A Conversation for Zeppelins and Other Dirigibles
Mister Matty Started conversation Sep 7, 2001
It is now widely accepted that the Hindenburg disaster was not caused by a hydrogen leak (the designers had built in an enormous number of safety features to prevent this) but by an electric spark igniting the airships' outer covering (Hindenburg was painted with a highly flammable substance that is now used as rocket fuel) which then expanded the hydrogen in the airbags and caused them to explode, adding the hydrogen to the fire. Thought u might like to mention this
Phoenician Trader Posted Nov 24, 2008
That's my understanding too. It was a static electricity spark that jumped between the tower (which wasn't properly grounded) and the aluminium coating on the surface that exploded.
The hydrogen didn't catch fire for some time (after the coating was well and truely ablaze).
Mister Matty Posted Nov 24, 2008
"That's my understanding too. It was a static electricity spark that jumped between the tower (which wasn't properly grounded) and the aluminium coating on the surface that exploded."
Interestingly enough, I was reading-up on the disaster recently and it seems that this explanation is now also disputed (even though it was the conclusion the German government came to). To be honest, it looks like no one is ever going to be absolutely certain what happened. The evidence investigators can work with is very sparse and eyewitness accounts seem to suggest all sorts of things (and eyewitness evidence is unreliable anyway, even when taken shortly after the event).
The only things anyone seems to be certain on is that the airships hydrogen lifting gas contributed to the fire which destroyed the airship. What no one seems to be able to prove conclusively is how the fire started.
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