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Q: Chemical Odors ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Chemical Odors
Category: Science > Chemistry
Asked by: doug17-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 20 Jun 2006 10:44 PDT
Expires: 20 Jul 2006 10:44 PDT
Question ID: 739692
What does ether smell like. Please provide as detailed a description as possible.

Request for Question Clarification by tlspiegel-ga on 20 Jun 2006 10:58 PDT
Hi doug17,

It's very difficult to describe an odor.  However, there are various
references on the internet to ether smelling:  pungent, sweet,
nauseating, or fruity.  In addition - once smelled it's a 'remembered'

Please respond if you feel this answers your question.  I can provide
links to the various sites where those descriptions are seen.

Best regards,

Clarification of Question by doug17-ga on 25 Jun 2006 11:56 PDT
Thanks to tispiegel-ga. Yes, I would very much appreciate links to the
sits describing the smell of ether.
Subject: Re: Chemical Odors
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 25 Jun 2006 14:23 PDT
Hi doug17,

Thank you for your question and response to my clarification request.


"Ether has largely disappeared from anaesthetic practice in Western
countries, because of a number of apparent disadvantages: it has a
pungent smell..."


"colourless flammable volatile liquid with a pungent smell and an
irritant vapour; C2H5-O-C2H5"


"Don?t ignore unpleasant smells. The smell of over-cooked cabbage
hanging in the air, the nauseating sweetish smell of ether in


"Odor and Appearance: Perchloroethylene is a clear, colorless,
non-flammable liquid with a sweetish smell like the smell of ether."


"Diethyl ether is a colourless, extremely volatile liquid with a
characteristic smell. It is not an ideal anaesthetic, though it's
safer than chloroform and more effective than nitrous oxide. Unwanted
effects of exposure to ether can include a cough, sore throat, painful
red eyes, a headache, drowsiness, laboured breathing and nausea.
Vomiting is quite common."



PRODUCT NAME: ACETIC ETHER SYNONYMS: Acetic ether, Ethyl acetate,
Acetoxyethane, Ethyl ethanoate, Ethyl acetic ester.


"DOR: Fruity odor."


"I started my first year of anesthesiology training in 1958 when ether
was the unchallenged "King of Anesthesia." Ether depolarized all
parties involved: the patient who dreaded its odor..."


"Ether also penetrated into my hair and my clothing, forming a smell
around me easily identifiable with a hospital or an operation. Just
the name "ether" caused a rush of appalling images to mind."


"Looking back to that operating room experience these sixty-three
years later I still remember my panic, crying out when the cloth went
over my face. Ether had the most sickening smell I ever smelled, and I
guess the scariest part was not knowing when they'd cart me down the
corridor again and have that awful cloth suddenly draped over my face.
Another thing about ether was that I'd be so sick when I came to back
in my room. The smell seemed to, linger forever, and I kept bringing
up.  The nurses would give me a pill to help me sleep, so eventually
I'd doze off."


"I believe I lost my sense of smell after an operation to remove my
tonsils when I was five. The last thing I REALLY remember smelling
strongly was the ether (or whatever) in the mask they put over my face
to put me to sleep before the operation.


Additional links:

"Ether is objectionable on account of the unpleasant smell which it
communicates to the room;"


"Oct 1847  
Chloroform's anesthetic qualities are discovered by Sir James Young
Simpson (Edinburgh Professor of Midwifery). Simpson had used Ether as
an obstetric anesthestic, but searched for a better alternative to
avoid Ether's overpowering smell and requirement of large quantities."


"Common Odors from Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratories 
Aromatic, sweet odor often accompanied by a sweet taste. Often
described as ?hospital odor? due tocommon use of ethyl ether as
ananesthetic. Nasal irritant."

keyword search:
describe ether odor chemical smell 

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Chemical Odors
From: randability-ga on 24 Jun 2006 19:30 PDT

Diethyl Ether (Ether is more of a general category, 'Ether' is known
as this.) has a sweet, but unpleasant smell.  Originally, Ether was
discovered from from ethanol and sulphuric acid.  Ethanol is alcohol
from grain, which has a strong sweet smell (Probaby from the Glucose).
 Because of this, it was dubbed "sweet vitriol" chemist Raymundus
Lullius. There was even a myth going around that vagrants used it as a
false perfume that would knock people out (because of the nitrous
oxide properties, it was used as an anestetic, but was replaced
because of it's flammability).

Hope that answers your question,

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