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MECHANICS OF

PROGRESSIVE
COLLAPSE:
WHAT DID
AND DID NOT
DOOM WORLD
TRADE CENTER,
AND WHAT CAN
WE LEARN ?
ZDENK P. BAANT
Presented as a Mechanics Seminar at Georgia Tech,
Atlanta, on April 4 ,2007, and as a Civil Engineering
Seminar at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL,
on May 24, 2007

Collaborators:
Jialiang Le
Mathieu Verdure
Yong Zhou
Frank R. Greening
David B. Benson

Structural
System
- framed
tube

Previous Investigations
Computer simulations and engrg. analysis at NIST realistic,
illuminating, meticulous but no study of progressive
collapse. theories of collapse:
Mechanics
1. Northwestern (9/13/2001) still valid
2. E Kausel (9/24/2001) good, but limited to no dissipation
3. GC Clifton (2001) Pancaking theory: Floors
collapsed first, an empty framed tube later? impossible
4. GP Cherepanov (2006) fracture wave hypothesis invalid
5. AS Usmani, D Grierson, T Wierzbickispecial fin.el. simulations
Lay Critics: Fletzer, Jones, Elleyn, Griffin, Henshall,
Morgan, Ross, Ferran, Asprey, Beck, Bouvet, etc.
Movie Loose Change (Charlie Sheen), etc.

1
Review of
Elementary
Mechanics of
Collapse

Initial Impact only local damage, not overall


Tower designed for impact of Boeing 707-320 (max. takeoff weight is 15% less, fuel capacity
4% less than Boeing 767-200)

Momentum of Boeing 767 180 tons 550 km/h


Momentum of equivalent mass of the interacting
upper half of the tower 250, 000 tons v0
Initial velocity of upper half:
v0 0.7 km/h (0.4 mph)
Assuming first vibration period T1 = 10 s:

Maximum Deflection = v0T / 2 40 cm


(about 40% of max.hurricane effect)

13% of columns
were severed
on impact, some
more deflected

Failure Scenario

a)

b)

c)

d)

1. 60% of 60 columns of impacted face (16% of


287 overall) were severed, more damaged.
2. Stress redistribution higher column loads.
3. Insulation stripped steel temperatures
up to 600oCyield strength down -20% at
300oC,-85% at 300oC, creep for > 450oC.
4. Differential thermal expansion +
viscoplasticity floor trusses sag, pull
perimeter columns inward (bowing of
columns = buckling imperfection).
5. Collapse trigger: Viscoplastic buckling of hot
columns (multi-floor) upper part of tower
falls down by at least one floor height.
6. The kinetic energy of upper part can be
neither elastically resisted nor plastically
absorbed by the lower part of tower
progressive collapse (buckling + connections
sheared.)

e)

I. Crush-Down Phase

f)

II. Crush-Up Phase

Toppling
like
a tree?

Why Didn't the Upper Part Fall Like


a Tree, Pivoting About Base ?
a)

c)

e)

MP

F1

m
h1

H1

b)

x
d)

mg
Possible ?

mx
H1
F
Fmax

f)

F1

MP
FP

3
mg
8

(The horizontal reaction at pivot)


> 10.3 (Plastic shear capacity of a floor)

South towe
impacted
eccentrical

Plastic Shearing of Floor Caused by Tilting


(Mainly South Tower)

Elastically Calculated Overload


Dynamic elastic overload factor calculated for
maximum deflection (loss of gravity potential
of mass m = strain energy)

The column response could not be

elastic, but plastic-fracturing

m
h

Can Plastic Deformation Dissipate


the Kinetic Energy of Vertical
Impact of Upper Part?
n = 3 to 4 plastic hinges per column line.

Combined rotation angle:


Dissipated energy:

Kinetic energy = released gravitational potential energy:

Only <12% of kinetic energy


was dissipated by plasticity in
1st story, less in further stories

Collapse could not have


taken much longer than a
free fall

Plastic Buckling
F

Case of P1
single floor
buckling

P1

L=2Lef

MP

Yield limit

F0

Wf

Plastic buckling

Shanley
bifurcation
inevitable!

