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Old 17th September 2007, 04:48 PM   #1
Apollo20
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[Moderated]Another engineer criticizes NIST & FEMA

I e-mailed this to Prof. Astaneh this afternoon:

Dear Professor Astaneh,

I was very pleased to read about your new findings on the causes of the collapse of WTC 1 & 2 as recently reported on the internet.

I am not a civil engineer - I am a retired scientist - but I have researched the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, in some detail and I have come to the conclusion that the Twin Towers were doomed from the moment that they were struck by the aircraft.

I further believe that it is unacceptable that the original 1960s calculations, claiming to show that the buildings could survive aircraft impacts, are not available to researchers and subject to intense scrutiny. Professor Astaneh, if you are now saying that the Twin Towers could not have survived such impacts, why would any qualified engineer ever claim that they could?

I also believe that the NIST and FEMA Reports were mainly intended to protect the American construction industry and the designers of the WTC from any criticism and culpability for the catastrophic failures of WTC 1 & 2. Therefore I am not surprised that a proper scientific investigation, such as the one you have been undertaking for the past 5 years, would contradict the NIST and FEMA Reports and reveal the true cause(s) of the tragedy that unfolded in New York City on 9/11.

It is most regrettable that no legal actions or lawsuits associated with 9/11 have been able to make any headway in the face of the government’s position that 19 Arab jihadists were solely responsible for all the death and destruction of 9/11. That an extreme act of terror occurred in New York City on 9/11 is not in doubt. But the fact that the target buildings should have totally succumbed as they did with the loss of almost 3000 lives, needs to be investigated. If the towers were not “up to code”, and a well-designed structure could have survived the aircraft strikes, the American public has a right to know and steps should be taken to ensure that skyscrapers are better designed in the future.

In conclusion, Professor Astaneh, let me add that regardless of how the great 9/11 debate plays-out in the months ahead, I salute your tenacity and courage in speaking out at this time on this very important issue and I hope that your work leads to a reappraisal of the 9/11 tragedy.

Sincerely.....
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:04 PM   #2
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Quote:
I further believe that it is unacceptable that the original 1960s calculations, claiming to show that the buildings could survive aircraft impacts, are not available to researchers and subject to intense scrutiny. Professor Astaneh, if you are now saying that the Twin Towers could not have survived such impacts, why would any qualified engineer ever claim that they could?
I'd point out that the towers clearly -did- survive the impacts, else they would have fallen down immediately.

Looking at the reports of what he said, I'd be interested to know why he thinks that thicker exterior beams and concrete about the stairwells would have prevented the building collapsing, the fires, which were the main cause of the collapse, still would have pulling in the exterior columns, though it may have taken longer for them to give out. Concrete about the stairwell might have helped protect thoise inside, but I doubt they would have held up the buildings.

I also can't find where he critizes NIST or FEMA, but rather he is critizing the civil-engineering industry's and ASCE for how the buildings were designed.

Quote:
Astaneh sharply criticized the American Society of Civil Engineers, which he said cared more about defending the industry than revealing the truth about the towers' design.
From what I have found his bone seems to be with the design of the towers, not the investigation into their collapse.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
...

I also can't find where he critizes NIST or FEMA, but rather he is critizing the civil-engineering industry's and ASCE for how the buildings were designed.

From what I have found his bone seems to be with the design of the towers, not the investigation into their collapse.
Exactly- the title of this thread is patently false.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:11 PM   #4
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Do you have a link to a whitepaper or publication?

All I know of is his annual lecture (announcement and abstract can be found here).

I also add parenthetically that I am on the record as criticizing NIST. There isn't a shred of doubt remaining about its core conclusion, namely that impact + fire led to the collapses, but I consider recommendations for future building code still up for debate. See Arup, etc.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by R.Mackey View Post
Do you have a link to a whitepaper or publication?
Yes I noticed that Apollo 20 didn't provide any information. This is where I found mine.

