“An Investigation into the Cause of an Explosion During the Refurbishing of Aluminum Mats Used for Portable Landing Fields”

2006:149: Brown

Microscope, Vol, 54:1 p.17-20


Aluminum mats are used to build portable airfields, (Figure 1). Occasionally a need for shorter mats requires modification and refurbishing of selected mats. The refurbishing process involves cutting a mat into smaller sections and adding a new end cap to the cut end. The refurbishing process is carried out by cutting the mat at one station, moving the mat section to a second station where re-enforcing inserts are welded into the cut end prior to welding a new end cap in place.

A mat section exploded when an arc was struck to weld an insert in place causing the insert to be propelled from the aluminum mat section. Work on any refurbished mats halted at this point until the cause of the explosion could be determined. MVA Scientific Consultants was asked to visit the work site where the aluminum mats were refurbished to investigate the cause of the explosion.

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