How Do We Smell Perfume?

perfume-octopus

Answer: The part of perfume that gives it a specific smell is called its “juice.” Juice is a mixture of different oils, each with a specific scent. You smell these scents because they evaporate, which means to change from a liquid to a gas. These scented gas molecules move through the air and you smell them when they enter your nose. The more scent molecules that enters your nose, the stronger is the smell.

Terms to Know
evaporate
perfume juice
mucus

33101X: Sticky, Gloppy, Wacky, and Wonderful Experiments Sticky, Gloppy, Wacky, and Wonderful Experiments

Here is what happens when perfume molecules enter your nose:

  1. Special cells on the inside surface of your nose capture the molecules.
  2. These special “smelling cells” have hairlike bristles covered with a slippery substance called mucus.
  3. The perfume molecules dissolve in the mucus. The more molecules that dissolve, the stronger will be the fragrance.
  4. The bristles send a coded message to your brain.
  5. Your brain decodes the message and identifies the smell.

perfume-paige-videoFor more information about perfume, see Paige’s interview with a perfume maker. This is one of the many educational videos written and produced by Donna Guthrie and can be found on Meet Me At The Corner.