A Conversation for Alkanoic acids
EwenMc Started conversation Sep 8, 2003
You didn't mention the smells: ethanoic acid is obviously vinegar and methanoic and propanoic are similar. Butanoic acid, however, is about as revolting as they come: a strong smell of vomit (or parmesan cheese - same thing!). I haven't encountered the others but I think nonanoic acid is the one that smells of goats. My lecturer at Sheffield, Dr Peter Jones, managed to clear a railway compartment with a jacket impregnated with this acid: he thought he'd washed it out, but in the warmth of the carriage he discovered his mistake...
Has anyone else first-hand experience of these smells?
Rho Posted Sep 9, 2003
I've had first hand experience with all of these acids, so know their smells. Methanoic acid, ethanoic acid and propanoic acid all have bearable smells; butanoic acid does not.
In one of my chemistry labs, a person once spilled most of a bottle of 1M butanoic acid. We couldn't use that lab - or the rooms either side of it - again for a week.
BigAl Patron Saint of Left Handers Keeper of the Glowing Pickle and Monobrows Posted Dec 31, 2004
Ref goats, I always remember my chemistry lecturer at college, when trying to explain the benefits of systematic organic nomenclature, mentioed capric, capryllic and caproic acids:
"One would think from their names, that these have similar structural formulae. Not a bit of it. They all derive their names from the fact that they all smell of a goat. L.caper = goat."
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