Faculty Advisor

Jonathan R. Barnett

Faculty Advisor

Donald O. Dusenberry

Identifier

etd-042907-214619

Abstract

This project involves a failure analysis of the internal structural collapse that occurred in World Trade Center 5 (WTC 5) due to fire exposure alone on September 11, 2001. It is hypothesized that the steel column-tree assembly failed during the heating phase of the fire. The results of this research have serious and far-reaching implications, for this method of construction is utilized in approximately 20,000 existing buildings and continues to be very popular. Catastrophic failure during the heating phase of a fire would endanger the lives of firefighters and building occupants undergoing extended egress times (e.g., high-rise buildings), or relying upon defend-in-place strategies (e.g., hospitals). Computer software was used to reconstruct the fire event and predict the structural performance of the assembly when exposed to the fire. Results from a finite element, thermal-stress model confirms this hypothesis, for it is concluded that the catastrophic, progressive structural collapse occurred approximately 2 hours into the fire exposure.

Publisher

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name

MS

Department

Fire Protection Engineering

Project Type

Thesis

Date Accepted

2007-04-29

Accessibility

Unrestricted

Subjects

structural collapse, WTC 5, World Trade Center 5, structural fire protection, Gerber beam design, progressive collapse, shear connections, thermal-stress analysis, steel construction

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