Perchloric Acid – A Versatile Murder Weapon!

Unique lethal compounds fascinate me and, as a medical thriller writer, I’m constantly onkylsans-chemicals the search for new methods of murder. Today, I’d like to discuss a most interesting chemical—perchloric acid. It has deadly potential in a number of ways and should be of interest to a variety of writers because of its versatility.

Perchloric acid is usually found as a water-based solution. It is colorless and odorless, but extremely deadly. Because of its industrial use to etch chrome and crystal displays, it’s readily available on the Internet.

It is somewhat regulated, however, since it is also used to make rocket fuel; but someone rocket8with a little knowledge of chemistry can synthesize it by reacting sodium perchlorate with hydrochloric acid. Sodium perchlorate is used in standard laboratories to extract DNA; and hydrochloric acid, commonly known in the plumbing industry as muriatic acid, is used to clear clogged drains.

As a murder weapon, perchloric acid’s obvious potential is that it’s a strong acid. Actually, it’s classified as a superacid—that means perchloric acid is more acidic than 100% pure sulfuric acid. Upon contact with skin, eyes, or mucous membranes, this acid causes severe burns and tissue destruction. The villain in your murder plot will have to handle perchloric acid with neoprene gloves and use chemical goggles, a face shield and a rubber apron for protection from accidental spills. And the chemical should be stored in either glass or porcelain containers.

What is most fascinating about perchloric acid is that it’s a powerful oxidizer. This substance, while not necessarily combustible in itself, yields enough oxygenformualtion molecules when heated to cause fires and even explosions. When heated rapidly, such as with an incendiary device, perchloric acid reacts violently (often explosively) to oxidize paper, wood, metals such as copper and brass, and clothing. Clothing materials include nylon, polyester, cotton and wool.

Thus, perchloric acid could be the basis for a rather dramatic scene of personal or large-scale explosive destruction with residual intense fire. It would be like having several open oxygen canisters near an open flame.

dna_crimeAnother interesting advantage of using perchloric acid as a weapon is its potential to destroy DNA evidence. Because of its strong acid capacity and its explosive oxidizing ability, this chemical will destroy any DNA evidence inadvertently left behind by the perpetrator.

Although my job as a writer is to think like a villain, I also believe that most should get caught at some point. Perchloric acid will make that process much more difficult and possibly create some rather interesting plot twists.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

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About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A How To Blog on Murder Plot Ideas, A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, Acids and Tissue Damage, Acids and Tissue Death, Acids Used to Murder People, Acute Poisons, All About Murder, Almost Dead, Bioterrorism, Blog Writers, Blogging, Chemical Poisons, Chemical Weapons Discussions, Chemicals Used For Murder, Dramatic Murder Weapons, Flesh Eating Acids, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Killing a Villain in a Novel, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Lethal Chemical Poisons, Lethal Substances Used For Murder, Murder Weapons Discussed, New Free E-Book, New Methods of Murder, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, New Murder Mystery Novel, PCA and Murder, PCA as a Superacid and Oxidizer, Perchloric Acid, Perchloric Acid and Murder, Perchloric Acids as a Superacid and Oxidizer, Plotting Murder Scenes, Prescription For Murder Blog, Strong Acids Used For Murder, The Science of Murder, Tools for Murder, Unique Lethal Compounds, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons, Ways To Kill, Ways to Murder, Writing Death Scenes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Perchloric Acid – A Versatile Murder Weapon!

  1. Wow! That’s nasty stuff. It’s going into my perpetrator files for possible future reference. Thank you, James. Much appreciated.

  2. I have such a file also – never know when you’ll need a little inspirational nudge🙂 All the best!

  3. notrub says:

    Is this – perchloric acid – the active ingredient in bee venom? Is it possible for a beekeeper with murderous intent to use bee venom in way to kill a victim and avoid detection with a standard toxicology screen?

    • You are paying attention, my friend, but not quite on the money. Perchloric acid can be one of the acids used to stabilize (by way of conformational transition according to literature) of the mellitin toxin in bee venom. That’s news to me. Here’s an article that may answer some of your questions: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/bi00118a014 and you may well have a new murder weapon that cannot be easily detected by standard tox screens.
      All the best ~

      • Mike Burton says:

        Thank you so much. I think the mention of the perchloric acid popped up during an internet search of “bee venom murder”. But I also got to discover your site, so the effort was worthwhile. One of my friends here in Grand Rapids, MI is the forensic pathologist, Stephen Cohle, and Steve has written a couple books recounting some of his memorable cases, Tales From The Morgue being the first. I’ll tell him about your site. Appreciatively, Mike

      • Thanks, and I’ll check out Stephen Cohle’s book.

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