Failure to Show Visualizations
An article in the journal New Civil Engineering (NCE) lends support
to concerns about the NIST analysis of the WTC collapses. It states:
World Trade Center disaster
investigators [at NIST] are refusing to show computer
visualizations of the collapse of the Twin Towers despite calls
from leading structural and fire engineers, NCE has learned.
Visualizations of collapse mechanisms are routinely used to
validate the type of finite element analysis model used by the [NIST]
investigators. The collapse mechanism and the role played by the
hat truss at the top of the tower has been the focus of debate
since the US National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)
published its findings….
University of Manchester [U.K.]
professor of structural engineering Colin Bailey said there was a
lot to be gained from visualizing the structural response.
“NIST should really show the
visualizations; otherwise the opportunity to correlate them back
to the video evidence and identify any errors in the modeling
will be lost,” he said….
A leading US structural engineer said
NIST had obviously devoted enormous resources to the development of
the impact and fire models.
“By comparison the global structural
model is not as sophisticated,” he said. “The software used [by
NIST] has been pushed to new limits, and there have been a lot
of simplifications, extrapolations and judgment calls.”
(Parker, 2005; emphasis added.)
Here we have serious concerns about the NIST WTC collapse report raised by structural and fire engineers,
augmenting the arguments raised here by a physicist.
The thirteen points above provide scientific data and analyses that
support my call for an immediate investigation of 9/11 events, while
challenging the official story. A few other considerations provide
further motivation for the proposed urgent investigation.
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Some Additional Considerations
that Need Answers”
I agree with this urgent yet reasoned assessment of expert
fire-protection engineers, as boldly editorialized in the journal
Respected members of the fire
protection engineering community are beginning to raise red
flags, and a resonating theory has emerged:
The structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition
of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the
Fire Engineering has good reason to
believe that the “official investigation” blessed by FEMA and run by
the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that
may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary
interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure.
Except for the marginal benefit obtained from a three-day, visual
walk-through of evidence sites conducted by ASCE investigation
committee members- described by one close source as a “tourist
trip”-no one’s checking the evidence for anything.
Some citizens are taking to the streets to protest the investigation
sellout. Sally Regenhard, for one, wants to know why and how the
building fell as it did upon her unfortunate son Christian, an FDNY
probationary firefighter. And so do we.
Clearly, there are burning questions that need answers. Based on the
incident’s magnitude alone, a full-throttle, fully resourced,
forensic investigation is imperative. More important, from a moral
standpoint, [are considerations] for the safety of present and
(Manning, 2002; emphasis added).
This editorial does not mention the controlled-demolition
hypothesis, but rightfully objects to the rapid destruction of the
structural steel which would provide crucial evidence from the crime
scene. We agree that such destruction of evidence is wrong, and that
a thorough investigation is imperative.
For more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade
Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap.
Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise
building design practices and performance under fire conditions is
on the slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America
until you buy your next car.
Such destruction of evidence shows the astounding ignorance of
government officials to the value of a thorough, scientific
investigation of the largest fire-induced collapse in world history.
I have combed through our national standard for fire investigation,
NFPA 921, but nowhere in it does one find an exemption allowing the
destruction of evidence for buildings over 10 stories tall.
(Manning, 2002; emphasis added).
In an editorial in Fire Engineering, September, 2004, Bill Manning
criticizes the 9/11 Commission report and renews his call for a new
investigation, the major goal of this paper also:
The recommendations contained within
Chapter 9 of the 9/11 Commission Report, the chapter dealing
with emergency response, are disappointingly sparse in details.
Surely, the largest and most tragic emergency response in
history demands a more intensive, more critical investigative
effort, especially since the 9/11 Commission touts its effort as
the “definitive account” of the incident. More importantly, the
response community, the public, and the fallen heroes and their
families deserve the naked truth, whatever that may be.
To obscure the truth for political
motivation is contemptible in itself. To use our fallen brothers to
accomplish that political sleight-of-hand is nothing short of
The 9/11 Commission’s treatment of the emergency response component
is a disgrace. The fire service and the public must demand that a
new investigative body be assembled to launch a full, complete, and
politically impartial investigation into the emergency response
issues leading up to and including the 9/11 disaster. Or don’t we
have the stomach for it? To do anything less would be a disservice
to the 343 brothers and all the other good people who perished that
day, a disservice to our nation, and a disservice to ourselves.
