The Rapid Graceful Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7

Crockett Grabbe

SeaLane Research & Consulting

February 10, 2009


Almost 7 years after it had occurred, the astounding conclusion of the Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7 was that fires brought it down in the very symmetrical 6.5 seconds that it occurred. How did fires bring this building catastrophically down with such fast graceful symmetry?

One of several aspects that was so amazing about the August 21 report released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was that fires never have brought high-rise buildings down, most particularly in under a catastropic 7-second time. That is to say, at least not until scenarios for such events were described in NIST Reports on how the Towers fell, culminating in 2005 when NIST released its Final Report on the Collapse of the Towers of the World Trade Center (WTC). That Report provided their final analysis on the WTC Towers, with its well-known conclusions that fires started by the plane collisions eventually brought the Towers down. Of course, there were no plane collisions with Building 7 of the WTC.

Explaining the collapse of Building 7 of the WTC was a particularly difficult task for the NIST Committee. It collapsed at very close to to the free-fall rate of gravity -- that is the rate at which a brick dropped from the 580-feet height of the building would accelerate toward the ground, hitting it in about 6 seconds. Its cleanly symmetrical collapse looked like a classic controlled demolition of a building from strategically placed explosives, so that would seem to be the most logical explanation for its demise.

However, that explanation provided a particular problem for the NIST Committee, for 2 reasons. The 1st was that it would imply someone had to preset these explosives, but who would have preset these explosives to bring an expensive commercial building down? This was 5 hours after the planes that apparently had been taken over by terrorists and hijacked into suicide missions had hit the Towers, and broadcasts to the entire world had been made extensively by the news media. The 2nd reason was that the 2005 NIST Report had concluded the Towers had been brought down by fires, with any consideration of explosive action in bringing them down ignored as irrelevant. Since explosive action was thrown out as an explanation for the Tower collapses, how could have possibly occurred 5 hours later in Building 7 when the whole world was watching?

Thus explosives were similarly ignored as irrelevant in the 3 years they spent crafting the Report on how Building 7 came down. Since the 2005 Report on the Tower collapses had such an important influence on the 2008 Report, it is worth looking at it in more detail. The NIST 2005 Report ascribed the fires started by the plane collisions as causing the subsequent Tower collapses after the collisions (0:57 later for the South Tower, and 1:41 later for the North Tower). Since those fires were confined to floors 79 and above for the South Tower, and floor 92 and above for the North Tower, this would mean that the large undamaged parts of the Towers below the impact zone offered very little resistance (effectively little more than air) to produce the very rapid and complete destruction by the accelerating mass of the smaller top sections cascading downwards at rates close to the freefall acceleration rate.

To fully understanding the nuances in the 2008 Report by NIST, it might be helpful for people to learn about Maxwell's demon. This demon was actually conjured up by the famous James Clerk Maxwell, one of the most innovative physicists of the 19th Century. He is most famous for developing the 4 coupled equations that completely describe the fields of electricity and magnetism. One of the other physics topics he worked on was that of thermodynamics, a subject considered essential at that time to understand how engines and other sources produce work. 3 laws had been developed on thermodynamics years before -- principles that were developed as a result of the enlightenment of the industrial revolution. But Maxwell saw a puzzling problem about the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that if 2 containers side-by-side are in thermal equilibrium with each other, they will stay in thermal equilibrium. But Maxwell postulated that if there was a little demon opening up a small door between the containers, the demon could monitor thermal molecular motion by only allowing fast molecules to pass through into one container, and slow molecules to pass through into the other container. Thus over time the demon would cause the 2 containers to move out of thermal equilibrium with each other, in seeming contradiction to the 2nd law.

The resolution of the paradox formulation by Maxwell is that that little demon must of necessity be considered part of the physical system. To get the extremely large amount of information on the movement of septillions of molecules requires external work, and with that external work considered there is no violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. In fact 20th century statistical physics was developed to go beyond thermodyamics, and includes those extremely small remote possibilities (such as all this information being transmitted to septillions of molecules) in analysis of the expected outcome.

In the case of the ostensible collapse of WTC7 initiating by a local buckling from fires that was formulated by NIST, that demon would have to control the flow at millions of such doors along the top of the building to maintain that amazing symmetry for the under-7-second collapse. Fires in general are very asymmetrical, so the demon would have to get the burned structures in the right place at all these points for the catastropic timing of the collapse to produce this amazing symmetry. But if the architectural failure started locally from fires as the NIST Committe claims, that local asymmetry would have to result in a global perfectly-symmetric fall within hundredths of a second. All of the information from the locally asymmetric failure would have to propagate to all corners of the building and almost instaneously create a perfectly symmetric fall. The demon would have to move at an extremely fast rate to these millions of doors to control this amazing transition to global symmetry. The statistical odds of this happening are so overwhelmingly small that the scenario is patently absurd.

