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Did Russia Accidentally Provide the Best Evidence of the Syrian Government’s Involvement in Sarin Attacks?

November 13, 2017

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Russia’s latest attempts to challenge accusations of Syrian government responsibility for the April 4th 2017 Sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun may have inadvertently produced the best evidence yet that the Syrian government is responsible for not only the Khan Sheikhoun attack, but the earlier March 30th 2017 Sarin attack on Al-Lataminah.

During a lengthy press conference on November 2nd 2017, the Russian Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defence and the Ministry for Industry and Trade presented its response to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – UN Joint Mission (OPCW-UN JIM) report on the Khan Sheikhoun Sarin attack. The presentation included a series of slides, which included diagrams of two types of chemical bombs, designated the MYM6000 and M4000. The slides from the presentation, with a clearer version of the bomb diagrams, were published online:

Remarkably, the Russian presentation appears to be the first-time images of these munitions have been made public, and before the press conference, no other references to MYM6000 or M4000 bombs appear online. Gregory Koblentz, Associate Professor and Director of Biodefense Graduate Program in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, noted that “these designations match bombs declared by Syria to the OPCW”, although there appears to be no open source material that provides specifics about the types of bombs declared to the OPCW. In the press conference the source of the diagrams are described as being provided “by certain organisations”, but no more specifics are given.

In the recent report by the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on the March 30th Al-Lataminah attack photographs of a number of items recovered from the attack site by the Syrian Civil Defence and provided to the OPCW were featured. This includes two metal filling caps that are identical in design to a filling cap recovered from the site of the April 4th attack in Khan Sheikhoun:

Left – A cap from Al-Lataminah; Right – The cap from Khan Sheikhoun

Chemical analysis of the debris and samples recovered from the March 30th attack site are consistent with the same type of Sarin being used in both incidents, Sarin which the OPCW-UN JIM report on the Khan Sheikhoun attack states is linked to the production process used by the Syrian government. While the OPCW provides evidence that links the Sarin used in both attack (as well as previous attacks) to the Syrian government, it is the Russian government, who in their attempt to defend the Syrian government, inadvertently provides evidence linking the bomb used to the Syrian government.

The diagram published by the Russian government of the M4000 munition provides multiple matches to the debris recovered from the Al-Lataminah attack, linked to the munition used in the Khan Sheikhoun attack by the presence of the same filler cap. First, it is possible to establish the size of the munition remains are consistent with the size of the M4000 munition. In the OPCW-FFM report on Al-Lataminah the remains of the tail section of the munition, with one tail fin still attached, is measured as 900mm wide. Based on this it is possible to calculate the approximate circumference of the munition. The below image shows this process in Blender:

Based on the above measurements the diameter of the munition is approximately 458mm, and considering the level of distortion to the remains of the munition this is consistent with the 460mm diameter of the M4000 chemical bomb. It is also possible to get an approximate measurement for the tail fins thanks to the following image in the OPCW-FFM report on Al-Lataminah:

This object is described in the OPCW-FFM report as follows:

“01SDS(B) is a large corroded and deformed metal object. Despite the corrosion, it is still possible to see layers of dark green and grey colour. It is also possible to see a smaller inner ring in the middle, linked by seven metal parts to a larger, outer ring. Four of the parts that are linking rings are rectangular. The other three are much larger and triangular. The spacing between the three parts, in addition to indications on the rings, point to one missing larger triangular part.

This is consistent with an aerial bomb tail fin assembly.

The FFM took numerous measurements of this item. Given the level of deformation, these measurements are only approximate dimensions. These approximate dimensions have not been included.”

Based on the visible measurement, it was possible to recreate a 3D model of the tail ring, which again measured to approximately 460mm:

These measurements are consistent with claims made by experts consulted by the OPCW-UN JIM in their report on the Khan Sheikhoun Sarin attack:

“Examining the munition remnants observed inside the crater, the forensic institutes and individual experts concluded that the remnants were pieces of a thin-walled munition of 300 to 500 mm in diameter and were likely from an aerial bomb.”