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Kevin Ryan, the whistleblower from Underwriters Laboratories, did
his own brief statistical analysis in a recent letter regarding the NIST report, arguing that probabilities of collapse-initiation
needed to be calculated (Ryan, 2005). NIST nowhere provides such a
likelihood analysis for their non-explosive collapse model.
estimate is that the probability that fires and damage (the
“official theory”) could cause the Towers complete collapse is less
than one in a trillion, and the probability is much less still when
the complete collapse of WTC7 is included:
To follow the latest “leading
hypothesis” [of NIST], what are the odds that all the
fireproofing fell off in just the right places, even far from
the point of impact? Without much test data, let’s say it’s one
in a thousand. And what are the odds that the office furnishings
converged to supply highly directed and (somehow) forced-oxygen
fires at very precise points on the remaining columns? Is it
another one in a thousand? What is the chance that those points
would then all soften in unison, and give way perfectly, so that
the highly dubious “progressive global collapse” theory could be
born? I wouldn’t even care to guess.
But finally, with well over a
hundred fires in tall buildings through history, what are the
chances that the first, second and third incidents of
fire-induced collapse would all occur on the same day? Let’s say
it’s one in a million. Considering just these few points we’re
looking at a one in a trillion chance, using generous estimates
and not really considering the third building (no plane, no jet
fuel, different construction [for WTC 7]).
How convenient that our miraculous
result, combined with several other trains of similarly unlikely
events [no interception of hijacked planes by the military on
9/11, etc.], gives us reason to invade the few most
strategically important lands for the production of oil and
Nor does NIST (or FEMA or the 9-11
Commission) even mention the molten metals found in the basements of
all three buildings (WTC 1, 2 and 7).
So where does that leave us?
I strongly agree with Kevin Ryan when
he says, This [“official”] story just does not add up…. That fact
should be of great concern to all Americans…. There is no question
that the events of 9/11 are the emotional driving force behind the
War on Terror. And the issue of the WTC collapse is at the crux of
the story of 9/11.
(Ryan, 2004; emphasis added.)
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I presented my objections to the “official” theory at a seminar at
BYU on September 22, 2005, to about sixty people. I also showed
evidence and scientific arguments for the controlled demolition
theory. In attendance were faculty from Physics, Mechanical
Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Psychology,
Geology, and Mathematics – and perhaps other departments as I did
not recognize all of the people present. A local university and
college were represented (BYU and Utah Valley State College).
The discussion was vigorous and lasted nearly two hours. It ended
only when a university class needed the room. After presenting the
material summarized here, including actually looking at and
discussing the collapses of WTC 7 and the Towers, only one attendee
disagreed (by hand-vote) that further investigation of the WTC
collapses was called for. The next day, the dissenting professor
said he had further thought about it and now agreed that more
investigation was needed. He joined the others in hoping that the
6,899 photographs and 6,977 segments of video footage held by NIST
plus others held by the FBI would be released for independent
scrutiny; photos largely from private photographers (NIST, 2005, p.
Therefore, I along with others call for the release of these data to
a cross-disciplinary, preferably international team of scientists
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Inconsistencies in “Official” Models
Finally, and by way of review, we consider the variations and
inconsistencies in the fire/damaged-caused collapse models with
time. The earliest model, promoted by various media sources, was
that the fires in the towers were sufficiently hot to actually melt
the steel in the buildings, thus causing their collapse. For
example, Chris Wise in a BBC piece spouted out false notions with
“It was the fire that killed the
buildings. There’s nothing on earth that could survive those
temperatures with that amount of fuel burning… The columns would
have melted, the floors would have melted and eventually they
would have collapsed one on top of the other.”
