Hindenburg Disaster

Topics: Hindenburg disaster, Hydrogen, Helium Pages: 6 (2433 words) Published: May 5, 2011
The Hindenburg Disaster
As the Hindenburg enters:
“Here it comes, Ladies and Gentlemen, and
what a marvelous sight...the sun is striking the
windows of the observation deck on the
westward side and sparkling like glittering
jewels on the background of black velvet….
Oh, oh, oh..!..
As the crowd notices the flame and then...:
“Its burst into flames...Get out of the way,
please, oh my, this is terrible, oh my, get out of
the way, please..!It is burning, bursting into flames and
is falling...oh..! This is one of the worst...oh...!
It’s a terrible sight...oh..!.. and all the humanity.”
-Herb Morrison
On May 6th, 1937, a Zeppelin airship of Germany called the Hindenburg set off for its first North Atlantic crossing. It was to land on Naval Air Station base in Lakehurst, New Jersey but fate had a different plan for the Hindenburg and its passengers. At 7:20, reporters and crowds gathered around to see the sky-beauty land in her appointed spot, but at 7:23 screams were heard and the sound of a firework shooting up. To the crowd’s amazement, they saw a small, orange flame forming at the tail end of the airship. The fire started at the top tail fin or so it has been reported by eye witnesses of this horrific disaster. The designer of the Hindenburg had law enforcements give the witnesses a blueprint of the airship so they could illustrate where they seen the small flame and how they saw the fire spread across the dirigible. When everything was said and done and they reviewed the blueprints that were collected not one was identical to the one before or after it. Some saw a flash, some saw a spark, and some saw an explosion. The cause, to this day, has been unknown. There are theories floating around such as: static electricity from the on coming thunderstorm, a small lighting bolt, a leak of hydrogen, conspiracy, and many others that have no backing agents. In the following sections I will have hoped to help you make you decision on what the real cause of this tragic event was and in detail explained what I think happened and why with a scientific explanation. First, what was the structure of the Hindenburg made of? The skeleton was made of an aluminum structure. The blimps design was 15 main rings made of aluminum making the central frame. Then the remaining frame was welted to those 15 rings then covered with non flame-retardant cotton. Then the cotton itself was painted. It was painted with cellulose acetate butyrate and aluminum powder, both of which can be combustible alone. Aluminum powder can be explosive or flammable if mixed with air, it is used in liquid and solid rocket fuels, and used in thermite, which is an incendiary. It also burns and orange-red depending on other elements being present at point of ignition. The cellulose acetate butyrate is combustible and used in everyday items such as hairbrushes. Thought it was painted with the same substance throughout it was not painted with the same amount of coats throughout. The top had more layers of “dope” paint to sustain from lighting strikes and the bottom was painted with a top coat of reflection “dope” paint to fool the people below. Inside the Hindenburg, there were 16 gas filled pockets. These pockets were filled with hydrogen instead of helium because it is less dense than Helium. (Side note: The fact that hydrogen is less dense than helium is proven because of Avogadro. He stated that if you have two different gases at the same pressure and the same temperature then they would have the same amount of particles. But then that would lead to say that one mol of helium has a mass of 4 grams and one mol of hydrogen has a mass of 2 grams.) The pockets or gasbags were lined with goldbeater’s skin, a thin membrane taken from cattle intestines. The Hindenburg as a whole was almost the size of the Titanic. There are many theories to what caused the Hindenburg fire. Suggestions such as: the pain caught fire from a spark that came off...
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