How does a wet cloth really help (scientifically) to survive an airplane crash?

Page 1 of 8  
I'm not sure WHERE to ask this, but, how does a wet cloth work in an airplane crash anyway?
In step 3 at 45 seconds into this video shows it in use:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXaTtsnZZz0&feature=player_detailpage#tI

What's the wet cloth (scientifically) doing?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/15/2014 7:46 PM, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I agree with BobF; the wet cloth acts like a filter for both smoke particles and fumes that would be soluble in water.
During World War One, Canadian soldiers being attacked with chlorine gas (called "Mustard Gas" at the time because of it's yellow-green colour) were told to urinate into their handkerchiefs and to breathe through that wet cloth. The chlorine gas would dissolve in the water as it passed through the handkerchief, thereby keeping our troops safe and alive.
--
nestork

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 15 May 2014 20:16:19 -0400, Frank wrote:

That nicely summarized FAA article explains: - Smoke is a complex of particulate matter, invisible combustion gases & vapors suspended in the fire atmosphere. - Inhalation of toxic gases in smoke is the primary cause of fatalities - Carbon monoxide & hydrogen cyanide are the principal toxic combustion gases - Carbon monoxide combines with the hemoglobin in blood and interferes with the oxygen supply to tissues - Hydrogen cyanide inhibits oxygen utilization at the cellular level. - Carbon dioxide is a relatively innocuous fire gas, increases respiration rate causing an increase in the uptake of other combustion gases - Irritant gases, such as hydrogen chloride and acrolein, are generated from burning wire insulation - Generally, carbon dioxide levels increase while oxygen concentrations decrease during fires.
And then finally, the article suggests: - Cloth held over the nose and mouth will provide protection from smoke particulates; - If the cloth is wet, it will also absorb most of the water-soluble gases (i.e., hydrogen cyanide & hydrogen chloride).
What's interesting is that the entire article doesn't discuss any dangers of breathing smoke particulates, so, why it bothers to mention a dry cloth is perplexing since we can safely assume that filtering out particulates is merely a convenience, and not a safety issue.
So, now we're left with the a WET cloth absorbing water-soluble gases. Of the two water-soluble gases, only hydrogen cyanide was listed in the article as being a safety issue (the other water-soluble gas was merely an irritant).
So, I guess we finally have the answer to "why the wet cloth?".
The WET CLOTH filters out (water soluble) hydrogen cyanide: "Hydrogen cyanide poisoning signs & symptoms are weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, coma, convulsions, & death. Death results from respiratory arrest. Hydrogen cyanide gas acts rapidly. Symptoms & death can both occur quickly."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 05/15/2014 11:26 PM, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

Yes, a rag soaked in the proper solvent will perform better than a dry rag. This is why you should have a properly labeled 4 oz bottle of dihydrogen monoxide in your carry on bag.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/16/2014 8:29 AM, Hugh Briss wrote:

You should know that inhaling that will kill you. And at high temperatures, the vapors can be lethal, also. And you want people to carry it on PLANES! Shesh!.
For safety, all passengers should fly nude. Discounts offered to cheerleaders squads who get frequent flier miles.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 05/16/2014 05:15 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

DHMO also contributes to severe weather and flash flooding.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/16/2014 9:15 AM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Looking around right now, including looking in a mirror, I'd want a blindfold! I'm willing to make exceptions, but most of the time, a blindfold would keep you from getting an upset tummy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/16/2014 10:26 AM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

That's when you put on the phony politician half smile and say "Charmed, I'm sure" to everyone. I'd not want to ask the man next to me for some grey poupon.
--
.
Christopher A. Young
Learn about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, May 16, 2014 5:29:10 AM UTC-7, Hugh Briss wrote:

They don't LET you carry on water bottles! I've had FULL unopened ones confiscated! And try getting water from the flight attendant in the middle of a crisis.
HB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Friday, May 16, 2014 5:29:10 AM UTC-7, Hugh Briss wrote:

They don't LET you carry on water bottles. I've had FULL unopened ones confiscated. And try getting ewater from a flight attendant in the middle of a crisis!
HB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014 12:52:29 PM UTC-4, Higgs Boson wrote:

Yes they do. You can carry on as much water as you want, as long as you either buy it or fill the bottle at a drinking fountain after the TSA checkpoint. You could also carry 3.4 oz through TSA, which is pretty close to the stated 4 ounces. It's also not unusual for there to be a a bottle or two of airline water somewhere around you, many airlines hand them out during the flight.
Not that any of that matter much in the grand scheme of things.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:49:30 AM UTC-7, trader_4 wrote:

I stand corrected by 2 posters re: water bottle post TSA checkpoint. Mea Culpa.
HB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/15/2014 11:26 PM, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

If I'm in a burning about to crash plane, I think the last thing I would worry about would be the smoke ;)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 17/05/14 05:00, Frank wrote:

As the airspeed would 'fan' the fires it would also take all the smoke away for the few seconds you'd have to live
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 5/16/2014 12:00 PM, Frank wrote:

If you are the driver and can't see through the smoke, would you worry about the smoke then or relax and resign yourself to your fate?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 17/05/14 08:28, John S wrote:

I believe you meant to type 'pilot' and I'd be doing everything within my power to fly the aircraft and survive
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 15 May 2014 18:22:53 -0700, Bob F wrote:

Based on the one referenced FAA article, the dry cloth does nothing for safety, but a wet cloth reduces the water-soluble hydrogen cyanide gases.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 16 May 2014 03:30:48 +0000, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

Armed with the new keywords "wet cloth hydrogen cyanide", I find more on the toxicity of HCN over here:
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/MMG/MMG.asp?id 41&tid$9 "Hydrogen cyanide is readily absorbed from the lungs; symptoms of poisoning begin within seconds to minutes. The odor of hydrogen cyanide is detectable at 2-10 ppm (OSHA PEL = 10 ppm), but does not provide adequate warning of hazardous concentrations. Perception of the odor is a genetic trait (20% to 40% of the general population cannot detect hydrogen cyanide); also, rapid olfactory fatigue can occur. Hydrogen cyanide is lighter than air. Children exposed to the same levels of hydrogen cyanide as adults may receive larger doses because they have greater lung surface area:body weight ratios and increased minute volumes:weight ratios."
"Hydrogen cyanide acts as a cellular asphyxiant. By binding to mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase, it prevents the utilization of oxygen in cellular metabolism. The CNS and myocardium are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of cyanide."
"In the United States, antidotes for cyanide include amyl nitrite perles and intravenous infusions of sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate, which are packaged in the cyanide antidote kit."
But, what we need to know is how effective is the wet cloth in reducing the hydrogen cyanide gases in the cabin air.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 16 May 2014 03:41:06 +0000, Ann Marie Brest wrote:

And, here's what OSHA has to say about the dangers of HCN: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-123/pdfs/0333.pdf
"[Hydrogen cyanide] is capable of bringing to a halt all cellular respiration".
"A few inhalations of high concentrations of HCN may be followed by almost instantaneous collapse and cessation of respiration."
"270ppm HCN is immediately fatal to humans" "181ppm HCN is fatal after 10 minutes" "135ppm HCN is fatal after 30 minutes" "110ppm HCN is fatal after 60 minutes"
"Humans tolerate 45ppm to 54ppm for 1/2 to 1 hour without immediate or delayed effects, while 18ppm to 36ppm may result in symptoms after exposure for several hours."
So, the key question is what the HCN concentrations are in a typical airplane cabin fire?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.