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Designing a disappearing bullet for a story

August 2, 2012

Q. I am writing a book and I want to make a "Super Bullet". I want to know if in theory this will work. it is a glass vile covered in a copper jacket. the vile is made up of three parts one containing nitric acid(to dissolve the copper), one containing chlorine trifluoride, and the last containing water. the theory is that when the bullet hits a wall the copper jacket will collapse braking the glass inside the chlorine trifluoride and water mix resulting in hydrofluoric acid(that dissolves the glass and if it hits a person it will kill them) then the nitric acid dissolves the copper so that there is no evidence of the bullet.

Niles Sautter
- Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

August 3, 2012

A. Hi Niles.

Your first job will be to find an editor with the patience of Job :-)

Moving on, dissolving materials without a trace is difficult business. It's not so much whether the chemistry will work in theory, but that there is more to completely dissolving a material than having a drop of acid touch one side of it for a moment. Still, we've all seen movies where a few drops of acid eats its way through a foot-thick block of steel, so maybe realism isn't necessary. Best of luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 12, 2012

A. Hi Niles
Ted is right about the practicalities. Plus the residual chemicals in the wound would be a great clue as to the perpetrator.
I recall one novel where an ice bullet was used; just about possible if you can keep the cartridge in the ice box until needed.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

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