Impact-driven sporicidal iodine thermite reaction

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Chen, Tiffany

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Biological weapons such as anthrax have caused increased national concern. Thermite reactions such as the iodine pentoxide and aluminum nanoparticular thermite reaction listed below provides a promising method for reducing thethreat of biological warfare with anthrax. 10 Al + 3 I2O5 ARROW 5 Al2O3 + 6 I Thermites are a mixture of metals and metal or non-metal oxides that undergo reduction-oxidation reaction and are generally very exothermic. For the iodine pentoxide and aluminum thermite reaction, the combination of the extremely high temperatures of up to 3253K (Fischer & Grubelich 1998) from the violently exothermic nature of the reaction and the bacteriacidal iodine gas generated from the reduction-oxidation process provides great potential for neutralizaing the bacterial spores—a potential biological weapon of mass destruction. The pressure and shear stress produced from the impact-reaction serves as the driving force for overcoming the relatively high thermite reaction activation barrier. An experimental protocol to determine the lethal effects of impact-driven thermite reactions on the survivability of Bacillus subtilis spores was established. Results thus far have been quite promising. Iodine pentoxide and aluminum thermite reaction conducted has been shown to negatively influence the growth of bacterial spores, resulting in an average survival rate of 3 ± 5% after exposure to the reaction byproducts. The temperature outside of the experimental chamber was measured only to be 40 degrees Celsius. Thus, we may draw the preliminary conclusion that the thermite reaction byproducts have a greater negative influence on bacterial spore germination than temperature.



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