Sunday, August 28, 2011

The "First Claim" Test

ae911truth has slapped together a pdf of old claims against the exhaustive NIST report. Readers of this blog are familiar with our approach to the glut of old information posing as new information 9/11 deniers pour out: The first claim is a smell test. It's their first stab at trying to convince you of something, so it's got to be good. If it isn't, the rest of the piece isn't going to be any better.

Here's the first claim from "How NIST Avoided a Real Analysis of the Physical Evidence of WTC:"

The 236 pieces of structural WTC steel that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “catalogued” 2 for its WTC investigation included 55 columns that NIST discuss in paragraph 4.1 “CORE COLUMNS” in NIST NCSTAR 1-3C.4 NIST analyzed only four of these 55 columns for damage and failure modes. The remaining 51 columns were excluded from being examined for damage and failure modes based on the argument that only columns with a known as-built location in or near the impact and fire areas were of interest for the WTC investigation.

Wouldn't you know it, this claim's completely false. First, from page 118 of the NIST report:

NIST performed confirmatory tests on samples of the 236 pieces of recovered steel to determine if the steel met the structural specifications. Making a definitive assessment was complicated by overlapping specifications from multiple suppliers, differences between the NIST test procedures and the test procedures that originally qualified the steel, the natural variability of steel properties, and damage to the steel from the collapse of the WTC towers. Nonetheless, the NIST investigators were able to determine the following:

There were 14 grades (strengths) of steel that were specified. However, a total of 32 steels in the impact and fire floors were sufficiently different (grade, supplier, and gage) to require distinct models of mechanical properties.

The steels in the perimeter columns met their intended specifications for chemistry, mechanical properties, yield strengths, and tensile properties. The steels in the core columns generally met their intended specifications for both chemical and mechanical properties.


The mechanical properties of steel are reduced at elevated temperatures. Based on measurements and examination of published data, NIST determined that a single representation of the elevated temperature effects on steel mechanical properties could be used for all WTC steels. Separate values were used for the yield and tensile strength reduction factors for bolt steels.

So one, tests were performed on their entire sample. Possibly not for impact effects, but that would have been wildly inappropriate as not all of those columns were from a sample of the area directly impacted.

The only excuse I can think of is that ae911truth did not quote from the latest version of the final report; indeed, their cited text doesn't appear anywhere in the NIST final report. So, they're either lazy and incompetent, or outright dishonest.

What'll it be, ae911?

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