The design of the tail section and tail rings are also consistent with the diagram of the M4000 bomb, showing the tail fins do not extend beyond the sides of the tail ring, and the tail section does not extend fully into the tail rings, as it does on some other models of bombs, including the MYM6000.

Also recovered from the impact site of the Al-Lataminah attack were the aforementioned identical filling caps, matching the type recovered from the Khan Sheikhoun attack. In the OPCW-UN JIM report on Khan Sheikhoun the cap recovered was described as “uniquely consistent with Syrian chemical aerial bombs”:

One cap has a piece of metal attached to it which itself is attached to a suspension lug, used to attach the munition to an aircraft. Two caps are also visible on the side of the munition in the M4000 diagram, one of which is positioned close to a suspension lug:

Visible on the front of the bomb in the above diagram is the fuze and fuze housing. The fuze housing, which is separate from the blue coloured front end of the munition, extends over the front edge of the munition, and this would be consistent with debris recovered from the Al-Lataminah attack site:

The OPCW-FFM specifically refers to this as a fuze, and based on markings on the fuze it is possible to identify it as a a Russian АВУ-ЭТ impact fuze:

“09SDS is a heavily deformed and damaged metal object. On the both sides threads are visible. This part also bears visible markings which point to a universal bomb fuse. The fuse has been activated and does not contain explosive material. This device is normally electrically armed, heat resistant, and can function as point detonating or with delayed action. It is used on a large number of aerial bomb types by numerous nations.”

The thread indicates the fuze housing would have been screwed into the front of bomb, consistent with the diagram of the M4000 chemical bomb. The fuze detonates a 3kg charge that runs through the front half of the munition, marked in red.

Also recovered from the Al-Lataminah attack site is the remains of a heavy metal object that is consistent with the thicker front end of the bomb marked in blue in the above diagram:

The OPCW-FFM report describes this object, including the following sentence:

“One side of the item is flat with only the bottom part bearing marks of violent splitting.  Sides of the larger object are uneven and rough, probably the result of violent separation as well.”

Its position around the fuze and bursting charge would be consistent with the damage seen on the object, and it is the only object with these heavier dimensions recovered from the attack site.

Another type of object recovered from both the Al-Lataminah and Khan Sheikhoun attack sites are metal rails with equally distributed holes:

Top – Khan Sheikhoun; Bottom – Al-Lataminah

The rail recovered from Al-Lataminah is approximately 550mm long, with broken bolts inside some of the holes, and a 5mm metal layer attached, the thickness of which is consistent with other metal layer debris recovered from the impact site. It is likely this was used to attached parts of the bomb together, and it seems certain to be one the objects marked in grey in the below diagram:

One of the most interesting items is in the rear of the bomb, marked as a “mixing arm”. Part of this, found in the very rear of the bomb, was recovered from the scene of the attack:

The shape of the object can clearly be seen in the rear of the diagram, and the outer side of the object has a visible broken metal rod:

This is described in the OPCW-FFM report:

“The lid part has a larger hole in the middle where a segment of a protruding metal rod (labelled 3) is visible. The metal rod is broken and deformed.”

This, again, appears consistent with what is visible in the diagram of the M4000 bomb.

Due to the total lack of public documentation about these munitions prior to November 2nd, the Russian government’s presentation on Khan Sheikhoun has made it possible to make these matches, further providing information about the Syrian government’s role not only in the Khan Sheikhoun Sarin attack but also in the Al-Lataminah Sarin attack.

The only way for the Russian or Syrian governments to now deny the M4000 bomb was used is to produce detailed photographs of the M4000 bomb, showing the same parts indicated above, or, if the Syrians still claim all these bombs were destroyed after 2013, declassify and publish further information about the bomb.

 

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185 Comments

  1. amin

    do all bombs get that rusty in pictures taken the next days after they were dropped or just this one -_-

    Reply
    • DDTea

      That’s what corrosive, acidic chemicals like hydrogen fluoride and sarin do to metal. I’ve seen hydrogen chloride make a metal needle look like it was a hundred years old in a matter of seconds.

