, Volume 53, Issue 12, pp 8–11 | Cite as

Why did the world trade center collapse? Science, engineering, and speculation

  • Thomas W. Eagar
  • Christopher Musso
Special report Feature


There have been numerous reports detailing the cause of the World Trade Center Tower collapse on September 11, 2001. Most have provided qualitative explanations; however, simple quantitative analyses show that some common conclusions are incorrect; for example, the steel could not melt in these flames and there was more structural damage than merely softening of the steel at elevated temperatures. Some guidelines for improvements in future structures are presented.


World Trade Fire Protection Diffuse Flame Wind Load National Fire Protection Association 
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Copyright information

© Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas W. Eagar
    • 1
  • Christopher Musso
    • 2
  1. 1.Materials Engineering and Engineering SystemsUSA
  2. 2.the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA

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