1. #1
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    Default world trade center fire questions

    Hello, I just saw this show on the world trade center attack on the history channel, and I had a couple questions.

    1. This guy on the show says he saw "pools of molten steel" in the basement after the collapse, can't remember what organization he was with. But steel melts at a pretty high temperature, like 2200 F I think. Could this guy be mistaken? Or did it really get that hot in there? Could it just get so warped by fire that it looked like it melted?

    2. They said that 1000+ degree fires burned in the rubble underground for weeks. How does fire burn that hot for so long underground? Why doesn't it get smothered by the rubble?

    3. How do investigators find out how hot a fire burned?

    If you could help with any of these I would appreciate it! Thank you very much.

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    Yeah I thought some of those comments were odd too. Yes the steel did melt. The jet fuel along with the uncompromised air supply leeds to the fire burning extremely hot. The fire burned for that long because because it had almost unlimited fuel since the pile was so twisted air could flow in and smoke out. also the fire could burn up, down, left and right.
    They find out how hot the fire is by what it burned ex. gypsum board at this temp, paper at this temp.etc etc

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    Quote Originally Posted by KemalT
    Hello, I just saw this show on the world trade center attack on the history channel, and I had a couple questions.

    1. This guy on the show says he saw "pools of molten steel" in the basement after the collapse, can't remember what organization he was with. But steel melts at a pretty high temperature, like 2200 F I think. Could this guy be mistaken? Or did it really get that hot in there? Could it just get so warped by fire that it looked like it melted?

    2. They said that 1000+ degree fires burned in the rubble underground for weeks. How does fire burn that hot for so long underground? Why doesn't it get smothered by the rubble?

    3. How do investigators find out how hot a fire burned?

    If you could help with any of these I would appreciate it! Thank you very much.
    You will find the answers to most of your questions here:

    http://wtc.nist.gov/
    http://www.bfrl.nist.gov/

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    Default WTC, and others

    I benefit from the education from all these types of programs. We understand that buildings fail when the connections fail. I think that of all the WTC buildings lost, they were from collapse. Collapses create many voids (air spaces). Also in large structures, and in most CBD areas as Manhattan is, a variety of underground features exist. Generally speaking, and not trying to reference all the WTC buildings (never visited), there are levels of the different buildings below grade, tunnels, and other passageways. This and availability of fuel (that we add to every structure) can account for continued burning. If one has been to a landfill fire....well

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    Thanks guys, that is interesting. It's amazing how fire can burn under rubble. And how steel seems so solid/strong but fire can weaken it.

    One more question what is that stuff they put on steel to protect it from fire? Another show I saw said it was falling off some steel in the towers before 9-11.

    I guess the people in fire protection and building design have learned a lot from 9-11. I wonder if any building design could have stood in the attack, it was so much fire and damage so quickly...

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    in older buildings it is usually a abspestos based stray foam. Currently I believe it is a silicone base, but dont quote me on that

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    I found something interesting! I pulled up a New York Times article from 2003, and it said that they saw "molten metal" pouring out of a window just before the collapse of south tower.

    Exact words:
    Finally, an unexplained cascade of molten metal from the northeast corner of the south tower just before it collapsed might have started when a floor carrying pieces of one of the jetliners began to sag and fail. The metal was probably molten aluminum from the plane and could have come through the top of an 80th floor window as the floor above gave way, Dr. Pitts said.
    So the "molten steel" the guy in the documentary saw was probably really molten aluminum from the plane. Aluminum melts at 660C. That's around the temperature NIST estimates the fire to be. So it makes sense now.

    BTW the article is by James Glanz, 3 dec 2003, "New Evidence is reported that floors failed on 9/11."

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