3010, 2014
  • The Chemistry of the Smell of Death

The Chemistry of the Odour of Decomposition

October 30th, 2014|

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Continuing this week’s Halloween theme, today we’re looking at death – more specifically, the chemical agents behind the smell of it. Decomposition is an incredibly complicated process, but we do know a little about the chemical culprits behind some of the terrible smells as the body breaks down – so, what compounds are the must-haves this season for your run of the mill decomposing zombie?


1807, 2014
  • Aroma Chemistry - Smell of the Sea

The Chemical Compounds Behind the Scent of the Sea

July 18th, 2014|

The summer holidays are here, which means there’ll soon be crowds flocking to the coast to spend the day at the beach. The supposed benefits of ‘fresh sea air’ are commonly extolled, but its origins might not be what you think: it’s the chemical compounds produced by algae and seaweed that contribute towards its characteristic smell.


1606, 2014
  • Aroma Chemistry - The Aroma of New Cars

The Chemicals Behind the ‘New Car Smell’

June 16th, 2014|

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This graphic comes off the back of a number of requests for it to be added to the ‘Aroma Chemistry’ series. The characteristic ‘new car smell’, as with the majority of entries in this series, can’t be pinned down to just one compound – rather, it’s a complex mixture of chemicals that, combined, give the recognisable smell. Here’s a look at some of the major compounds, and where they come from.


106, 2014
  • Aroma Chemistry - The Smell of New & Old Books v2

What Causes the Smell of New & Old Books?

June 1st, 2014|

Everyone’s familiar with the smell of old books, the weirdly intoxicating scent that haunts libraries and second-hand book stores. Similarly, who doesn’t enjoy riffling through the pages of a newly purchased book and breathing in the crisp aroma of new paper and freshly printed ink? As with all aromas, the origins can be traced back to a number of chemical constituents, so we can examine the processes and compounds that can contribute to both.


1405, 2014
  • Aroma Chemistry - The Smell of Rain

The Chemical Compounds Behind The Smell Of Rain

May 14th, 2014|

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Everyone’s familiar with the smell after a heavy rain shower in the summer – or, for that matter, the ominous scent of an oncoming thunderstorm. In the third part of the Aroma Chemistry series, this graphic examines the chemical compounds that are the major contributors to these smells, and how they arise.


2504, 2014
  • Aroma Chemistry - The Smell of Fresh Cut Grass

What Causes The Smell of Fresh-Cut Grass?

April 25th, 2014|

The second in the ‘Aroma Chemistry’ series, this graphic examines the smell of fresh-cut grass. This is oft-mentioned when discussions of favourite smells come up, so what are the chemical compounds behind it?