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The failure of the NIST WTC 7 report to address concerns raised in Appendix C of the 2002 FEMA Building Performance Study

by Tony Szamboti, M.E.

The NIST WTC 7 report does not attempt to explain the “severe high-temperature corrosion attack” on apparently the only piece of WTC 7 steel which was tested, as documented in Appendix C, “Limited Metallurgical Examination” of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Performance Study, which can be found at the link below on the NIST website.

The detailed study deemed necessary by FEMA was – as far as we know - never done, and the observed “intergranular melting” of the steel can not be explained within the framework of the present NIST hypothesis. Why would NIST ignore the recommendations made by FEMA investigators for additional research of the unexplained material behavior?

In a taped interview Worcester Polytechnic Institute Fire Engineering professor Dr. Jonathan Barnett, one of the authors of the 13 page report in Appendix C, made the comment that normal investigative protocol was not followed in the case of the WTC 7 collapse. He says that the steel from WTC 7 was not photographed, examined, and cataloged before being removed. The comments he makes are at the 3:00 minute mark in the below linked video.

It is reported that WTC 7 was fully evacuated long before its collapse and that there were no fatalities or missing persons involved with its demise. The photos in the figures below show the collapsed WTC 7 to have its debris field confined to within a short distance of its footprint.


In addition to showing the relatively tight confinement of the debris field of WTC 7, the photo in Figure 2 also shows that debris from WTC 6 and WTC 5 was contained within their footprints or very nearby.

The FEMA report debris field map for the Twin Towers, below in Figure 3, shows that only a small percentage of the debris from WTC 1 made it the 350 feet to WTC 7’s location. The lighter areas on the map represent low debris density and the darker areas high debris density.


The seeming separation of the WTC 7 debris field from those of the other buildings, and the fact there were no missing persons or fatalities involved with its collapse, make it hard to accept the History Channel program narrator’s comment, in the video above, that the mingling of the steel from the different buildings, and the need for search and rescue, were the reasons for the removal of the WTC 7 steel, before it could be properly photographed, examined, and cataloged, at the collapse site.

Even if the WTC 7 steel was moved, without being examined and cataloged at the site of the collapse, an additional question arises as to why it wasn’t recovered and stored for later testing, evaluation, and a systematic forensic analysis. This is especially pertinent in light of the FEMA recommendation, that additional research was needed due to the strange findings in their very limited metallurgical examination.

In the August 2008 NIST draft final report on WTC 7 there is no mention of testing of any recovered steel from the collapsed remains of the building. In sections where the properties of the steel need to be discussed reference is curiously made to WTC steel samples, not specifically those of WTC 7. This can be understood if one is aware that in an earlier draft of the WTC 7 report the NIST made the stark admission that “No metallography could be carried out because no steel was recovered from WTC 7. Other physical properties are the same as those estimated in Chapter 8 for the WTC steels”.

Since the NIST report on the collapse of WTC 7 suffers from a lack of physical evidence to support its findings, it should go into some level of detail on; why normal investigatory protocol was not followed, why none of the steel was recovered, and whether any laws were violated in not doing so. If there are questions as to the legality of the removal and lack of recovery for investigatory purposes, the NIST should recommend that an investigation be commenced to determine who was involved with the decision to remove the steel and why the NIST did not receive any of it for its investigation.

There are also several seemingly contradictory issues, between the FEMA Building Performance Study Appendix C and the NIST WTC 7 report, for which no explanations have been provided, and they are:

  • NIST states "No steel was recovered from WTC 7" while FEMA section C.2 shows that at least one piece of WTC 7 steel was tested, with the results being alarming, considering the highly unusual formation of a liquid eutectic, intergranular melting, and erosion. Features not seen before, by the experienced investigators, in steel subject to common office fires.
  • FEMA section C.3 Summary for Sample 1 states that the steel was heated to around 1,000° C. (1,800° F.), which is much hotter than the steel temperatures NIST is claiming to have caused the collapse, and seemingly far outside the ability of office fires to heat the steel. Additionally this section states, that steel liquefied at these temperatures, due to the formation of the eutectic, which would dramatically lower the usual 2750° F melting temperature of the steel.
  • FEMA Section C.6 Suggestions for Future Research states "It is also possible that the intergranular melting, eutectic formation, and erosion phenomenon started prior to collapse and accelerated the weakening of the steel structure."
  • Why hasn't the "future research" been done, and the results published?

Tony Szamboti, M.E.

Thanks for the post, Rep.

Excellent analysis asking the simplest and most fundamental questions.

I would add...

"section C.2 shows that at least one piece of WTC 7 steel was tested with the results being alarming, considering the highly unusual formation of a liquid eutectic, intergranular melting, and erosion, not seen before by the experienced investigators in steel subject to common office fires."

