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Journal ArcherB's Journal: Yes, Fire collapses steel structures 5

"9-11 Truthers" say that there is no possible way that fire could cause the support beams in The World Trade Center to weaken, causing the buildings to collapse. On April 29, 2007 in Oakland California, a tanker truck hauling gasoline wrecked and burst into flames. Fortunately, no one was killed, but the resulting fire weakened the support structure of an overpass causing it to collapse. This, according the the truther argument, is impossible.

Of course, jet fuel is not gasoline. Jet fuel is much like diesel, it burns much hotter and slower than gasoline. Also, the Boeing 767 has a capacity of up to 24,000 US gallons of jet fuel. The tanker that crashed in Oakland had 8,600 gallons capacity.

Any truthers (other than Rosie, of course) care to take a stab at this one? Is this enough to make them say, "Hey, maybe planes did take down the WTC", or did the government secretly blow up the overpass to prove the truthers wrong?

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Yes, Fire collapses steel structures

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  • I think a core part of those arguments is that the steel in the WTCs was of a particular grade, and was insulated with fire-retardent material. As a side note, a friend-of-a-friend supposedly was on an adjacent freeway when that happened.
  • A great site for anyone tired of trying to have a rational discussion about the "conspiracies" surrounding 9/11 is Popular Mechanic's March 2005 cover story []. They go into detail regarding common myths, including the great gasoline mystery:

    Myth: "We have been lied to," announces the Web site "The first lie was that the load of fuel from the aircraft was the cause of structural failure. No kerosene fire can burn hot enough to melt steel."

    Fact: Jet fuel burns at 800 to 1500F, not hot eno

  • Here's the problem I have with the official explanation, though I'll admit I've done little research.

    As I understand it, the intense heat of the fires caused the steel in the "core" of the building to collapse. Now, a few month before 9/11, I saw a documentary on all of the planning that goes into causing a building to collapse--so called "implosions." One of the important things is timing--essentially that the appropriate pieces have to be cut at the same time. Otherwise, the building will fall sideways
    • Of course, that argument could go the other way, too. What are the odds that controlled explosions could be used to bring down three buildings doused with burning jet fuel in such a fashion? Seems far more likely to me that something would have gone wrong. With similar conditions in the buildings, I'd expect similar effects - meaning that it seems more likely that the buildings would collapse in the same fashion than that they would differ.

      Of course, all that that really means is that the utility of the
    • The main problem with this assertion is that the buildings did not undergo any kind of controlled implosion. Here's a thought experiment for you: take a dime and throw it off of a 5-story building. Notice the ratio between distance traveled horizontally and distance traveled vertically. Now, do the same thing for 110-story building. Because there is vertical acceleration but not horizontal acceleration the ratio will be much, much smaller. Hence, it will appear to travel "straight down". The same reasoning

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay