How does the smell stick to clothes? | Science


Odors are chemical compounds, molecules. Odors are usually spread through the air. When odor molecules collide with surfaces, such as clothing, they get stuck in the same way as water vapor.

Textiles provide a favorable adhesion surface to odors, as they have a large number of hollow surfaces. Thus, the odor can be absorbed deep into the garment.

Each odor is unique, so at the molecular level, they stick to textiles in their own way.

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In general, however, adhesion depends on four factors: the properties of the odor molecule and the surface, their interaction, and the medium that carries the odor.

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As conditions change, so does the interaction of molecules with the surface. Therefore, the airborne odor usually begins to dissipate when the garment is placed in water. Detachment is enhanced if a detergent that reduces surface tension is added to the water.

The most effective way to remove stubborn odor is ozonation. Ozone is an exceptionally sensitive form of oxygen, a gas made up of three oxygen atoms that effectively removes odor compounds.

When ozone reacts with odor compounds, it readily releases its third oxygen atom and breaks down the odor molecules. Only ordinary oxygen is produced as a by-product.

Defendant: Timo Repo

Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Helsinki.

Published in Science 14/2021.


Source: Tiede by www.tiede.fi.

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