That Quantas Plane

So a piece falls off and there\’s an explosive decompression.There\’s one extremely odd thing that could have caused this. Indeed, I\’ve heard (anecdotally) that it has actually happened in the past, on a Russian transport plane.

Now, no, I\’m not suggesting that this is what happened at all: it\’s just an opportunity to tell a little story from the world of weird metals.

Gallium. A low melting temperature (29 oC or so) means that in summer in the hold of a plane in certain parts of the world it will become liquid. The problem is that when liquid gallium meets the Al alloys that make up planes a hole appears in the Al.

As I say, I\’ve been told that this actually happened once in Russia, badly packed Ga leaked out, ate a hole in the plane\’s floor and left part of it sitting rather sadly on the tarmac while the rest of the plane taxied away.

 

6 thoughts on “That Quantas Plane”

  1. Given tha aircraft was at FL290 when the accident happened, I doubt it was warm enough in the hold to melt anything… That said, the melt/leak/weakening of the fuselage could have occured earlier at ground level, with time and stress needed to actually cause the catastrophic failure.

  2. As I say, I’ve been told that this actually happened once in Russia, badly packed Ga leaked out, ate a hole in the plane’s floor and left part of it sitting rather sadly on the tarmac while the rest of the plane taxied away.

    Any more stories like this, and I’m gonna stop reading.

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