Reading through your linkie to (eta: the advert for) his speech now.
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Last edited by PhantomWolf; 17th September 2007 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:20 PM   #6
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I have had a very interesting response from Prof. Astaneh... He most assuredly criticizes NIST ... for who it contracted some of the structural modeling work to for example.

Conflict of interest I would say!

I guess moral corruption IS everywhere...
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
I also can't find where he critizes NIST or FEMA, but rather he is critizing the civil-engineering industry's and ASCE for how the buildings were designed.
From what I have found his bone seems to be with the design of the towers, not the investigation into their collapse.
Originally Posted by Totovader View Post
Exactly- the title of this thread is patently false.

I'm willing to give Apollo20 the benefit of the doubt on this one. If the buildings were inadequately designed, and NIST did not point this out (whether or not the design shorcomings were directly relevant to the cause of collapse), then this would seem to at least imply criticism of NIST for the omission.

There's some ambiguity here because "criticism of NIST" may mean criticism of the NCSTAR conclusions, or it may mean criticism of something else about NIST such as how they conducted the investigation, and the two are not interchangeable.

Respectfully,
Myriad
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:29 PM   #8
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Did anyone see the 1968 movie ROSEMARY'S BABY?

It kind-of reminds me of how NIST & FEMA operated during the WTC investigations...

And who is Saw-Teen See anyway?
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Apollo20 View Post
I further believe that it is unacceptable that the original 1960s calculations, claiming to show that the buildings could survive aircraft impacts, are not available to researchers and subject to intense scrutiny.
NIST could not find any evidence such calculations even exist, what makes you think they do? Have you found eveidence of such calculations?

Quote:
I also believe that the NIST and FEMA Reports were mainly intended to protect the American construction industry and the designers of the WTC from any criticism and culpability for the catastrophic failures of WTC 1 & 2.
Wow, you think architects, engineers, and builders should be liable for not making a building that could withstand a direct hit from a jumbo jet doing 500 mph? In my mind, that's akin to GM being sued because their car could not withstand the impact of a 70 mph freight train.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Apollo20 View Post
Did anyone see the 1968 movie ROSEMARY'S BABY?

It kind-of reminds me of how NIST & FEMA operated during the WTC investigations...

And who is Saw-Teen See anyway?
I think that's my cue to exit.

If anyone finds a written position from the esteemed Professor Astaneh-Asl, please send me a PM. I'd be interested in reading it, and might even agree with what he has to say.

Baiting, however, not so interesting.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
I'm willing to give Apollo20 the benefit of the doubt on this one. If the buildings were inadequately designed, and NIST did not point this out (whether or not the design shorcomings were directly relevant to the cause of collapse), then this would seem to at least imply criticism of NIST for the omission.
Personally I'm not, from what little I can find on Prof. Astaneh, even from his own website (which doesn't seem to have been updated lately), his main concerns seem to be about the fact that the building wasn't build to a certain standard that might have survived better under the plane attacks. The Buildings weren't build to be hit by a plane, and as Wildcat says, blaming the engineers that initially built them for that fact is like blaming the car manufactor for the damage that results from thier product being run over by a tank. The buildings were safe for what they were intended for and it is only through hindsight that we know they performed poorly otherwise.

It seems to me to be faulty logic to blame people for things that could not be forseen, and I see no reason for NIST or FEMA to place blame on the engineers or designers for not factoring in someone flying a 767 into the building at top speed.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:40 PM   #12
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His study sounds quite similar to this one by Hoo Fat et all:

Impact of the Boeing 767 Aircraft into the World Trade Center. By: Karim, Mohammed R.; Fatt, Michelle S. Hoo. Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Oct2005, Vol. 131 Issue 10, p1066-1072.

