Topic: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Does anyone know if a burning coal smell would be considered an acrid smell? I've read online that the sulfur-like smell of a burned out building is considered acrid, and since coals contain sulfur, ergo...?

Thanks
Dirk

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

To me charcoal smells great.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

My limited, long-ago experience of coal in a potbellied stove did not have sulfur as a major note.  But if you burned a lot with poor ventilation, it might be different.  I believe what we burned was anthracite.  Bituminous (best for powerplants) might differ.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Had coal burning stoves and furnaces as a kid and none smelled acrid or of sulfur. At this point in time, there is coal burning steam plant which I pass quite often and have never smelled anything. Take care. Vern

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Thank you, folks. Since I'm going for acrid, I'll keep the wording as burned out/torched building. Many people know what that smells like.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

A coal-burning steam plant probably scrubs its exhaust, getting both sulfur (as gypsum) and fine-powder silica (for concrete).

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Does the character doing the smelling know what coal smells like or is supposed to smell like? If this is set on your Venusian world, do they import the coal? Or has the character learned the smell from her visits to good old Earth? I imagine solar, wind, and nuclear power don't stink as much.

The readers want to know!

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Seabrass, the question was posed by me. It relates to Connor's story. I had been using "stank like a burned out/torched building" and "acrid" to describe the Antichrist's smell. I was going to simplify it as just smelling like burning coals, but I want the smell to be acrid, so I decided to keep the original wording.

Dirk

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

I got myself tangled in the situation seabrass is referring to. And no, Laurie would have never seen or smelled coal before, so I'm just going to junk the reference

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Whoops! Ha ha ha! Never even looked at who submitted the original. Just thought it was Kdot as there was indeed mention of coal in his latest posts.

Go ahead and be all acrid and shit, Dirk! The acrider, the better, I always say! Well, not always... Never, in fact. Never mind.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

njc wrote:

A coal-burning steam plant probably scrubs its exhaust, getting both sulfur (as gypsum) and fine-powder silica (for concrete).

I'm sure they do, but so do catalytic converters. Ever been behind one that didn't work properly? That's the smell of technology not always working. Take care. Vern

12

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

The fuel for automobiles is desulfered before it is sold.  Different scenario.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Hey Dirk,
If you're going for a sulphur smell- you could say smelled like a freshly lit match.  For acrid, you could go for smelled like a dead body 4 days rotting. Or maybe even rotting eggs.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Maybe this would help:

Definition of acrid: sharp and harsh or unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor : irritating acrid smoke.
smile

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Thanks, CJ. The reason I wanted burning/acrid is because the Antichrist is a demonic being, so I wanted something suggestive of Hell (an unpleasant burning smell). I think matches actually smell good. :-)  I'm okay with burnt building.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Thanks, dagny.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Instead of acrid smell, why not the stench of burnt flesh? Even a slight whiff will tell a person what it is, and if they don't know, their lizard brain will sound the alarm. And burnt flesh is associated with most versions of Hell. I think such a stench would also attract carrion--particularly those scary beetles and roaches.

Play with it!

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Burnt flesh seems better, although how would all of the cardinal victims know what burnt flesh smells like (since the narration is from their points of view)?

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Oh, they'd know. I'm sure some of them have had war experience. Or been to a good old fashioned bar-b-que. Or been too close to a fireworks display gone awry. And if they're not sure, their lizard brains will sound the alarm. The nose knows.

Give it a try in a revision. If you ain't iked it, revert. You are the god in your story.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

njc wrote:

The fuel for automobiles is desulfered before it is sold.  Different scenario.

You obviously haven't been behind a vehicle that had a defective catalytic converter. And beyond that, if you read the entire statement, it was merely an example of a case where the "scrubbing" you mentioned didn't always work, whether it be coal plant or other system. And the point of that being, that if the "scrubbers" were the reason for no smell from the coal plant, then it is highly unlikely they worked perfectly over extended periods of time in which there were no complaints or evidence of the sulfur smell under consideration. Ergo, the coal didn't emit a sulfur smell while burning as questioned by the initial post. Take care. Vern

21 (edited by njc 2022-02-27 05:03:30)

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

vern wrote:

You obviously haven't been behind a vehicle that had a defective catalytic converter

Not since about '85 or '86, and I drive 30,000+ miles a year.  Where do you live?  (Or where do you drive?)  I drive in NJ, NY (including NYC), PA, occasionally CT and MA, sometimes west to Ohio, sometimes down to NC, either by I95 or I81.  I haven't run into any sulfur smells except around the Linden CoGeneration Plant (the skeletal remains of Exxon Bayway) or, rarely, when a truck smokes its tires in a panic stop.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

njc wrote:
vern wrote:

You obviously haven't been behind a vehicle that had a defective catalytic converter

Not since about '85 or '86, and I drive 30,000+ miles a year.  Where do you live?  (Or where do you drive?)  I drive in NJ, NY (including NYC), PA, occasionally CT and MA, sometimes west to Ohio, sometimes down to NC, either by I95 or I81.  I haven't run into any sulfur smells except around the Linden CoGeneration Plant (the skeletal remains of Exxon Bayway) or, rarely, when a truck smokes its tires in a panic stop.

Regardless of where or when you smelled it, you admit you did, thus, you prove my point that the "scrubbing" technology doesn't always work. Take care. Vern

23

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

But not from catalytic converters in the recent past.  You spoke of a present reality.

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

Horse poop set on fire will raise a blister on your nose!  But that gang of robes wouldn't be apt to know that smell!  Pretty doggone acrid. 

Just an observation.
MJ

Re: Burning coal smell = acrid smell?

njc wrote:

But not from catalytic converters in the recent past.  You spoke of a present reality.

There are millions of cars with older catalytic converters still on the road AND even the newer style converters go bad over time. I believe an engineer should understand that the past is still part of the present. Take care. Vern