How do we detect the smell of an agarbatti (incense stick)?

We all can smell incense stick whenever it is lit. Have you ever imagined how does the smell reaches us and how we detect it? Let us find answers to these questions here.

How does the smell reaches us?

The particles of hot (after lighting it) incense stick possess large kinetic energy and diffuse in air rapidly and reach several meters away. Particles of matter possess kinetic energy and keep moving constantly.  At higher temperatures, particles have high kinetic energy and move faster hence, the smell of incense stick reaches us.

How do we detect the smell of incense stick?

At first, the smell of the incense stick reaches our nose, then the olfactory receptors present in our nose detect it. Then the receptors send this information to the forebrain in the form of electrical signals. Then the forebrain interprets this information as the smell of incense stick where it is already stored.  Hence we come to know that the smell reaching our nose is the smell of incense stick.



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