The reaction is not exactly a mystery. The results of FEMA's own report are consistent with the theory of thermate arson. Amazingly enough we are talking about WTC 7 steel, not the twin towers, but of course there is also additional evidence.

"Scientific studies of dust fallout of the World Trade Center destruction conducted within months of the attack contain a wealth of data about the dust's distribution, physical forms, and chemical composition. Although this data raised a number of interesting questions -- such as how the dust came to contain high levels of iron, aluminum, sulfur, and barium -- it remained mostly unexamined for years. Even FEMA's disclosure of profound corrosive sulfidation of steel members failed to elicit follow-up studies by official bodies, with NIST avoiding the subject entirely."

Although virtually all of the structural steel from the Twin Towers and Building 7 was removed and destroyed, preventing forensic analysis, FEMA's volunteer investigators did manage to perform "limited metallurgical examination" of some of the steel before it was recycled. Their observations, including numerous micrographs, are recorded in Appendix C of the WTC Building Performance Study. The results of the examination are striking. They reveal a phenomenon never before observed in building fires: eutectic reactions, which caused "intergranular melting capable of turning a solid steel girder into Swiss cheese." The New York Times described this as "perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation."... The "deep mystery" of the melted steel may be yielding its secrets to investigators not beholden to the federal government. Professor Steven Jones has pointed out that the severe corrosion, intergranular melting, and abundance of sulfur are consistent with the theory of thermite arson".

A cover-up occurs when evidence is deliberately omitted for the purpose of deceiving the intended audience.
A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog

Yes, the pro-football player knows what he is talking about

September 6, 2008

Alex Jones talks with Mark Stepnowski about the NYC 9/11 citizens intiative, his analysis of the recent NIST WTC7 report which includes the new ultra cosmic phenomenom labeled "thermal expansion" and his belief that another false flag blitz is coming right at us.

Does the NIST Emperor have any clothes?

I haven't read much of the report, but my favorite part so far is p. 718

"The models developed were technically for the steels from which the bolts were made, rather than for the bolts. Bolt failure is complex at both room- and elevated-temperature, and no methodology exists for modeling the failure of bolts, as distinct from the steels from which they are made, at elevated temperature."

I guess another way of putting this is: the NIST WTC7 report is nuts and bolts, minus the bolts! :-)

Also, a question for you Aussie civil engineers. NIST used modeling based on Austrailian AS149 steel. "The creep behavior of A 36 steel was modeled based on the parameters in Fields (1989). That model is based on test of Australian AS149 steel, which is similar to ASTM A 36." Why didn't NIST just use parameters for A 36, which is quite common in the US? (Well, I think it is. :-) )

Sometimes just a little bit of additive can make a big difference in a steel at high temperatures. E.g., from , we read that
"Boron is also used to increase the creep properties of oxidation-resisting steels and stainless steels used at elevated temperatures.3 The addition of about 50 p.p.m. leads to an increase in the mean stress-to-rupture life by a factor of 3 or an increase in stress to failure in 10,000 hours of up to 25 per cent."

There's no boron in A 36, but there is carbon (of course), manganese, copper, phosphorous, and sulfur.

I would like to know if minute differences in A36 additives vs. AS149 additives make just lifting AS149 parameters an invalid approach. It's one thing if the NIST report is just nuts - it's another if it's Chock Full 'O Nuts!

Please cross post any info on the AS149 vs. A36 question to , on the "Withering critique of the new WTC7 report" thread.

Excellent point


NIST must investigate the possibility of thermite as is prescribed by law.

Firefighters for 9/11 Truth have noted:

We believe there is overwhelming evidence of obstruction of justice, and destruction of evidence voiced even by numerous 9/11 Commissioners themselves. Senator Cleland resigned from the Commission stating, “This investigation is now compromised.”

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 921, which is the National Standard for Fire and Explosion Investigations, very clearly indicates in numerous sections that the possibility of explosives should have been thoroughly investigated. Specifically in NFPA 921 18.3.2 "High Order Damage"- "High-order damage is characterized by shattering of the structure, producing small, pulverized debris. Walls, roofs, and structural members are splintered or shattered, with the building completely demolished. Debris is thrown great distances, possibly hundreds of feet. High-order damage is the result of rapid rates of pressure rise." World Trade Center’s 1, 2, and 7 all clearly met this definition; therefore they should have been thoroughly investigated and analyzed for explosives. Specifically, the use of "exotic accelerants" should have been investigated. In NFPA 921 19.2.4 -“Exotic Accelerants,” three indicators were clearly met that should have led to a thorough investigation into the possible use of “exotic accelerants,” specifically as stated in the guideline, “Thermite mixtures.”

So, why was the possibility of explosives, controlled demolition, or the use of "exotic accelerants" not thoroughly investigated, or even mentioned in the 9-11 Commission Report?