      If you’re looking for something suspicious in the rust, then I’m deeply sorry that you didn’t find anything.

      Reply
      • Thomas Peterson

        but what about the acid scavenger you said was essential to neutralise all the acid?

        seems you don’t know what you’re talking about or you just make things up, kiddo.

        Reply
        • DDTea

          I think every comment you’ve written here shows you do not know the first thing about Sarin or chemistry in general. You are a textbook idiot, and a belligerent one too.

          The acid scavenger is only to ensure that DF and IPA combine to form the highest yield of sarin. After release, sarin has a short lifetime in the environment as it disperses and decomposes.

          Sarin residues left on a piece of metal will hydrolyze (by moisture in the environment) to produce hydrogen fluoride / hydrofluoric acid.

          This is why in Ltamineh, there was the large area of withered vegetation around the dispersal site. Sarin deposits on vegetation, hydrolyzes to release HF, and kills plant life. The same withered vegetation was observed in Matsumoto after the Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack there.

          Reply
          • Thomas Peterson

            DDTea – November 26, 2017
            I think every comment you’ve written here shows you do not know the first thing about Sarin or chemistry in general. You are a textbook idiot, and a belligerent one too.

            An insulter too. That’s never a good sign. Not to mention citing Dan K as an authority.

          • DDTea

            Funny thing is you cited Wikipedia’s article on sarin without realizing that much of it was written by Dan K.

        • Mad Dog

          Yeah, DDTea makes almost everything up. It is so easy to disprove everything he says, especially if you are a Russian apologist. Just divert and call names. I am rally surprised no one has discredited everything he has posted here as he is obviously so ignorant and blatantly pompous. But at least he doesn’t post video game images as proof….LOL.

          Reply
          • Mad Dog

            “seems you don’t know what you’re talking about or you just make things up, kiddo” is not an insult? Gee, interesting take on life. So, DDTea comes back with a basically scientific retort and you call him an insulter….again, despite being a new word, it shows how low apologists will stoop in defending thugacracies!

          • Thomas Peterson

            Iron flouride is either white or light pink coloured my friend.

            Not rust coloured.

          • DDTea

            No it isn’t. But we’re not expecting pure ferric fluoride or ferric fluoride hydrate either.

            Atmospheric oxygen + moisture + nascent HF + steel is going to lead to a mixture of iron oxides and fluorides / fluoride hydrates. Corrosion science is not my specialty, but I can speak in generalities: depending on the composition of the steel, it can lead to a passivating layer or an acceleration of corrosion. Rusting has a pH-dependent rate, and is dramatically accelerated below pH 4 [1].

            I did find a phenomenally useful reference on this topic that measured the extent of corrosion (weight loss) of pieces of A3 Carbon steel in 2.5, 5, and 10 g/L hydrofluoric acid media over 24 hours [2]. In the absence of an inhibitor, the test sample lost 1.9% of its mass overnight in a 2.5 g/L HF solution. So that answers the original question posed by amin: yes, overnight rusting is not unusual.

            What’s more interesting is that they found that our old friend, hexamine, is a pretty effective corrosion inhibitor for carbon steel in HF media. Addition of hexamine to a 2.5 g/L HF solution reduced the corrosion rate of the sample of carbon steel to 0.8% mass loss in 24 hours.

            Hexamine hexamine hexamine hexamine. Looks like it may play a few different, overlapping roles in the Assad regime’s sarin program.

            [1] http://nuclearpowertraining.tpub.com/h1015v1/css/Figure-7-Effect-Of-Ph-On-The-Corrosion-Rate-Of-Iron-In-Water-117.htm

            [2] W. M. Wu et al., “The Effect of Corrosion Inhibitor in Hydrofluoric Acid Medium”, Advanced Materials Research, Vols. 750-752, pp. 2258-2262, 2013 DOI: 10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMR.750-752.2258
            https://www.scientific.net/AMR.750-752.2258

  2. Maxy

    Joerg Heinrich: “Even the “Bellingcat Expert” Dan Kaszeta sees no possibility to build a binary weapon-system without a “good” acid-scavenger like Isopropylamine.”

