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colorless 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 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. Soman is more powerful than tabun, acting faster and at lower concentrations. Chemically, soman is fluoromethylpinacolyloxyphosphine oxide.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a nerve gas; a pinacolyl ester of methylphosphonofluoridate:

A colorless liquid of low volatility. Boiling point, 42°C (0.2 mm of mercury);d204, 1.04; n20D, 1.408. Poorly soluble in water; readily soluble in organic solvents. It is hydrolyzed very slowly by water and considerably more rapidly by aqueous solutions of acids, alkalies, and amines, with the formation of nontoxic products.

Soman has a very pronounced myotic action (contraction of the pupil of the eye). The lethal concentration in air is 0.’02 mg per liter for an exposure of 1 min. The action of Soman on the skin, either as drops of liquid or as a vapor, causes general poisoning. A gas mask and protective clothing provide protection against it.


Stepanov, A. “Otravliaiushchie veshchestva.” Zhurnal khimicheskogo obshchestva im. D. I. Mendeleeva, 1968, vol. 13, no. 6, p. 608.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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