What Caused The Hindenburg To Explode? Scientists Believe They Solved The Mystery
By Charles Poladian | March 5, 2013 7:17 AM EST
The Hindenburg’s fiery crash in 1937 was a historic event but there was some mystery as to what caused the explosion. There has also been plenty of speculationas to how the dirigible caught fire so quickly, some of those theories were featured on a “Mythbusters” episode, but scientists have solved the mystery of what caused the Hindenburg explosion.
According to researchers at South West Research Institute, located in San Antonio, TX, static electricity led to the fatal spark reports The Independent. As the airship was about to land in Lakehurst, NJ, the Hindenburg exploded into flames leading to 35 deaths. Jem Stansfield, a British aeronautical engineer, led the research and the team exploded several scale model replicas of the Hindenburg to test out several popular theories.
Much like in “Mythbusters,” Stansfield and his team tested out theories, such as a bomb being aboard the ship or the ship’s skin as the cause of the explosion, and came to the conclusion that static electricity was to blame. The research also revealed several factors which led to the Hindenburg explosion.
The Hindenburg was leaking hydrogen and passed through an electrical storm, which led to the airship being charged with static electricity, notes The Independent. Hydrogen gas leaked into the Hindenburg’s ventilation shafts, it remains unclear how, but as the crew was tethering the ship they essentially “grounded” the airship, causing the stored static electricity to discharge and igniting the hydrogen which led to the explosion. Speaking to The Independent Dan Grossman, an airship historian, said, “I think you had massive distribution of hydrogen throughout the aft half of the ship; you had an ignition source pull down into the ship, and that whole back portion of the ship went up almost at once.”
The research is part of a documentary that will air on the UK’s Channel 4 on Thursday. A video of the 1937 Hindenburg explosion can be viewed below.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Taylor Swift Named Forbes' Second Highest Paid Country Musician [PHOTOS]
- Forever Lost: Indescribable Anguish for Malaysia Airlines MH17 Families, Remains of Some Victims May Never Be Found (PHOTOS)
- Celebrities Who Got Pregnant Using IVF: Busting the Myths About IVF
- PageSix: Beyonce & Jay Z Union is Not About Love, All About Business & the Brand
Join the Conversation
- The Burka Avenger Educates Children While Fighting For Girls' Education Rights In New Pakistan TV Show
- Christopher Walken To Play Mob Boss In Film Adaptation Of Four Seasons Musical 'Jersey Boys'
- William Cantrell Mistakes Human Ashes For Cocaine, May Have Snorted Remains
- Giant Alligator Eats 80-Pound Dog In North Carolina, Gator May Still Be Alive
- Steve McQueen's Last Ride, 1952 Custom Chevy Pickup Truck, Hits The Auction Block
- Freshly Leaked Apple iPad Air 2 Cases Confirm Touch ID Sensor; Release Date, Limited Specs and Price Listed
- Moto X Android 4.4.4 KitKat Update Guide: Schedule and How to Install
- Top 4 Reasons Why iPhone 6 Will Hit Big Soon After its Sept 2014 Release Date
- Top Surprising Features Of iOS 8
- Twin Malaysia Airlines MH370, MH17 Aviation Disasters Create Phobia Among Travellers
- OnePlus One vs. Moto X+1 – Early Specifications, Release Date and Price Faceoff
- 2014 Ebola Outbreak: ‘Out of control… and Can Get Worse'; Asky Airline Stops Flying to Liberia, Sierra Leone; Liberia Closes Schools