(quoted in Paul and Hoffman,
2004, p. 25)
But as we have seen from later serious
studies, most of the jet fuel burned out within minutes following
impact. And recall the statement of expert Dr. Gayle refuting the
notion that fires in the WTC buildings were sufficiently hot to melt
the steel supports:
Your gut reaction would be the jet
fuel is what made the fire so very intense, a lot of people
figured that’s what melted the steel. Indeed it did not, the
steel did not melt.
(Field, 2005; emphasis added)
Then we have the model of Bazant and
Zhou, which requires the majority of the 47 huge steel columns on a
floor of each Tower to reach sustained temperatures of 800 oC and
buckle (not melt) – at the same time. But as we’ve seen, such
temperatures are very difficult to reach while burning office
materials, in these connected steel structures where the heat is
wicked away by heat transport. (Paul and Hoffman, 2004, p. 26) And
then to undergo failure at the same time for straight down collapse,
well, no, this scenario is far too improbable.
That approach was, understandably, abandoned in the next effort,
that by FEMA (FEMA, 2002). The FEMA team largely adopted the theory
of Dr. Thomas Eagar (Eagar and Musso, 2001), which was also
presented in the NOVA presentation “Why the Towers Fell" (NOVA,
Eagar expresses the view that,
“the failure of the steel was due to
two factors: loss of strength due to the temperature of the
fire, and loss of structural integrity due to distortion of the
steel from the non-uniform temperatures in the fire.”
(Eagar and Musso, 2001)
Instead of having the columns fail
simultaneously, FEMA has floor pans in the Towers warp due to fires,
and the floor connections to the vertical beams break, and these
floor pans then fall down onto the floor pans below, initiating
“progressive collapse” or pancaking of one floor pan on another.
But not so fast – what happens to the enormous core
columns to which the floors were firmly attached? Why don’t these
remain standing like a spindle with the floor pans falling down
around them, since the connections are presumed to have broken away?
This interconnected steel core is
founded on bedrock (Manhattan schist). FEMA does not totally ignore
As the floors collapsed, this left
tall freestanding portions of the exterior wall and possibly
central core columns. As the unsupported height of these
freestanding exterior wall elements increased [no mention of the
huge central core anymore!], they buckled at the bolted column
splice connections and also collapsed.”
(FEMA. 2002; emphasis added)
This approach finally fails to account
for the observed collapse of the 47 interconnected core columns
which are massive and designed to bear the weight of the buildings,
and it has the striking weakness of evidently requiring the
connections of the floor pans to the vertical columns to break, both
at the core and at the perimeter columns, more or less
That didn’t work out, so NIST goes back to the drawing board.
They require that the connections of the
floor pans to vertical columns do NOT fail (contrary to FEMA’s
model), but rather that the floor pans “pull” with enormous force,
sufficient to cause the perimeter columns to significantly pull in,
leading to final failure (contrary to objections of ARUP Fire
experts, discussed above). Also, NIST constructs a computer
model—but realistic cases do not actually lead to building collapse.
So they “adjust” inputs until the model
finally shows collapse initiation for the most severe cases. The
details of these “adjustments” are hidden from us, in their
computerized hypotheticals, but “the hypothesis is saved.” NIST also
has Underwriters Laboratories construct models of the WTC trusses,
but the models withstand all fires in tests and do NOT collapse.
(See above for details.)
We are left without a compelling fire/impact-damage model, unless
one blindly accepts the NIST computer simulation while ignoring the
model fire-tests, which I’m not willing to do. NIST did not even do
the routinely-used visualizations to validate their finite-element
analysis model (point 13 above). And none of the “official” models
outlined above accounts for what happens to the buildings AFTER the
building is “poised for collapse” (NIST, 2005, p. 142) – namely the
rapid and nearly-symmetrical and complete collapses.
Reports of explosions, heard and seen,
are not discussed. And they ignore the squibs seen ejected from
floors far from where the jets hit – particularly seen in WTC 7
(where no jet hit at all). Finally, what about that molten metal
under the rubble piles of all three WTC skyscrapers and the
yellow-white hot molten metal seen flowing from the South Tower just
prior to its collapse?
