Military Review

Non-lethal weapon: smelly and slippery chemistry

A rigorous science says that malodorous formulations in small concentrations affect the olfactory system, exerting psychological influence and causing a change in behavioral responses. That is, they force a man to frown and, in horror, to abandon combat positions in search of a breath of fresh air. Much more serious, "smelly" compositions act in medium and high concentrations: they reduce the volume and frequency of respiration, increase the skin-electrical reactions, and also cause tachigastria (complex disruption of the stomach, often with vomiting).

History so unusual weapons non-lethal action began in the 1940-ies, when, under the supervision of the US National Defense Research Committee (US National Defense Research Committee, NDRC) developed a fetid composition with a persistent odor of feces. In parallel with them, the Office of Strategic Services of the United States, which later became the CIA, worked on sabotage grenades, curb compositions that have the smell of rotting. For a long time, work in such areas was classified, and in 1997, the NDRC released a whole atlas of smelly substances. It turned out that in the USA all this time they had been doing painstaking work in this “offensive” direction.

The main bonus of such delicate gases was their protection against international conventions banning the use of chemical weapons. In the USA, they even developed requirements for offensive compositions:
- the smell should be very unpleasant to bioobjects;
- the smell is obliged to quickly affect the biological object and spread rapidly;
- the toxicity of the composition in working concentrations should not exceed safe for health levels.

The authors of such a foul-smelling weapon had the greatest difficulties with an objective assessment of the perception of smell, since this is influenced by the sum of factors: gender, age, nervous system characteristics and the human hormonal background. In addition, the responses were quite wide: from a slight discomfort to instant nausea and vomiting. Over time, chemists came to a universal structure of a foul-smelling composition that includes: a solvent (water or oil), an active component (one or more odorants), a fixative and an odor enhancer (for example, skatole). Of course, the main active ingredient responsible for the "flavor" is the odorant (from the Latin. Odor - smell), which is added to the gas or air. Usually it is some kind of sulfur-containing organic compounds with a strong disgusting smell. For example, these include mercaptans, familiar to everyone by their characteristic odor from a household gas pipe. These compounds (aliphatic thiols) are specially added to natural gas, so that in the most minimal concentrations the human nose can accurately determine the leakage. And what will happen if such thiols are used in a concentrated form? Their toxicity is insignificant, but the threshold of perception by the olfactory system is very low, and skunks use this, producing a complex mixture of thiols in their fetid secret. For fixing (stabilizing) the smell in non-lethal fetid weapons are already used perfumers. Skatol or 3 – Methylindole, produced in the intestines of humans and many animals, is excellent for the role of odor fixer. In small concentrations, the skatole has a creamy-milky smell, and upon further dilution, the scent turns into floral. In a concentrated state, its smell is no different from fecal.

Non-lethal weapon: smelly and slippery chemistry

Skunk one of them first came up with the use of mercaptans as a non-lethal weapon.

Smelly compositions are used as in the form of aerosols, but it is more effective to dilute with water and then spray it on disgruntled citizens with a water cannon. And if you appropriately dye the liquid composition ... There are also real samples of hand grenades and grenades for rifle grenade launchers filled with smelly compositions based on concentrated skatole and mercaptan. Throwing agent increases the area of ​​action of the ammunition, scattering smelly substance in the axial or radial directions.

Offensive compositions can be an excellent addition to water cannon tanks.

The second fairly rare commodity on the non-lethal chemistry market was the super-slippery substances responsible for disabling vehicles and biological objects by depriving them of the ability to navigate normally. And again, Americans were among the first: the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) and the American Society for Testing Materials (Southwest Research Institute) did a lot of work and eventually created a super-slippery composition. It consists of acrylamide polymer with dispersed polyacrylamide, hydrocarbon and water. This whole “how much theme” can be diluted in an oil lubricator, which is used, for example, to lubricate wells for wells. The long list of substances suitable for creating super-slippery compounds includes various fats, oils, polysilicones (DC 2000), polyglycols (Carbowax 2000), as well as sodium oleate, glycerin, and also mass of complex organic substances. The requirements for such non-lethal weapons are the following: environmental friendliness, wide temperature range of use, low toxicity of the composition and high enough viscosity suitable for application on inclined surfaces. American chemists plan to use such compounds even against tracked vehicles, however, when applied to solid concrete and asphalt surfaces. Sand with loose earth adsorbs such liquid know-how, and only a person can slip on it. The most promising substance for creating super-flexible substances that satisfy all the requirements of the military are pseudo-plastics consisting of two components: a viscous liquid of anionic polyacrylamide and solid particles of the same chemical nature. To bring the composition into a combat state, it is pre-mixed. The result is a homogeneous viscoelastic gel that can withstand vertical loads and does not flow under the action of a man’s sole or car tread. It acquires its properties after 40-60 seconds from the moment it is applied to the surface. Usually we are confronted in nature with wet ice, which is considered one of the most natural surfaces. However, the American gel is much more insidious - a person with great difficulties can pick up a step to move on it, and the car generally remains to grind the surface with tires in place.

