Architects, Engineers, and Scientists Analyze Failings of NIST's WTC 7 Final Report Print
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Friday, 29 August 2008 00:00

Respondents include architect Richard Gage, AIA; mechanical engineer Anthony Szamboti; structural engineer Kamal Obeid, S.E.; remodel contractor and WTC 7 researcher Chris Sarns; and chemist and certified quality engineer Kevin Ryan.

Audio Archive:  News Conference Audio (~13MB MP3 Audio)
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For the first time in history, normal office fires have created a total progressive collapse if the report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) can be believed, said Richard Gage, AIA. Office fires can not melt steel, Gage claims, and NIST has neither explained the mystery of molten iron at the World Trade Center site nor considered other evidence that also suggests the use of thermate incendiary charges to cut the steel framework of 47-story Building 7.

NIST's vaguely worded presentation was "absurd on its face," contended Kevin Ryan, and differed completely from the story they had previously told Popular Mechanics. Though NIST claimed to hold scientific attitudes about alternative theories, they never responded to multiple invitations to discuss them, Ryan complained. NIST's disregard for chemical evidence of explosive nanothermate must be considered in the light of Ryan's findings that NIST has been studying these materials for almost ten years, and several of NIST's WTC investigators are experts in them.

NIST's only discussion of incendiaries was to dismiss them, observed Tony Szamboti, and they ignored tiny iron-rich microspheres found in the WTC dust by the USGS, RJLee Group, and Dr. Steven Jones. These can only have been generated from molten metal, Szamboti argues. British fire resistance tests show steel framing to be far more enduring than NIST's collapse theories maintain, Szamboti adds, and while steel samples from the British Cardington test were preserved, the WTC steel was destroyed. We should ask "severe questions," Szamboti said.

The unfireproofed Cardington structure survived temperatures twice those that NIST claims, reported Chris Sarns. NIST's fire model shows fires burning much longer than photos show, Sarns adds, and NIST assumes much while explaining little--not even how one failing column can pull down the neighboring ones.

NIST's solution appears to have been crafted to please its client, said Kamal Obeid, and independent structural engineers will find problems with every step of NIST's complicated theoretical collapse mechanism. Obeid believes that connections would fail before collapsing sections could pull down heavy core columns. While NIST's computer models show dramatic collapse distortions of the smaller perimeter columns, videos of the actual building show no pulling of the exterior by the floors NIST claims are collapsing invisibly inside, Obeid and Szamboti noted.

In contrast to natural, organic effects of fires (gradual deformations, and asymmetrical collapses following the path of least resistance), the visible WTC collapse, Gage noted, proceeded at near freefall speed with no apparent resistance from the steel framework. Many columns must be cut simultaneously to drop a building straight down, he pointed out. FEMA report 403, Appendix C, recommended further study of evidence of liquid steel that could be related to the cause of the collapse, but NIST ignores this information.

Gage asked that NIST release to independent researchers the thousands of photos and videos in its WTC archives.