Coating applied to clothing could guard against chemical weapons

Recent reports of chemical weapons attacks in the Middle-East have presented the need for new ways to guard against their toxic effects. MIT scientists are developing a hydrogel coating that they claim can neutralise mustard gas and the nerve agent VX. The hydrogel could someday be applied to materials such as clothing or paint.

The hydrogel materials developed by Lev Blomberg, a research scientist in Professor T. Alan Hatton’s group are said to completely break down the nerve gas VX, one of the most dangerous and persistent chemical warfare agents (CWA), in less than 20 minutes.

The material is also said to have quickly degraded mustard gas and soman, a nerve agent reportedly used in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. The researchers say that the hydrogels could be applied to fabrics or other materials without losing the ability to neutralise CWAs.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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