There’s Stench, And Then There Is Thioacetone, the World’s Stinkiest Chemical

You’ve probably experienced foul smells before, but as bad as you remember them stinking, scientists say it’s nothing compared to the stench of thioacetone, the world’s smelliest chemical compound.

Trash left in the can too long on a summer day, sewage, or the smell of public toilets uncleaned for multiple days, we can all agree that they stink, but their stench is not classified as dangerous to human life. However the foul aroma of the rare chemical known as thioacetone, is. This simple molecule is somewhat tricky to produce, as at temperatures above -20°C it will clump together to form a solid called trithioacetone, but on the rare occasions that humanity did create it, thioacetone managed to make its presence felt, quite literally.

The most famous story about the stench of thioacetone dates back to1889, when workers at a factory in the German city of Freiberg attempted to produce the simple yet potent chemical, and accidentally created panic among the city’s residents. Their success led to “an offensive smell spreading rapidly over a great area of the town, causing fainting, vomiting and a panic evacuation”.

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Poo Couture – Dutch Designer Turns Cow Manure into Fashionable Clothing

With cattle breeding at an all time high, manure has become one of the world’s greatest environmental hazards, but one Dutch artist is using chemistry to turn into something that is both eco-friendly and valuable. Her innovative technique turns manure into a variety of useful materials like clothing fabric, bio-degradable plastic and paper.

In recent years, scientists around the world have made great progress in their attempts to recycle cattle manure, including turning it into natural fertilizer and biogas, but Eindhoven designer Jalila Essaïdi didn’t think they were efficient enough to solve the global manure surplus problem. So she started on her very own solution, one that approached animal waste as a valuable material that could be processed into useful products. The results of her work prove that manure really is worth its weight in gold.

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