Structural analysis of the twin towers

Topics: World Trade Center, September 11 attacks, Structural engineering Pages: 6 (2591 words) Published: September 29, 2013
Why It All Came Tumbling Down
When it comes to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, people assume that there is an obvious reason why it happened. These people believe that because an airplane crashed into the building the towers fell over. What people tend to over look when it comes to causes of disasters are the things that lead up to it. In my opinion there were many things that could have been done to prevent the attacks of that fateful day. In this case I am not talking about preventing the event from occurring but I am talking about preventing the tower from falling down. There are things that could have been done leading up to during and after the attack that would have prevented the towers from tumbling down. Anything and everything from the material used to the design, from the type of windows to the width of the desks could have helped prevent the twin towers from collapsing in New York. When all the evidence is looked at, in such manner and in the right point of view, it can be thought to an arguable extent that the world trade center collapse could have been prevented even with the jet liners flying into the side of them both. When it all comes down to the point the plane crash might have been the catalyst but was not the definite or only cause that brought towers down.

When it comes to doing a structural analysis of a structure a complete breakdown of everything that has ever had to do with that structure at any point in time. The first thing that should be examined is from the beginning is the design flaws of the world trade center. Since this was a ground breaking project the designers had an ever daunting task in front of them. They needed to design a tower that broke all the rules but somehow followed them at the same time. The upkeep of the tower was pretty much not paid attention to as much as it should have been at the time. Many motions were pushed to renovate the towers but due to economic reasons they were never passed. According to the Engineering News Record the one big decision that could have saved many lives was never made. This was the decision “…not to add disproportionate collapse resistance and hardened stairwell requirements to the most widely adopted commercial building code (Engineering 1)”. This means that the committee that was in charge of making up to date renovations turned down a proposal that was crucial to the upkeep of the towers. These disproportionate collapse resistant stair wells would have prevented certain parts of the tower from coming down therefore potentially saving hundreds of lives. Another one of the major flaws the contributed greatly to the collapse was the wrong use of metal in the tower. In the tower were located twelve grade types of metals all varying in different strengths and densities (United States 2-3). The way the tower was originally designed the metal system would have worked. It was designed so that the entire tower was symmetrical and the grades of steel were the same on both sides (United States 2-3). This means that the building was built incorrectly and the grade densities were not the same on the outer wall as they should have been on the inner walls. So when the planes hit the towers if it had been built right the outside would have taken up much more of the impact than it did in real life causing a huge hole in the wall and possibly a main source of the collapse. After looking at all of that it seems like there could not be a bigger flaw in one of the biggest design projects of our time but there is. The most noticeable problem that most professors point out is in the way the columns are set up and spaced out and the way that the columns differ from the columns on the outside. From the looks of the schematics of the world trade center building number two it shows that the entire tower was held up by the thin columns on the inside of the structure and barely supported by the strong heavy duty columns on the outer parts of the structure...
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