2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Computational Chemical Studies of the Oxidation of Nerve Agent VX
Jennifer C. Serniak
Dr. Eric V. Patterson, Faculty Mentor

The nerve agent VX (O-ethyl S-((2-diisopropylamino)ethyl) methylphosphonothiolate) is a viscous liquid that is lethal to almost all mammals. Only a few milligrams of VX are required to cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, muscle spasms, sweating and eventually death by asphyxiation. It is known that aqueous or mixed solvents oxidize VX and that this method efficiently detoxifies VX. However, the mechanism for this oxidation is not currently understood. O,S-dimethyl methylphosphonothiolate (1) is a less toxic model of the nerve agent VX, and is often used in place of VX in chemical studies. Using computational chemistry we have studied the oxidation of compound 1. Our data has allowed us to better understand the mechanism by which this nerve agent is detoxified. This information and that of other researchers will soon make it possible to eradicate this deadly nerve agent.

Keywords: VX, Nerve agent, oxidation, mechanism, computational, detoxify

Topic(s):Chemistry

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 54-4
Location: VH 1010
Time: 4:30

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