaldehydes, amyl acetate, and vanillin (I used to love to develop TLCs in vanillin spray.)

Worst: pyridine, benzyl chloroformate, isonitriles (cyclohexyl isonitrile is a really bad one I had to make in Grad school), tert-butyl thiol (one of my lab mates used it in kilo grams quantities and would have people calling in gas leaks for blocks around us.), butryic acid and similars, tributyle tins (my first hood had has a tin reaction explode in it, and coated the hood with tin goo, which reaked), methyl acyalates (just had to use some last month, yeach), and alkyl thiocyanates.

Bob
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[*] posted on 22-4-2011 at 12:03


Quote: Originally posted by Polverone  
Dimethyl sulfide is pretty bad. I like the smell of xylene, toluene, and gasoline. What is it that's in gasoline that makes it smell so wonderful? It almost smells good enough to drink.


Haha reminds me of a, like us "eccentric" :) , friend who runs a quarry with all the appropriate licenses. He has a block of PE4 on his desk which he apparently uses as a demonstration and paperweight.

Whilst talking to him once, he just randomly said "Would you like to eat some?"

I politely said no, I just had lunch and it never occurred to me to munch on some PE4. He said it is a vasodilator and OK to eat in small quantities.

"But you wouldn't want to give it to children," he said.

"Why not?"

"They wouldn't know when to stop, then you'd be in trouble!"

Haha classic :D
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[*] posted on 22-4-2011 at 17:49


Best smelling would be benzyl propanoate which has a delicate fruity cherry smell and taste.

Worst smelling would be furfuryl mercaptan which has smell like a herd of skunks in high concentrations and in extremely low concentrations smells like a good coffee.

I work in the flavor industry so most of my experience is with flavoring chemicals.




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[*] posted on 23-4-2011 at 13:53


TEMED (Tetramethylethylenediamine) definitely has one of the worst smells I have ever encountered. And I have to work with it pretty frequently (when polymerizing PAA gels for EF).

I like smells of benzine, toluene, acetone, nitric acid (of course I am trying not to smell it too much), isopropyl acetate.

H2S smell is interesting but a bit scary. Same about cyanides.
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[*] posted on 23-4-2011 at 14:52


I was wondering, how does methanol smell to you guys? For me it has no smell, unless I whiff some very concentrated vapour, then I can detect a very faint EtOH like smell. But breathing the concentrated vapour doesn't seem like a great plan.

I really LOVE the smell of benzene. That's somewhat annoying, I always want to smell it :D , but I ofcourse cant because of it's toxicity.
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[*] posted on 23-4-2011 at 15:07


Best: Piperonal (especially after-smell)'
Worst: Thiophenol




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[*] posted on 23-4-2011 at 17:24


Methanol is usually odorless to me. Occasionally I detect a slight isopropanol odor, but as you mentioned, getting real close probably isn't a great idea.

The worst smelling chemical I've ever experience is t-butyl phenyl thioether. It smells like a mix of burning rubber and hot tar to me, and it is very penetrating. I was smelling it for days after I made it. I always figured if I fail at research, I can market it as a Harley-Davidson cologne.

[Edited on 4-24-2011 by Mumbles]
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[*] posted on 24-4-2011 at 09:26


I once tried to make trichlorophenol from a solution of phenol, to which Cl2 was added. This is not a good idea. To me, the smell itself is not that bad, but what really irks is the persistence of the smell. Everything tends to smell of it, even days after I did the experiment, I still could smell it and the longer this lasts the more it irks.



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Jor
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[*] posted on 24-4-2011 at 12:53


According to EPA, trichlorophenol has an odour threshold of around 2,6 ppb!

I had the same problem with nitrobenzene. This stuff has a very strong smell (I love it though! I wish I could smell it all day!). So I made around 20mL of the stuff in the fume hood. Still eveything smelled like the stuff, my clothes, the used water bath, everything. I even smelled it across the street. So this is not a compound I'd like to every make again, because of the strong smell, wich is not a good idea to release in the neighbourhood. I still have a few mL, I burned the rest (by mixing it with twice it's volume of ethanol). I think i will use it to make some azo dye.
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[*] posted on 25-4-2011 at 09:52


Good: Vanillin, EtOH, Ethanal (the best!), Et2O, EtOAc, DCM, iodine, iso-amyl acetate (I smelled like bananas for a week after I spilt a ton on myself during my college days)

Neutral: Xylene, THF, acetone, chloroform

Bad: O3 (makes me nauseous), Butyric acid, Pyridine (I feel sick everytime I do an acetylation), TEMED, acrylates and acrylamides (the smell doesnt go away! It just sticks to you and the whole lab for days on end if someone even opens a bottle in the fume hood -_-)

One of the labs downstairs opened a bottle of 1-propanethiol and the entire building had a toxic gas alert and had to evacuate haha

Worst I ever encountered: I left a bucket of dirty glassware containing pyridine after an acetylation to soak over the weekend in soapy water. When I came back on Monday, it smelled like there was a dead body in the bucket and I almost puked. I even wondered if one of my labmates had played a cruel trick and put putrescine in the bucket... Anyone can think what caused it to reek so bad?

[Edited on 4/25/2011 by Saerynide]




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[*] posted on 25-4-2011 at 22:04


Acetaldehyde is brilliant.
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