DEC 17, 2019 7:36 AM PST

Want a Cozy Fireplace on Your Screen? How About This One with Chemistry Trivia?

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Have you ever wondered: underneath the evident smoky smell, what makes up other subtle aromas of a burning fire log? 

A diverse group of aromatic (in both chemical and sensorial meaning) molecules is released during the combustion.  

The first and most obvious is guaiacol. The compound is commonly found in essential oils from celery seeds, tobacco leaves, orange leaves, and lemon peels, and is behind the smell of wood smoke. 

Syringol is another aromatic compound. Just like guaiacol, syringol is among the main products of thermal decomposition of vascular plants. However, it does not smell smoky but sweet.

Isoeugenol, an essential oil component in many plants, is responsible for the wood aroma. 4-methylguaiacol (or creosol), an ingredient in many antiseptic products, makes up the pungent smell. 

Now you can learn all about holiday-related chemistry trivia right in front of your laptop and TV screens, by playing this Yule Log fireplace video, courtesy of the American Chemical Society's Reactions channel on Youtube.

Source: ACS Reactions via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
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