• Question: what is your favorite chemical to use

    Asked by MCKENZIE to Andrew on 23 Jun 2015.
    • Photo: Andrew Fensham-Smith

      Andrew Fensham-Smith answered on 23 Jun 2015:

      I quite like the smell of benzonitrile or ethyl acetate. Benzonitrile smells like cookies, and acetonitrile smells kinda like digestive biscuits. Everybody disagrees but hey ho! Ethyl acetate smells sort of like pear drops. Coincidentally, ethyl acetate is a type of chemical called an ‘ester’. These compounds give a lot of fruits their nice smells and flavours. They consist of two chains joined together – there’s a really cool table on what each of them smells like here – https://jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/infographic-table-of-esters-and-their-smells/

      Alternatively, you can use some stuff that’s really flammable, like tris(trimethylsilyl)phosphine, which ignites when you get it near air, or sodium phosphide which is unbelievably dangerous. It goes mental when near water giving off sparks and dangerous phosphine gas. Also, these two smell terrible, so although they’re fun and a bit dangerous they stink to high heaven.