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Author: Subject: How the L pills in WWII era were made?
Refinery
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[*] posted on 13-6-2020 at 09:54
How the L pills in WWII era were made?


I read some news article about someone finding a WWII era cyanide capsule and I began to wonder what they actually contained and how they were made. Some sources state that the content was just saturated solution of cyanide salt, while some sources state that they were filled with plain liquid prussic acid, aka hydrogen cyanide. Apparently HCN is much faster acting than cyanide salt.

Considering it boils at 26C and is highly flammable, how they were able to seal them in very small ampoules without boiling them off or igniting vapors, and even after forming it, bursting it by the vapor pressure generated by superheated HCN liquid? One method I figured would be to form a small, almost capillary channel, filling it with thin syringe needle, and then, by applying a minimal propane flame, closing the capillary without exciting the contents excessively. I wonder they stored the amount of HCN in a multi-use vial with membrane to access it with needle.

I also remember reading from this forum that HCN is unstable and can undergo explosive polymerization without stabilizing it with acid. They suggested that soviets used phosphoric acid to stabilize munition and missile delivered CN systems.
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karlos³
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[*] posted on 13-6-2020 at 11:21


I would think it was a saturated cyanide salt solution, as this would be more practicable.

We had one of ours(i.e. clandestine chemists) carrying around a vial with the potassium salt as a necklace, in case they would get him and put him in prison again for bail jumping.
He apparently downed the salt(maybe it was also a solution, I don't know) in the back of the police car when it came down to this.
It worked very well, he didn't even made it alive to the hospital after the cops thought he had a heart attack in the back of his car.

So in short, no one would go to the trouble trying to ampoule liquid HCN up(over a blanket of explosive HCN vapour!), as the salts already suffice well for this.

[Edited on 13-6-2020 by karlos³]
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[*] posted on 13-6-2020 at 11:51


If I know, they also used rings with solid cyanide tablets.



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[*] posted on 13-6-2020 at 12:12


Quote: Originally posted by karlos³  
We had one of ours(i.e. clandestine chemists) carrying around a vial with the potassium salt as a necklace, in case they would get him


Hardcore.

AFAIK the pure HCN can render unconscious within seconds, while salt takes a few minutes. I guess the timeframe is insignificant in this matter. There is no way in hell to get to hospital in time - I think that sufficient dose is irreversible even if it is taken directly in front of fully stocked medical unit. Perhaps some sort of em'cy blood infusion could help.

I was just curious because there are two contradicting sources, other citing directly using prussic acid, and other saturated solution of cyanide salt. Finding the sources doesn't change the interest of this matter itself.

Technically it should be well viable to capsule HCN, especially in a professional setting. The ampoules could be pre-formed separately, and a needle-thin channel left to inject the cryogenic liquid into the ampule which is made so that the HCN fills basically the whole volume, also submerged in salt-ice bath, and then the thin neck is sealed at once with small propane torch. The HCN could heat up, but it takes maybe a second or two to melt and seal the neck, which would not be sufficient to make it generate vapor pressure to cause issues. The gas volume would be microliters, not enough to sustain combustion, and no reagent were to be handled in open air so vapors remain minimal. These same mad scientists handled all kind of stuff up to nerve gases so I think it is well doable in that context.

Just thinking here how it *could* be (have been) made.
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draculic acid69
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[*] posted on 13-6-2020 at 18:05


I'd think anyone with a sodium cyanide tablet in there mouth or stomach would get a dose of hcn as well. Chewing on one getting saliva all over it and then exhaling co2 would definitely release some hcn. I'm guessing as soon as it hits stomach acid the same thing will happen
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[*] posted on 14-6-2020 at 03:28


Quote: Originally posted by Refinery  
Quote: Originally posted by karlos³  
We had one of ours(i.e. clandestine chemists) carrying around a vial with the potassium salt as a necklace, in case they would get him


Hardcore.

AFAIK the pure HCN can render unconscious within seconds, while salt takes a few minutes. I guess the timeframe is insignificant in this matter. There is no way in hell to get to hospital in time - I think that sufficient dose is irreversible even if it is taken directly in front of fully stocked medical unit. Perhaps some sort of em'cy blood infusion could help.

I was just curious because there are two contradicting sources, other citing directly using prussic acid, and other saturated solution of cyanide salt. Finding the sources doesn't change the interest of this matter itself.

Technically it should be well viable to capsule HCN, especially in a professional setting. The ampoules could be pre-formed separately, and a needle-thin channel left to inject the cryogenic liquid into the ampule which is made so that the HCN fills basically the whole volume, also submerged in salt-ice bath, and then the thin neck is sealed at once with small propane torch. The HCN could heat up, but it takes maybe a second or two to melt and seal the neck, which would not be sufficient to make it generate vapor pressure to cause issues. The gas volume would be microliters, not enough to sustain combustion, and no reagent were to be handled in open air so vapors remain minimal. These same mad scientists handled all kind of stuff up to nerve gases so I think it is well doable in that context.

Just thinking here how it *could* be (have been) made.


it is still way easier to just use a solution or a tablet of pure salt. nitrogen dioxide has a similar boiling point, do you think it is feasable to drink a liquid that flash boils in your mouth? you wouldn't be able to drink much as it turns to gas pretty fast in your mouth





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Refinery
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[*] posted on 14-6-2020 at 05:30


That's a good point, now that you say it. I wonder how it'd feel to pour a liquid in your mouth that boils at 26C? We presume the liquid would be non hazardous to health.
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[*] posted on 14-6-2020 at 05:41


A boiling liquid in your mouth doesn't feel that strange, I think the Leidenfrost absorps most of the physical bumping.

You can put a hand full of liquid nitrogen in your mouth, it just feels a bit cold. The effect is pretty cool though, you can blow white clouds out of your mouth and nose, and of course the terrified looks all around are priceless.
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[*] posted on 14-6-2020 at 18:07


But be damn sure not to swallow that liquid nitrogen. You'd get frostbite internally, and also a burst stomach possibly.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140222192214/http://www.wpi.ed...

As far as the original question, I don't know that it had to be terrifically fast acting. In any case, once they had chewed/swallowed it, the captors would have to figure out what they wanted from them, and how to make them talk, and simply threatening their life would no longer be intimidating by itself. So even if it took minutes or tens of minutes to act, it would likely be effective.

I read in a kids book (Spy by Richard Platt, Eyewitness books from Dorling Kindersly) that it worked in 5 seconds. I very, very, highly doubt that, unless it was a huge pill of an HE that was somehow triggered by them biting into it. Now that would be messy.

Anyone else notice a bunch of topics about mass poisonings, booby traps, cyanide pills etc in miscellaneous lately? Not complaining, just usually these topics don't come up. By the way, my first thought on the " anti bike theft agent" thread was the same as Yobbo 2, and my second was the same as antiswat. I must be more a physicist than a chemist:P




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[*] posted on 15-6-2020 at 05:15


I remember some blog where a guy did the liquid nitrogen in the mouth effect. He remarked that it cracked 2 of his teeth.
It seems possible that even hot liquids like soup or coffee on fillings might have a slightly different COE and that more rapid heat transfer create an even greater stress on a tooth.
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