Message - Re: the death of skyscrapers in america

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Posted by  Gary R on February 14, 2003 at 06:48:29:

In Reply to:  the death of skyscrapers in america posted by Guy P. Nelson on February 12, 2003 at 12:22:22:

I would say they would likely be replaced by other skyscrapers, though not exact copies of the former structures. You have to keep in mind that what happened to the World Trade Center was unique in the annals of history, at least here in America. The fact that no one is suggesting (well, few are suggesting) that the WTC be rebuilt exactly as it was doesn't in any way suggest the "death of the skyscraper." Quite to the contrary, there are new skyscrapers still being designed and built all over the world, though there is more caution and thought to making them impervious to terrorist acts since 9/11.

I seriously doubt that we'll stop building skyscrapers in America, or anywhere else, in spite of this tragic event. On the other hand, I even more seriously doubt that anyone will come up with a terrorism-proof skyscraper design, or even terrorism-resistant. Why? Because it wasn't a design flaw that caused the collapse of the WTC; it was thousands of gallons of jet fuel, burning at a temperature hot enough to melt the building's steel. No steel-framed structure could possibly resist such heat, no matter how ingeniously designed. There is simply no material known to man that can withstand such high temperatures, unless we can devise a high-strength ceramic compound that is as strong as steel, or stronger.

To the credit of the architects and engineers, though, note that, absent the heat generated by the fires, the WTC would most likely have not collapsed as totally as it did, and might even have been salvagable. Such was not the case, though.


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