Also: What is your source for the date of the debris pile photograph?
This is significant because the photo shows water being applied to the area of the highest debris pile temperatures 4 days after the collapse. The USGS thermal image of WTC 7 the next day confirms continued high temperatures under the rubble.

Given the amount of water applied to the area, these high temperatures could not possibly be attributed to smoldering fires.

The photo of the WTC 7 rubble pile

is from the NYC OEM website. Below is a link to 911research which mentions this.

Something I just noticed on the USGS thermal image, that you gave a link to, is the lack of hot spots under WTC 5 and WTC 6, which both had hot fires burning in them for quite a while but which did not cause them to collapse.

Unfortunately, from what I understand, NFPA 921 is apparently a guide for fire investigators and is not mandatory. However, I do wonder if there aren't legal issues for not following it, considering that the types of things mentioned in it are the normal course expected to be taken in fire investigations.

The first USGS

photos were taken after the heavy rain fall from 9/14/01.

Hard rain hampers search efforts in New York
Last Updated: Friday, September 14, 2001 | 10:41 AM ET
CBC News
Rescuers searching for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center towers had to deal with pouring rain Friday morning. The weather forced searchers to stop, leaving the bulldozers and backhoes to take over.

No fires on the night of 9/11 on the WTC 7 rubble pile:

Tony Szamboti, M.E.-well done

Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl arrived at ground zero on Sept 19, checked out the area, took many pictures and testified before congress in March of 2002. He recommended NIST study the issue....."In my opinion, such studies need to be directed by federal entities such as National Science Foundation (NSF) and/or National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that are involved in directing and conducting scientific and engineering research."

He let it slip that steel melted at the wtc when he was on PBS talking about the bay bridge collapse in May 2007....
"I saw melting of girders in World Trade Center."

Which is consistant with the reporting of the New York Times when it said this just 3 weeks after 9/11....
"One piece Dr. Astaneh-Asl saw was a charred horizontal I-beam from 7 World Trade Center, a 47-story skyscraper that collapsed from fire eight hours after the attacks. The beam, so named because its cross-section looks like a capital I, had clearly endured searing temperatures. Parts of the flat top of the I, once five-eighths of an inch thick, had vaporized."

They had samples of WTC steel to test. FEMA has pictures of them. NIST has clearly decided to NOT do further investigation on this as requested and instead found studies done on "thermal expansion" and have adopted this despite no physical evidence! The Physical evidence goes against it. And is being ignored. The WTC dust also ignored. ALL PHYSICAL evidence is being ignored in favor of a hypothetical never before proven theory.

This report along with Jones work and others prove that something other than "normal office fires" had an effect the steel.

Sunder claims they never talked to anyone who heard explosions at WTC 7, when any person can go to youtube, type "WTC 7 Explosion" and watch the first video that pops up. Not to mention C Bartner and many others who heard them. They never had to talk with them, we all see them on the internet. This is a disgusting and obvious cover up that any ordinary citizen can see.

Tony, you have been working hard for 9/11 Truth for years....

Tony, thanks so much for this and all the MANY things you have done. Our hat is off to you!!

Publicizing supporting data?

Is NIST required to publish its supporting data for any findings? Any data, such as test results from thermal expansion tests? They fire tested the truss systems for WTC1 & 2, was any testing physical testing on 50ft to see how much they would expand and how much force that expansion exerts connecting columns? In this taped debate, Mr. Sunder states it can be as much as 4 to 5 inches. Really? Steel has that much elasticity to it?

Would 4 or 5 inches of movement really knock an entire column out of that size? How can a floor support break away yet still "pull" the rest of the structure down with it? That seems at odds with itself. Since NIST acknowledges this wasn't a "criminal investigation" then data should be required to be published so the findings can be verified.

Thanks to all


NIST didn't do physical tests for WTC 7

They only did finite element models.

The reason a column can fail in buckling, due to being unsupported laterally, is that it increases its slenderness ratio.

The expansion of the beams isn't what NIST is trying to say directly caused the column to buckle. They are saying the beams expanded against a horizontal girder, which was supporting the column laterally, and forced it off its seat on the column. They say the beams then lost their connection with the girder and a collapse over eight floors occurred when floor 13 fell due to losing its girder. The girders on floors 6 through 12 were then knocked off their seats with column 79. Column 79 was then unsupported laterally for eight floors and buckled, starting a chain reaction of buckling of columns, first north to south and then east to west in the core.

They are saying the actual buckling is caused by the vertical load after the beams and girders pulled away removing lateral support and increasing the slenderness ratios.

Their theory is a hard pill to swallow, as it requires a precise confluence of unlikely events. Their results model also doesn't match the condition of the exterior seen in videos.