This substance must:

  • be usable as a chemical weapon (i.e. deliverable via bombs, shells, mines, grenades, canisters, mortars, etc., and won't explode/denature/etc. when you synthesize it)

  • within five minutes of exposure, kill animal life that is not within MOPP-4 protective equipment, Level C and above personal protective equipment, or within an NBCR-sealed building/vehicle

  • within twenty-four hours of exposure, kill plant life not subject to the same protective conditions

  • within one week of exposure, melt organic tissue into puddles of slurry

This thing can be a binary chemical weapon if needed, or it can act in concert with a bioweapon.

What would such a thing look like chemically?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ You are basically asking us: search some database of dangerous chemicals for me $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I recognize that there are chemicals that can do these things on their own, but I really have no clue which one or combination of them can do all of it while remaining stable. I'm not asking people to search a database of dangerous chemicals - I'm asking what a chemical capable of doing these things would look like. $\endgroup$
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ Re: "melt organic tissue into puddles of slurry", there's simply not enough mass in a gas or aerosol to react with any significant quantity of material. I mean, it takes a beakerful of fairly concentrated hydrochloric acid to dissolve a chicken leg: youtube.com/watch?v=At5G14cOWi0 $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 6:17
  • $\begingroup$ @GrumpyYoungMan Is there some form of biological/bacteriological/etc. agent capable of doing so? $\endgroup$
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 6:28
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    $\begingroup$ I cannot see any useful military application of such a substance. The purpose of a successful military is the controlled use of force and the mitigation of unintended consequences from that usage, all in pursuit of the political goals of that nation. This is a proposal for a chaos weapon; it will have MOSTLY unintended consequences, which often subvert any initial reason for use. For example, it's use may surprisingly create an alliance against a nation willing to use such a horror-weapon. Or, decades later, some cult may release it on the subway. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 12:58

2 Answers 2







Depicted: aspergillus on corn, in human brain, turning bread to fuzzy heap of fungus.

Aspergillus is a fungus, and a pathogen of animals and plants. It just wants the reduced carbon. Once it is established it will take the whole thing, turning the plant or animal into a fuzzy heap.

Aspergillus is everywhere, waiting. Live plants and animals have defenses. A bioengineered aspergillus with the ability to bypass these defenses would be a formidable weapon. As it turned the plants to spores any animals in the area would be affected too. The landscape would turn to gray fuzz with heaps of fuzz where larger things once were.

I like engineered aspergillus for this because it would make for terrifying apocalyptic fiction, and it is fiction. Malicious persons might find some chemical to throw but are unlikely to be able to engineer their own bioweapons.

  • $\begingroup$ I looked it up. Apparently, some strains can form balls of melted-off tissue and fungus in the lungs of the immunocompromised. Charming. $\endgroup$
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ Slurry enough for you? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ And some are delicious :P $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 5:53

Nothing, I can think of half a dozen chemicals that will get through MOPP-4, they will all dissolve the person in the suit faster than the suit itself, they will dissolve something not so heavily protected a good deal faster. In order to have the time differentials you are looking for you need something at least marginally intelligent, either a bioweapon or more likely, given the weird timing and amount of damage you're asking for, grey goo.

  • $\begingroup$ What are the characteristics of those chemicals (for instance, are they cyanide-based, arsenic-based, what?) $\endgroup$
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ @KEY_ABRADE various - most aggressive glassware cleaning solutions like aqua regia, sulfochromic solution, piranha solution... will kill everything living and melt various things into puddles of goo with sufficient volume. The only thing is that they will do all that FAR faster than in 1 week and will require impractically large amounts of stuff to do significant damage $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JulianaKarasawaSouza Aqua Regia for cleaning glass? What on Earth are you having to clean off it, that stuff is usually used to dissolve Gold. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 5:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Ash NMR tubes shrug $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 5:50
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    $\begingroup$ @KEY_ABRADE It entirely depends which one we're talking about but none of the purely chemical attacks come close to fitting in with the time frames you have specified so it doesn't matter. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Sep 23, 2021 at 5:51

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