Who also find that increasing the thickness of the exterior columns can prevent the wings from penetrating the building.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:43 PM   #13
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I also have my doubts that, even if the buildings did not collapse, anyone above the impact floors could have survived. The firemen couldn't get up, and the trapped people couldn't get down. The death toll would have been roughly the same, less the firefighters killed in the collapse.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:48 PM   #14
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The missing aircraft impact calculation is just one point I made to Prof. Astaneh. But if you are not interested in discussing the CORRUPTION angle of who worked on the NIST and FEMA Reports, well, fine... continue in your NISTIAN dream world...talking to each other .... I have better things to do than debate JREFers anyway .... I just thought some more open-minded folks out there might want to consider what Prof. Astaneh is saying...
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:50 PM   #15
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Well if you actually have solid evidence of corruption, go for it, if you're just planning to throw about mud and speculation and hope something sticks, then I don't see the point
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:51 PM   #16
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two questions

1) If the towers were built using a conventional bay or grid skeleton system instead of the tube and core design, Would they have withstood the initial impact? (I think not)


2) should skyscrapers built today be designed to withstand attacks from an entity and/or technology 30 years into the future?
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by WildCat View Post
I also have my doubts that, even if the buildings did not collapse, anyone above the impact floors could have survived. The firemen couldn't get up, and the trapped people couldn't get down. The death toll would have been roughly the same, less the firefighters killed in the collapse.
Some might have if they'd found the right stairwells. Not all of the stairwells were blocked, but only a few people discovered that. Of course if some twerp hadn't decided after '93 that there was the possiblity of roof access by terrorists and so locked the fire door access to the roof and placed spikes all over it to prevent helicopters landing, they might have gotten some off that way too, assuming that the pilots were willing to risk it.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:56 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by A W Smith View Post
two questions

1) If the towers were built using a conventional bay or grid skeleton system instead of the tube and core design, Would they have withstood the initial impact? (I think not)
From what I understand, one of the main reasons that they weren't, was that because of the size, it simply wasn't possible to build buildings using the standard beam and column bays that were in use at the time. The weight of the steel would have meant that the lower floors would have had to have been solid.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
Some might have if they'd found the right stairwells. Not all of the stairwells were blocked, but only a few people discovered that. Of course if some twerp hadn't decided after '93 that there was the possiblity of roof access by terrorists and so locked the fire door access to the roof and placed spikes all over it to prevent helicopters landing, they might have gotten some off that way too, assuming that the pilots were willing to risk it.

Eighteen people descended from the upper floors of WTC 2, as the off-center impact nearly spared Stairway A. No one from the upper floors of WTC 1 survived, if I remember correctly.

The heat of the fires would have made helicopter rescue impossible. The helicopters on-scene noticed immediate excessive EGT (exhaust-gas temperature sensor) readings in their turbines when they got close, even without hovering, as they would have had to do to rescue anyone. The decision to discourage rooftop rescue was correct, but it's unfortunate that not everyone understood that.

Now I'm really gone. Let me know when it's out on pay-per-view.
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Old 17th September 2007, 05:57 PM   #20
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This:

Originally Posted by Apollo20 View Post
I am a retired scientist...
does not go with this:

Originally Posted by Apollo20 View Post
...But if you are not interested in discussing the CORRUPTION angle of who worked on the NIST and FEMA Reports, well, fine... continue in your NISTIAN dream world...talking to each other .... I have better things to do than debate JREFers anyway .... I just thought some more open-minded folks out there might want to consider what Prof. Astaneh is saying...
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Old 17th September 2007, 06:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
If the towers were not “up to code”...
That should be quite easy to determine. Does the code under which the buildings were built include ability to withstand aircraft impact and the resulting fires?

No?

Then on what possible basis would corruption charges or civil lawsuits against the WTC design team, NIST, or FEMA proceed?

ETA: Moreover, NIST explicitly makes clear that their study CANNOT be used in any litigation. So what possible motive could they have in covering anything up?

