TWICE AS FAR

 

SWISSAIR 111

CRASH INVESTIGATION

 

 

 

- EXTRACT FROM FILE NOTES -

 

 

FOR

- 1999 SEP 20 -

 

99-09-20          ..

            At 1300 hrs, to TSB Lab and met up with John GARSTANG and Tim LANG.  A series of tests were run in which molten aluminium was dropped on ceiling tile, carpet, and then carpet backed with flooring.  Each of the tests was numbered, photographed and videotaped (digital).  The following lists each:

MOLTEN ALUMINIUM DROP TEST  -   99-09-20

TEST #

SURFACE

HEIGHT

EXH #1-

RESULTS

1

Ceiling Tile

0.05 M

11220

Molten Al ran to the side and smoked

2

Ceiling Tile

0.05 M

11221

Molten Al ran to the side and burnt, then extinguished itself

3

Ceiling Tile

0.05 M

11226

Large glob melted through smoking heavily & leaving ring of melted carpet

4

Carpet

0.05 M

11226

Large glob melted through smoking heavily & leaving ring of melted carpet

5

Carpet

0.15 M

11226

Large glob melted through smoking heavily & leaving ring of melted carpet

6

Carpet

0.05 M

11226

Large glob melted through smoking heavily & leaving ring of melted carpet

7

Carpet supported by flooring

0.05 M

11226

12242

Large glob melted through smoking heavily & leaving ring of melted carpet.  Sunk slightly into the flooring with surrounding vapour rings

8

Carpet supported by flooring

0.05 M

12261

12252

Large glob melted through carpet smoking heavily & leaving ring of melted carpet.  Sunk slightly into the flooring with surrounding vapour rings

9

Carpet supported by flooring

2.50 M

12273

Large flat blob stayed on carpet surface and smoked for short time.  Relatively no penetration

10

Carpet supported by flooring

2.50 M

12273

Large flat blob stayed on carpet surface and smoked for short time with melting.  Relatively no penetration

11

Carpet supported by flooring

2.50 M

12273

Flat blob stayed on carpet surface and smoked for short time with melting.  Relatively no penetration

12

Carpet supported by flooring

2.50 M

12273

12324

Immediately started a carpet fire on striking the surface that burned through to the flooring below and further carpet below that. Would have consumed all the material present.  Large amount of molten carpet material on tin container.

            The materials used in this test were brought up from Halifax and turned over to John GARSTANG this afternoon for the test (they were left with him for future tests).  After the test, the two seat covers were also turned over to him.  The molten aluminium came from frame material, green on all sides.  It was melted in crucibles as shown in the video in an oven to a temperature set at 1000 deg C.  Difficulty was encountered in getting the aluminium to drip out of the crucible.  Indeed, it even seemed to have problems melting at this temperature as the paint seemed to bind it together.  The carpet was dry, having been taken from one of the J hangar boxes and shipped up in a plastic bag.  There were no signs of condensation, and the carpet did not smell of rot as some of the other carpets do at the hangar.  The ceiling tile was placed right side up and allowed no penetration at all of the molten aluminium, although it did mark the surface as shown in the video. 

            John GARSTANG ran the test with Tim LANG dropping the aluminium.  I photographed and videotaped the tests.  Also present was Jim FOOT of TSB, Larry FOGG of Boeing, Kendall GEORGE of Hollingsead Int. Inc, and Doug ANDERBURG of Santa Barbara Aerospace.  It was held in the basement lab at TSB.  Gus SIDLA remained at CANMET with Dr. BROWN.

            It would appear that during the fire, no molten material could have penetrated any of the intact in-place ceiling tiles.  John GARSTANG advised that he had conducted a quick burn test at the hangar on the weekend of 99-09-04/06 by trying and failing to burn ceiling tiles with an oxygen/acetylene torch at over 2000 deg C.  Now it can be shown that molten aluminium will not penetrate the tile surface or cause them to burn.  However, once the molten aluminium contacts the carpet, it will certainly melt though and perhaps even cause a further fire.  We now have to closely examine and photograph those aircraft carpets that have the holes to record if they have melted edges and if there is any evidence of burning.  I would like to have these test carpet samples to macro photo the holes so that we can compare the two.  If the aircraft carpets do indeed have molten holes (which they appear to have), then the ceiling tiles must have been displaced to allow the material to fall to the carpet.  Perhaps the crew did this, or perhaps the tiles fell due to a breakdown in their supporting structure that normally holds them in place.  That supporting structure is made of aluminium alloys. 





 

 

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