Originally Posted by F and E Damp
To clarify my post a little, several airplane tire bursts I studied were actually spontaneous explosions of the gases that built up when the tires got very hot (over 750 degrees). Nitrogen will not support combustion - air will. One 727 incident we analyzed showed a spike in the internal tire pressure to around 12,000 psi that blew rubber and tire carcass debris against the airplane structure and caused an 18" hole.
And that is the reason the FAA issued an Airwothiness Directive ( in 1989 if I'm correct). After some fires and explosions resulting from overheated brakes in magnesium wheels on large airplanes and the resulting airframe damage, it was determined that air servicing of tires on braked wheels on large airplanes be replaced with nitrogen servicing.
Some of the damage was severe as the fragments from the exploding wheels usually tore up the aircrafts wheel wells and pressure bulkheads.