Manufacturing Invincible Black Boxes

Wed, 03/17/2010 - 7:43am

Airline accidents are rare events, but when they do occur, investigators pore through every detail of the wreckage to determine if the crash was the result of human error or mechanical failure. The black box is one of the many keys to solving these massive puzzles, but they have to survive the perils of a crashed, burning plane.

Black box manufacturers have to stress-test their products to an incredible degree, including burning at 1,100°C for an hour, a ten hour smoldering fire, 30-day immersion in seawater, and getting dunked into every airline fluid imaginable. Although the box itself rarely survives the impact, it does its duty by preserving the important data within.

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