The system of prohibition of mobility in action - depriving the car of the ability to move.

Portable dispenser for working staff Mobility Denial System.

Based on this development, the US Marine Corps ordered the development of the Mobility Denial System (MDS), which makes it impossible to move a person and transport on a solid surface directly on the 6-12 hours. Such a gel is sprayed from a wearable device or special military transporters. 23-liter tank is enough to handle 183 m2 areas with an effective spraying distance of up to 6 meters. The tank carried on the Hummer is much larger - its 1136-liter stock of water and 113,5 a kilogram of gel should be enough immediately for 11150 m2 with the spraying range in 30 m. The downside is the need to dilute the concentrate with water, which can be taken from the nearest puddle or other natural reservoir, and this can drastically reduce the final efficiency due to harmful impurities in the liquid.

The principle of reversible action of slippery compositions based on polyelectrolytes: a - the interaction of the untreated sole with a slippery surface; b - the interaction of the sole with the oppositely charged polyelectrolyte applied to it with a slippery surface. Based on the material "Weapon of non-lethal action" edited by V. V. Selivanova, 2017.

Developments that have the opposite effect carry value: decomposing superslip matter, which allows soldiers to move freely throughout the territory treated with "chemistry" of the Mobility Denial System type. Compounds that decompose slippery gels in a few milliseconds are applied to the soles of shoes or equipment wheels. And the fighter, as if magnetized, walks along a super-slippery gel.

To be continued ...
Photos used:
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  1. Same lech
    Same lech 25 October 2018 05: 40
    Thanks to the author for the article ... hi please do not disclose the details of the preparation of stinky substances ... otherwise the children and the psychos in public places will arrange terror for us.
    1. andrewkor
      andrewkor 25 October 2018 08: 22
      Totally agree with you.
      Soviet Military Encyclopedia, v. 6, p. 163., "Poisonous substances", all formulas, but naturally without technology.
      This is for the layman.
      And the "Bashirovs" and their comrades from household chemicals blindfolded anything!
      And yet, I remembered. My friend was very fond of chemistry during school years, a whole laboratory was on the balcony. I heard some garbage, it was like ether, I lost consciousness. I wasn’t at home, and died at 16!
      1. Vol4ara
        Vol4ara 25 October 2018 10: 03
        Quote: andrewkor
        Totally agree with you.
        Soviet Military Encyclopedia, v. 6, p. 163., "Poisonous substances", all formulas, but naturally without technology.
        This is for the layman.
        And the "Bashirovs" and their comrades from household chemicals blindfolded anything!
        And yet, I remembered. My friend was very fond of chemistry during school years, a whole laboratory was on the balcony. I heard some garbage, it was like ether, I lost consciousness. I wasn’t at home, and died at 16!

        Because Vasya, the first thing you need to worry about is ventilation, and it’s better not to house the chemical
      2. Reptiloid
        Reptiloid 25 October 2018 17: 05
        Thank you, Eugene, for the start of a fundamentally new class cycle! I look forward to continuing !!!
        Quote: andrewkor
        lost consciousness. There was no one at home, and he died at 16!

        My condolences on the death of your friend, andrewkor. Shocked. Among my relatives, chemical experiments and "" fire-worshiping "" were widespread from a young age. And I too ... If it were not for the physical effects --- would not have stopped!
    2. Curious
      Curious 25 October 2018 12: 51
      "... please just do not disclose the details of the preparation of smelly substances ..."
      Lidin R. A. "Student's Handbook. Chemistry" M .: Asterel, 2003.
      "Aluminum sulfide is an oxygen-free white salt. It melts without decomposition under excessive nitrogen pressure, easily sublimates. It is oxidized in air when calcined. It is completely hydrolyzed by water, therefore it cannot be obtained by exchange reactions in aqueous solutions. It decomposes with strong acids. It is used as a solid source of pure hydrogen sulfide. It is obtained by the interaction of aluminum with molten sulfur in the absence of oxygen and moisture. "
      This is followed by the reactions describing the receipt of this malodorant at home. So any schoolchild who is interested in chemistry can, without straining, arrange a "fun life" for neighbors.
      In general, emetics are much more interesting, which cause indomitable vomiting and hurricane diarrhea.
      1. vladcub
        vladcub 25 October 2018 19: 39
        Let’s hope that such garbage is not sold in the supermarket. Otherwise, some bruised one’s head will buy and sprinkle it.
        Joking as a joke, but there may well be such clowns that spray some byak in the subway (remember Aum senrique? In Tokyo) or else where.
        Today I was traveling in transport and remembered: in 1972, one blew up a trolley bus was a rarity, but now everything can be
    3. Dersturm
      Dersturm 25 October 2018 12: 51
      C'mon, for those who have studied chemistry a little seriously, making the chemical formula easy. I remember how at our chemical faculty a test tube with mercaptan was broken in the laboratory for a week of classes))
      1. Reptiloid
        Reptiloid 25 October 2018 17: 09
        Quote: DerSturm
        test tube with mercaptan ... a week of classes was not))