    Not really. Actually he states just the opposite:

    “But if you don’t need shelf life, you needn’t bother with acid removal.”

    “If you are planning to store your Sarin for a long time, you need to remove the residual acid.  However, this is not a terrible barrier if one is planning to use the Sarin quickly.”

    “…a nation state….not have the acid removal step….”

    http://brown-moses.blogspot.de/2013/11/industrial-and-economic-aspects-of.html

    I am not taking sides here. However, it looks like Mr. Kaszeta thinks your claim “…it will react immediately and destroy lots of the sarin making it useless as a weapon.” is, well, bulls…

    What I personally think of Bcat’s CW weapons expert, is another matter.

    Reply
  3. Thomas Peterson

    “But if you don’t need shelf life, you needn’t bother with acid removal.”

    This is what I’ve been repeatedly saying.

    It’s common sense that you don’t need to worry about this if you’re deploying the Sarin seconds after mixing it.

    Reply
  4. Thomas Peterson

    Atmospheric oxygen + moisture + nascent HF + steel is going to lead to a mixture of iron oxides and fluorides / fluoride hydrates.

    What we’re interested in here is rust (iron oxide) because the debris is extremely rusty.

    HF does not produce rust so is therefore nothing to do with anything.

    It’s common knowledge that pieces of metal do not become extremely rusty in a matter of hours or days if left in the open. It takes much longer than that.

    Therefore this bomb debris is suspicious and likely was not recently dropped at all when the photos were taken.

    Reply
    • DDTea

      A lot of children have left their bicycles outside in the rain and found them covered in rust the following morning.

      Your “common knowledge” is wrong.

      HF does not produce iron oxide rust, but it does affect the rate at which it appears.

      You’re finding suspicion where there is none and it is rooted entirely in your own ignorance.

      Reply
      • Thomas Peterson

        No they havent. the layer of rust on the debris we see here does not form in one night or a week.

        Reply
    • Mad Dog

      hahahaha, gee, I wonder why my MTB rusted almost immediately after riding down a muddy trail in a volcanic area. Hmmm, something to do with the chemicals in pumice perhaps?

      Reply
      • DDTea

        I wanted to respond to that comment, but the audacity of it undermines itself. It is so intellectually bankrupt that it’s trying to rob people of common childhood memories. It’s comical. By far my favorite thing this person has posted.

        Reply
  5. Thomas Peterson

    I did find a phenomenally useful reference on this topic that measured the extent of corrosion (weight loss) of pieces of A3 Carbon steel in 2.5, 5, and 10 g/L hydrofluoric acid media over 24 hours [2]. In the absence of an inhibitor, the test sample lost 1.9% of its mass overnight in a 2.5 g/L HF solution. So that answers the original question posed by amin: yes, overnight rusting is not unusual.

    Of course it lost mass, it was reacting with hydrogen flouride.

    But what does that have to do with reacting with oxygen to produce thick rust?

    Reply
  6. Thomas Peterson

    What’s more interesting is that they found that our old friend, hexamine, is a pretty effective corrosion inhibitor for carbon steel in HF media. Addition of hexamine to a 2.5 g/L HF solution reduced the corrosion rate of the sample of carbon steel to 0.8% mass loss in 24 hours.
    Hexamine hexamine hexamine hexamine. Looks like it may play a few different, overlapping roles in the Assad regime’s sarin program.

    Another salient scientific fact is that solubility of Hexamine in isopropyl alcohol is low, too low for efficient use in a mix in flight rocket and that would rule the possibility out.

    Reply
    • Kostja

      Who says that we are talking about mix-in-flight? In fact, the Syrian program did not rely on that technology. They mixed it before use. And in that case, hexamine and HF can react at the phase boundary and solulibility is not an issue at all.

