Mustard Gas During World War I
LOST was the original name for mustard gas, it was named after Lommel and Steinkopf. They were the first people who proposed this gas to the military to use as a weapon in 1916. Although mustard gas could possibly been developed as early as 1822 by a French chemist, Cesar-Mansuete Desperetez. Thirty-two years later Alfred Riche repeated this reaction of the sulfur dichloride and ethylene, but both Riche and Desperetez did not note any harsh properties. In 1860, Frederick Gutherie synthesized and described the characteristics of the compound and it’s irritating properties.
Another chemist known as a pioneer in cocaine chemistry, Albert Nieman repeated the reaction, and recorded blistering formations. Meanwhile, a published paper written by Victor Meyer in 1866, explained the reaction of 2-chloroethanol and an aqueous potassium sulfide that formed phosphorous trichloride. The purity of this compound was higher and there was much more severe health effects. He also tested this compound on rabbits and noted that they died.
An English chemist Hans Thacher Clarke did this reaction in 1913. When performing the experiment the flask broke, and Clarke was in the hospital for two months for burns. Clarkes partner Emil Fischer reported the accident to the German Society, which put Germany on the chemical weapons track.
Sulfur mustard is an organic compound with the molecular formula of C4H8Cl2S. Mustard gas can be reacted with different compounds, but still have the same major organic product. These are the different reactions to make sulfur gas:
Deperetez: SCl2 + 2 C2H4 → (Cl-CH2CH2)2S
Meyer: 3(HO-CH2CH2)2S + 2PCl3 → 3(Cl-CH2CH2)2S + 2P(OH)3
Meyer-Clarke: (HO-CH2CH2)2S + 2HCl → (Cl-CH2CH2)2S + 2H2O Other chlorinating agents that have been used are trionyl and phosgene.
Chemists know mustard gas by bis(chloroethyl) sulfide or dichlorethylsulphide, but it has been called senfgas, yellow cross liquid, yperite, distilled...
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