Last edited by boloboffin; 17th September 2007 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 17th September 2007, 06:05 PM   #22
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Has DRG become a total enigma or what? You certainly keep it interesting, sir.
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Old 17th September 2007, 06:08 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by R.Mackey View Post
The heat of the fires would have made helicopter rescue impossible. The helicopters on-scene noticed immediate excessive EGT (exhaust-gas temperature sensor) readings in their turbines when they got close, even without hovering, as they would have had to do to rescue anyone. The decision to discourage rooftop rescue was correct, but it's unfortunate that not everyone understood that.
Thank you for that. I knew there had to be a good reason for this.
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Old 17th September 2007, 06:12 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by PhantomWolf View Post
From what I understand, one of the main reasons that they weren't, was that because of the size, it simply wasn't possible to build buildings using the standard beam and column bays that were in use at the time. The weight of the steel would have meant that the lower floors would have had to have been solid.
I'd be interested in Asteneh's results, but in the paper above from Hoo Fat, they increased the column thickness from 9.5mm to 20mm to stop the wings from penetrating, which is pretty significant and would add a great deal of weight.

Though their simulation stops as soon as the wings hit the building, and it would be interesting to find out how this would effect the fuel dispersion and fire in the event of an impact to a beefed up perimeter as well.
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Old 17th September 2007, 06:20 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Regnad Kcin View Post
This:

[apollo quote]

does not go with this:

[apollo quote]
Thats the first thing I thought.
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Old 17th September 2007, 06:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Apollo20 View Post
The missing aircraft impact calculation is just one point I made to Prof. Astaneh. But if you are not interested in discussing the CORRUPTION angle of who worked on the NIST and FEMA Reports, well, fine... continue in your NISTIAN dream world...talking to each other .... I have better things to do than debate JREFers anyway .... I just thought some more open-minded folks out there might want to consider what Prof. Astaneh is saying...
...but you haven't told us what he's saying, nor anything about this supposed corruption angle. What are we supposed to discuss? Idle speculation?
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Old 17th September 2007, 07:31 PM   #27
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I think Apollo has just produced the so called "Hit and Run" post...lol

Quote:
I have better things to do than debate JREFers anyway
TAM
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Old 17th September 2007, 07:50 PM   #28
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it wasn't even a hit, it was more like him telling us he had a hit in another game and then running away when we asked about it.
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:00 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by T.A.M. View Post
I think Apollo has just produced the so called "Hit and Run" post...lol

Quote:
I have better things to do than debate JREFers anyway
If there is any better proof that Apollo has went fully woo i would like to see it.
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:22 PM   #30
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It is not so woo as one might suspect.
For one thing this has nothing to do with blaming neo-cons, no-planers, space weapons etc.

The subject is also not whether or not the buildings were up-to-code. They were. However, the code they adhered to was written specifically for them(well, for the PANYNJ).

Secondly, it has been brought up by others, on various occassions and in various venues that the core walls were simple drywall and that did nothing to protect the fire standpipes, sprinkler pipes, stairwells, that the spray on insulation used in many buildings is easily abraded but that a cementatious spray on is available as is a paint on that only expands when heated and adheres much better than the present insulation(which in many cases simply comes off when workers install new systems, such as new lighting)

Stairwells were narrow. They only have to be 44 inches wide!! Getting thousands of people out while having FF's go up takes too long.
Stairwells also were only protected by drywall. A concrete wall may have kept some stairs to the upper sections open.

Some elevators can be mounted to the outside corners of buildings and given secure power.

So there are two topics here.
1) Do codes for tall structures need to be rewritten, concrete stairwells, concrete protection of water supplies,cementatious insulation, secure elevators, wider stairwells?
2) Was there a deal made for PANYNJ that lessened the cost of construction and operation at the expense of safety?

The problem with #1 is that it would shine a light on the fact that these things have been thought of for a long time and that the deaths of 3000 people are what would be bringing them to light. The engineering community could be seen as culpable in not pushing for these changes earlier. The idea being that it would make buildings more expensive(increase the cost of a $100 million structure by 1% and you need another $1 million) and that would(could) impact the construction contracts that engineering firms get. Push for greater safety=less work

The problem with #2 is obvious. It would mean that someone's head would be on the line. Probably several, powerful, someones.