      Reply
      • Thomas Peterson

        Because bellingcat says the bomb used was a binary bomb with a mixing arm for inflight mixing.

        Reply
        • Kostja

          Where do they state that this is a binary munition? They don´t and it isn´t. According to Koblentz, the M4000 (which is the one with the “mixing arm”) is only for bulk agent, not a binary munition.

          Furthermore, a binary munition would contain something to separate the two agents (e.g. a disk) which then mix through rotation in-flight.

          I have no explanation for the “mixing arms” and what they are supposed to do. My educated guess would be that they were used for mixing the chmicals prior to use inside the bomb. But that is merely speculation. What we can say for sure is that the concept of binary munitions has absolutely nothing to do with Syrian Sarin.

          Reply
      • Joerg Heinrich

        Many sources say the syrian sarin weapons a all binary, even the OPCW names them “binary weapon systems”, see:
        https://www.armscontrol.org/files/Panel2.1_Anelli_TuckerConference.pdf

        One source describes one syrian “binary weapon system” in detail, an air-droped cluster-weapon with “in-flight-mixing”, see:

        http://defense-update.com/analysis/analysis_230907_syria_cw.htm

        The OPCW did not found syrin in Syriea only DF an Isppropaol as lots of unfilled containers an weapons, see:
        https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-34/ecm34dg01_e_.pdf

        OPCW ist not willing or not allowed to give detailt inforamtion about the syrian binary weapons, see:
        https://www.armscontrol.org/files/Panel2.1_Anelli_TuckerConference.pdf

        But all inforamtion available from OPCW fit to “real” binary sarin weapons-systems.

        Sources with high credibility that call the syrian sarin-weapons “binary” are listet underneath.
        Some of them speak from “highly developed binary sarin weapons”, “binary cluster sarin weapons” or from “in flight mixing”.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syria_chemical_weapons_program
        https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/R42848.pdf
        https://fas.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/The-four-likely-Binary-CW-agents.pdf
        http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/dealing-with-syrias-chemical-weapons-military-options
        http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/russia-seen-pushing-assad-regime-against-chemical-arms-use/
        https://besacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/perspectives214.pdf
        http://theconversation.com/seek-and-destroy-dismantling-syrias-chemical-weapon-stockpile-18870
        http://www.meforum.org/493/guile-gas-and-germs-syrias-ultimate-weapons
        http://www.acpr.org.il/publications/books/syria-4-in-1-shoham.pdf

        Reply
        • Joerg Heinrich

          And that is importent:

          “In flight mixing” or “highly developed binary sarin weapons” like cluster weapons, will all mix inside the warhead — fully automatet (in flight or before dosent matter).

          Any known weapon with such “real” binary technique will use isopropylamine mixed with isopripanol — and if such weapon is used there must be amino-salts in all sampels from the HF+Amine -reaktion (even if Hexamine would be used (1))..

          But such salts are not found in syria — so no binary weapon was used.

          (1) there is a disput about hexamine, some say it can not be used as acid-stravanger in the bi-sarin-reaction (Prof Postol MIT), some say hexamine can not be used in “real” binary weapos (Kazeta), only one “Expert” (Trapp) says this is possible — but dont tells how.
          All information about binary weapons-system in literature and internet tell that only isopropylamine ist used as the asid-stravanger.

          Such weapos

          Reply
        • Kostja

          Your assesment of what is “real” binary weapon is simply wrong. It all comes down to this.

          Also, Postol is not an expert. He has no clue about chemical weapons. Kaszeta and Trapp agree that the Syrian program did not use in-flight technology. Sellström also agrees that hexamine can be used.

          Again, there can be no doubt that hexamine was used in the Syrian Sarin manufacturing. The JIM confirmed this in their latest report, and they actually took reference samples from the syrian stockpile. You can post as many sources from before 2013, first of all, none of them in fact contradict me, and second of all, they are all assumptions, not secured facts. The facts are in the JIM-report and in the Syrian declaration to the OPCW, where hexamine is explicitly listed as a category 1 chemical used in binary weapons.

          http://www.vertic.org/media/assets/VI%202015/VI%20Chapter%207.pdf

          The JIM report confirms that DF from the Syrian stockpile was used to produce Sarin by the binary route, using hexamine.

          http://undocs.org/S/2017/904

          The facts are clearly proven and well established. The Syrian government did use hexamine as their acid scavenger and did not use in-flight mixing. It´s only a matter of finally accepting those facts.

