Like a bad movie remake, the final analysis of the World Trade Center 7 collapse uses an old familiar theme revamped for modern circumstances. Only this time, unlike romantic comedies or action thrillers, the hero doesn't get the woman and the safety of the planet is still in peril. We are purposely left dangling on the edge our seats while behind the scenes, the sequels are being written. However, we aren't anticipating the sequel to this story.
It is common knowledge that in order to move the plot along in a movie, the director takes certain liberties of the audiences' imagination. Take a science fiction movie for example set in space. Everything floats in space, except when characters are on their craft. Suddenly, the gravity problem is fixed by some futuristic device or just overlooked for the convenience telling the story.
In many ways, I see this same literary device being used before my very eyes as I glanced over the final report of WTC7 released by NIST. The cause of the sudden, symmetrical, complete and rapid destruction of this building is now being attributed to a "new phenomenon" called Thermal Expansion.
According to Dr. Sunder's explanation of this process, long steel beams when heated will expand up to "a few inches". In fact, he even states that the amount of expansion can vary in relation to the length of steel. What an astounding discovery I find this to be. With all the fire tests performed on steel since humans began building with steel (The Cardington and Broadgate Fire tests are often cited). The well known results of Underwriter Laboratories fire tests on WTC 1 & 2 floor models and factor in numerous studies of prior structure fires and all the testing we've done with steel for other uses, one would think that we would have caught on to this unique property of steel.
I have written to NIST via their public comment mailbox for a clarification of this process. You will find a brief explanation of the process at www.nist.gov. I will continue to read through the final report to search for any supporting data for this finding such as any actual, physical, testing model was done, data gathered, temperature to expansion ratios must exist if it was determined that the length of the beam seems to have an impact on the amount of expansion. That's remarkable! The only known source of this phenomenon occurring is in the computer model that explains it's existence. We know NIST doesn't have any of the actual steel from WTC7 to find examples of the process. Absent of any physical demonstration of this process, supporters of the theory will undoubtedly tout this as "mystery solved" using the impeccable credentials of its authors for its plausibility. This was the best our $16M dollar investigation could give us.
And with this new found discovery, the "single theory" reigns supreme for culpability to escape again. Like the single bullet theory, the lone assassins for JFK, RFK, and MLK, the single mad scientist, we can now add the single column theory to our growing number of "days of infamy". One column, with an ordinary fire, gives way and brings down 80 others at the same time, straight down, in under 7 seconds. Like gravity in a sc-fi movie, we must imagine that over redundancy doesn't exist in this fire and gravity collapse so we can get on with the story. Even the computer aided graphic used by NIST looks nothing like the video and just magically collapses the right side of the building. Yet, we're told to just believe. Here is your report, mystery solved, now go about your business, work and buy stuff.
NIST will take public comments on the draft report and recommendations. Comments must be received by noon Eastern Daylight Time on Sept.15, 2008. Comments may be submitted via:
* e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org;
* fax to (301) 869-6275; or
* surface mail to WTC Technical Information Repository, Attn:Stephen Cauffman, NIST, 100 Bureau Dr., Stop 8611, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-8610.
Instructions for submitting comments are available at http://wtc.nist.gov.
By Dan Koch.