- 2000 JUN 15-


00-06-15          0730    Continued CANMET attendance.  Both Jim FOOT and Larry FOGG were present this morning, but Larry FOGG is heading out this afternoon for Halifax.  

            At 0930 hrs, a meeting was held at CANMET to discuss the FIB/TEM avenue of further examination.  Jim FOOT and Ken PICKWICK were present from the TSB.  This was the first time that I had met Ken, and he seemed to be very cordial and friendly.  He seemed to relate on a level plane, and throughout the meeting expressed comments that indicated that he was aware of our presence and interests.  Also present for FIBICS was Mike PHANEUF & Greg McMANN.  Gianluigi BOTTON was present as the CANMET TEM expert, and Tom MALIS as head of CANMET was present with Dr. Jim BROWN.

            BROWN started off the meeting’s discussion with comments about the purpose for the AES testing, particularly the ANDERSON Theory.  He is not convinced that the theory works.  He advised that there has been a fairly large quantity of data written about it now, and most of it indicates that ANDERSON has failed to notice or totally ignored some very important facts.  One is that temperatures in a fire may reach high enough to re-melt portions of the bead.  Others fail to look at the presence of insulation around the melt, or the amount of ventilation during the fire.  There are still other areas of concern.  (These areas, although some not directly mentioned in the meeting, were obtained from conversations during the week with BROWN & FOGG.  However, in the testing of the two wires supplied initially as test samples (the two shorted in the hangar by FOOT and FOGG before any testing was undertaken), he was able to easily observe the differences and draw a correct conclusion.  These two wires have now been transferred to FIBICS and those tests were described later.

            BROWN advised that the purpose of the seawater test was to show that the material was a homogenous mass and not subject to minute cracks and fissures through which seawater elements could be deposited.  BROWN did not commit himself positively during the meeting to the concept that the magnesium did not get into the beads through this process, but earlier and again later, he expressed this very opinion.  He said that he wanted to remain cautious until he could be certain of it by physically viewing the beads.  After all, until he actually views them, he is only making an assumption however much it is based on actual testing.  But he did indicate that he had found minimal magnesium interaction and no aluminium at all in the Seawater Test Wire-melts.

            BROWN also advised that he had fifteen or so wire melts that are being considered as initiating points.  This contrasts with FOOT’s six or so wires, as I earlier indicated (see notes dated 00-05-25).  He did at the end of his comments state that he feels the aluminium in the crash wires is from a pre-impact event, and the magnesium is likely not from the seawater.

            During the meeting, BROWN went on to say that magnesium in the aircraft aluminium alloy could concentrate itself near or at the surface of the alloy.  I don’t know if he has tested actual aircraft aluminium, if he is going by word of mouth, or if he is going by the aluminium drop tests in which he found high concentrations of aluminium at the surface of the drops, those which had landed on the contaminated fin plate of the battery box.

            Mike PHANEUF then gave a short presentation of the FIB process, supplying some overhead photos of the tests done on the test-wire samples received from Dr. BROWN.  He described the process in which a thin layer of tungsten (gold or other elements can also be used, depending on what is being tested for) some 50 angstroms deep is deposited on the surface of the target area, and then a short tunnel is dug out on each side of the target area.  The distances involved are sub-micron, and the thickness of the wafer removed is less than 1000 angstroms, sufficiently thin to allow electrons to pass through in the TEM process.  The wafer is so small that it can only be collected with a minute biological probe that is used in biology labs to probe cell nuclei for DNA.  This wafer is then deposited on a sheet of carbon for transfer to the TEM.  However, during the process, he is able to use the FIB as a microscope to view the material being processed.  The system allows for a stress-free environment for the subject material, in that the FIB does not in any way affect the remaining surface layer of material as would a knife blade, etc.  The resulting FIB scan as a microscope is not quantitative but is qualitative in that it is able to differentiate between grains and crystals, providing a view of the patterns involved.  So, PHANEUF indicated that he is able to do the chemistry and able to view the morphological structures. 

            Gianluigi BOTTON then gave the TEM presentation.  Of importance, this will allow viewing of the material to determine if there is micro cracking and structural flaws in the material at the point of examination.  It will also provide analysis of the top 1000 or so angstroms to determine if the material is homogeneous, a requirement for the ANDERSON Theory.  He can determine if an inclusion is present in the material, something that will greatly affect the AES process.  TEM is complimentary to AES, allowing for a third dimensional view that cannot be seen otherwise, and an optical view of the material while AES is only providing a chemical make-up of a specific point.  It provides a side view of what in AES is a top down view.  BROWN commented that FIB would lay to rest the question of fissures, something that cannot be done by any other means.