          Reply
          • Joerg Heinrich

            ” The Syrian government did use hexamine.”

            What simply does not realy work.

            A “bi-sarin-reaction” goes fast — takes about 7 to 10 [1] sec. — so it is unlikely that hexamine reacts fast enough with all the HF.

            Hexamine is solid and will not get in solution wtih isopropanol as isopropanylamine will do.

            Even using a fine hexamine-powder will not be easy, hexamine has nearly twice the specific gravity then isopropanol an will subside very very fast.

            If there is some residual water in the isopropanol it becomes even more difficult. Hexamine gets easy and fast in solution with water.
            And isopropanol ist Hygroscopic — there will be some water, maybe 0.1% minimum.

            And if some hexamine gets in solution with residual water, the hexamine-powder began to cake and to agglomerate.

            The story about hexamine (powder) as a acid-stravanger in a “bi-sarine-reactioen” does not make sense.

            And storys that does not make sense — are most often simply not true.

            Especially course the syrian chemical weapons program has 40tonns of isopropanolamine ist stock [2].

            So way use hexamine — what does not work, or maybe at best works badly and makes mixing much more complex.
            When there are 40tonns of easy to use isopropylamine in stock?

            [1] Eric Crody, “Dilrour (DF, Delfuoromethyl-phosphonate,” in Eric A. Croddy and James J. Wirtz, eds., Weapons of Mass Destruction Encyclopedia, Volume One: Chemical and Biological Agents (ABC Clio: Santa Barbara, CA, 2005), p. 117-118.

            [2] https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/ADM/PSB/Tender/Request_for_EOI_OPCWCDB_EOI012013.pdf

          • Kostja

            The isopropanol/DF reaction is an esterification. As such, it is a chemical equilibrium. The 7-10 seconds you refer to is the time it takes for the equilibrium to be stable. The reaction as such keeps going on. Time is no factor here.

            Hexamine does not have to be in solution to react with HF. The key here is a phase boundary reaction. Which only makes sense when in-flight mixing is not the case.

            Residual water and it´s effects are merely speculation. A maximum of 0,1% residual water in Isopropanol would not have a huge effect on the more than 20% hexamine (by weight) that need to be added to Isopropanol to scavenge the acid coming from the reaction.

            The facts on this are indisputble. The Syrian government did declare 80 tonnes of hexamine as part of their binary weapons. There simply is no other explanation for this than the one that it was used as a part of their Sarin formula.
            Aditionally, the JIM did confirm that hexamine was used to produce Sarin by the binary route.

            There simply is no way around those facts.

            It would be smart to just accept them. Especially as hexamine is no conclusive evidence, this should not be too hard for anyone.

          • DDTea

            “So way use hexamine — what does not work, or maybe at best works badly and makes mixing much more complex.
            When there are 40tonns of easy to use isopropylamine in stock? ”

            Try storing isopropylamine in the desert. Hexamine is non-volatile.

            “A “bi-sarin-reaction” goes fast — takes about 7 to 10 [1] sec. — so it is unlikely that hexamine reacts fast enough with all the HF. ”

            Acid-base reactions are the fastest reactions in organic chemistry–much faster than the nucleophilic substitution involved in sarin formation.

            “Hexamine is solid and will not get in solution wtih isopropanol as isopropanylamine will do.”

            You’re an engineer, right? You’re surely familiar with heterogeneous catalysis. There are also plenty of stoichiometric heterogeneous reactions (Wohl-Ziegler; MnO2 oxidation, etc.).

