I believe some important information could be recovered if the Launchpad audio of STS-51L still exists.
The leak in the RH aft field joint could have created a high pitched whistle between 0.678 seconds and 2.733 seconds.
Based upon the frequency of that sound, it could be determined much more accurately the size and dynamics of that leak (was it a continuous leak or a leak/seal/ leak process).
Roger's Commission found the following:
Eight more distinctive puffs of increasingly blacker smoke were recorded between .836 and 2.500 seconds. The smoke appeared to puff upwards from the joint. While each smoke puff was being left behind by the upward flight of the Shuttle, the next fresh puff could be seen near the level of the joint. The multiple smoke puffs in this sequence occurred at about four times per second, approximating the frequency of the structural load dynamics and resultant joint flexing. https://history.nasa.gov/rogersrep/v1ch3.htm
The question I am trying to answer is whether those puffs were part of a leak/seal/leak/seal process (implying the O-rings were still functional) or were the puffs a result of opening and narrowing of the gap (implying the joint was always leaking just at different rates)
Does anyone know of a source for shuttle Launchpad recordings?