A structural integrity evaluation of corroded prisoner cell doors was requested. It was reported that during very heavy spring rains, the lower edges of vertical stacked doors were submerged in water and mud. An overall view of the prison doors installed in modular cell units prior to permanent placements are shown in Photograph A.
Photograph A Prison doors for which an integrity evaluation was requested.
Questions about the prison cell door integrity were raised when the bottoms, sides and hinge areas of numerous cell doors were visually observed to exhibit external corrosion.
An overall view of stacks of the questionable cell doors is shown in Photograph B.
Photograph B Stacks of prison cell doors with questionable integrity.
A close-up view of the bottoms of stacks of questioned cell doors is shown in Photograph C.
Photograph C Bottoms of questionable prison cell doors.
A close-up view of the lower corner on one cell door and lower door hinge is shown in Photograph D.
Photograph D Bottom (foot) of lower door panel.
A close-up view of the bottom (foot) of the lower cell door panel is shown in Photograph E.
Photograph E Corroded bottom edge of door.
A close-up view of a corroded hinge and hinge pocket is shown in Photograph F.
Photograph F Corroded hinge and hinge pocket.
The internal structure of the subject doors was quite remarkable. The door panels were reinforced with an internal truss structure. Columns of fiberglass insulation (for sound, not thermal insulation) were inserted into the truss interstitices (inside the door).
A close-up view of this internal structure is shown in Photograph G.
Photograph G Internal truss structure.
Corrosion of the door’s internal truss structure is clearly evident. The lower sections of selected cell doors were cut for internal visual examination.
A typical corroded condition of the lower cell door is shown after sectioning in Photograph H.
Photograph H Section cut from lower corner of one cell door.
Some cut sections had a consolidated dirt/mud residue as shown in Photograph I.
Photograph I Section cut from cell door. Dirt/mud residue was found.
To view and examine the entire internal structure, including the truss structure, extent of corrosion and moisture migration, the spot welds attaching the truss structure to the front and rear panels were marked and drilled. Drilling was conducted in an attempt to remove wall to truss spot welds, thereby enabling viewing of the door truss internal structure.
An overall view of the drilled lower section of one of the test doors is shown in Photograph J.
Photograph J Test door after drilling to remove spot welds.
The subject door was then opened (drilled panel removed) and the opened door is shown in Photograph K.
Photograph K The subject “opened” cell door revealing internal structure/corrosion.
As can be seen from Photograph K the fiberglass insulation has acted as a “wick” and moisture and mud in the bottom of the doors has wicked up 12 to 18 inches from the bottom of the door. In some cases (light brown areas in Photograph K) the fiberglass did not get as wet at the bottom of the door and thus much less wicking and moisture migration occurred. As can be seen from Photograph K the fiberglass insulation has acted as a “wick” and moisture and mud in the bottom of the doors has wicked up 12 to 18 inches from the bottom of the door. In some cases (light brown areas in Photograph K) the fiberglass did not get as wet at the bottom of the door and thus much less wicking and moisture migration occurred.
The final result of this investigation was an opinion that the internal structure had been completely compromised and that nothing could be done to mitigate and/or reduce future corrosion. Thus, in order to keep the “bad guys” in their cells it was recommended that the subject corroded cell doors not be salvaged and that they be replaced.