Fuel Tank Explosiveness
For a ten year period, from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties, I removed
about 70 underground fuel tanks from service. I'm very much familiar with
explosive atmospheres in fuel tanks, and I can say most definitely that an
internal source of ignition did not cause the explosion.
The center fuel tank being full would present a rich atmosphere that will not
ignite no matter how much source of ignition is present. A tank will not
explode if the inside atmosphere is to lean (not enough fuel vapors), or to rich
(a lot of fuel vapors). The inside atmosphere must in the middle danger
range with oxygen present to explode.
The airliner sat on the runway for two hours with the AC running. This
situation caused the fuel to heat up and release vapors that pushed out any
oxygen through the vents to the outside. The inside tank atmosphere was
too rich to ignite no matter how much spark was present.
Put it all together and it appears to be a shoulder launched stinger missile
smuggled in from Afghanistan that destroyed TWA800.
formerly of NJ
Certified by the state of NJ to remove underground storage tanks
Home - Last Updated:
© 2001 Robert E. Donaldson. All