            Considerable discussion ensued from Jim FOOT and Ken PICKWICK.   The comment was made by PICKWICK that perhaps FIB would provide too much data and for that reason is not necessary.  Personally, I question this comment.  One can never have too much data.  The limitation comes from not having the ability to work with it.

            However, on ending, it was agreed that before anything further is undertaken, BROWN will provide a report of his AES conclusions, and will determine if the ANDERSON theory is viable.  The comment was made that if it is not viable, then this merely becomes a science project.

            BROWN stated that he would like to undertake FIB/TEM testing of an aircraft wire and one of the test wires to determine the difference between the two.  Nothing was agreed here; certainly, it was not determined which wires would be tested.  It was proposed by PHANEUF that he would be willing to do the second site on each wire tested at no cost.  Tom MALIS even proposed that CANMET would be willing to underwrite some of the TEM costs as an in-house research project.  This met with interest from PICKWICK and FOOT, but no commitments.  The meeting then broke up as BROWN and MALIS had a CANMET meeting to attend. 

            So, we now wait for the AES report from BROWN, along with his recommendations.  I believe he will strongly recommend doing the FIB/TEM processing.  The expenses won’t be as great as initially expected.  The only limitation will be the timeline of September.  However, a timeline will not deter FOOT if he agrees that it should be done.  The advantage to its completion for us will be that some serious questions regarding the magnesium may finally be answered, such as whether it is pre- or post-crash, whether it is of uniform composition or merely an inclusion spotted here and there in the bead, and other similar answers.  It however, will not likely provide the definitive answers as to where the magnesium came from if it continues to be a pre-crash artefact, but it may provide some valuable ideas depending on the compounds to which it is associated. 

            During the afternoon, I asked Dr. BROWN if I could review his photos in his AES notes as a quality control for my material, and so that I could ensure that we were talking about the same wires when he puts out his report.  While I have been monitoring this aspect throughout, this allows me to do a second check of everything all at once.  All of the photos and charts were in two binders and a third set of bound pages.  The photos (printouts and Polaroid) were photographed by the digital camera to show the photo with the number, and they were checked on my AES list of exhibits.  Several entries were found that did not tally, but they were photographed and returned to him.  It may be noted that I did not view any of the graphs, although it was noted that some were marked.  The only changes I made were to some of the photos to outline the faint exhibit number in heavier black ink to produce a legible image.  The material was then compared to my notes to check out the inconsistencies.  I found that my tables had several mistakes in them, but on checking my daily notes, they were found to be in agreement with Dr. BROWN’s notes.  The AES wire table has been adjusted and is printed below.  Previous copies in the notes prior to this date are not valid, but the copy in the AES directory is correct.  So, the undertaking was successful in that several mistakes have been corrected.  The photos have been stored under Photo Collection\AES - Quality Control Check.


            On leaving, spoke with Jim FOOT & Dr. BROWN.  FOOT has agreed to supply Dr. BROWN with samples of the Metallized Mylar & Tedlar.  Since he won’t be back to the hangar until 00-07-25, I agreed to obtain samples and send up to Dr. BROWN.  I have to collect several wires from the pallets anyways.  The Metallized Mylar will have to come from the new sample blanket that is in room 114 (only need about one square inch).  The Metallized Tedlar will have to be accident material, with a qualification on that the sample is contaminated on the exterior with seawater at pressure.

            Jim FOOT also advised that there is sure to be a controversy over the IFEN wires.  FOGG had mentioned to me earlier that there was a problem in getting TSB to look at these wires.  FOOT advised that BOEING desperately wants to put the shorts that are on these wires outside the conduits and identify them as responsible for the fire.  That would eliminate their liability because if they fall within the conduits, it would appear to be their responsibility as a design flaw.  After all, the tubes are there for the purpose of allowing additional wiring to be run through the area.  The wires, once in the conduits, cannot be inspected or in any way checked by the operator, and the conduits are supposed to be designed to protect the wires.  We’ll watch what transpires in this area.  The key thing is that if BROWN is allowed to control himself what is examined, then he has no idea of this problem, or what wires are which.  So, the problem should work itself out as far as the FIB/TEM is concerned.

(Clarification:)  Note that it was agreed by FOOT that I would supply exhibit samples to Dr. Brown.  Five months and one week from this date, I will be questioned and reprimanded for supplying those exhibits.  Additionally, the wire location issue is a reason for the TSB to later blame an IFEN wire outside of the conduits as the cause of the fire, even if the fire cause was a criminal device.




*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



------------ TIME LINE ------------