- 2000 NOV 02 -


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00-11-02          0700    Morning routine.  Worked on notes this morning.

            In going through my notes, it occurred to me that I have never heard anything back from LATHEM or GERDEN regarding my memo of 00-06-19 in which I requested that a number of questions be forwarded to Dr. BROWN at CANMET about his comments of the leaching of magnesium from aluminium alloys.  It had been suggested by Vic GERDEN on 00-08-02 that I forward the request to Jim FOOT, but again, nothing was received back from FOOT.  Considering the present circumstances, the time since the request, and the fact that I have heard nothing to the contrary about sending the email myself, I re-wrote the email to more reflect the present circumstances (i.e. date and intentions regarding his report), and sent it this morning as follows:


            I notice when going through my notes that during the meeting of 00-06-15 at CANMET in which the potential use of FIB/TEM was discussed, you commented that the aluminium alloy making up the skin and frame of this aircraft would have a magnesium level at the outer surface greater than that found deeper in the metal.  I have several questions regarding that aspect:

1)         Have you actually tested skin & frame alloy from this aircraft or similar aircraft of this series to determine this as fact?

2)         What are the typical readings at the surface, how deep, and at what levels do the readings level off to the normal level?

3)         Is this typical of all alloys, or is it particular to this type of aircraft aluminium?

4)         Are you basing at least part of your comments regarding this ‘leaching effect’ on the aluminium drop test of 00-05-25 in which those drops showed a very high magnesium content at the extreme outer edges?  If so, are you aware that the platform on which the beads were dropped was made up of fin material from the crashed aircraft, an exhibit that had been submerged in seawater at depth for some considerable length of time?  In discussions with the TSB on 00-05-25, (including Gus SIDLA), it was agreed that this surface was considered as contaminated with magnesium and was the likely source of magnesium on the surface of any molten beads dropped on it.

            As you are aware, the presence of magnesium is of interest to us, and during our conversations at the time of testing, you seemed surprised and not informed that the aluminium drop tests had used a piece of contaminated crash material as the test platform.  I didn’t get a chance to speak further with you on this, and am now wondering if you base your opinion on the analysis of those particular beads.  If there are any other pieces of aircraft material that you feel should be further examined in an effort to determine the source of this element in these quantities, then please let me know.  I will attempt to have it delivered to you.

            If possible, I would also like to know the status of the magnesium levels in relation to your final report.  Will you be mentioning them, and in what regards?  I am asking this of you now because this file will be closing down here at the hangar on the 15th of December.  If magnesium is going to remain a questionable participant of these tests, then we should know before the conclusion date so we can consider alternate plans.

            Thank you in advance for your consideration of this message.

 Tom Juby,      RCMP     Swissair Task Force


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