Portsmouth engineering student makes shocking discovery about Grenfell Tower

Laurence Casey applying water to an aluminium panel
Laurence Casey applying water to an aluminium panel

A University of Portsmouth student has made a shocking discovery about the type of panels used in the Grenfell Tower fire. 

Engineering student Laurence Casey has discovered the presence of water may have caused violent chemical reactions which could have accelerated the flames.

The experiment focused on the presence of aluminium in the panelling.

Mr Casey said: ‘Prior to the tests I had doubts about the reaction between aluminium and steam occurring. Once I had completed the tests my doubts were lifted and I was confident a reaction took place. The panels exposed to additional water produced more heat energy than burning petrol.’

Mr Casey believes this increase in heat energy coupled with the reactive release of additional hydrogen could have been responsible for increasing the rate at which the fire spread.

The research has raised questions regarding the current regulations and testing procedures for cladding.

‘This research highlights the issue as to whether some tests used to achieve compliance with building regulations are actually fit for purpose,’ explained Mr Casey.

The University have stressed that this is a preliminary test and that Mr Casey hopes to continue to investigate his results through further studies.