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In a war, can grenades spew out gas that contains nanobots that if breathed in, clings to human lung cells, then expands up to 100x their size? This gas is absolutely packed with these bots, and they are also small (1μm), but can expand to 100x their size (0.01cm) and fill the human lung with so much of these bots that the lungs would explode from the amount of pressure.

I also want to ask if this would be cheap, because if yes, I would use it as a general purpose weapon, if not, I would use it as an assassination weapon, if it is not cheap nor expensive, I would use it as a special ops weapon.

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You don't need to go as far as nanobots to do that. Current, cheaply mass produced materials can do that already.

Not too long ago I have read the story of somebody working in a manufacturer of diapers and sanitary pads. These use high absorbent plastic to capture and trap water by swelling. In the dry form they are just white powder, which increases in volume upon getting wet.

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Well, this person was going to a fair and was bringing some samples of the white powder packed in little transparent bags, as showcase. Fate wants that somebody at the airport tampered with their luggage and stole the bags with white powder.

Initially, they didn't think much of it (theft of a few cents worth of a sample?), until the next day they read in the news that somebody was hospitalized with clogged airways, due to having snorted some unknown white powder: the thief should have mistaken the white powder for something else, and either went at it directly or sold it so some unlucky customer.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's why you don't do drugs :D $\endgroup$
    – KaffeeByte
    Oct 20, 2022 at 12:04
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Probably Not

For all intents and purposes Nanobots work by magic. Perhaps it will be possible to build them in the far future. But for the moment there is no reason to believe it is easy or possible, or better than the alternative gizmos. We don't know enough about the potential challenges of building microscopic robots to say more than that.

The inside of the lung is very sensitive. If you get something in there you don't need to explode the lung to kill the person. A few of these things would do the job:

enter image description here

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If you want cheap and can live with not immediately fatal, you go for a biological approach. There are plenty of airborne viruses and bacteria that can be engineered to be rapidly fatal. Tuberculosis and influenza are the obvious examples.
If long term storage is an issue, it may be better to use viruses, which are basically inert outside hosts, so will keep indefinitely, barring adverse environments. Bacteria will need to be stored as cultures or spores and the cultures need to be continually maintained.
The major advantage is that living organisms naturally propagate and are contagious: it cuts down on your R&D and distribution costs

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