Odor Remediation
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Odor Remediation
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Odor Remediation

Stabilization Technologies LLC is a leader inthe science of odor remediation. The following is a summary of the subject withparticular emphasis on odors in plastics.


An odor is caused by one or more volatilizedchemical compounds, generally at a very low concentration, that humans andother animals perceive by the sense of olfaction. Odors are also commonlycalled scents, which can refer to both pleasant and unpleasant odors. The termsfragrance and aroma are used primarily by the food and cosmetic industry todescribe a pleasant odor, and are sometimes used to refer to perfumes. Incontrast, malodor, stench, reek, and stink are used specifically to describeunpleasant odors. The term smell (as a noun) is used for both pleasant and unpleasantodors. Odor characterization is the first step in the process of remediation,followed by instrumental analysis to identify the specific cause of the odorand determine the solution. Odor is a complex subject which is divided intosubjective and objective categories to aid in the identification of the odorproblem and resolution of the problem.


The widest range of odors consists of organiccompounds, although some simple compounds not containing carbon, such ashydrogen sulfide and ammonia, are also odorants. Odors are the result ofairborne chemical particles that are breathed or inhaled that stimulate odorreceptors in the human nose. Human response to odors varies considerably, andone of the difficulties with understanding odors is that everyone perceivesthem differently.


The perception of an odor effect is atwo-step process. First, there is the physiological part; the detection ofstimuli by receptors in the nose. The stimuli are processed by the region ofthe human brain which is responsible for olfaction. Because of this, anobjective and analytical measure of odor is impossible.


Each person’s sense of smell is unique andsmell perception varies from person to person. Male and female odor panelparticipants also differ in their ability to categorize odors by strength andintensity. Smokers have a difficult time distinguishing odors, whilenon-smokers are a preferred group to identify subjective odors into type,intensity and strength. Given the distinct molecular conformations and propertyprofiles of each odorant, the odor perception differs dramatically amongindividuals. Analysis of thousands of odor panel testing results suggests thatthe olfactory system does not respond equally to all aspects of odorantchemistry, functioning as a specific rather than a general chemical analysis system.


Odor Panel Wheel

Odor resolution is done is a series of steps.First the characteristic of the odor is described and labeled. The conventionalapproach today is the use of the Odor Panel Wheel. This wheel is used for allautomotive interior testing done by a subjective odor panel of eightparticipants. Once the odor has been characterized the science ofidentification and environmental characterization begins with instrumentalanalysis. This testing has been refined over the last twenty years and themethod has changed to adapt to the reality of odor identification.


Unlike past analysis methods, the new approach takes intoconsideration the thermal gradient effect and resonance times, and in-situ changesin chemistry during molding and post storage in a molded plastic.

The scale for the odor wheel is given as:

Intensity Scale:





                     5. VERY STRONGOFFENSIVE ODOR

Type of Odor:

Instrumental Chemical Analysis: basic principlesand techniques

Chemical analysis can be divided into threebroad categories as given below, which are almost invariably applied to majorareas such as Fundamental Research, Product Development, Product QualityControl, Monitoring & Control of Pollutants, Medical & ClinicalStudies, etc.


a. Qualitative Analysis:Chemical analysis which just identifies one or more species present in a sample


b. Quantitative Analysis: Chemicalanalysis which finds out the total amount of the particular species present ina sample


c. Structural Analysis: Chemicalanalysis which helps in finding the spatial arrangement of atoms in a moleculeand the presence or position of certain organic functional groups in a givencompound.


Chemical analysis has some basic steps such as, choice of method,sampling, preliminary sample treatment, separations, final measurement andassessment of results. It is with the first step, the choice of method, thatcare should be exercised to select the proper instrument to carry outmeaningful analysis.


Odor Identification by Instrumentalanalysis

The instrumental analysis process entails:










Instrumental analysis is coordinated withodor panels for the most critical odor issues, while the majority of odorproblems can be identified by instrumental analysis followed by odor panels.Both provide an overall resolution to the problem. Since odor intensity andstrength can manifest instrumentally as the smallest peak in the analysis, theinterpretation of odor substances is a science, best done by trainedprofessionals with years of experience in looking at GC:MS and proton NMR.


Practical solutions to odor mediation and ortermination have already been studied and implemented in the USA, in plastics,recycled tire rubber and plastics composites, and in recycled tire rubberreplacements for SBR latex in carpets for home and industrial use.

Technologies for control of odor initiationand remediation of odors have been identified for all polymer systems. Includedin these studies are recommendations for altering the odor species in aplastics masterbatch that may contain an odor being created by an additive. Themasterbatch may have had no odor initially but is created during processing, asa result of thermal degradation or decomposition, or because of a chemicalinteraction with another additive in the formulation.

The odor remediationprocess is a multi-variable process of looking at the best resolution to theproblem and selecting the most economical solution. The completed report willidentify the causes of the odor problem, and suggest solutions.
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