NIST and the WTC:

"Science" at the Service of an Empire

Sami Yli-Karjanmaa (sy-k[at]
14 July 2005

"Thorough, open, independent." This is how the National Institute of Standards and Technology characterizes [1] its 10 000-page, 750-Mb WTC draft study [2]. The tactics are clear: to drown the weak points of the official 9/11 story in an enormous amount of redundant information. However, those who know what they are looking for can soon find their way to the critical omissions in the reports.

The first of the specific objectives of the NIST study was to "[d]etermine why and how WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed following the initial impacts of the aircraft and why and how WTC 7 collapsed." [3] These questions are not answered for simple reasons:

Incredibly, the progressive collapse of the Twin Towers has been left out of the computer models used: "The global models of the towers extended from several stories below the impact area to the top of the structure." [4] Thus the structurally intact floors 1-91 of WTC 1 and floors 1-77 of WTC 2 were excluded from the so called "global" models of the towers.

Correspondingly, the temporal dimension was cut short as well: NIST gave itself the task of finding out "[t]he probable sequence of events from the moment of aircraft impact until the initiation of global building collapse." [5]

Why were the models truncated? The following are two examples of the reasons given by NIST:

  • "The observation of photographic and video evidence of the behavior of both structures, following the time of aircraft impact and until collapse initiation, strongly suggested that nonlinear behavior and structural collapse initiation occurred within the upper portions of the structures, generally above the zone of aircraft impact. Therefore, to reduce the model size and improve solution time, the model of WTC 1 was truncated at Floor 89, five floors below the zone of impact, and a series of equivalent vertical linear springs were introduced at the base of this truncated model to represent the stiffness of the interior columns and exterior walls beneath the level of truncation. Similarly, the model of WTC 2 was truncated at Floor 73. This truncation is believed to have negligible effect on the predicted behavior of the structure." [6]
  • The parts of structures below the impact zones (Floor 89 to Floor 91 in WTC 1 and Floor 73 to Floor 77 in WTC 2) contributed little to the overall behavior of the buildings. Previous analyses of subsystem models and preliminary global models showed that the elements below the impact zone did not experience plastic deformations or buckling. Therefore, they were eliminated to further reduce the size of the models. With this modification, the global model for WTC 2 was truncated at Floor 77 just above the mechanical floors and at Floor 91 for WTC 1." [7]

In other words, "Even without the modeling of the progressive collapse we had to postpone the publication of the reports four times so we just didn't have time to do that. And besides, the lower parts of the buildings simply did not slow down the collapse, as everyone could see on TV, so why bother?"

In summary: The reports by NIST say nothing about how -- and if! -- the collapse was able to progress through dozens and dozens of structurally intact floors without being stopped. If no external energy was available e.g. in the form of explosives, this would have been the opportunity to show that no such energy was needed. On the other hand, if some unaccounted-for energy broke the supporting structures enabling the collapse to progress with the speed it did, there would have been many good reasons not to try to model the impossible, ie. a purely gravitation-driven collapse. Stopping the analysis early enough also saves NIST from trying to explain the symmetricality of the collapses (despite non-symmetrical impact damage and fires), the almost complete pulverization of non-metallic materials as well as the extremely hot spots in the rubble. These remain as inexplicable by the official story as they have ever been.

One appendix of project 6 includes an interesting analysis of a dropping floor. [8] According to the results, however, temperatures of 400 to 700 °C are needed in order for the collapse to be initiated. Unfortunately, the destruction of evidence at Ground Zero was so complete that NIST can now only say that the steel components recovered demonstrate that there was "limited exposure if any above 250 °C." [9]

NIST's collapse creed, repeated eleven times with identical wording (and once with a slightly different one) in the report of project 6 dealing with the collapse sequences, is this:

"The change in potential energy due to downward movement of building mass above the buckled columns exceeded the strain energy that could have been absorbed by the structure. Global collapse then ensued." [10]

In other words: "Once the top started coming down, it was so heavy that the damaged columns could not stop it. Neither could the undamaged columns of dozens of floors do that, it seems. But we didn't need to model that for we've all seen that down it came."

Thorough, open, independent?


[1] | [Back]
[2] | [Back]
[3] (75 kB), p.3 | [Back]
[4] (1.4 MB), p. lxii | [Back]
[5] Ibid., p. lxiv | [Back]
[6] (19.4 MB), p. 5 | [Back]
[7] Ibid., p. 169 | [Back]
[8] Ibid., p. 371 | [Back]
[9] (52 kB), p. xli | [Back]
[10] (17.5 MB) | [Back]