What destroyed the Hindenburg?

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feggula
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What destroyed the Hindenburg?

Postby feggula » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:12 am

There was a programme last night on Channel 4 in the UK about the Hindenburg - "What Destroyed the Hindenburg?" where a group of scientists created some 1:10 scale models of the airship and then destroyed them to see which looked destruction looked similar to that which actually happened.

It was quite fascinating and had some (very) short clips of actual footage of the Hindenburg being constructed.

The team on the programme created four airships and destroyed them via bomb, thunderstorm strike, flammable paint on the skin igniting and via a hydrogen leak escaping up the ventilation shafts and then being ignited by the "St. Elmos fire" effect as the grounded zeppelin was now a different change to the atmosphere around it.

The Bomb was very close, the thunderstorm and flammable paint failed to have the same effect (although they destroyed the airship nicely), but the last effect seemed to do the trick, destroying the replica in almost the same way.

In the UK you can probably catch the programme on 4OD. Apparently this is part of the Curiosity series on the Discovery Channel, so it'll probably be around. There is the FAQ for the Curiousity episode here which details these findings. All in all, worth a watch.
http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/what-destroyed-the-hindenburg-episode10-faq.htm. Interestingly, the Curiosity programme lists anywhere from 3-5 scale models being built, but you actually see four!

So, next time you're leaking hydrogen and you're in a potential storm zone, my advice is to wait before you try and land...

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stormwell
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Re: What destroyed the Hindenburg?

Postby stormwell » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:50 am

I thought the hydrogen leak and St Elmos Fire effect were already established as the cause for the Hindenburg disaster?

Though I am aware that the German made a whole load of design changes to the Hindenburg's sister ship as a result of the disaster, read somewhere that they changed what the outer covering was coated in.

feggula
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Re: What destroyed the Hindenburg?

Postby feggula » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:26 pm

Well, according to the programme, while there have been lots of theories, no one had yet to establish any concrete proof on any of them and so officially, the Hindenburg was an unsolved accident. This team set out to try and 'prove' the theories to see if they could recreate the destruction remove the uncertainty.

With the coating, yes, that was one theory that they painted the skin with, what amounted to, rocket fuel and so it was the skin that burned and not the actual hydrogen. The team disproved this because the painted skin didn't burn any more - or less - than the existing skin and in the scale model didn't cause the type of fireball that destroyed the Hindenburg.

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Thom
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Re: What destroyed the Hindenburg?

Postby Thom » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:08 am

Well I think that in CS it didn't happen! But if it had, then it was an Empire State plot! I am almost certain of it, they would be responsible. Yep yep yep! *Head nodding*
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