        I read about SELENIUM and its derivatives. Aromaaat !!!!!!!!!!!!! True, the experiments did not work out.
    4. Machito
      Machito 26 October 2018 14: 21
      Americans ahead of the rest on a slippery and smelly tongue And the skunk is American. Our answer is Russian Ferret. This is not a newcomer to smother you.
    5. mac789
      mac789 9 December 2018 00: 54
      According to our deputies and the government apply.
  2. prior
    prior 25 October 2018 09: 58
    Smelly American democracy is the height of civilization.
    One word is skunks.
    1. 16112014nk
      16112014nk 25 October 2018 19: 48
      Quote: prior
      Smelly American democracy is the height of civilization.

      Our homegrown liberals are no better. May 1, 1993 in Moscow on Leninsky Prospekt against the demonstration of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, asphalt was poured with the same slippery muck.
  3. swnvaleria
    swnvaleria 25 October 2018 11: 09
    and why didn't our command in the World think about using such a smelly liquid? they would fill up chemical tanks at 2 and under cover of night they would process enemy positions, and a demoralized offended enemy and by smell you can find out when and where it comes from.
  4. Conductor
    Conductor 25 October 2018 16: 15
    Thanks for the article, interesting. My ex-college friend in 1994, in the states, with her family fell under the attack of a skunk, even 3 years after, as she recalls, she was so sick. Grit all the clothes in FIG thrown out, the tent, too, sleeping bags.
  5. vladcub
    vladcub 25 October 2018 19: 54
    I have heard about this pseudo-plastic, so that the technique glides. Allegedly, during the second Chechen war, there was a case that someone worked at an intersection in Grozny and .... you are welcome. But I honestly did not believe it, there was a narrator. "vmazany", but it turned out to be quite plausible.
    Someone said, perhaps Darrell: "wolves are decent people."
  6. polpot
    polpot 25 October 2018 23: 19
    Unshaped rugs completely correspond to the subject under consideration, it is easy to use how the binary action agents stink only dirty
  7. mmaxx
    mmaxx 26 October 2018 04: 30
    Somewhere I read how Israel sold to some African state this stinking fecal to disperse the demonstrators. So here. Nothing succeeded. Which fully confirms the subjectivity of perception. The local demonstrators did not perceive this stink at all. Not dispersed, in general.
    1. Soho
      Soho 26 October 2018 04: 47
      Which fully confirms the subjectivity of perception. The local demonstrators did not perceive this stink at all. Not dispersed, in general.

      in some Congo or Bangladesh, fecal odors are the usual "aromas" of the streets. And sometimes dwellings
  8. akudr48
    akudr48 26 October 2018 20: 50
    Just do not forget that non-lethal weapons are also intended to be used against one’s own people, if they start to kick up about pensions or something else ...
  9. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 26 October 2018 21: 48
    Thank you, very informative and interesting))
  10. Dmitry Bolotsky
    Dmitry Bolotsky 12 December 2018 14: 25
    As for slippery materials, it was not the Americans who came up with it. Europe has long been in service with polyacrylamide aqueous solutions. In the event of a threat of landing, airfields are poured with this solution and not a single plane will be able to land. There is also a whole area of ​​fields with these settings. Sprayed the field - and the tanks will get bogged down. I have a relationship to this topic, though peaceful. About 10 years ago, tests were carried out on one of the experimental fields of the Timiryazev Academy. The fact is that polyacrylamide gel (one of its varieties) has an excellent ability to absorb moisture. Therefore, it is necessary to water plants and crops three to five times less, water does not go into the ground. So, after a successful experiment, without agreeing on the dosage with us, the staff of the experimental station threw in this reagent several times more than it should ... First, the combine got stuck in the field, then the "Kirovets", then the armored personnel carrier from the nearby HF ... In short, they pulled this economy off the track when they brought in and built up long cables. We also brought two watering machines to wash the cars just before leaving the track. A very slippery thing ...