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Press Release 06-164

The Smell of Money

Research suggests an absence of metallic chemicals in the strong metallic odors that result from people handling coins and other metals

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Researchers have found that the molecules in "metallic" smells contain no metal.

Researchers at Virginia Tech have found that the "metallic" smell of keys is not from the metal but from a reaction between the keys and your skin.

Credit: Rick Griffiths, Virginia Tech


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Virginia Tech researcher Andrea Dietrich studies chemical reactions that affect water quality.

By studying smells emanating from metallic objects interacting with skin, Virginia Tech researcher Andrea Dietrich is shedding light on the origins of several drinking water odors.

Credit: Rick Griffiths, Virginia Tech


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Pinar Omur-Ozbek of Virginia Tech helped conduct the metal-odor experiments.

Pinar Omur-Ozbek, a PhD student of Andrea Dietrich's at Virginia Tech, helped conduct the experiments that revealed the why distinctive smells emanate from coins, keys and other metal objects people handle.

Credit: Rick Griffiths, Virginia Tech


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