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  • Titanium Revisited

    I while back there was a string posted concerning someone who encountered a titanium bar in a car door during an extrication. Rather than dig through all the past postings, can someone contact me via e-mail and refresh my memory on the year, make, model of the vehicle and exactly where the bar was located, what its purpose was and how it became part of the extrication problem.

    I have finally obtained a titanium bar from the local titanium company that I want to experiment with, but I would like to contact our rescue tool manufacturer to see if they have an interest in addressing this problem before I destroy my samples.

    ------------------
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

  • #2
    Are you Sure it was TITANIUM or could it possbly be Boron Steel or Micro Alloy? These are High Strength Alloy Steels and have been known to break some cutters if not attacked correctly

    ------------------
    Carl D. Avery

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    • #3
      That was my post.

      The car was a 1999 Oldsmobile Olegra that was involved in a head on collision. the force of the wreck forced the door support bar into the b post, and we used a ram spreader to try and get it to come out to where we could pop the door and then take it off at the hinges. The front of the door was so badly damaged, that it left an opening and the girls leg was hanging out of that space, so we couldn't pop the hinges first.

      We tried to cut the bar with the cutters and that didn't work either. We were told by both the wrecker driver and the local car dealership that this bar was made of titanium.

      Our Fire Marshall sent a piece of the bar off to one of the recip saw blade manufacturers. We fianally got it cut by using a recip saw with a regular blade on a slow speed for over 3 minutes.

      If the bar is not titanium and it is the boron steel or micro alloy that Carl Avery mentioned, it still presented us with quite a problem. If there are any suggesstions you guys have about an easier, faster way of cutting this stuff, let me know.

      Thanks

      Ed Brando

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the reply Ed! Saved me alot of digging.

        According to the owner of G&S Titanium in Wooster, Ohio, titanium is being used in automobile production. Actually it is a titanium alloy.

        Since it was a 1999 Olds Olegra, I would bet we'll be seeing more of this stuff in other models as well.

        ------------------
        Richard Nester
        Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

        Comment


        • #5
          We've seen these, too. During a junkyard tool demo we cut one with a Champion cutter. We covered it with a piece of rubber to keep pieces from flying. Only took about 5 seconds of cutting. I don't know what type of car it came out of, but we've seen them during working extrications.

          Comment


          • #6
            emsbrando

            I have cut numerous boron steel crash beams on 1997 through 2001 models of GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles using the hydraulic cutters during extrication classes, competitions and at crash scenes. From this experience, my tool of choice when the crash beam breaks loose from its anchor and pierces through the doorframe into the A or B pillar post is the Hydraulic cutter.

            Depending on the model and manufacturer of the cutter, a cutter with 60K to 70K pounds cut force at the notch should be sufficient to sever the material assuming care is taken beforehand to place the crash beam as far to the rear of the cutter blades as possible. Proper placement is the key.

            As might be expected, there is a direct correlation between the size of the vehicle and the size of the beam. The crash beam of a Lincoln or Cadillac will have a larger diameter and thicker wall than that of a Contour or Lumina. This should be a consideration when cutting.

            Have your hydraulic rescue tools and pump been serviced recently? Are the pump pressure and flow correct and is the hydraulic fluid in top condition? Have the cutter blades been cleaned, greased and the torque set correctly? In addition, has the tool been checked with a pressure gauge for possible internal leaks? These are all critical factors that effect tool performance.

            The boron steel crash beams are extremely hard, so take extra precautions when attempting this maneuver. Use hard board protection between the tool and the operator as well as the vehicle occupants.

            Stay Safe

            [This message has been edited by larescue (edited September 02, 2000).]

            Comment


            • #7
              This has been an interesting thread. Rick got his original question answered because Ed Brando from Carthage VFD cared enough to fill in the details of his original post from awhile ago. Thanks Ed.

              What is also important is the additional information provided by Carl Avery, larescue and J Almon on their experiences with these collision beams.

              The bottom line as I see it is that this thread serves as a reminder that manufacturers are continually using newer and more "exotic" materials in their vehicles. For every plan you have for extrication, have a Plan B and now, a Plan C.

              Also, remember that all door collision beams, regardless of contruction material, size, design or style, are attached to a single layer of sheet metal at each end of the car door. Plan C may have you cutting the sheet metal free all around the welded ends of the beam and moving or removing the whole beam as a unit.

              Think about it!

              Ron Moore
              University of Extrication
              Message Forum Moderator
              <[email protected]>

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              • #8
                Well, I haven't contacted Mr. Brick at Phoenix, but my Chief had occasion to speak with another key player at Phoenix at the IAFC Convention. He asked him about the titanium issue and what Phoenix felt was the best solution. Apparently the Phoenix rep has already been asked this since he readily had an answer.

                He advised that your are best off to avoid the bar and work on cutting or otherwise removing metal around it. As a last resort, he felt that the Phoenix C/C Cutter would be able to defeat the titanium, but at the cost of destroying your blades to the point you would have to replace them.

