1. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    How much chlorine gas would it take to kill someone?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by X Equestris, Sep 5, 2016.

    I'm working on a story involving a puzzle obsessed super villain who has kidnapped a few people and is using what are effectively gas chambers as part of a scheme to shatter the mystique around my hero. The hostage in question is locked in a ten foot cubed room that's sealed airtight. So my question is the title: how much chlorine would be needed to kill one person in this situation? And on a side note, how long would it take for said person to die?
     
  2. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    It wouldn't take very much in a sealed room. In WW1 it only took a little to go through your trench and you could be dead 48 hours later. In a small room with chlorine being pumped in and due to the chlorine reacting to the moisture on the lungs it may only take an hour or so. That's just a guess though from what I know. The person in questions would develop a headache nearly straight away and in a few minutes find it hard to breathe. Sorry I couldn't be more specific.
     
  3. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's fine. It's certainly a very specific question.

    I was hoping it would be quicker, though still agonizingly long. An hour is a lot of time for my heroine to find a possible solution. I may consider alternatives, or increase the amount used. So if anyone knows how phosgene or another chemical weapon might work in this situation, I'd be glad to hear it.
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You wouldn't need chlorine. In an airtight room, your heroine would suffocate soon enough.

    What you're writing sounds a lot like Saw... :confuzled:
     
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  5. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    The room isn't fully sealed until the gas is deployed. And it's not my heroine inside, but a hostage.

    Maybe. The scheme comes in with the gas chamber being locked with (purposely impossible to solve in the time provided) puzzles, and my heroine unable to use her powers--intangibility in this case--to simply walk through like she normally would, due to tungsten plates being hidden in the chambers' walls. The whole thing is designed to make her fail and show people she's as fallible as any other person. Her failure to save the first hostage kicks off the plot, with her turning to a strength boosting drug used and supplied by a former opponent of hers in an effort to keep it from happening again.
     
  6. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Search tip because I don't know the answer: use "LD50" pous your substance of choice, this is the dose that will kill 50% of people exposed to whatever it is (chlorine, morphine, Lady Gaga music)
     
  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Why not cyanide gas? Bleach and ammonia make a basic form of mustard gas. Hell suffocation would be more than adequate depending on just how evil the bad guy really is. If he has a wacky streak about him he could use methane. Or simply pipe in carbon dioxide from a car exhaust. This guy seems way to specific about his choice of 'killer gases'. I know give them a chance at hope by filtering weaponized anthrax, the evil kids on the block are still doing that right?

    Or if he is feeling up for making a mess turn the chamber into a vacuum, wreak all kinds of havoc on a body. Though he would have to have a way of sucking all the air out of the chamber.

    Really could go on for a long time about all the fun things you can do to kill somebody in a 10 cubic foot area. But I suppose that aerosolized chlorine as a gas would be a few tablespoons at most. Though to entirely sure consult Granny Grims How to Murder Cook Book.

    Or there is this tidbit on symptoms of chlorine gas from Toxipedia:

    Effects and Symptoms of Poisoning
    Low level exposure of chlorine gas to the skin or eyes results in irritation. Higher exposures result in chemical burns, ulcerations, or frostbite. If ingested, corrosive damage will occur within the gastrointestinal tract. This would more than likely occur if chlorine is consumed in the form of household bleach.

    Inhalation, which is most common, has multiple effects on the body. Low-level inhalation causes skin, eye and airway irritation along with a sore throat and a cough. Higher concentrations result in chest tightness, dyspnea, bronchospasms and wheezing. Severe exposure can result in non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Other symptoms of chlorine poisoning appear as runny nose and choking. As fluid builds up in the lungs increases after continuous exposure, the person is often at increased risk of pneumonia. 3.5 ppm of chlorine can be detected by its characteristic odor, while 1000 ppm is likely to be fatal after a few deep breaths (#Ophardt, 2003). 2.5 mg/L of chlorine is immediately fatal if the body comes into contact to that amount and 0.15 mg/L is lethal after longer periods of inhalation.
     
