Why do burns smell?

Why do burns smell?

Burning, scientifically named as combustion, is a series of chemical reactions that occur between a fuel and an oxidant, in the presence of heat. As this process occurs, chemical compounds and elements are being converted into various specific types of matter, either solid, liquid or gas. In the process of combustion, there are certain reaction mechanisms that take place only in the presence of specific elements. Initially, combustion requires an energy form, commonly heat, which triggers the chain of reaction to happen. In humans, burns are a serious form of injury that puts the health status of an individual on imminent danger. Burns usually affect the skin that varies on the depth of the part being affected. When a person is burnt, there are serious consequences that are being faced and this remains to be a critical situation requiring critical care.

In the general concept of burns, one common property that results from burns, whether on humans, things and other types of materials, is the distinct kind of smell it produces. Studies have been conducted regarding the kind of smell that burns produced. It evidently showed that the main element responsible for its distinct odor is its components. As specific analyses were made, it was discovered that burns produce odor active compounds, specifically eleven odorous compounds. The compounds were found to be acetophenone, benzyl alcohol, 4-ethyl-2-methoxyphenol, 2-hydroxybenzaldehyde, 2-hydroxy-5-methylbenzldehyde, 2-methoxyphenol, 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol, 2-methylphenol, 3-methylphenol, 4-methylphenol and naphthalene, which when studied, was found to have intense odours. Further studies have confirmed that these compounds contribute to the distinct smell produced by burns, in general.

Regardless of the nature of what is burnt, the kind of smell it produces is evidently toxic when inhaled and can seriously damage the lungs and the entire respiratory system when not given immediate care.

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