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Following a fire and the collapse of a pylon supporting two medium-voltage electricity lines, Principia was asked to investigate the sequence of events. A pre-existing fire could have caused the failure of the pylon or, alternatively, the collapse of the pylon with its live conductors could have caused electric arcs and initiated the fire.
Principia analysed the information available and investigated the various possibilities by means of the pertinent numerical simulations. As a result, we were able to conclude that the fire had preceded the collapse and that the brittle failure of the pylon had been made possible by a process of liquid-metal embrittlement.