Caltech Fuel Experiments prove did not occur in TWA800

Excerpt from:

7.2 TWA 800 Crash Investigation

The most significant result of the present study is the demonstration of the dramatic effect fuel-tank temperature has in creating a flammability hazard within the center wing tank.  Experimental measurements were carried out on flames in Jet A vapor-air mixtures at conditions simulating those of the initial explosive event in the center wing tank of TWA 800. The conditions were those measured in NTSB flight tests, a pressure of about 0.6 bar (equivalent to 14 kft) and a temperature of 40 to 50? C. The amount of fuel was equivalent to the 50 gallons believed to be present in the CWT. The results of these experiments demonstrated that:

1. Spark ignition sources with energies between 5 mJ and 1 J would be sufficient to ignite the vapor, resulting in a propagating flame.

2. The peak pressure rise was between 1.5 and 4 bar (20 and 60 psi).

3. Thermal ignition sources created by discharging 15 J of electrical energy into a metal wire (hot filaments) are also sufficient to ignite the vapor, resulting in a propagating flame. See Appendix B for details of these tests.

4. Laminar burning speeds between 15 and 45 cm/s were measured.

If you look up the following terms:


explosion, detonation and deflagration you find out that what they had was a deflagration ( if indeed this did occur) An explosion requires a shock wave moving faster than the speed of sound. This is why car engines are termed internal combustion engines. Thus in TWA 80 there was no explosion.

The above links document a large effort to produce a explosion of jet fuel by Cat Tech.


The results are that an explosion could not have happened.

Allan Rydberg



  Evidence of a Missile

  Flight 800 Database

Flight 800

Poll Results

>1000 Respondents

  Missile-------- 80%


  Bomb --------  4%


  Fuel Tank --- 14%

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