  8. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Chlorine by itself isn't poisonous, it only kills people in large doses because its density pushes out the air.

    It's less like poisoning and more like drowning.
     
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  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But why seal the room? Of course if your genre calls for extremes then it could work. But it seems a bit unnecessary - a mastermind does only what is necessary and everything he plans is perfect, every element essential. The sealing of the room really isn't. A closed room of gas is enough to kill, after all.

    And actually, in Saydnaya, Syria's concentration camp, one way of torture as told by one of its former prisoners was simply lock folks up in a room, then cut off the water. Of course this would take a few days to kill and that would be too slow for your purposes. But my point is - there's no need to get so elaborate. There are many simple, effective, yet equally torturous ways to kill.
     
  10. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sealing the room is an extra precaution against a heroine with a reputation for pulling off the seemingly impossible.

    As I noted in the OP, the villain is obsessed with puzzles. Think along the lines of the Riddler. She is literally incapable of being simple. Killing the hostages is also merely a means to an end, not the end itself. That would be showing the world how the heroine is incapable of saving the hostages from a horrid death.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Something being complicated, intricate, is different to being excessive and unnecessary. However if you feel the sealing of the room is necessary, that is of course your right and your decision :)

    I know nothing about the Riddler lol.

    If you want to show the world how incapable someone is, then all the more you should use the simplest trap possible to display that. As an example, you would forgive someone for not being able to solve a maths equation only Einstein could solve. But if the person couldn't figure out 2 + 3 = 5? You would truly conclude that person was stupid. Same with your MC, surely? Look at just HOW incapable she is - she can't even do THIS!
     
  12. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's what a rational person would do. But she's not a rational person. Further, the scheme is aimed at shattering the quasi-mythic legend that has been built up around my heroine. People expect normal people to encounter difficulties, and are often forgiving of them. But the more successful you've been in the past, the less forgiving people tend to be. The Pale Ghost is far more than just a person, she's a symbol. To the average person, she always seems to find a way to win, even when a situation appears impossible. Failure of any kind brings her down to normal and breaks the sense of security the populace has built up.
     
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  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But what you just said entirely proves my point... Any kind of failure brings her down to normal - now imagine if she failed at what even normal people considered simple? How much more shattering would that be?
     
  14. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Are you sure about that? Data says otherwise: MSDS for Chlorine
    Some quotes from the MSDS:
    - Material is extremely destructive to tissue of the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract, eyes, and skin.
    - IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing. Call a POISON CENTER/doctor.
    - Toxic if inhaled

    Also, the MSDS also specifies that the LC50 (lethal concentration that would kill 50% of people in a period of time (1 hour, I think)) is 293 ppm.
     
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  15. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Chained got me all nostalgic, with his talk of drowning, for the famous poem:

    http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/owen1.html

    ...and that would be chlorine gas, or mustard, I don't know exactly..
     
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  16. X Equestris
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    X Equestris Contributing Member Contributor

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    That doesn't fit with her typical character. Under normal circumstances, she's too smart for simple puzzles to work. I'm sort of close to that with the third gas chamber; its puzzle merely requires the password from the second to be put in backwards within a time limit(the second gas chamber had a password--CROSSWORD--provided, but it needed to be input with the correct combination of yellow and red lettered tiles. An incorrect input would release the gas. It was also timed).

    The only reason she runs into any difficulty with the third one is that her mind is in a fog due to the strength enhancing drug I mentioned earlier, and the second chamber incident happened months ago. She still manages to solve it after the drug's effects wear off, but it's a near thing.
     
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  17. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    I think you may have me on this one, I learned this a bit of time ago and my memory is shit... I was taught this during a course before we deployed to Afghanistan....

    Maybe it was that a Gas mask wont save you from Chlorine because there's no air to filter out of the gas?
     
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