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Hindenburg disaster

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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #105 on: November 23, 2009, 03:30:01 pm »

Rate of flame propagation

Regardless of the source of ignition or the initial fuel for the fire, there remains the question of what caused the rapid spread of flames along the length of the airship. Here again the debate has centered on the fabric covering of the airship and the hydrogen used for buoyancy.

Proponents of both the incendiary paint theory and the hydrogen theory agree that the fabric coatings were probably responsible for the rapid spread of the fire. The combustion of hydrogen is not usually visible to the human eye in daylight, because most of its radiation is not in the visible portion of the spectrum but rather infrared. Thus what can be seen burning in the photographs cannot be hydrogen. However, black and white photographic film of the era had a different light sensitivity spectrum than the human eye, and was sensitive farther out into the infrared and ultraviolet region than the human eye. And while hydrogen tends to burn invisibly, the materials around it, if combustible, would change the color of the fire.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #106 on: November 23, 2009, 03:30:20 pm »

The motion picture films show the fire spreading downward along the skin of the airship. While fires generally tend to burn upward, especially including hydrogen fires, the enormous radiant heat from the blaze would have quickly spread fire over the entire surface of the airship, thus apparently explaining the downward propagation of the flames. Falling, burning debris would also appear as downward streaks of fire.

Of note is that in 1935 a helium filled blimp with an acetate aluminium skin burned near Point Sur in California with equal ferocity.[35] Even the USS Macon burned. Those who disagree with these claims insist these two incidents had nothing to do with the dope, instead the small blimp burned because of a fuel leak, and the Macon burned because it was firing flares.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #107 on: November 23, 2009, 03:30:35 pm »

Those skeptical of the incendiary paint theory cite recent technical papers which claim that even if the airship had been coated with actual rocket fuel, it would have taken many hours to burn — not the 32 to 37 seconds that it actually took.[36]

Modern experiments that recreated the fabric and coating materials of the Hindenburg seem to discredit the incendiary fabric theory.[37] They conclude that it would have taken about 40 hours
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #108 on: November 23, 2009, 03:30:45 pm »

or the Hindenburg to burn if the fire had been driven by combustible fabric. Two additional scientific papers also strongly reject the fabric theory.[36][clarification needed]

However these claims do not agree with the results the Mythbusters achieved on their Hindenburg special of their TV show and others[who?] feel the criticisms does not take into account the conditions that lead to firestorms, such as convection and ignition from radiant energy.
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #109 on: November 23, 2009, 03:31:33 pm »

The most conclusive proof against the fabric theory is in the photographs of the actual accident as well as the many airships which were not doped with aluminum powder and still exploded violently. When a single gas cell explodes, it creates a shock wave and heat. The shock wave tends to rip nearby bags which then explode themselves. In the case of the Alhorn disaster during World War I, explosions of airships in one shed caused the explosions of others in sheds nearby, wiping out all the airships at the base.

The photos of the Hindenburg disaster clearly show that after the cells in the aft section of the airship exploded and the combustion products were vented out the top of the airship, the fabric on the rear section was still largely intact, and air pressure from the outside was acting upon it, caving the sides of the airship inward due to the reduction of pressure caused by the venting of combustion gases out the top.
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« Reply #110 on: November 23, 2009, 03:31:51 pm »

The loss of lift at the rear caused the airship to nose up suddenly and the back to break in half (the airship was still in one piece), at that time the primary mode for the fire to spread was along the axial gangway which acted as a chimney, conducting fire which burst out the nose as the airship's tail touched the ground, and as seen in one of the most famous pictures of the disaster.
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« Reply #111 on: November 23, 2009, 03:32:03 pm »

Television investigations

As mentioned previously, the Discovery Channel series MythBusters explored the incendiary paint theory (IPT) and the hydrogen theory in an episode that aired 10 January 2007.[38] While their experiments didn't concern what actually started the fire, the show's hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, demonstrated that when set alight with a blowtorch a 1:50 scale model of the Hindenburg burnt twice as fast in the presence of diffused hydrogen as without it. Combustion was observed in the burning skin, which would have accelerated the fire, but their experiments showed that hydrogen was the main fuel. The hydrogen filled model produced a fire with flames that came out of the nose and resembled the newsreel footage of the Hindenburg disaster. That program concluded that the IPT myth was "Busted".
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Jason Vorhees
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« Reply #112 on: November 23, 2009, 03:32:24 pm »

The National Geographic program Seconds From Disaster had veteran air crash investigator Greg Feith study all of the available evidence, including eyewitness accounts, interviews with the last two living survivors, newsreel footage, weather reports, and the Hindenburg blueprints. Feith burned a sample of doped cloth and it took one minute to consume the whole piece, ruling out the skin as the primary accelerant. Feith's investigations concluded that a gas bag was punctured, probably by a bracing wire broken from the two sharp turns, and that electrostatic discharge from the skin to the ship's skeleton ignited the leaked hydrogen.

In Search of..., a show mainly focused on paranormal investigations and conspiracy theories, made an episode based on this tragic accident, and immediately raised the question of whether it was really an accident or instead sabotage by then-Nazi Germany.
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« Reply #113 on: November 23, 2009, 03:33:07 pm »

Memorial

The actual site of the Hindenburg crash at Lakehurst Naval Air Station (reestablished as Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) at Naval Air Engineering Station (NAES) Lakehurst, or "Navy Lakehurst" for short[39]) is marked with a chain outlined pad and bronze plaque where the airship's gondola landed.[40] It was dedicated on 6 May 1987, the 50th anniversary of the disaster.[41] Hangar #1, which still stands, is where the airship was to be housed after landing. It was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1968.[42] Pre-registered tours are held through the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society [43]. Due to security concerns, no foreign nationals are permitted on the tours.[44]
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« Reply #114 on: November 23, 2009, 03:34:15 pm »



The memorial at Lakehurst showing the ground marker, the little zeppelin, and Hangar One in the background.
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