View Full Version : Building Strength
09-12-01, 01:06 PM
Without in any way ignoring the culpability of the maniacs who leveled the World Trade Centers and the utter savages who sponsor them I must say I'm amazed, as someone who spent time in those two buildings in all types of weather, that they were not built to withstand an accidental hit by a jet. As the highest object near three of the largest international airports in the world, I would've thought the architects realized a jet hit in low visibility was a very real possibility, and made plans to avoid the kind of destruction that resulted in the death of countless people in the structure - and still more below - when the structure utterly failed.
The Empire State building was hit by a bomber in the mid 1940's and sustained major damage - and showed definitively twenty years before the Trade Center was designed that an impact like yesterdays was more than possible.
I was the field producer of a documentary for the Discovery Health Channel last July in Battery Park. I picked the spot for its piers and its iconic background views of the Statue of Liberty and...the Twin Towers.
Today the Chelsea Pier is a morgue and there's a hole where the Towers - and thousands of people - used to be, and I don't think it had to be that way.
You can't stop every maniac, but steps should've been taken to reduce the catastrophic damage they and accidents especially, are likely to cause.
09-12-01, 01:25 PM
jets use a different types of petrol than the 40s bombers(which used regular?disel?).
they said that the towers collapsed because the steel itself melted(the steel itself was exposed to the hit since the concrete cracked due to the impact) due to the intense hit.
09-12-01, 02:36 PM
Last night, structural engineers said the buildings steel "performed as designed, holding back the fire for 60 minutes. It could've held it back longer, but that would've cost more to build."
I'm saying that putting up the tallest buildings in the world, that hold the most people in the world, In the Flight Path of Three of the Largest Airports in the World, means you spend the extra money.
Understandably not much can take the impact from a 767. The engineers said that the building was designed to survive the impact, but the fire would always be the limiting factor. I doubt that any amount of structural engineering or materials could have saved the buildings from collapse.
09-12-01, 07:35 PM
After watching the events of the last few days, my mind kept slipping back to the movie "The Towering Inferno". It was the Fire Chief character played by Steve MacQueen, who said told the architect (Paul Newman's character) that he wished he was consulted in the building plan as there is no easy way to fight a fire above 10 stories. The World Trade Centre towers were 110 stories.
The crash itself was catastrophic. If you saw the images, you would wonder how the tower stayed up in the first place. It wasn't the crash that knocked it down it was the fire. The sheer heat weakened the entire structure. Maybe what the design was missing was a way for the heat to escape. Perhaps up a central passage. Of course that might not have worked. It might have made the fire worse. Extra heat shielding for any building above 10 stories may be called for, as might independant fire control suppression systems on every floor. I really don't believe that any of those things would have worked in this case though.
A few years ago, I proposed that all towers should be built horizontally, not vertically, and underground, not above ground. To prevent claustrophobia, there could be a large central greenhouse that was exposed to the outside sun. This facility would have the added benefit of being environmentally friendly, and easier to heat & cool.
Nothing though will ever insulate us from the idiocy of terrorism.
09-12-01, 07:43 PM
Modern structures are built of concrete, which is perhaps more resistant to structural damage by fire. The WTC was, of course, a steel structure.
The fire that most engineers take in to account is the normal office material. No one uses a few thousand gallons of aviation fuel and deliberate impact at full ramming speed into their calculations.
Now that such acts are possible, every government in the world is afraid that some lunatic will copy this and destroy their tall towers. The solution is to restrict the flying public to secured passengers and/or have sky marshals in every plane. Flying is a privilage like driving and not a right.
09-13-01, 12:24 PM
I don't think I would necessarily agree with the restrictions to flight travel. Rerouting flights wouldn't help, remember that these planes were diverted vast distances. Greater security might help, but remember with anyone that organized, they could find a way around it. Restricting flights to secured passengers may help, but also, the airlines thought that these hijackers were secure and some of them have lived in the US for months. There is simply no way to conduct that kind of surveilance.
There is NO way to prevent damage caused by a plane colliding with it. NONE! We just need to rethink our own priorities as humans and how they interrelate to both the Earth and our fellow man.