Remarkably, the controlled demolition hypothesis accounts for all
the available data rather easily. The core columns on lower floors
are cut using explosives/incendiaries, near-simultaneously, along
with cutting charges detonated up higher so that gravity acting on
now-unsupported floors helps bring down the buildings quickly.
collapses are thus near-symmetrical, rapid and complete, with
accompanying squibs—really very standard stuff for demolition
experts. Thermate (whose end product is molten iron) used on some of
the steel columns readily accounts for the molten metal which then
pooled beneath the rubble piles as well as the sulfidation observed
in steel from both the WTC 7 and Towers rubble piles (points 1 and 2
I believe this is a straightforward hypothesis, much more probable
actually than the official hypothesis. It deserves scientific
scrutiny, beyond that which I have been able to outline in this
Back To Contents
I have called attention to glaring inadequacies in the “final”
reports funded by the US government. I have also presented multiple
evidences for an alternative hypothesis. In particular, the official
theory lacks repeatability in that no actual models or buildings
(before or since 9-11-01) have been observed to completely collapse
due to the proposed fire-based mechanisms. On the other hand,
hundreds of buildings have been completely and symmetrically
demolished through the use of pre-positioned explosives.
And high-temperature chemical reactions
can account for the observed large pools of molten metal, under both
Towers and WTC 7, and the sulfidation of structural steel. The
controlled-demolition hypothesis cannot be dismissed as “junk
science” because it better satisfies tests of repeatability and
parsimony. It ought to be seriously (scientifically) investigated
A truly independent, cross-disciplinary, international panel should
be formed. Such a panel would consider all viable hypotheses,
including the pre-positioned-explosives theory, guided not by
politicized notions and constraints, but rather by observations and
calculations, to reach a scientific conclusion. If possible it would
question, under oath, the officials who approved the rapid removal
and destruction of the WTC steel beams and columns before they could
be properly analyzed.
None of the government-funded studies
have provided serious analyses of the explosive demolition
hypothesis at all. Until the above steps are taken, the case for
accusing ill-trained Muslims of causing all the destruction on
9-11-01 is far from compelling. It just does not add up.
And that fact should be of great concern to Americans. (Ryan, 2004).
Clearly, we must find out what really caused the WTC skyscrapers to
collapse as they did. The implications of what happened on 9/11/2001
clearly supersede partisan politics. Physics sheds light on the
issue which we ignore to our peril as we contemplate the wars that
have been and may yet be justified on the basis of the 9/11 tragedy
and its “official” interpretation.
To this end, NIST must release the 6,899 photographs and over 300
hours of video recordings – acquired mostly by private parties –
which it admits to holding (NIST, 2005, p. 81). Evidence relating to
WTC 7 and its mysterious collapse must not be held back. In
particular, photos and analyses of the molten metal observed in the
basements of both Towers and WTC7 need to be brought forth to the
international community of scientists and engineers immediately.
Therefore, along with others, I call for the release of these and
all relevant data for scrutiny by a cross-disciplinary,
international team of researchers. The explosive-demolition
hypothesis will be considered: all options will be on the table.
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In writing this paper, I call for a serious investigation of the
hypothesis that WTC7 and the Twin Towers were brought down, not just
by impact damage and fires, but through the carefully planned use of
explosives/incendiaries. I have presented ample evidence for the
controlled-demolition hypothesis, which is scientifically testable
and yet has not been seriously considered in any of the studies
funded by the US government.
At the same time, I acknowledge that other notions have sprung up in
the near vacuum of official consideration of this very plausible
hypothesis. These notions must be subjected to careful scrutiny. I
by no means endorse all such ideas. A March 2005 article in Popular
Mechanics focuses on poorly-supported claims and proceeds to
ridicule the whole “9-11 truth movement” (Chertoff, 2005). Serious
replies to this article have already been written (Hoffman, 2005;
Baker, 2005; Meyer, 2005).
William Rodriguez has sent important information (private
communications, November 2005) which I append in closing:
“Thank you so much for coming out
with a report questioning the “official Story” of 9/11. I read
with a lot of dedication your paper and I distributed it widely
to all the Victims and survivors of that day (I am the leader of
the families and the last person pulled from the rubble from the
You are just missing my experience. I
told the 9/11 Commission about the explosions and the events on the
sub-basement on that day. They did not put it in the final report.
