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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The academy vs. the conspiracy theorists

Scientists at Purdue University have apparently explained away some of the evidence that 9/11 conspiracy theorists find dubious. For example, some claim that the Twin Towers couldn't have collapsed without explosive assistance -- the fire could not have been hot enough to melt the steel and topple the buildings. AP:
A Purdue University computer simulation of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks shows in 3-D animation how the hijacked airplanes plowed through the towers, stripping fireproofing material from steel columns and causing the weakened skyscrapers to collapse.
The story provides a number of other details that challenge the argument often put forward by 9/11 doubters:
The report concludes that the weight of the aircraft's fuel, when ignited, produced "a flash flood of flaming liquid" that knocked out a number of structural columns within the building and removed the fireproofing insulation from other support structures, Hoffmann said.

The simulation also found that the airplane's metal skin peeled away shortly after impact and shows how the titanium jet engine shafts flew through the building like bullets.

Ayhan Irfanoglu, a Purdue professor of civil engineering, called the trade center "a very beautiful design, very sensible from an engineering point of view."

But he said half of the weight-bearing columns were concentrated at the cores of the towers.

"When that part is wiped out, the structure comes down," Irfanoglu said. "We design structures with some extra capacity to cover some uncertainties, but we never anticipate such heavy demand coming from an aircraft impact. If the columns were distributed, maybe, the fire could not take them out so easily."
Note for newcomers: this topic has been of interest since the blog began.

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