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How the airplane wing cut through the exterior columns of the World Trade Center
The problem of the airplane wing cutting through the exterior columns of the World Trade Center is treated analytically. The exterior columns are thin-walled box beam made of high strength steel. The complex structure of the airplane is lumped into another box, but it has been found that the equivalent thickness of the box is an order of magnitude larger than the column thickness. The problem can be then modeled as an impact of a rigid mass traveling with the velocity of 240 m/s into a hollow box-like vertical member. The deformation and failure process is very local and is broken into three phases: shearing of the impacting flange; tearing of side webs; and tensile fracture of the rear flange. Using the exact dynamic solution in the membrane deformation mode, the critical impact velocity to fracture the impacted flange was calculated to be 155 m/s for both flat and round impacting mass. Therefore, the wing would easily cut through the outer column. It was also found that the energy absorbed by plastic deformation and fracture of the ill-fated column is only 6.7% of the initial kinetic energy of the wing.
Elsevier Science
ISSN : 0734-743X CODEN : IJIED4
International journal of impact engineering A. 2003, vol. 28, n° 6, pp. 601-625 [25 pages] [bibl. : 25 ref.]
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