Calculations on the unimolecular decomposition of the nerve agent VX†
It is very difficult to perform experiments on the physical parameters for the thermal decomposition of chemical nerve agents such as VX and computations, therefore, are useful. The reaction dynamics of the gas-phase pericyclic hydrogen transfer of the nerve agent VX is studied computationally. The geometries of the stationary structures are calculated at M06-2X/jul-cc-pVTZ level of theory. Single point energy calculations are carried out at the CBS/QB3 level to correct the energy barriers. Canonical reaction rate constants are calculated as a function of temperature. The one-dimensional semiclassical transition state theory is used to analyse the quantum tunneling effects. A reduced-dimensional hindered rotor model is proposed, tested, and applied to calculate the vibrational partition functions. It is found that the ester (O-side) and thioester (S-side) side chains of VX undergo pericyclic H-transfer reactions that result in decomposition of the molecule. The S-side reaction is favoured both kinetically and thermodynamically and dominates the pyrolysis over the temperature range from 600 K to 1000 K. It is predicted that VX completely decomposes in 2 s at temperatures above 750 K.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2019 PCCP HOT Articles