I'm still designing the ultimate plasma rifle, and I'm interested in a part the reality of a certain part:

Currently I'm justifying using fluorine gas in my world's plasma weaponry with the following excerpt from a fictitious book.

"According to the plans, by using fluorine or other materials with a high electron negativity as ammunition, it would be possible to more effectively dispatch armored vehicles and units, as fluorine would continue to chew through the armor after it returns to a gaseous state."

-Weapons for world domination

Is using fluorine gas in plasma weaponry practical?


3 Answers 3


It won't add much value and the added challenge of handling hazardous materials would make it much worse than a conventional weapon.

Fluorine gas is highly reactive with a great many things. However you aren't getting much gas on target per shot. At shot's volume of gas will lightly etch any armored vehicle before dissipating. Throwing rocks would be more effective.

Against living targets there is a risk of chemical burns, and fluorine poisoning. Proper PPE should be worn to prevent exposure. Of course if your shots are on target they will have to worry about being shot which is a much more immediate concern.

Whomever is wielding a fluorine plasma weapon has the challenge of safely handling fluorine gas in an extremely rough environment. This is going to be a problem before there are people shooting at the tank of highly reactive gas that they are carrying around with them.


Sure, fluorine gas is great for destroying stuff. Like the inside of the gas cylinder storing it. You have to be very careful.

Here's something on the chemistry stack exchange about the topic.

Next problem with a fluorine-plasma weapon is getting the plasma to the target without it dissipating like a cloud of steam. (But that's a problem with all plasma weapons. You've just made it worse by making even the cooled feedstock dangerous.)

Even if you have a practical plasma weapon, it's probably more worthwhile to invest in shells filled with fluorine gas or fluorine grenades rather than adapting a plasma weapon to it.

  • $\begingroup$ Toroidal (doughnut-shaped, self-contained) plasma is a thing, so that's not a problem. $\endgroup$ Jun 7, 2017 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @RedactedRedacted It will be as soon as it hits something. Think about what happens to a smoke ring when it hits something. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Jun 7, 2017 at 19:39

Could it or will it? In terms of an effective weapon, the answer is no.

After all, in an earlier question we already learned that primitive people can armor themselves against Fluorine given fluorine in their environment. So your opponent will do the same thing, and simply use an armor layer that does not react further with fluorine.

You have described a different aspect of your plot, though, and this is more interesting from a story perspective than your technology.

Never interfere with the enemy while he is in the process of making a mistake. You have a case where the State is following dogma rather than learning and improving — this is called Lysenkoism and could serve a plot point, just not in the way you intended originally. Your world is adhering to stupid advice from a charismatic leader, instead of adapting to their invadors and using what works.

※ hmm, upon reviewing the edit history, this interpretation appears to have been introduced by sphennings. In the original post it was just a weird way of formatting your question, maybe referring to your own notes or the story itself, rather than a book used within the story.

But, take your ideas where you find them! Having your characters doing this because they are adhering to Dear Leader’s ill-informed scribblings is a much deeper plot element, and something the real engineers will have to cope with and make work, rather than turn down and persue different designs.


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