Please check the internet under “William Rodriguez 9/11”. I am
trying to raise the same questions. Since I am a respected figure
internationally, I noticed how my testimony has been presented
unedited all over the world.
But in the USA, I am edited and even
though I have a lot of respect from the media, I am asked constantly
about other subjects and issues but nothing about the explosions of
that day. Congratulations from the side of the really affected on
that day. Keep up your investigations.
9/11 United Services Group,
Manhattan Family Advisory Counsel
I thanked Mr. Rodriguez and asked him how he could say the explosion
came from the subbasement below him, rather than far above (where
the plane hit), also regarding the timing of the explosions.
About my experience. My basis was,
like I told the Commission, there was an explosion that came
from under our feet, we were pushed upwards lightly by the
effect, I was on basement level 1 and it sounded that it came
from B2 and B3 level. Rapidly after that we heard the impact far
away at the top. My assertions are [that] my 20 years experience
there and witnessing prior to that many other noises [enable me]
to conclude without any doubt where the sounds were coming from.
2ND- Some of the same people that I saved gave testimonies in
interviews of the same experience prior to my actually being
reunited with them after the event!!! Like I explained, some of
these survivors stories were told in countless [interviews] of
coverage, but in SPANISH!! I have the actual recordings
available of some of the Television Specials that featured our
Mr. Rodriguez worked for years in the
building and his perception of sounds cannot be overlooked. He is a
reliable witness. Above (and elsewhere) he records that the
explosion in the sub-basement was followed “rapidly after that” by
the sound of an impact far above. This assertion is remarkable for
it strongly suggests that the colliding plane or its fuel could not
have caused the (earlier) explosion in the sub-basement. William
Rodriguez and other witnesses may shed additional light on the
explosions in the Towers on 9/11/2001.
After reading this paper, you may wish to sign the petition calling
for release of U.S. government-held information regarding events of
(Click on “See full petition” before signing.)
Reader comments on this paper and research
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I gratefully acknowledge comments and contributions by Jim Hoffman,
Alex Floum, Jeffrey Farrer, Carl Weis, Victoria Ashley, William
Rodriguez, Derrick Grimmer, the scholarly teams at
and Professors Jack Weyland,
David Ray Griffin, James Fetzer, Richard McGinn and Paul Zarembka.
Back To Contents
Baker, Jeremy (2005). “Contrary to
Popular (Mechanics’) Belief,” Global Outlook, Issue 10, p. 14
Barnett, J. R., Biederman, R.R. and
R.D. Sisson, Jr., “An Initial Microstructural Analysis of A36
Steel from WTC Building 7,” Journal of the Minerals, Metals and
Materials Society, 53/12:18 (2001).
Bazant, Z. P. and Zhou, Y. (2002).
“Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Simple Analysis,” J.
Eng. Mech. 128:2, January 2002.
Bazant, Z. P. and Zhou, Y. (March
2002). “Addendum to ‘Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?
Simple Analysis,” J. Eng. Mech. 128:369, March 2002.
Bollyn, Christopher (2002). American
Free Press, September 3, 2002, available at:
Chertoff, B., et al. (2005). “9/11:
Debunking the Myths,” Popular Mechanics, March 2005.
Commission (2004). The 9/11
Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Authorized Edition,
New York: W.W. Norton. Cote, A. E., editor, Fire Protection
Handbook 17th Edition, Quincy, Maine: National Fire Protection
De Grand Pre, Donn (2002). “Many
Questions Still Remain About Trade Center Attack,” American Free
Press, February 3, 2002, available at:
Dwyer, James (2005). “City to
Release Thousands of Oral Histories of 9/11 Today,” New York
Times, August 12, 2005, with quotes of eyewitnesses available in
New York Times archives at http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WTC_hi
stories_01.html and http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/20050812_WTC_GRAPHIC/met_WT
Eagar, T. W. and Musso, C. (2001).
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and Speculation”, Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials
Society, 53/12:8-11 (2001).
