ArmitageShanks From UK - England, joined Dec 2003, 3653 posts, RR: 15 Posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4002 times:
Seeing that everyday mercury is extremely corrosive to aluminum that made me wonder about the potential that would allow terrorists to use it to bring down an airliner.
I saw a show about various metals and in one segment it showed that mercury could corrode a thick aluminum beam in a matter of hours. Is this possible and do you think it could bring down an airliner on a long flight it enough was used in the right locations?
Also... are there any current restrictions about bringing items that contain mercury (thermometers, etc) on aircraft?
474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3985 times:
Every manufacture provides a section in their Maintenance Manuals covering cleaning Mercury spills. You are correct that it is very corrosive to aluminum but with the corrosion protection applied to aircraft structure (anodize or alodine, primer and top coat) it takes more than a few hours to cause damage.
Bri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3970 times:
I think someone would notice if they threw mercury all over a plane while they were boarding. Once they're on the plane, do they have access to any aluminum? I'm looking at some interior photos, and I don't think any passengers have access to structural components or skin during flight. It's not so corrosive to the carpet on the floor, so it seems highly unlikely to me. Just though.
Not to mention, mercury is a metal, so it would probably set off the metal detector if carried on a person, and is poisonus, so it would be difficult to carry internally. It's a liquid under normal conditions, and you can't bring liquids on board right now anyway, so I'd say you have very little to worry about.