Leadership

Extinguishing Magnesium Fires

Issue 11 and Volume 108.

Extinguishing Magnesium Fires THE rapid development of magnesium as one of our most useful metals has been nothing short of phenomenal. Light weight combined with strength provides a strength-weight ratio favorable for many applications in transportation, construction, and other areas. This one-time “wonder metal” has made its appearance on the ground, in the air, in the factory and even among pots and pans in the American kitchen. Indicative of the wide-spread use of magnesium is its application in the aircraft industry. Both weight and strength are of extreme importance here, particularly in long-range and high-speed ships. A B-36, for instance, contains some 16,000 pounds of this metal in the airframe, landing gear, turrets, power plants, propellers and miscellaneous equipment.(1) The outer skin of several new aircraft is made largely of thin, sheet magnesium. Many firemen have become familiar with the metal, too. Unfortunately, some have responded to an alarm only…

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