FEMA (2002). “World Trade Center
Building Performance Study,” released May 2002, available at:
Field, Andy (2004). “A Look Inside a
Radical New Theory of the WTC Collapse,” Fire/Rescue News,
February 7, 2004. Available at
Gartner, John (2005). “Military
Reloads with Nanotech,” Technology Review, January 21, 2005;
Glanz, James (2001). “Engineers are
baffled over the collapse of 7 WTC; Steel members have been
partly evaporated,” New York Times, November 29. 2001.
Glanz, James, and Lipton, Eric
(2002). “Towers Withstood Impact, but Fell to Fire, Report
Says,” Fri March 29, 2002, New York Times.
Glover, Norman (2002). Fire
Engineering journal, October 2002.
Greening, Frank (2006), unpublished.
Griffin, David Ray (2004). The New
Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration
and 9/11, Northampton, Massachusetts: Interlink.
Griffin, David Ray (2005). The 9/11
Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions, Northampton,
Massachusetts: Interlink. See also papers here:
Grimmer, Derrick (2004).
Calculations on the Possible Use of Thermite to Melt Sections of
the WTC Core Columns,
also, Mike Rivero at
www.whatreallyhappened.com raises the
notion of thermite reactions in the WTC demolitions (the
earliest reference found).
Harris, Tom (2000). “How Building
Implosions Work,” available at: http://science.howstuffworks.com/building-implosion.htm,
Hoffman, James (2005). “Popular
Mechanics’ Assault on 9/11 Truth,” Global Outlook, Issue 10, p.
21 (Spring-Summer 2005).
Hufschmid, Eric (2002). Painful
Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack, Goleta,
California: Endpoint Software.
Jones, S. E., et al. (2006).
“Experiments Testing Greening’s Hypothesis Regarding Molten
Aluminum,” in preparation.
Kuttler, Kenneth (2006). “WTC 7: A
Short Computation,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, 1:1-3 (June 2006).
Lane, B., and Lamont, S. (2005).
“Arup Fire’s presentation regarding tall buildings and the
events of 9/11,” ARUP Fire, April 2005. Available at:
Manning, William (2002). “Selling
out the investigation,” Editorial, Fire Engineering, January
Manning, William (2004). “The
Tainted Brush of 9/11 Politics,” Editorial, Fire Engineering,
Meyer, Peter (2005). “Reply to
Popular Mechanics re 9/11,” http://serendipity.li/wot/pop_mech/reply_to_popular_mechanics.htm,
Mooney, Chris (2005). The Republican
War on Science, New York, NY: Basic Books.
NIST (2005). http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/NISTNCSTAR1Draft.pdf
(“Final Report of the National Construction Safety Team on the
Collapses of the World Trade Center Towers (Draft)”), Sept.-Oct.
NISTb (2005). http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/WTC%20Part%20IIC%20%20WTC%207%20Collapse%20Final.pdf%20WTC%207%20Collapse%20Final.pdf
(Part IIC – WTC 7 Collapse, preliminary), 2005.
NOVA (2002). “Why the Towers Fell,”
originally broadcast Tuesday, April 30, 2002; see
Parker, Dave (2005). “WTC
investigators resist call for collapse visualisation,” New Civil
Engineer, October 6, 2005.
Paul, Don, and Hoffman, Jim (2004).
Waking Up From Our Nightmare : The 9/11/01 Crimes in New York
City, San Francisco: Irresistible/Revolutionary. Penn Arts and
Penn Arts and Sciences, summer 2002
, available at
Risen, James (2001). “Secretive CIA
Site in New York Was Destroyed on Sept. 11,” New York Times,
November 4, 2001.
Ryan, Kevin (2004). Letter to Frank
Gayle, available at
Ryan, Kevin (2005). “A Call for a
Personal Decision,” Global Outlook, Issue 10, p. 96
(Spring-Summer 2005). See also papers here:
Swanson, Gail (2003). Behind the
Scenes: Ground Zero, World Trade Center, September 11, 2001, New
York: TRAC Team, Inc., 2003.
Walsh, Trudy (2002), “Handheld APP
eased recovery tasks,” GCN, 9/11/02 issue.
Williams, James (2001). “WTC a
structural success,” SEAU NEWS; The Newsletter of the Structural
Engineers Association of Utah, October 2001, p. 1,3.
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