            “If there is some residual water in the isopropanol it becomes even more difficult. Hexamine gets easy and fast in solution with water.
            And isopropanol ist Hygroscopic — there will be some water, maybe 0.1% minimum.”

            No water is going to stay intact in contact with DF. If isopropanol is completely consumed within 7-10 seconds, water will react significantly faster than that. There is a reason why, for example, we quench alkyl lithiums first with IPA, then step it down to ethanol, methanol, and finally water. So that 0.1% is irrelevant: the reaction mixture is going to be anhydrous.

            “Even using a fine hexamine-powder will not be easy, hexamine has nearly twice the specific gravity then isopropanol an will subside very very fast.”

            Right. It’s a slurry. That makes for very convenient separation: mix reagents in the presence of hexamine, settle, filter and decant into shells/bombs. Maybe add fresh hexamine to inhibit corrosion.

            And this discussion is irrelevant considering an intact grenade, containing Sarin and Hexamine, was recovered from Saraqeb.

          • Joerg Heinrich

            As such [a bi-sarin-reaction], it is a chemical equilibrium.

            Simply it is not. If it would be so — then:

            then would not only react: DF + Isopropanol => sarin + HF

            but also would react : sarin + HF => DF + Isopropanol

            and you can write:
            DF + Isopropanol sarin + HF

            But this is not the case !

            1.) Many of the “by-products” came frome the fact that the reaction:
            sarin + HF => DF + Isopropanol
            simply does not happen

            2.) literature and internet (wikipedia) write the reaction:
            DF + Isopropanol => sarin + HF

          • Kostja

            “As such [a bi-sarin-reaction], it is a chemical equilibrium.

            Simply it is not. If it would be so — then:

            then would not only react: DF + Isopropanol => sarin + HF

            but also would react : sarin + HF => DF + Isopropanol”

            That´s exactly the case. Simply saying “it isn´t” won´t change that. The reaction of DF with Isopropanol is an esterification. An esterification is an equilibrium. Just look it up, that´s basic chemistry.

            If you need a competent source for the fact that DF and Isopropanol react as an equilibrium as well, that would be Ralf Trapp again.

            http://www.the-trench.org/syrias-cw-declarations/

          • Joerg Heinrich

            About: “You’re surely familiar with heterogeneous catalysis.”

            Familiar enough to realize that the bi-sarin-reaction and some kind of HF with amine reaction is no kind of a catalysis and therfore also no heterogeneous catalysis — and simply there is no cataliyst in this reactions.

          • Joerg Heinrich

            sorry i mean:

            and you can write:
            DF + Isopropanol sarin + HF

            (damned)

          • Joerg Heinrich

            sorry i mean:

            and you can write:
            DF + Isopropanol sarin + HF

            fucking forum edits my post !

    • DDTea

      I addressed this point months ago. The solubility of hexamine in IPA tells us nothing about its solubility in a mixture of DF and IPA. But more importantly, heterogeneous reactions, with one insoluble component, are extremely common. Hexamine is a base. HF is an acid. Acid-base reactions are extremely fast, on the order of time as bond vibrations. This one is thermodynamically favored. So kinetics and thermodynamic both disagree with your assertion that hexamine is not effective here.

      There is no other basis for predicting whether a reaction will or will not occur.

      Reply
  7. Thomas Peterson

    My educated guess would be that they were used for mixing the chmicals prior to use inside the bomb.

    That’s right. It’s called in-flight mixing.

    What we can say for sure is that the concept of binary munitions has absolutely nothing to do with Syrian Sarin.

    All declared Syrian chemical weapons were binary.

    Reply
    • Kostja

      Nah. “in-flight-mixing” is, well, mixing while the munition is flying. You can also mix the binary components prior to launching the munition, either inside a specially designated facility (either mobile or stationary) or directly inside the munition while it is still on the ground. This is the process employed by the Syrian army. This is also what you call a binary chemical weapon.

      If you look at the declaration Syria submitted to the OPCW, Hexamine is listed as a chemical used for “binary weapons”.

      http://www.vertic.org/media/assets/VI%202015/VI%20Chapter%207.pdf

      There is no other explanation for the use of 80 tonnes of Hexamine other than use in Sarin.