Fc F Service
s
load
0

Yielding

F0

Plastic
buckling

Elastic

Fc < Fs
cannot

L/2
P1

Load F

Fc Fs
can propagate
dynamically

M P P1

0
0

0.5h

Expanded scale
0

Axial Shortening u

0.04h

2
Gravity-Driven
Propagation of
Crushing Front in
Progressive
Collapse

Two Possible Approaches to


Global Continuum Analysis

Stiffness Approach homogenized elastoplastic strain-softening continuum must


be NONLOCAL, with characteristic length =
story height COMPLEX !
Energy Approach non-softening
continuum equivalent to snap-through*
avoids irrelevant noise SIMPLER !
________________________
* analogous to crack band theory, or to van der Waals
theory of gas dynamics, with Maxwell line

Crushing of Columns of One Story


One-story equation of motion:: = g F(u) / m(z)
Initial condition: v velocity of impacting block
Crushing
Resistance F(u)

F0
Fd
mg
Fc
0 u0 uc

Rehardening

Crushing force, F

Collapse arrest criterion: Kin. energy K

Wc
Wb

< Wc
Lumped Mass

h
1

Dynamic Snapthrough

Maxwell Line

Fa

Floor displacement, u

uf

Lower Fc for
multi-floor buckling!

Crushing force, F

a) Front accelerates b) Front decelerates c) Collapse arrested


F0

Floor velocity, v

mg
Fc
0
v

Real Crushing
Resistance F(z)

Fa

zc

v2 >v1
h

Fc
mg

Fa

0
v
v1

Deceleration

1
g-Fc/m

v1
tz

Fc
mg

for Fc

v1

Deceleration
Acceleration

u 0
0
h
Displacement h
v
v2 > v 1 v
1
v1
g-Fc/m
v1
v2 < v1
u

Fd

W1 = K

u
h

u 0
h
v

Acceleration

v1

h
F(z)
Fd W1 = W2

Fd W1 = W2

for Fc

0
v

F0

F0

tz Time t

Deceleration

u
h

t
time

Mean Energy Dissipation by Column Crushing, Fc, and


Compaction Ratio, , at Front of Progressive Collapse
Internal energy (adiabatic) potential : W = F(z)dz

Total potential = gravity - W

Crushing Force, F

a) Single-story plastic buckling L = h


h
h
Fpeak
Fc

Floor n

Wc

n-1

Wc

n-2

n-3

b) Two-story plastic buckling


Fpeak
2h
Fc

L = 2h

c) Two-story fracture buckling


Fpeak

L = 2h

Fs
Fc

n-4

Fc

Fc

Service load

Distance from tower top, z

Fc

energyequivalent
snapthrough
= mean
crushing
force

2 Phases of Crushing Front Propagation


Crush-Down
(Phase I of WTC)

Mass
shedding

Crush-Up
(Phase II of WTC
or Demolition)

Collapse
front

Phase II

Collapse
front

1D Continuum Model for Crushing Front Propagation


within perimeter
= compaction ratio = Rubble volume
Tower volume
a)

z0

b)

s0 B
H

g) Can 2 fronts propagate


up and down
simultaneously ?

NO !

z0

.
z s = s0
z&

y0 = z0
(H-z0)

Phase 1. Crush-Down

h)
Crush-Down

.
zt

Fc< Fc if slower
than free fall
Fc
Phase 1
downward
c)
d)

y
r0 B

. i
m(z)vCrush-Up
)
.
m(z)g
m(y)y
m(y)g

Fc F
c

Fc Fc

.
yt y. 2

y
r = r0

e)

Phase 2. Crush-Up

z0

Diff. Eqs. of Crushing Front Propagation


I. Crush-Down Phase:
z(t)
Resisting force Buckling Comminution Jetting air

z0
Intact

Criterion of Arrest (deceleration): Fc(z) > gm(z)

II. Crush-Up Phase:

Compacted

y(t)

z0

Inverse: If functions z(t), m(z),


(z) are known, the specific
energy dissipation in collapse,
Fc(y), can be determined

Compaction ratio:

fraction of mass ejected outside perimeter

Resistance and Mass Variation along Height


400

400

300

300

200

200

100

100

0
0

200

400

600

800

Variation of resisting force due


to column buckling, Fb, (MN)

1000

1 .2

1 .4

Variation of mass density, m(z),


(106 kg/m)

