Chemistry of war
At different times people were killed in different ways. Once was enough of a pointed stone, picked up in a nearby cave, to break the head of a hapless neighbor, peeking on your property. Later people learned to make swords and spears, build a catapult or from the fortress walls to pour boiling oil on the heads of enemies. Suddenly the white man got a firearm in hand and immediately wiped off the face of the earth a Mayan civilization, which, in turn, she loved to kill people, killing them on the sacrificial altars of the temples. Like shotguns, machine guns, and all guns put an end to the fine experiments with weapons, because what could be more powerful than bullets? And bullet, how you look, more humane than what came before it. But during the First world war on humanity fell another danger — chemistry. Scientific discipline took a turn, hoping to get a weapon that people don’t just die, but still suffer from the terrible consequences of its use.
The generals of the past believed that chemical weapons can help win the battle a little blood, and leave the main force. The essence of such weapons was to demoralize the enemy, the terrible suffering that brings one or another substance.
They say that phosgene smells of rotting fruit and hay. Well the smell, though relatively pleasant, but death from phosgene pleasant is not exactly call. The credit for the creation of this chemical weapons we give to the English physicist and chemist Humphry Davy. Martial status — colorless vapor, which is 3.5 times heavier than air. This substance has a high volatility even at low temperatures. To determine the presence of phosgene in the air just. Take a tampon from a friend, dampen it with a solution of ammonia, and if the swab gives off white smoke, then from the apartment to go better, otherwise it will poisoning.
This substance has been actively used in the war of 1914-1918.
Basically it dumped into the trenches of the enemy, the resistance of the pair was increased to 3 hours instead of the 30-50 minutes in an open area. Poisonous he is, after inhaling the vapors, and the signs of poisoning do not appear immediately, and after the latent period, which runs from 4 to 8 hours. Technically phosgene causes a rapidly progressing pulmonary edema (which often ends in death), violates the permeability of the alveoli, and then leads to suffocation. An unpleasant sweetish taste in the mouth, slight dizziness, watery eyes develop into something more.Starts strong pressure on the chest, because the rhythm of the breath rate is increased from the normal rate in the 18-20 critical is 40-70 per minute. In more severe cases, the victim of this poisonous pair of catches neuropsychiatric disorders (hallucinations, stun, affective disorders). Unfortunately, antidote against that chemical weapons do not exist. But if you have a good mask, then you’re safe.
The creation of mustard gas is involved in several outstanding scholars of his time. Exactly who synthesized the mustard? The question is not as simple as it seems. We can only say that albert Niemann did it first in Germany, in France, mustard gas was synthesized by césar despres, and in Britain — Frederick Guthrie.
The most popular is the substance received in the night from 12 till 13 July of 1917, when German troops used Lost (first mustard gas was known by that name industrial) near the Belgian city of Ypres. The result of this battle from the chemicals killed 5,000 people, 10,000 more have got traumas of various severity. The battle itself marked the beginning of large-scale use of chemical weapons in the war. Not only from the Germans, but also by allied troops. Gauze bandages in a moment was replaced by masks. The advantage of mustard gas was that it would penetrate shoes, clothing and hitting the skin, even in small quantities.
Often mustard gas was used as a deterrent substance of the defense. More than 80 % of all poisonings in the period of the First world war were mustard gas. Basically, the defeat exposed mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, upper respiratory tract. Death by suffocation could occur 3-4 days. If the concentration of the substance was higher, it was a General poisoning of the body. Surely you’ve seen archival photos of the war, where the bodies of the soldiers wore a hideous sores is the effects of mustard gas. The first symptoms seem innocent enough — a simple redness that occur after 2-6 hours of exposure to substances on the body. But after a day or the formation of small blisters filled with yellow liquid. These bubbles merge together, burst and form an ulcer that doesn’t heal within a month, at best.
For the first time on the battlefield, hydrogen cyanide was used by the French on 1 July 1916 on the Somme. However, as a weapon of hydrocyanic acid has been used for long. The reason is that in open areas the poison evaporates very quickly and send it extremely difficult, unlike mustard gas.
In General, only had to wait 10-15 minutes to space again became safe. If we are talking about a closed area, in order to get rid of harmful effects of prussic acid, just had to open the Windows and ventilate the room. However, this substance is still contributed to the bloody business of war and was later used for a much more sophisticated killing. For example, hydrocyanic acid was used for executions in the United States until 1999.
Often acid enters the body through the respiratory tract, but may lose through the skin, only when a very long exposure and high concentrations. First you will feel a metallic taste and burning in the mouth, the tongue starts to go numb, the eye is unpleasant to tingle and my throat tickle. Nerves stretched like the strings and you will feel the weakness, and after that dizziness. From unpleasant feelings will arise a sense of fear, the breathing becomes uneven.Eventually you lose consciousness and your body will begin to experience cramping, which is paralysis, respiratory arrest, and you’re dead. But it could go much faster if the concentration of hydrocyanic acid will be more. Then immediately loses consciousness, falls into paralysis and go into oblivion. By the way, this poison smells like bitter almonds.
The so-called whole connection with defoliants and herbicides and synthetic origin. Used this explosive mixture of the British army in Malaya and the Yankee army in the Vietnam war from 1961 to 1971. Last used this kind of chemical weapons with the enthusiasm of a child who has been given a whole box of delicious chocolates. Won’t give a moral assessment of the actions of American troops, but just tell about the nature of hell, what happens to one small country, where there were so many forests and too many partisans.
In the whole period of the Vietnam war, American forces sprayed 72 million litres of defoliants «Agent orange». It was done for the destruction of the forest to bleed resistance, which sat in the bushes and hid there weapons. But often the chemical sprayed before the bombing of settlements. The dioxide leads to diseases of the blood, the liver, can cause cancer and genetic mutations. A total of 14 % of the whole country exposed to this poison. Vietnamese «Society affected by dioxin» has its strict and sad statistic: 3 million affected by dioxide, about one million people under the age of 18 have become disabled or suffer from genetic diseases.