                Simular to cutting a steering column, if you have to do it, you have to do it... but if you can work around it in some other manner, then that is what you should do.



                ------------------
                Richard Nester
                Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A Posting from Forum Moderator Ron Moore

                  This is great advice from both Rich in Ohio and the folks at Phoenix Rescue Tools.

                  Regarding collision beams in vehicle doors, the consensus is to think twice about cutting them on newer, late-model vehicles. They may be the newer high-strength, low alloy metals. Titanium is just one metal reality we have to deal with on vehicles today.

                  If you do have to remove a collision beam, attempt to cut around the metal that it is welded to at each end of the door rather than trying to cut through the beam itself. Like the Phoenix representative said, if you have to cut it, it may ruin your power cutter. That's the risk vs. benefit you have to decide upon at your crash scene.

                  For me it's an easy decision. If I can't saw through the collision beam with a recip saw and a TORCH blade, I know I can cut the metal at the ends of the door and bring the entire beam out all in one piece. Makes a great training aid later back at the station!

                  I don't want to risk my power cutter. I don't like being there when those blades decide to fail explosively. Been there... done that.

                  Anybody with me on this?

                  [email protected]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    bump

                    Anyone have any new ideas to offer on this topic?

                    I came across this thread while looking for information on Chevy Lumina van's.

                    We cut one at practice last night. A real mess with all of the fiberglass. Little metal to pry against. I was shocked to see the gaping holes we cut behind the drivers B post where there is no side impact protection. I can see how the collision beams could be a problem if they got wedged in someplace where you couldn't spread them out of the way
                    SRFD905 - Serving since 1998

                    *~-|EGH|FTM|-~*

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had heard about the bars being ramed through the A & B post before but had never run into one. about two months ago we found one in a junk yard while setting up a class. The bar was pushed about 4 in. into the B post, I would not let them cut the bar because I wanted to find a way to get around it. The guys surprised me at how fast they dealt with it. It was a two door, and they started at the rear and made an angled relieve cut, then cut the top of the post and set the spreaders in the rear window like a vertical crush and spread the panel outward, as they did the gap began to open, they cut the nator pin,(with a sawsall) spread a little more and the bar turned loose. From what I seen this may not work every time but at this point it would be just a matter of a small cut in the sheet metal above the bar making a slot for it to pull out through.
                      http://www.midsouthrescue.org
                      Is it time to change our training yet ?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would like to pose this question...

                        Should we really be cutting these bars unless doing so is absolutely critical to completing the extrication? (When I say critical I mean this is the last resort to extricate a victim.)

                        One reason is the time involved... Should we be taking the time to overcome one of these bars? I have played with these a few times in classes and it is a time consuming process to deal with them. Or would it be better to go a different route (aka: plan B)?

                        Second is that we are going to be cutting this after/while it still may be subjected to abnormal torsion/tension as a result of the collision. When the last little piece is cut, could that stored energy be released and then the bar does something we don't want it to do?
                        Eric J. Rickenbach ("EJR")
                        FF/EMT/Instructor
                        Rehrersburg (Berks County), PA
                        www.rescuetechs.com
                        [email protected]

                        If there is no patient, it isn't a rescue. If you can't do patient care, you can't be a rescue. You are just a bunch of people with a tool.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm struggling to remember an extrication where I've had to even consider cutting such beams. I've only ever had to remove doors totally or simply blow them open...

                          Help me out here, I'm not sure why you'd need to consider cutting....
                          Luke

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by lutan1

                            Help me out here, I'm not sure why you'd need to consider cutting....
                            I made the comment that it would be a last resort option. As was pointed out by the folks at Phoenix, you could probably defeat the material, but you risk sacrificing your hydraulic cutter.

                            The only time I could see this being an option would be if you have the metal impaled into a victim and the call is made that you have to get that victim out NOW and any further delay will likely be fatal. At that point, I MIGHT turn to the OIC and ask for permission to make the attempt and deal with the potential results. By this time, we would have as much physical protection in place since we would have been working on releasing the piece from the weaker metals holding it up to this point.

                            I don't see this as a likely scenario... but I never say "never". I preach to never cut a steering column, but I had to make that call once when we had a victim go into trauma arrest on scene because he was pinned between the steering wheel and the seat of his van. Our attempts to break the seat rails and side supports were thwarted by the amount of materials shifted forward inside the van that denied us access to where we needed to make cuts. When he went pulseless on us, we clipped the steering column and did the old "rapid roll-out" on him. I didn't want to do it, and it knotched the cutter surface... but you can't do chest compressions with the chest compressed with a steering wheel. End result was he expired anyway, but at least we gave him that "chance" to live... which he would have been denied if we would have continued to prod around trying to get the seat moved back.
                            Richard Nester
                            Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

                            "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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