1 .6

Energy Potential at Variable Mass


Crush-Down
Crush-Up

Note:
Solution by quadratures is possible for constant average
properties, no comminution, no air ejection

Tower Top Coordinate (m)

Collapse for Different Constant Energy


Dissipations
(for no comminution, no air)
Wf = 2.4 GNm
fall arrested
2
1.5
phase 1
phase 2

free
fall

1
0.5
0

= 0.18 , = 7.7E5 kg/m , z0 = 80 m , h = 3.7 m

Time (s)

Collapse for Different Compaction Ratios


Tower Top Coordinate (m)

(for no comminution, no air)

transition between
phases 1 and 2

free
fall
Wf = 0.5 GNm ,
= 7.7E5 kg/m ,
z0 = 80 m , h = 3.7 m

= 0.4
0.3
0.18
0

Time (s)

Tower Top Coordinate (m)

Collapse for Various Altitudes of Impact


for impact 2 floors below top
mg < F0,heated
5
( 2.5 E7 GNm)
free
fall

20

phase 1
phase 2

55

= 0.18 , h = 3.7 m
= (6.66+2.08Z)E5 kg/m
Wf = (0.86 + 0.27Z)0.5 GNm

Time (s)

(for no comminution, no air)

Tower Top Coordinate (m)

Crush-up or Demolition for Different


Constant Energy Dissipations
Wf = 11 GNm
fall arrested

free
fall

6
5
4
3
2
0.5

asymptotically
parabolic end

= 0.18 , = 7.7E5 kg/m , z0 = 416 m , h = 3.7 m

Time (s)

(for no comminution, no air)

Resisting force as a fraction of total


Impacted Floor Number

Resisting Force /Total F c

96

81

48

Impacted Floor Number

5 F 110

100%

81

64

25

F 101 110

100%

Fb

75%

Fb

75%

Crush-down
ends

Crush-down
ends

50%

Fs

North Tower
25%

Fb
Fa

Fs
Fa

0%
0

50%

South Tower

Fb
25%

Time (s)

12

Fa

Fs
Fa

0%
8

Fs

Time (s)

12

Resisting force / Falling mass weight


Impacted Floor Number
96

81

48

5 F 110

100

F c/ m(z)g

Impacted Floor Number


81

64

25

F 101 110

100

10

10

Crush-down
ends

North Tower

0 .1
0

Time (s)

Crush-down
ends

South Tower

0 .1
12

Time (s)

12

Resisting force F c and F m(MN)

External resisting force and resisting


force due to mass accretion
Impacted Floor Number
96

81

48

Impacted Floor Number

5 F

81

2500

2500

1250

1250

Fm

64

Fc

North Tower
0

Time (s)

Fm

Fc

25

12

South Tower

0
0

Time (s)

12

3
Critics Outside
Structural Engineering
Community:
Why Are They Wrong?

Lay Criticism of Struct. Engrg. Consensus

1)

Primitive Thoughts:

Euler's Pcr too high

Shanley
bifurcation

Buckling possibility denied


Plastic squash load too high, etc.
Initial tilt indicates toppling like a tree?
So explosives must been used !
No ! horizontal reaction is unsustainable
Mass
Centroid

Like a
Tree?

No !

No !

~4 tilt due to
asymmetry of
damage
~25 (South Tower)
non-accelerated
rotation about
vertically moving
mass centroid

Ft

2) Collapse was a free fall ! ? Therefore the


steel columns must have been destroyed
beforehand by planted explosives?
Video Record of Collapse of WTC Towers

North Tower

South Tower

Tilting Profile of WTC South Tower


t
1

2
m

H1
2

Video
-recorded
(South
Tower)

H1

Initial tilt

H1
C t
(1 cos )
2

East

North

Tower Top Coordinate (m)

Comparison to Video Recorded Motion


(comminution and air ejection are irrelevant for first 2 or 3
seconds)
420

420

From crush-down
differential eq.

From crush-down
differential eq.
410

Note
Free fall
uncertainty range

400

Free fall

First 20m of fall

400

First 30m of fall

South Tower

North Tower

380
0

(Top part large falling mass)


2

Time (s)

Not fitted but predicted!