But again, moving between millions of doors at extremely fast speeds to obtain this amazing symmetry is not the only feat the demon would have to do. Building 7 of the WTC fell with perfect symmetry and at freefall from its very start. The establishment of freefall came from very careful timing and measurement by David Chandler in 3 videos in a series entitled "WTC7: NIST Finally Admits Freefall" he produced and placed on the web ( www.911speakout.org ). NIST admitted the building was in freefall for more than the first 2 seconds of its collapse, despite claims they made when they first released the WTC7 Report on August 21 that it was not in freefall.

The implications of the fact that the collapse was in freefall are that the gravitational energy was totally used for the freefall of the building. The well-known physics principle of conservation of energy shows that there was no gravitational energy left to break the building apart as it fell. If gravity was the only source of energy, there is no energy to cause the structure to collapse as it falls. Conservation of energy shows this could only happen if the building fell as if it was liquid water, as if all material cohesion within the building had been destroyed when it started falling. Destroying this cohesion would clearly require a separate energy source than gravitation. Freefall of the building shows that the gravitational collapse conjectured in the NIST Report cannot happen!

Thus to attain freefall of the building with perfect symmetry, Maxwell's demon would not only have to move at extremely high speeds between millions of doors to maintain this perfect symmetry, it would also have to violate well-established physics conservation laws. Maxwell's demon might be able to pull off the fantastically improbable, but he cannot perform the impossible.

Maxwell's hypothetical demon would in fact be powerless to violate physics conservation principles. No violation of these conservation principles have ever been found. It would also be extremely unlikely the demon could get the information to millions of points in time to maintain the amazing symmetry of the graceful fall of the building. For the top of Building 7 to fall at the free-fall rate with such graceful symmetry would in fact require substantial amounts of exlosive-type energy to quickly and completely obliterate the full material cohesion and create this very non-resistive state all across the building. In fact, barring explosive energy breaking up the solid material, that lower contiguous material counters falling parts from above, and conservation of energy and momentum keeps the free-fall state from ever being approached. The NIST Committee completely ignored conservation of energy and momentum in all their calculations, not only for Building 7 but also for the Towers, erroneously deducing that the buildings can collapse gravitationally at close to the "free-fall" rate from fires alone.

All of the NIST Reports avoid any discussion of the problem of the conservation laws in their analyses. The only mention they have ever made of them is on one of their FAQ sheet released in December of 2007, partially in response to a few of us having brought up this issue in earlier papers. [See my online (World-Wide Web) reply to the NIST's attempt to dodge the issue in that FAQ, in the Journal of 911 Studies letter of Jan. 29, 2008.] The fact is, well-established conservation principles cannot be ignored. The gravitational collapse model endorsed by NIST to explain all 3 building collapses in fact cannot produce the virtual free fall asserted. These principles show that the recent Final Report on WTC7, as well as their 2005 Final Report on the Towers, are completely wrong.

The observed collapse of WTC7 as well as both Towers demonstrates that they did in fact move down near the free-fall rate. However, the gravitational collapses analyzed in these studies cannot produce that virtual free-fall. The suggestions by the NIST Committee that they could are clearly in error. The only thing that could create a state close to free-falling is massive explosions in structures well below the fires. That appears to be the only process which could effectively "liquefy" that lower structure to the point that it provides no resistance to the falling material from above -- both for the Towers and for Building 7. Considerable direct scientific evidence for explosions, as well as for extremely high temperatures produced by these explosions (much hotter than fires can produce), has been presented. Much of this is available for all to read and explore on the World-Wide Web.

The NIST Committee completed 6-years of productive work when they released the final version (after public comment) of their Final Report on the Collapse of Building 7 of the World Trade Center on November 20. They had concentrated on finding why fires brought the WTC down, and focused exclusively on that topic, never straying from that focus in the 45 reports they produced, in spite of considerable disagreement with their findings. While their primary objective was to "Determine how and why the World Trade Center buildings collapsed", these principles of conservation of energy and momentum alone show they did not do that. The NIST Committe actually stuck to their perceived Congressional mission as the National Building and Safety investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster. They were never led astray by "red herrings" (e.g. like applying the principles of physics that some of us invest their time in to a rather difficult subject) and finished all of their numerous projects to determine how fires brought the buildings down. Mission accomplished!

With 45 government reports on why fires destroyed the World Trade Center, will these very unscientific conclusions remain the official status quo of the Federal Government? It is up to the Obama Administration to try to uncover the facts on the attacks that government groups have seemingly avoided for years. A correct scientific analysis of the facts and the evidence still has not been done, in spite of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that have been spent on this issue. That is what is needed to "bring science back to its rightful place" on these issues, which President Obama promised to do in his inaugural address. The scientific analysis of what happened must be correctly done first before we can properly investigate a natural follow-up question: was this all the work of Osama bin Laden and his fellow murderers, or was it a much more sinister and involved plot -- one that also includes among others, those in or our own government? The causes of these almost 3,000 murders and hundreds of thousands of serious injuries still has not been solved. These deadly assaults still remain the biggest unsolved set of crimes in the USA of the 21st century, and our constitutional democracy cries out that they should never ever be set aside.

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