New Theory On 9/11 Twin Tower Collapse…
Posted: 23 September 2011 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Interesting theory…

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PARIS — A mix of sprinkling system water and melted aluminium from aircraft hulls likely triggered the explosions that felled New York’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, a materials expert has told a technology conference.

“If my theory is correct, tonnes of aluminium ran down through the towers, where the smelt came into contact with a few hundred litres of water,” Christian Simensen, a scientist at SINTEF, an independent technology research institute based in Norway, said in a statement released Wednesday.

“From other disasters and experiments carried out by the aluminium industry, we know that reactions of this sort lead to violent explosions.”

The official report blames the collapse on the over-heating and failure of the structural steel beams at the core of the buildings, an explanation Simensen rejects.

Given the quantities of the molten metal involved, the blasts would have been powerful enough to blow out an entire section of each building, he said.

This, in turn, would lead to the top section of each tower to fall down on the sections below.

The sheer weight of the top floors would be enough to crush the lower part of the building like a house of card, he said.

The aluminium-water scenario would also account for explosions from within the buildings just prior to their collapse that have fuelled conspiracy theories suggesting that the structures had been booby-trapped.

Simensen presented his theory at an international materials technology conference in San Diego, California, and has detailed his calculations in an article published in the trade journal Aluminium International Today.

“The aluminium industry had reported more than 250 aluminium-water explosions since 1980,” he said.

In a controlled experiment carried out by Alcoa Aluminium, 20 kilos (44 pounds) of molten aluminium was allowed to react with 20 litres of water, along with a small quantity of rust.

“The explosion destroyed the entire laboratory and left a crater 30 metres (100 feet) in diameter,” Simensen said.

By comparison, the aircraft carried 30 tonnes of aluminium into each of the towers, according to his calculations.

Simensen speculates that the two commercial jets were immediately trapped inside an insulating layer of building debris within the skyscrapers.

The debris—especially plaster, which blocks the transfer of heat—would have formed a shield protecting the rest of the building.

At the same time, however, it would created a super-hot, oven-like zone around the aircraft, heated by burning fuel.

Aluminium alloy, which in jet hulls also contains magnesium, melts at 660 degrees Celsius (1,220 degrees Fahrenheit). If heated to 750 C (1382 F), the alloy “becomes as liquid as water,” Simensen said.

This molten aluminium could then have flowed downward through staircases and gaps in the floor, causing a chemical reaction with water from sprinklers on the levels below.

The mix would immediately boost temperatures by several hundred degrees, releasing combustible hydrogen in the process. Such reactions are even more powerful in the presence of rust or other catalysts, which can boost temperatures to more than 1,500 C (2,700 F).

A meltdown period of 30 to 45 minutes would also be consistent with the timing of the explosions and subsequent collapse of both buildings in relation to the moment of impact.

Simensen said there are lessons to be learned, if his theory is correct, that could help avoid a similar disaster were another skyscraper to be hit by a big jet.

“We could develop means of rapidly emptying sprinkler systems in the floors beneath the point of impact,” he said.

Firing a rocket with fire-retardant that could coat the aircraft body could also help prevent metal alloy from melting.

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Posted: 23 September 2011 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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So, Alcoa called that a “controlled experiment”.....

Completely demolished lab, 30-meter crater…..

I think I will write to the company to gently suggest that they forego any “uncontrolled experiments” in the future.

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Posted: 24 September 2011 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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There are a few problems with this idea.

1) There was no one massive explosion in either of the buildings.

2) The collapse started gradually in at least one of the buildings, with the building slowly slumping.  It wasn’t a case of the building standing there just fine, then suddenly collapsing.

3)It’s really doubtful that all that much of the molten aluminum would have fallen all at once into a big puddle of water.  It would have been more likely for it to have been just a bit at a time running down, from the floors above, which would make for a long, continuous, weak series of reactions.  And for a large amount of aluminum to have somehow managed to gather and drop all at once into a large amount of water in both buildings would be a bit much of a coincidence.  It would be possible, but very unlikely.

4) Even if there was a big explosion, it wouldn’t have been likely to do anything much to the main supports of the buildings.  It’s not as though the molten aluminum and water would spontaneously form shaped charges.  The force of the explosion would be spread out all over the place, and since most of the building’s interior was nothing but drywall it would have just burst through that and wasted its force.

5)  The steel beams from the floors where the impact occurred were gathered together and examined, and showed signs of having been warped by heat.  Not by force.

Molten aluminum reacting with water could very well have happened and caused some damage that contributed slightly to the whole disaster, but it isn’t at all likely to have been any significant factor.

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Posted: 25 September 2011 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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SteveE - 23 September 2011 07:13 PM

I think I will write to the company to gently suggest that they forego any “uncontrolled experiments” in the future.

Why?

 

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Posted: 25 September 2011 11:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Acci’s point three is the clincher here. You have two very different impacts. Location, height, angle, etc. In order to get this same ‘water go boom’ effect in both, you need to have the same conditions. You’re not going to get that in a ‘smashed up building’ format. Even if every. single. floor. had the exact conditions optimal for making such an explosion, this goes out the window once the planes hit.

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Posted: 25 September 2011 09:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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UB - why?

Well, their “controlled experiments” seem to be unexpectedly destructive enough.

There is no mention in the story if there were any scientists or technicians in the lab that was demolished - it must have been a pretty good “kaboom” if it demolished the lab entirely, and left a 30-meter crater.  Did they EXPECT that result?

Enquiring minds want to know…...

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Posted: 26 September 2011 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I tried finding the reports on the Alcoa lab test that resulted in the explosion mentioned above.  Apparently it was published by Alcoa and The Aluminum Association on October 15th, 1979, and was titled “Molten Aluminum / Water Explosions”, but I couldn’t track it down anywhere online.  I did find a brief summary of it in another article, along with a basic explanation of various types of aluminum and water explosions.  But it didn’t give all that much information.

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Posted: 02 October 2011 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I suspect any molten metal will cause an explosion of some magnitude when dropped into a pool of water. 

I can remember trying an experiment in high school when the teacher wasn’t around.  I stuck a pea sized portion of Potassium into a beaker containing a small amount of sulphuric acid.  Fortunately I wasn’t looking over the vat about 2 seconds after I dropped it in.  I still have a couple of scars on face from the explosion and I was amazed that the beaker didn’t shatter.  The neat part was the shot pattern on the ceiling of the lab in a radius of about 2 ft.  Admittedly that was acid and not water but it was a very impressive explosion from such a small piece of Potassium.   

I had previously tried the same thing with water and it did explode but not nearly with the force it did when I used acid.  Fun times all around.  I never thought of trying it with molten Potassium or Sodium but I bet it would have been good.    cheese

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Posted: 02 October 2011 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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gray - 02 October 2011 09:22 AM

I suspect any molten metal will cause an explosion of some magnitude when dropped into a pool of water.

Yeah, you’ll always get a steam explosion in that case, which can be increased in violence if the steam is trapped at first.  Aluminum has the added benefit of being one of the more reactive of the commonly-used metals, too, and tends to explode violently when molten aluminum meets up with oxidised metals such as rusted iron or copper.  It wouldn’t be too far-fetched for there to have been some amount of rusted iron in the building to further add to any sort of reaction.  It still wouldn’t be likely to be enough to make an explosion large enough to actually damage the structural members of the building, and the way that the buildings fell don’t match up with a large explosion of that type anyway.

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