      Reply
  8. Thomas Peterson

    Nah. “in-flight-mixing” is, well, mixing while the munition is flying.

    Yes. It’s the only reason to have a powered mixing arm inside a bomb.

    Reply
    • Kostja

      Where does ist say anything about a “powered mixing arm”?

      The facts are:
      -Syria definetely used Hexamine for their binary weapons (See: declaration)
      -The M4000 is a bomb used to deliver bulk agent (See: Koblentzer)
      -There is nothing to separate the precursors in the M4000. Therefore, in-flight mixing is not possible using that bomb.

      That’s actually pretty easy stuff.

      Reply
  9. Thomas Peterson

    Where does ist say anything about a “powered mixing arm”?

    How do you expect a mixing arm to actually mix anything if it can’t move?

    Good God man, what kind of fool are you?

    Reply
    • Kostja

      Nowhere anything is said about a “powered mixing arm”. That’s right. So apart from calling me names and inaccurately quoting stuff, what is your contribution to this discussion? You didn’t even adress half of my points! There is no way this is about in-flight mixing. Period.

      Reply
      • Thomas Peterson

        A mixing arm in a chemical bomb is for in flight mixing.

        It’s an expensive, self powered device that has to reliably operate for a few seconds while the bomb is in flight to mix 2 components.

        It’s elementary.

        Reply
        • Kostja

          Well give me a source for that. The only source we have is Koblentzer. What he says suggests just the opposite of what you just said.

          Yet there is no source for your claim. So why would anyone believe it?

          Reply
          • Thomas Peterson

            I don’t know who Koblentzer is. I’m applying reasoning as to how a mixer arm must work. It cannot be any other way.

          • Kostja

            Koblentzer is an expert who apparently knows those bombs. He is referenced in the article above.

            So literally the only thing you have is the word “mixing arm”. That’s all. Based on that you build up a huge speculation based on nothing that contradicts all expert analysis. Do you think that is a reasonable thing to do?

        • DDTea

          What if the bomb itself rotates in flight while the mixing arm stays static? The two are still moving with respect to each other without any external power source aside from air resistance to impart the spin.

          Reply
          • Thomas Peterson

            Think about why that would never work even if the bombs did spin, which they don’t.

          • Thomas Peterson

            Kostja – November 29, 2017
            Koblentzer is an expert who apparently knows those bombs. He is referenced in the article above.

            Has he been to Russia and seen the bombs? Does he have any photos of the bomb mechanisms to show us?

            Has he ever seen one of these bombs anywhere?

          • Thomas Peterson

            Kostja – November 29, 2017
            This is Gregory Koblentz. Seems to be an educated fella on the subject.

            Has he been to Russia and seen the bombs? Does he have any photos of the bomb mechanisms to show us?

            Has he ever seen one of these bombs anywhere?

  10. DDTea

    Restarting the chain here.

    Joerg Heinrich:
    “Familiar enough to realize that the bi-sarin-reaction and some kind of HF with amine reaction is no kind of a catalysis and therfore also no heterogeneous catalysis — and simply there is no cataliyst in this reactions.”

    You did not comment on heterogeneous, stoichiometric reactions. So how about we call the amine a “promoter.” It affects the rate of esterification, it does not turn over as a true catalyst would.

    So while you write, IPA + DF –> Sarin + HF, that’s not the whole picture. Using a qualitative physical organic approach (bond angle strains, reasonable transition states), it’s possible to show how an amine can accelerate GB formation. There is extensive precedent for this, and I’ll refer you to any introductory organic chemistry textbook on this matter: https://imgur.com/019cNHl

    Reply
    • Thomas Peterson

      What is concerning is that you’re the only person in the world that I know of discussing Sarin who claims an additional amine is necessary to catalyse the reaction.

      It’s a bit like how bcat are the only people in the world promoting the 53rd Air Defence Brigade as the MH17 suspects.

      Reply

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