Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: nagmo-ga
List Price: $5.00
16 Mar 2005 14:21 PST
Expires: 15 Apr 2005 15:21 PDT
Question ID: 495783
Why does lighting a match after going number 2 make the stink go away? I've heard that the match preferentially burns methane, the carrier of the stink. Is methane heavier than air? Should you keep the lit match near the toilet or move it around the room?
Re: Bathroom trivia
Answered By: maniac-ga on 16 Mar 2005 17:35 PST
Hello Nagmo, Burning methane is certainly one of the possibilities, but the most likely cause of smell removal is the sulfur effect. For example: http://www.fca.com/articles/QC1.html describes the effect as "camoflage" http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/2417.html Go Ask Alice! at Columbia University indicates it is the sulfur smell that covers up the other ones. Ventilation and air freshener are other suggestions for removing that smell. http://frugalliving.about.com/cs/cleaning/a/090401.htm Frugal Living at about.com also points out the sulfur effect; if you want it to smell good, use "good smells". http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/apr99/923460606.Ch.r.html the "Mad Sci" Library message that goes into four basic scientific explanations. #1 (most likely) is basically a placebo effect and #2 is the sulfur smell. Combustion or absorbtion are #3 and #4. Search phrases: bathroom match smells bathroom match combustion bathroom match methane Do not hesitate to ask for clarification if some part of the answer is unclear or you need a more extensive response on some part of the answer. --Maniac
rated this answer:
and gave an additional tip of:
Of course I like to think that the match preferentially burns methane and the stink, but I like the idea that sulfur dioxide covers the smell!
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