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Fire Induced Thermal and Structural Response of the World Trade Center Towers.

Prasad, K., Hamins, A., Mcallister, T. and Gross, J., 2008. Fire Induced Thermal and Structural Response of the World Trade Center Towers.. Fire Safety Science 9: 1267-1278. doi:10.3801/IAFSS.FSS.9-1267


Over the past several years, there has been a resurgence of interest in studying the response of building structures to fires. Simulations of the effects of severe fires on the structural integrity of buildings requires a close coupling between the gas phase energy release and transport phenomena and the stress analysis in the load bearing materials. A methodology has been developed for coupling CFD simulations of fire growth with finite element models for thermal analysis and for using the thermal data to compute the demand-to-capacity ratio in a multi-story structure. A simple radiative transport model that assumes the compartment is divided locally into a hot, soot laden upper layer and a cool, relatively clear lower layer is employed to predict radiative fluxes incident on sub-grid scale structural members. Thermal response coupled with realistic fire simulations of various steel structural components on floors of World Trade Center Tower 1 that were subjected to aircraft impact damage and fires are presented. The thermal response was used to compute the reduction in load carrying capacity of the structural components as a function of time, which ultimately results in global collapse of the towers.

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