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(zärēn`), volatile liquid used as a nerve gasnerve gas,
any of several poison gases intended for military use, e.g., tabun, sarin, soman, and VX. Nerve gases were first developed by Germany during World War II but were not used at that time.
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. It boils at 147°C; but evaporates quickly at room temperature; its vapor is colorless and odorless. Chemically, sarin is fluoroisopropoxymethylphosphine oxide; it is more toxic than tabuntabun
, liquid chemical compound used as a nerve gas. It boils at 240°C; with some decomposition. The liquid is colorless to brownish; its vapors have a fruity odor similar to that of bitter almonds. The liquid is absorbed through the skin, but the vapor is not.
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 or somansoman,
colorless liquid used as a nerve gas. It boils at 167°C;, evolving an odorless vapor. It is rapidly absorbed through the skin; death may result within 15 min of exposure. In nonfatal concentrations it is hazardous to the eyes.
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. Sarin acts by interfering with cholinesterase, a chemical that transmits impulses from one nerve cell to the next. A gas mask provides adequate protection against the vapor, but the liquid form can also be absorbed through the skin. Sarin was developed by the Nazis during World War II. In 1994 and 1995 it was used by Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese religious sect, in terrorist attacks that killing a total of 21 people and affected more than 5,000.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an isopropyl ester of the acid fluoride of methylphosphonic acid:

a toxic substance with neuroparalytic action; a colorless, mobile liquid. Boiling point, 151.5°C, d4/420, 1.094; index of refraction nD20, 1.383; volatility (maximum concentration), 11.3 mg per liter (20°C).

Sarin is miscible with water in any proportion and dissolves readily in organic solvents. It hydrolyzes very slowly with water, much faster in the presence of inorganic acids, and especially rapidly in aqueous alkalies, ammonia, and amines; it forms nontoxic compounds in all cases. These reactions can be used for degassing of sarin.

Sarin has strongly pronounced myotic action (contraction of the pupil); the lethal concentration is about 0.2 mg per liter for an exposure of one min. A gas mask serves as reliable protection against sarin.


Sartori, M. “Novoe v khimii boevykh otravliaiushchikh veshchestv.” Uspekhi khimii, 1954, vol. 23, issue 1.
Stepanov, A. “Otravliaiushchie veshchestva.” Zhurnal Vsesoiuznogo khimicheskogo obshchestva im. D. I. Mendeleeva, 1968, vol. 13, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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