View Full Version : Burning away bioweapons

05-11-2016, 12:25 PM
In my sci-fi story I have a group of partisans infiltrating a bio-weapons facility and destroying the tanks with plasma charges.

I know weaponized plasma doesn't exist, but what kind of heat would it theoretically take to completely destroy chemical weapons without them managing to spread into the atmosphere? What are the really extreme upper limits of heat, that would burn steel like tissue paper?

05-11-2016, 03:40 PM
Most of the things used as chemical weapons are actually flammable so they will burn, you don't need the heat to disable them, just plenty of oxygen and a source of ignition.

05-11-2016, 04:22 PM
Thermite would provide a fuel source capable of doing what you want.

However, people don't understand how fire destroys. Fire departments will let some buildings burn, such as hardware stores. It's less dangerous than trying to put them out, and the dispersal of hazardous chemicals is better.

A fire, unless carefully tended, is very uneven. Solid particles will rise in the heat, and other particles will be turned into gas, which will also rise. Chemicals, as they heat, will have some parts that rise with the heat with no destruction, while other parts of the same chemical may be altered. In other words, the smoke plume will be a mix of what may have become harmless chemicals to chemicals that are completely unchanged.

Now the theory is that the dispersal which will occur will be scattered over a large enough area that none of the chemicals will be a toxic dose. Instead of being concentrated in a 100 x 100 building, the chemicals will now be spread over hundreds and maybe thousands of miles. However, if the toxicity of the chemicals is high enough, that dispersal area will still be toxic. In other words, burning the chemicals could be extremely dangerous.

Mainly burning the bio-weapons will ensure that the enemy can't use it.

Jim Clark-Dawe

05-11-2016, 05:10 PM
What are the really extreme upper limits of heat, that would burn steel like tissue paper?

Research HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds. This is what's in the AT4. I tried Googling to find the temperature of the explosion, but haven't found it yet. That's the temp you probably want though.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTbbbpJjae32XqRZJkxzLp4cx098m_ZN N09lSE16PAnCHhbchQf