Chemistry of War: Stun Guns and Tasers

Continuing the topic of items used to incapacitate the enemy without killing them is with electricity rather than chemically. However, the proper functioning of a Taser is a direct result of the chemical properties of its materialistic components.  The word Taser and stun gun are used interchangeably. However, there are different types of stun guns or Tasers.  Some Tasers utilize properties of projectiles and therefore are more suited when an attacker is out of a victim’s arm reach. Taser is more often used for these types since it is actually an acronym for “Tomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

A typical Taser requires a 9 volt battery but the Tase Chemistry of War: Stun Guns and Tasers

The proper functioning of a Taser is a direct result of the chemical properties of its materialistic components.  The word Taser and stun gun are often used interchangeably.  However, there are different types of stun guns or Tasers.  Some Tasers utilize properties of projectiles and therefore are more suited when an attacker is out of a victim’s arm reach. Taser is the more commonly used word for these weapons. The word Taser is actually an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle”.

A typical Taser requires a 9 volt battery but the Taser itself is still labeled as several 100kV. The increase in voltage is due to amplifiers and transformers in the Taser’s housing.  A battery is a cell that can convert stored chemical energy into useful energy. The amount of energy is calculated through two types of equations: reduction and oxidation. Reduction consists of an atom gaining electrons and oxidation is an atom losing electrons. Together the transfer of electrons produces a current. Tasers are able to have high voltages through the help of transformers to amplify the low 9 volts but voltages as high as 100kV.  However 100kV is not needed in most cases of authoritative force.

Common lithium battery is made up of -LiCO2(Lithium Cobalt Oxide) and LiC6

The reduction potential equations are:

Li+ +C6 +e– = LiC6      CoO2 + Li+ + e = LiCoO2

A high voltage does not determine how much damage a Taser can do.  Instead, it depends on the amount of current.

Tasers are effective in incapacitating the target by forcing their muscles to contract and release rapidly, causing twitching and convulsions. The human body is controlled by the brain through the use of electrical signals.  An electrical impulse can cause a muscle or group of muscles to contract or expand as necessary.  A Taser injects a foreign electrical impulse into the body and this debilitates a person temporarily (for as long as the Taser is being implemented). The act of a Taser’s current entering a human body is a result of the electron flow.  A Taser includes two parallel electrodes and two smaller test electrodes as shown in the diagram below.  When someone thinks about a Taser, the small test electrodes are probably what their minds first refer to.

As seen in the diagram, the battery offers a current that is amplified by the transformers found in the amplifier circuit.  Near the end of the Taser there are two parallel electrodes, a positively charged electrode and a negatively charged one.  These electrodes are made from a conductive metal plate.  Since these electrodes are placed along the curcuit, there is a high voltage difference between them.  Electrons want to flow between these electrodes, but they are placed too far apart, there is a gap in the circuit.  In comparison, the test electrodes are much closer together.  These smaller electrodes are used by the Taser wielder to see if the Taser is functioning.  If current is flowing through the Taser, then a small bluish, spark will jump between the test electrodes. The crackling spark is composed of air atoms that have been ionized by the electrical energy derived from the battery.  This noisy bright, crackling spark is an image that is normally associated with Tasers.  The parallel electrodes are two far apart to create a such a spark.  A Taser can inflict temporary damage on a person if their body is used to complete the circuit, or to fill the circuit gap between the two main electrodes.  Due to the potential difference in these electrodes, if a conductive object is placed between them, a large current flows.

 Additionally, there are flying Tasers that also use electrodes and a 9 volt batteries.  The main difference in the flying Taser is shown by the diagram below.  The electrodes fly out of the Taser as a projectile.  The electrodes are launched when the trigger is pulled.  The trigger opens a compressed gas cartridge and the electrodes are launched towards an attacker.

