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Some Properties of Nerve Agents.
Nerve agents are generally split into two classes, volatile and persistant. G-agents such as sarin soman and tabun are refered to as volatile. Their consistancy is much like water and they are quite soluble in aqueous solutions. The main form of uptake of these agents is through inhalation.
In contrast the more modern V-agents are are much more viscous liquids which tend to be only sparingly soluble in water. This difference in solubility accounts for the difference in the rate at which areas contaminated by different types of nerve agents are decontaminated.

The graph above shows the rate of hydrolysisof sarin, a traditional G-agent, and VX differ. At neutral pH (i.e. under natural conditions) an area exposed to the more water soluble sarin will decontaminate itself many times faster than an area exposed to VX.

The Chemistry of nerve agents is centred around the bonds of the phosphorous atom. (see structure page). The bonds of the P atom are easily broken by nucleophilic reagents such as hydroxyl anions, resulting in the formation of non-toxic phosphoric acid. This forms the basis of the decontamination proceedure.