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Old 10-22-2004, 11:14 AM   #1
Extraze
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Default How do you measure smells/odours ?

How do you measure smells/odours?

Ok … this might be one of those weird threads … but I’ll give it a shot …

All of our senses can be measured … all of them have concrete science behind them … except smell …

Touch: we can measure heat, and cold … both have scientific values, can be measured in a lot of forms, Celsius, Fahrenheit etc …

Sight: you can measure the light spectrum … colours, etc … all of them also have their own scientific fields you have 3 basic colours… they mix with light, etc

Sound: again, you can measure sounds … frequencies, Db’s, etc

Taste: even taste can be measured, and can be broken into different categories… bitter, salty, sugary … etc
--

But what about smell … how do you measure “smell” ? how does it travel in the air ? does it attach itself to oxygen particles … is there a science behind it ?



I know, im bored, but I have always wondered this, and mixed with teh funny of teh OT … we might get something going here … !
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:16 AM   #2
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There are two:

Yummy= Fresh baked pizza etc..

Nas assty= Assinine's farts
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:17 AM   #3
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I like to call it "Decaying Llama Fetus in my Lower Intestin"
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:18 AM   #4
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normally just to two decimal points.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:19 AM   #5
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You need an olfactometer (PDF file). Really.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:21 AM   #6
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asinine
I like to call it "Decaying Llama Fetus in my Lower Intestin"
Yes... that's the vivid mental imagery that almost made me fall out of my chair laughing at work the other day.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:26 AM   #8
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Smell is measured by %gas of the total. Generally in ppm, things like the smell of onions and ammonia and alcohol can be readily measured by the chemical that makes them up.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:28 AM   #9
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Wouldn't the concrete science of smell be chemistry? A scent occurs when your nose detects and distinguishes the chemical makeup of the substance you are smelling.

Interestingly, my signal processing professor recently explained in lecture last week that all senses can be modeled using a logarithmic scale in deciBels. Our senses "roll off" in a logarithic way. The largest difference in sound amplitude we can detect is about 1 deciBel in general. Our eyes' sensitivity to light is also logarithmic. I think the same would apply to smell. While this is a very vague explanation, these models are used in Bioengineering.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAM
Smell is measured by %gas of the total. Generally in ppm, things like the smell of onions and ammonia and alcohol can be readily measured by the chemical that makes them up.
That is not what the page I posted above says.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZMANNH25rs
That is not what the page I posted above says.
but still ... that pages simply explains that molecules get detected by your nose ... but how does the smell get to that molecule ... what makes a bannana's molecule smell differently then a smoking tires molecule ...

i like the chemistry idea ... i never thought of that ...

but again ... can smell be divided into "main categories" and a mix of those caterogies can create all of the 10,000 smells we can detect ... just like color ?

smell is weird ...
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Extraze
but still ... that pages simply explains that molecules get detected by your nose ... but how does the smell get to that molecule ... what makes a bannana's molecule smell differently then a smoking tires molecule ...

i like the chemistry idea ... i never thought of that ...

but again ... can smell be divided into "main categories" and a mix of those caterogies can create all of the 10,000 smells we can detect ... just like color ?

smell is weird ...
This is from that page :

Quote:
Smell is a very direct sense. In order for you to smell something, molecules from that thing have to make it to your nose. Everything you smell, therefore, is giving off molecules -- whether it is bread in the bakery, onions, perfume, a piece of fruit or whatever. Those molecules are generally light, volatile (easy to evaporate) chemicals that float through the air into your nose. A piece of steel has no smell because nothing evaporates from it -- steel is a non-volatile solid.
I think it is just that different combonations of chemicals produce different smells, so the molecular make up of rubber is different from the molecular make up of a bannana so when these molecules evaporate or get tossed in the air by a over zealous 16 year old in a Mustang doing burnouts that is what we smell. I am no scientist by any means but the concept seems fairly easy to understand.

But I agree - smell is weird. I think one of the weirder aspects of smell is how it triggers memories so vividly.
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Old 10-22-2004, 11:51 AM   #13
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It is called the stink-scale
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