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Author Topic: Why does ice smell ?  (Read 13251 times)

bob

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Why does ice smell ?
« on: 28/04/2003 23:13:39 »
Why does ice smell? When you open the freezer or go to an ice rink there definately is a smell. Water doesn't smell. Please explain if you can. Don't fob me off with rubbish science, if there is no reason or if you don't know say so. Cheers.
« Last Edit: 14/03/2004 05:39:33 by NakedScientist »

Quantumcat

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #1 on: 29/04/2003 06:05:59 »
This is a GUESS:

Tap water has many chemicals dissolved in it. When water freezes and turns into a regular structure, it forces out the chemicals so they sit on the surface. They then float off into the air and get into your nose.


    O  0    0
 O    0  0   0
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water molecules with added chemicals

OOOOOOOOOOO
O-O-O-O-O-O
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O-O-O-O-O-O
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O-O-O-O-O-O
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O-O-O-O-O-O

Ice with the forced out chemicals on top
     
        O      O
     O   O  O
    O    O

O-O-O-O-O-O
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O-O-O-O-O-O
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O-O-O-O-O-O
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O-O-O-O-O-O

Ice with funny-smelling chemicals floating away to your nose
« Last Edit: 29/04/2003 06:07:59 by Quantumcat »

Quantumcat

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #2 on: 29/04/2003 06:08:58 »
The ice and floating chemicals don't look very good because it won't let me do double spaces.

chris

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #3 on: 29/04/2003 08:21:15 »
This is a really interesting question and I have to agree it does seem to smell at the ice rink. I had put this down to the (almost universal) damp rubber flooring that surrounds the rink itself. Outdoor ice rinks don't smell in the same way do they ?

Freezers also have rubber seals and condensation forming on them could produce the same smell.

Anyway, my thoughts on the matter !

Chris

Exodus

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #4 on: 29/04/2003 16:49:40 »
Could it be down to something as simple as the moistness surrounding fridges/ice rinks may provide a suitable environment for algal growth which can smell...

Essentia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem...

bob

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #5 on: 29/04/2003 17:16:43 »
I would argue that a bag of ice (like one would buy for a party) also smells of ice. I would doubt whether that was because of rubber/algae. Maybe the chemistry one was right, hmmm. Thanks for your thoughts though! Bob

chris

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #6 on: 29/04/2003 21:50:56 »
Maybe it's not a smell as such, but down to the mere fact that the air you are breathing in from a cold source - ice rink, freezer, bag of ice cubes - subtly alters the perception of odours in the nose making things smell different ?

Chris

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #7 on: 29/04/2003 22:35:03 »
quote:
Originally posted by chris

Maybe it's not a smell as such, but down to the mere fact that the air you are breathing in from a cold source - ice rink, freezer, bag of ice cubes - subtly alters the perception of odours in the nose making things smell different ?

Chris



was thinking that ice will probably lower the temperature around it and possibly condensate water on its surface meaning the surrounding air will be proportionally dryer... might this "dryer air" have a different smell?

Essentia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem...

chris

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #8 on: 30/04/2003 11:11:43 »
Good call, but then why don't outdoor ice rinks smell?

Chris

Quantumcat

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Re: Why does ice smell ?
« Reply #9 on: 01/05/2003 22:08:03 »
Another proof my theory is correct! ;)

The rain contains much fewer chemicals that tap water, so there are no chemicals to be forced out when it freezes and into your nose :D
« Last Edit: 01/05/2003 22:13:59 by Quantumcat »

 

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