Steel and Concrete -vs- Fire


This Thursday, the Chico News and Review will be doing a story covering the pro and cons of the people that have been lobbying editor Evan Tuchinsky for more coverage of the alternate 9/11 theories that are being pushed around the country by conspiracy thinkers.

One of the central themes of the group is that the World Trade Center was brought down with explosives, rather than the engineering failure reports which point to the fire caused by the jet fuel, shocked off fireproofing, and steel trusses that weakened and allowed for a domino effect implosion and collapse.

Of course some people think is just part of the tinfoil hat crowd. But this past weekend the very same set of conditions that pitted fire against concrete and steel occurred at the gasoline tanker truck accident at the I880/580 interchange in Oakland creating an accidental laboratory to illustrate the proof that fire can indeed make steel and concrete structures fail.

For all those whom cling to the alternate fantasy belief that the World Trade Center towers could not have been brought down by burning jet fuel creating an inferno that melted steel, but rather, it was explosives planted by some conspiracy, the collapse of the I-880/580 Interchange in Oakland Sunday from a burning tanker truck should provide clear empirical proof that fire can easily take down steel and concrete structures.

Engineers estimated that the flames at the bridge reached close to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Steel is known to lose half of its rigidity at 1,000 degrees F and begins to melt at 2,750 degrees F.

People may conjecture myriads of alternate theories, but the laws of physics are absolute, unless of course you wear a tinfoil hat, then anything is possible.

Melting Points for Comparison

Engineers estimate Sunday’s I-880/580 flames reached close to 3,000 degrees. Here’s a breakdown of melting temperatures (In Fahrenheit) for some materials.

Molten lava: 3,140°

Iron melts: 2,797°

Steel melts: 2,750°

Gold melts: 1,947°

Silver melts: 1,763°

Steel loses half its rigidity: 1,000°

Lead melts: 622°

Water boils: 212°

Source: “Comparisons” by the Diagram Group and San Francisco Chronicle research

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Ron Acevedo
May 3, 2007 12:36 pm

There are a couple issues here. One is the poor conception Americans have of science in general. The other is the pure absurdity of conspiring to load up a building with explosives AND arrange for aircraft to crash into them. American gullibility and susceptibility to hype is the main story.
This relates to your other blog concerning the decline of newspapers. Americans want their knowledge spoon fed. Reading a newspaper is too much trouble, besides “my psychic says” the same guys who blew up the Trade Towers, mined the New Orleans levees. Aliens or Leprachauns I think.

David Walton
May 4, 2007 1:53 pm

I have always found it astounding and deplorably twisted that some folks can so easily believe their own government is capable of the most heinous, complex, and improbable of deeds while at the same time refusing to recognize the acute danger of terrorist acts as plotted, executed, and avowed (if not bragged about) by Islamo-fascist and other warfare-by-terror groups.
The “Tin Foil Hat” crowd is, imho, comprised of extremely deranged individuals — including the ridiculous and despicably ignorant Rosie O’Donnell.

Larry Grimm
August 17, 2007 2:38 pm

NIST thoroughly studied the remains. Their conclusion is very clear and a marvelous example of reconstructing an accident: The disintegrating plane fragments stripped the steel’s insulation. The fire did not get hot enough to melt the steel, but it did weaken it. In conjunction with the stresses resulting from severed steel beams, the heat-weakened steel finally gave way. The resulting gravitational pull on the large upper section and the large mass of this section were too much for the lower sections to withstand. -lg

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