S: Mustard Gas
FC: orld | ar I | M u s t a r d G a s | Nicolette Dixon
1: hy I Chose To Do This Topic | For my Chemistry project, I selected the use of Mustard Gas during World War I for my topic. I believe this topic is very significant, and it continues to fascinate me as I complete my research. Mustard gas was perhaps the most feared weapon during the first World War. Although it was not the most lethal, many soldiers could suffer from exposure to it for weeks on end. However, the effects of Mustard Gas on the soldiers is not what compels me. What intrigues me is the minimal sensitivity for human life. The purpose for the use of Mustard Gas was not to wipe out the enemy, but to pollute them, disengage them, and make them suffer. Our world has experienced thousands of years of warfare, and I understand that war has no limits, especially with the ongoing development of nuclear technology. Still, I’m curious to know what, in any circumstance, justifies one human being taking another human being’s life. I wonder how, for even an instance, it was acceptable to any German or British soldier to release this gas on their enemy, perfectly knowing the effects it would have and even after the fact, to continue to develop even more fatal killing agents. My thoughts are best described through Vera Brittain, a dedicated nurse: "I wish those people who talk about going on with this war whatever it costs could see the soldiers suffering from mustard gas poisoning. Great mustard-coloured blisters, blind eyes, all sticky and stuck together, always fighting for breath, with voices a mere whisper, saying that their throats are closing and they know they will choke."
4: Mustard Gas was a vesicant that was introduced by the Germans in July of 1917. They nicknamed the gas the "Yellow Cross" because of the yellow marks that distinguished the shells from others. | Although it is not a "killing agent", mustard gas can leave one in agony for weeks on end, experiencing an unbelievably painful and slow death. | Since mustard gas is heavier than air, it would settle in the ground after it was dispersed as an oily liquid. Once in the soil, it can remain active for as long a several months on end. | Background Information
5: The British Army increased production of mustard gas with the increased involvement of the United States in the war. | Prevailing winds on the Western Front meant that the conditions for dropping the gas were in their favor.
6: Mustard Gas & How It Relates To Chemistry | Mustard Gas is a blister agent, or vesicant. This is a chemical compound that causes severe skin, eye and mucosal irritation. | They are named after their ability to cause severe burns due to a chemical spill or chemical warfare agents. Of the three types of blister agents, Mustard gas falls under the "sulfur mustards", which is a family of sulfur-based agents.
7: Sulfur Agents | Pure sulfur agents are colorless liquids at room temperature. Sulfur mustard is the organic compound with formula (Cl-CH2CH2)2S. | Properties Molecular Formula - C4H8Cl2S Molar Mass - 159.08 g mol1 Density - 1.27 g/mL, liquid Melting Point - 14.4 C, 287.6 K, 57.9 F Boiling Point - 217 C, 490 K, 423 F (decomposes) | Structure
8: The Devastating Effects
9: The skin of victims of mustard gas blistered, their eyes became very sore and they began to vomit. Mustard gas caused internal and external bleeding and attacked the bronchial tubes, stripping off the mucous membrane.