General Question

kawaii_ninja's avatar

How does something give off a smell?

Asked by kawaii_ninja (402points) August 26th, 2008

Is it certain bacteria that make up a smell, or something else?
I only thought of this because we made some popcorn last night and we overcooked it and it smelt putrid D:

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6 Answers

simone54's avatar

It sends out little microscopic particles that your sensors in your nose picks up.

So yes, when you a smell pooh, the is pooh in your nose.

JackAdams's avatar

When your question first appeared on my “home” page, this was coincidentally displayed:

Wow. You smell really good.

August 26, 2008, 4:08 AM EDT

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t believe you actually have pooh in your nose, I think you’re smelling the gases given off by (and mixed in with) the pooh. They travel a little better than actual solid pooh.

Nothing like a little pooh talk at 3 in the morning.

I think most things are similar, they give off a certain signature of goodies (gases, tiny airborne particles) into the air which creates a high concentration near the source. Those goodies are what you smell and associate with that thing, whether it’s baking cookies or the dumpster down the road.

loser's avatar

Everything gives off a smell, we just can’t always pick up on it.

(Okay, it’s a theory in the early stages!)

marinelife's avatar

@loser Exactly so. More than a theory.

Mulot's avatar

Simone54 is right, it’s molecules floating in the air that allow use to smell, so about the pooh thing, it’s totally true :p

Plus I’ll add that some materials are easier to smell, because of their molecular structure : metals are not really “smelling”, this is due to the fact that their molecules are really close and that they can’t easily move or be detached of the object.

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