2 Building and Construction The Hindenburg was built in by Luftschiffbau Zeppelin.It was originally designed as a passenger ship.Production began in 1931, but soon stopped after the Zeppelin company went bankrupt. The Nazi Party made an agreement with the company to fund them if they put swastikas on the fins.
3 The Hindenburg, along with its sister, LZ 130 Graff Zeppelin II, was the largest airship in the world. It was 804 feet long, making it only 79 feet shorter than the Titanic.
5 The DisasterAt 7:25 PM of May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg caught fire and was almost immediately engulfed in flames. A water tank and a fuel tank instantly burst out of the hull. When the tail crashed to the ground, the nose burst into flames, killing half of the crew members in the bow.It took around 34 seconds for the Hindenburg to be completely destroyed.Of the 36 passengers and 61 crewmen, only 13 passengers and 22 crewmen died.
6 Possible Causes of Ignition Static Electricity SparkTo make up for its more than 12-hour delay, the Hindenburg passed through a front with high humidity and electrical charge. This made the mooring lines wet and could’ve given the skin an electrical charge, which could’ve given a sudden electrical difference between the frame and the skin, causing a spark.
7 Possible Causes Cont’d Lightning TheoryThe Hindenburg was struck by lightning as it was venting Hydrogen to prepare for landing, which caused a flame.Engine Exhaust TheoryAs the Hindenburg was getting ready to land, one of the engines backfired, causing a shower of sparks to fly out.
8 Theories For the Fire’s Fuel The Incendiary Paint TheoryThe coatings on the skin of the Hindenburg contained iron-oxide and aluminum, 2 potentially reactive elements that are also used to make rocket fuel or thermite.This theory has been proven incorrect; the iron-oxide/aluminum ratio was inconsistent to thermite, and if it was, the skin would be 3 times heavier.
9 Fuel Theories Cont’d The Hydrogen Theory Hydrogen is much more flammable than helium. The Hindenburg used Hydrogen to get extra lift. When it caught on fire, the Hindenburg burned coinciding with the boundaries of the gas cells inside.The Hydrogen they used, however, was supposedly odorized with garlic, so the crew would smell it if there was a gas leak. There is no official document, however, that states that it was even odorized. Besides, after it caught on fire, the other smells would mask it. How it could’ve leaked also remains debatable.