 The main risk in using a taser is found when it is used on someone who has heart complications.   Like any other muscle in the body, the heart contracts and expands due to electrical impulses, and a taser interferes with those interactions.  If someone has a weak heart, it is possible for them to die after being tased.  Tasers are weapons and, especially when used near water, can be lethal.  In 2010 a man in Hempstead died after being tased while wearing rain drenched clothing.

Due to the risk of Tasers, authoritative figures are required to use Tasers responsibly.  Here is an article describing how the some departments of the military are beginning to increase their use of Tasers. There is also a branch of authority called the Military Police.  Members of the Military police enforce the laws and regulations of the military.  In order to enforce such regulations members of the Military Police use nonlethal weaponry such as Tasers.  However, in order to encourage humane usage, military police officers are required to be hit with a Taser so they understand

Figure 5:  A picture of a military police officer being hit with a flying Taser gun.  This must be endured in order to earn the authority

r itself is still labeled as several 100kV. A battery is a cell that can convert stored chemical energy into useful energy. The amount of energy is calculated through two types of equations: reduction and oxidation. Reduction consists of an atom gaining electrons and oxidation is an atom losing electrons. Together the transfer of electrons produce a current. Tasers are able to have high voltages through the help of transformers to amplify the low 9 volts but voltages as high as 100kV are not needed in most cases.

Common lithium battery is made up of -LiCO2(Lithium Cobalt Oxide) and LiC6

The reduction potential equations are:

Li+ +C6 +e– = LiC6      CoO2 + Li+ + e = LiCoO2

Tasers function through two launching two prongs into the target. The farther apart the two prongs are, the more voltage is needed to complete the circuit. However a high voltage does not determine how much damage it does, instead it depends on the amount of current. Contact stun guns do not need a large voltage since the distance between the charge electrodes is fixed.

Tasers are effective in incapacitating the target by forcing their muscles to contract and release rapidly, causing twitching and convulsions. The human body is controlled by the brain through the use of electrical signals.  An electrical impulse can cause a muscle or group of muscles to contract or expand as necessary.  A Taser injects a foreign electrical impulses into the body and this debilitates a person temporarily (for as long as the Taser is being implemented). The act of a Taser’s current entering a human body is a result of the electron flow.  A Taser includes two electrodes and two smaller test electrodes as shown in the diagram below.  When someone thinks about a Taser, the small test electrodes are probably what their minds first refer to.

As seen in the diagram, the battery offers a current that is amplified by the transformers found in the amplifier circuit.  Near the end of the Taser there are two parallel electrodes a positively charged electrode and a negatively charged one.  These electrodes are made from a conductive metal plate.  Since these electrodes are placed along the surface, there is a high voltage difference between them.  Electrons want to flow between these electrodes, but they are placed too far apart, there is a gap in the circuit.  In comparison, the test electrodes are much closer together.  These smaller electrodes are used by the Taser wielder to see if the Taser is functioning.  If current is flowing through the Taser, then a small bluish, spark will jump between the test electrodes. The crackling spark is composed of air atoms that have been ionized by the electrical energy derived from the battery.  This crackling spark is an image that is normally associated with Tasers.  The parallel electrodes are two far apart to create a spark.  A Taser can inflict temporary damage on a person if their body is used to fill the circuit gap between the two main electrodes.  Due to the potential difference in these electrodes if a conductive object is placed between them, a large current flows.

Additionally, there are flying Tasers that also use electrodes and a 9 volt battery.  The main difference in the flying Taser is sown by the diagram below.  The electrodes fly out of the Taser as a projectile.  The electrodes are launched when the trigger is pulled.  The trigger opens a compressed gas cartridge and the electrodes are launched towards an attacker.

The main risk in using a stun gun is if the target already had heart problems and the shock is applied near the chest which can lead to cardiac arrest and/or death.

Here is an article of the military more recently starting to use stun guns. There is also a branch of authority called the Military Police.  Members of the Military police enforce the laws and regulations of the military.  In order to enforce such regulations members of the Military Police use nonlethal weaponry such as Tasers.  However, in order to encourage humane usage, military police officers are required to be hit with a Taser so they understand.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s