Last edited by jaydeehess; 17th September 2007 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:28 PM   #31
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To add some context, these are the opinions of Astaneh-Asl:

December 2003:

Quote:
Based on the field investigation and study of drawings and other design related documents, it is the opinion of the author that the highly redundant exterior tube of the World Trade Center with many closely spaced columns was able to tolerate the loss of many columns and support the gravity while almost all occupants who could use a stairway escaped to safety. The collapse of the towers was most likely due to the intense fire initiated by the jet fuel of the planes and continued due to burning of the building contents. It is also the opinion of the author that had there been better fireproofing installed to delay the steel structure, specially the light weight truss joists and exterior columns from reaching high temperature until the content of the buildings burned out, probably the collapse could be avoided and the victims above the impact area rescued. Finally, in the opinion of the author, if the walls around the stairwells were stronger and the stairwells were not all located at one place, many of the victims who were trapped in the floors above the impact area probably could find a useable staircase and escape to safety.

http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/%7Eastane...per%202003.pdf
September 2007:

Quote:
"On 911 building the lost, the plane ended up being stronger than building, entered the building, caused the fire and the fire collapsed the buildings," said UC Berkeley professor Albolhassan Astaneh.

The World Trade Center was built using a type of construction that as far as professor Astaneh knows had never been used before, and has not been used since. Steel walls surround the structure bearing most of the load. In traditional building there's structural framing like a cage throughout the building making it stronger according to the professor.

"Our studies show that if you had designed it according to code using the traditional systems that we use in any other building the building would be easily defeating the plane," said Professor Astaneh.

Professor Astaneh says it's a little known fact that the World Trade Center was built without conforming to New York City's building code and without New York City permits; that's because construction was under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

"It doesn't mean that there was anything wrong with the gravity design to resist the gravity of wind. But such a design did not have the embedded robustness that the code design would have," said Professor Astaneh.

He was quick to point out it wasn't engineers or designers who killed more than 3,000 people that day.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sec...cal&id=5646058
September 2007:

Quote:
Speaking on campus to memorialize the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Abolhassan Astaneh said his five-year study of the collapse of the Twin Towers revealed that a better design likely would have prevented many of the nearly 3,000 deaths that day.

Astaneh sharply criticized the American Society of Civil Engineers, which he said cared more about defending the industry than revealing the truth about the towers' design.

"It's just moral corruption," Astaneh said in response to a question from the audience. "I don't beat around the bushes."

Astaneh, who first researched the disaster in the days following Sept. 11, said he had access to well-guarded architectural drawings of the 110-story towers for his study. The schematics showed that the buildings were supported almost completely by thin steel beams around the outside.

Thicker beams on the exterior and more concrete surrounding the stairwells would have added at least $30 million to the cost of the buildings, he said, but could have saved hundreds or thousands of lives after airliners hit both towers. Instead, the resulting 1,000-degree fire easily destroyed the structure, he said. Most tall skyscrapers, including Chicago's Sears Tower, are sturdier and likely wouldsurvive such attacks, Astaneh said. Because of the industry's defensiveness, "the public is left with the notion that these buildings were like any other buildings, he said.

With thicker beams, the animation showed the planes disintegrating almost immediately after hitting the tower. In contrast, the airliners punched through the unreinforced exterior with little resistance.

"Like a knife cutting through soft butter," Astaneh said. "Airplanes are not very strong, but this building was even weaker than an airplane."

New York building codes would have prevented the towers' flimsy design, he said, but federal laws allowed engineers to ignore those codes. The same exception has been granted to developers of New York's Freedom Tower, which will replace the World Trade Center.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/localnews/ci_6870312
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:31 PM   #32
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BTW the new WTC 7 has 56 inch wide (IIRC) stairwells that are protected by concrete, and redundant + separated fire suppression systems.

Last edited by jaydeehess; 17th September 2007 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:33 PM   #33
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No I think Apollo just likes to taunt the "JREFers" as he has labeled us.

