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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Engineers Push New Study of Twin Towers' Collapse
7 March 2002 (All day)
Researchers are calling for a major study of why the World Trade Center buildings collapsed after the 11 September terrorist attacks. Engineers yesterday told a congressional committee that it will take several years and at least $40 million to fully understand what toppled the twin towers and how other skyscrapers might be made safer. Lawmakers have asked the White House to quickly fund the study, which would be led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Engineers and materials scientists began studying the collapse of New York City's 415-meter-tall landmarks even before the dust settled. But their investigations have been hampered by bureaucratic infighting, legal concerns, and lack of timely access to the site, witnesses told the House Science Committee. It took months, for instance, for researchers to obtain key blueprints, video footage, and samples from scrap steel beams, said W. Gene Corley, head of a government-sponsored study team organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers. To get the plans, Corley even had to sign an agreement not to testify in potential lawsuits against the building's owners, the Port Authority of New York. Despite such travails, Corley's panel is set to issue its preliminary report next month. The $1 million effort is expected to conclude that jet fuel from the hijacked airliners ignited fires that weakened steel beams, allowing upper floors to pancake onto those below.
But Corley said it will take at least $40 million to "fully fund a comprehensive study of an event of this magnitude and complexity." Researchers want to better understand how the tower's design influenced the fires and whether different kinds of steel or sprinkler systems might have reduced the damage.
NIST head Arden Dement said his agency--the government's expert on fire safety and building materials--is already planning the new study, which would involve government, industry, and academic scientists. Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), head of the Science Committee, has asked the White House to find funds this year to jumpstart the effort. Bush Administration officials have yet to respond, although they have approved the concept of such a study.