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 The collapse mechanism
Owing to differences in the initial impacts, the collapses of the two towers were found to differ in some respects, but in both cases, the same sequence of events applies. After the impacts had severed exterior columns and damaged core columns, the loads on these columns were redistributed. The hat trusses at the top of each building played a significant role in this redistribution of the loads in the structure.
The impacts also dislodged some of the fireproofing from the steel, increasing its exposure to the heat of the fires. In the 102 minutes before the collapse of 1 WTC, the fires reached temperatures that, although well below the melting point, were high enough to weaken the core columns so that they underwent plastic deformation and creep from the weight of higher floors. The NIST report provides a useful model of the situation.
“ At this point, the core of WTC 1 could be imagined to be in three sections. There was a bottom section below the impact floors that could be thought of as a strong, rigid box, structurally undamaged and at almost normal temperature. There was a top section above the impact and fire floors that was also a heavy, rigid box. In the middle was the third section, partially damaged by the aircraft and weakened by heat from the fires. The core of the top section tried to move downward, but was held up by the hat truss. The hat truss, in turn redistributed the load to the perimeter columns. (p. 29) ”
The situation was similar in 2 WTC. In both towers, perimeter columns and floors were also weakened by the heat of the fires, causing the floors to sag and exerting an inward force on exterior walls of the building.
At 9:59 a.m., 56 minutes after impact, the sagging floors finally caused the eastern face of 2 WTC to buckle, transferring its loads back to the failing core through the hat truss and initiating the collapse; the section above the impact area then tilted in the direction of the failed wall. At 10:28 a.m., 102 minutes after the impact, the south wall of 1 WTC buckled, with similar consequences. After collapse ensued, the total collapse of the towers was inevitable due to the enormous weight of the towers above the impact areas.
A combination of three factors allowed the north tower to remain standing longer, the region of impact was higher (so the gravity load on the most damaged area was lighter), the speed of the plane was lower (so there was less impact damage), and the affected floors had received partially upgraded fire proofing.
Originally posted by WraothAscendant
reply to post by sarentack
And as for the collapse. Please remember 3-5 floors where comprimised on the impact alone.
And the weight did the rest after the supports were weakened enough by the fire.