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?