Time (s)
Video analyzed by Greening

Seismic and video records rule out


417 m

From seismic data:


crush-down T 12.59s 0.5s

North Tower
Impact of
compacted
rubble layer
on rock base
of bathtub

Free fall

with pulverization
with expelling air

impeded by singlestory buckling only

12.81s
8.08s 12.29s

0m
-20 m

Most likely time


from seismic record

12.62s
Seismic
rumble

Ground Velocity Tower Top Coordinate (m)


(m/s)

Calculated crush-down duration vs. seismic record


450

450

North Tower

South Tower

with air ejection


& comminution

with air ejection


& comminution

300

300

Seismic
error

Free fall

Free fall

Calculation 1 5 0
error

150

Crush-down ends

Seismic
error
Calculation
error

Crush-down ends

with buckling only

with buckling only


0

Free fall

Free fall

b
c

b
c
0

Time (s)

12

16

Time (s)

12

3) Pulverizing as much as 50% of concrete


to 0.01 to 0.13 mm required explosives!
NO. only 10% of kinetic energy sufficed.
How much explosive would be needed to
pulverize 73,000 tons of lightweight concrete of
one tower to particles of sizes 0.01 0.1mm ?

237 tons of TNT per tower, put into

small drilled holes (the energy required is


95,000 MJ; 30 J per m2 of particle surface,
and 4 MJ per kg of TNT, assuming 10% efficiency at
best).

Comminution (Fragmentation and


Pulverization) of Concrete Slabs
Schuhmann's law: M ( D) M t ( D / Dmax )
mass of particles < D

total

Cumulative Mass of Particles


(M / Mt)

Energy dissipated
= kinetic energy
K W f ( D)
loss K

16 mm

0.12 mm

n
o
ct
a
mp

n
u
o
gr

0.012 mm
= Dmin

0.01

y
r
o
st

b
e
t
a
l
a
di
tc s
e
a
m
r
p
e
k Im
int

y
r
o
st

particle size

3 G f ( D)

Dmin

dM ( D )

density of
particle size

0.16mm = Dmin
0.1

10

Particle Size (mm)

Kinetic Energy Loss K due to Slab Impact


Compacted
layer

m
v1

Comminuted
slabs

v2

Kinetic energy to
pulverize concrete
slabs & core walls

Momentum balance: Fragments


mv1 mv2 i mi vi
max K for vi v2 (all i )
= ms concrete
Kinetic energy loss:
1 2 1
2
K mv1 (m mi )v2
2
2

ms

K
z
2h [1 ms / m( z )]

Total: U K total K Wb Wa
Gravitational
energy loss

Concrete
Buckling
fragments

Air

(energy conservation)

Maximum and Minimum


Fragment Size at Crush Front (mm)

Fragment size of concrete at crush front


Impacted Floor Number

Impacted Floor Number


96

48

81

5 F 110

10

81

64

25

F 101 110

10

Crush-down
ends

Dmax

0 .1

Dmax

Dmin

0 .0 1

North Tower

0 .0 0 1

Crush-down
ends

0 .1

Dmin

0 .0 1

South Tower

0 .0 0 1

Time (s)

12

Time (s)

12

Comminution energy / Kinetic energy of


falling mass
Impacted Floor Number
96

81

48

5 F 110

81

64

25

F 101 110

100%

100%

W f/

Impacted Floor Number

10%

10%

1%

1%

Crush-down
ends

Crush-down
ends

North Tower

0 .1 %
0

South Tower

0 .1 %

Time (s)

12

Time (s)

12

Dust mass (< 0.1 mm) / Slab mass


Impacted Floor Number

Impacted Floor Number


96

81

48

5 F 110

81

64

25

F 101 110

M d/ M s

Crush-down
ends

0 .5

Crush-down
ends
0 .5

North Tower

0
0

Time (s)

12

South Tower

0
0

Time (s)

12

Loss of gravitational potential vs.


comminution energy
Energy Variation (GJ)

1000

1000

North Tower

South Tower

Loss of gravitational
potential

Loss of gravitational
potential
500

500

Ground impact
Comminution
energy

0
0

Time (s)

Ground impact
Comminution
energy

12

Time (s)

12

4) Booms During Collapse!

