© Compound Interest
The Chemicals Behind the ‘New Car Smell’
This graphic comes off the back of a number of requests for it to be added to the ‘Aroma Chemistry’ series. The characteristic ‘new car smell’, as with the majority of entries in this series, can’t be pinned down to just one compound – rather, it’s a complex mixture of chemicals that, combined, give the recognisable smell. Here’s a look at some of the major compounds, and where they come from.
Several studies have been carried out on ‘new car smell’, and a large number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been detected during this research. The estimated number of compounds varies wildly: several studies quote in the region of 50-60 volatile organic compounds, with one or two even venturing well over 100. But where do these compounds come from?