TAM
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:34 PM   #34
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like 20,000 people escaped the towers. they did their job.
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:46 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by jaydeehess View Post
It is not so woo as one might suspect.
For one thing this has nothing to do with blaming neo-cons, no-planers, space weapons etc.

The subject is also not whether or not the buildings were up-to-code. They were. However, the code they adhered to was written specifically for them(well, for the PANYNJ).

Secondly, it has been brought up by others, on various occassions and in various venues that the core walls were simple drywall and that did nothing to protect the fire standpipes, sprinkler pipes, stairwells, that the spray on insulation used in many buildings is easily abraded but that a cementatious spray on is available as is a paint on that only expands when heated and adheres much better than the present insulation(which in many cases simply comes off when workers install new systems, such as new lighting)

Stairwells were narrow. They only have to be 44 inches wide!! Getting thousands of people out while having FF's go up takes too long.
Stairwells also were only protected by drywall. A concrete wall may have kept some stairs to the upper sections open.

Some elevators can be mounted to the outside corners of buildings and given secure power.

So there are two topics here.
1) Do codes for tall structures need to be rewritten, concrete stairwells, concrete protection of water supplies,cementatious insulation, secure elevators, wider stairwells?
2) Was there a deal made for PANYNJ that lessened the cost of construction and operation at the expense of safety?

The problem with #1 is that it would shine a light on the fact that these things have been thought of for a long time and that the deaths of 3000 people are what would be bringing them to light. The engineering community could be seen as culpable in not pushing for these changes earlier. The idea being that it would make buildings more expensive(increase the cost of a $100 million structure by 1% and you need another $1 million) and that would(could) impact the construction contracts that engineering firms get. Push for greater safety=less work

The problem with #2 is obvious. It would mean that someone's head would be on the line. Probably several, powerful, someones.
The woo is based on his odd remark about Jrefers but I'm sure you understand that.
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Old 17th September 2007, 08:48 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by T.A.M. View Post
No I think Apollo just likes to taunt the "JREFers" as he has labeled us.

TAM
Well he can clarify if he wants but slinging Jrefer as an insult like a few posters on LCF gets him called a woo. But again what I don't understand is that since Apollo is a poster here I guess he is a Jrefer.
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Old 17th September 2007, 09:05 PM   #37
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This was the subject of PBSs NOVA program two nights ago, NIST has already made some big recommendations in the areas of fire proofing and better wider hardened stair wells.

Very interesting program, you had to feel sorry for Leslie Robertson the lead structural engineer of the WTC.

How safe is safe? How far do you go before it become a hindrance to progress. It's easy to be an armchair engineer after the fact.

Building on Ground Zero
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/wtc/
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Old 17th September 2007, 09:23 PM   #38
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What if...
The WTC towers has four elevator shafts at each corner, all the people above the fire floors may have gotten out.

What if...
A system for evacuation from the roof had been developed and but into use?

And while we prepare for a similar attack, the terrorist will be planing a poison gas attack.

How safe are the ventilation systems in these buildings? Do we need a system to detect dangerous gasses and a system to clear any from buildings?
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Old 17th September 2007, 09:23 PM   #39
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A20 is an intelligent but eccentric man who suffers fools badly. This is compounded by what appears to be a belief of his, that the great and vast majority of all persons are fools. Further complicating matters is his occassional venture into his own foolishness, which of course he cannot recognize as such.

In the matter at hand in this thread however, I believe he is correct (not including his editorial comment on "JREFer's")
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Old 17th September 2007, 09:27 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Apollo20 View Post
The missing aircraft impact calculation is just one point I made to Prof. Astaneh. But if you are not interested in discussing the CORRUPTION angle of who worked on the NIST and FEMA Reports, well, fine... continue in your NISTIAN dream world...talking to each other .... I have better things to do than debate JREFers anyway .... I just thought some more open-minded folks out there might want to consider what Prof. Astaneh is saying...
Oh- and I'm sure you were entirely forthcoming on your intentions of using Professor Astaneh-Asl as your hand puppet...
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