Air squeezed out


of 1 story in 0.07 s

hence, planted explosives?

Air Jets
h

200 m of concrete
dust or fragments

If air escapes story-by-story, its


mean velocity at base is
va = 461 mph (0.6 Mach), but
locally can reach speed of sound

(va < 49.2 m/s, Fa < 0.24 Fc, pa < 0.3 atm)

5) Dust cloud expanded too rapidly?


Expected.

North Tower Collapse in Sequence

Note:
Dust-laden air jetting out
Moment of impact cannot be detect

Moment of ground impact cannot be seen, but from seismic


record: Collapse duration = 12.59 s ( 0.5 s of rumble)

Note
jets
of
dustladen
air

6) Pulverized concrete dust (0.01 to 0.12 mm)


deposited as far as 200 m away? Logical.

7) Lower dust cloud margin = crush front?


air would have to escape through a rocket nozzle!

8) Temperature of steel not high enough


to lower yield strength fy of structural steel,
to cause creep buckling?
fy reduced by 20% at 300C, by 85% at 600C (NIST).
Creep begins above 450C.
Steel temperature up to 600C confirmed by annealing
studies at NIST.

9) Thermite cutter charges planted?


evidenced by residues of S, Cu, Zi found in dust?
But these must have come from gypsum wallboard,
electrical wiring, galvanized sheet steel, etc.

10) Fracture wave

allegedly propagated in a material


pre-damaged, e.g., by explosives, led to free-fall collapse
unrealistic hypothesis, because:
A uniform state on the verge of material failure cannot exist
in a stable manner, because of localization instability.
Wave propagation analysis would have to be nonlocal, but wasn't
Fracture wave cannot deliver energy sufficient for comminution.

4
How the findings can
be exploited by
tracking demolitions

Proposal: In demolitions,
measure and compare energy
dissipation per kg of structure.
Use:
1) High-Speed Camera

2) Real-time radio-monitored
accelerometers:
Note: Top part of WTC dissipated 33 kJ/m3

Collapse of 2000
Commonwealth
Avenue in Boston
under construction,
1971
(4 people killed)
The collapse was
initiated by slab
punching)

Murrah Federal
Building in
Oklahoma City,
1995
(168 killed)

Ronan Point
Collapse
U.K. 1968
Weak Joints, Precast Members
Floor
slab

Reinforcing
Bar

Hotel New World


Singapore 1986

Generalization of Progressive Collapse


1) 1D Translational-Rotational
--- "Ronan Point" type
Angular momentum and shear
not negligible

2) 3D Compaction Front
Propagation
will require finite
strain simulation

25th floor

Gas
exploded
on 18th floor

Gravity-Driven Progressive Collapse


Triggered by Earthquake

MAIN
RESULTS
All WTC
observations
are explained.
All lay
criticisms
are refuted.
Download 466.pdf & 405.pdf from Bazants website:
www.civil.northwestern.edu/people/bazant.html

References

Baant, Z.P. (2001). Why did the


World Trade Center collapse? SIAM
News (Society for Industrial and
Applied Mathematics) Vol. 34, No. 8
(October), pp. 1 and 3 (submitted
Sept. 13, 2001) (download 404.pdf).
Baant, Z.P., and Verdure, M.
(2007). Mechanics of Progressive
Collapse: Learning from World Trade
Center and Building Demolitions. J.
of Engrg. Mechanics ASCE 133, pp.
308319 (download 466.pdf).
Baant, Z.P., and Zhou, Y. (2002).
Why did the World Trade Center
collapse?Simple analysis. J. of
Engrg. Mechanics ASCE 128 (No.
1), 2--6; with Addendum, March (No.
3), 369370 (submitted Sept. 13,
2001, revised Oct. 5, 2001)
(download 405.pdf).

Kausel, E. (2001). Inferno at


the World Trade Center, Tech
Talk (Sept. 23), M.I.T.,
Cambridge.

NIST (2005). Final Report on


the Collapse of the World
Trade Center Towers. S.
Shyam Sunder, Lead
Investigator. NIST (National
Institute of Standards and
Technology), Gaithersburg,
MD (248 pgs.)

Download 466.pdf & 405.pdf from Baants website:


www.civil.northwestern.edu/people/bazant.html