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Steel and Composite Structures
  Volume 7, Number 2, April 2007 , pages 105-118

Behaviour of lightweight composite trusses in fire - A case study
Seng-Kwan Choi, Ian Burgess and Roger Plank

    On September 11th 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City were struck by two hijacked airplanes. Despite severe local damage induced by the impact, the towers were able to sustain 102 and 56 minutes of the subsequent multi-storey fires before collapsing. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the in-fire performance of composite trusses by examining the behaviour of the longer-span type used in the towers. It makes no attempt to be a forensic study of the actual events. Using the finite element package Vulcan, the structural mechanics of typical long-span composite floor trusses are explained, under a variety of scenarios, as the fire temperatures rise. Different boundary conditions, degrees of protection and loading are all covered, the results being presented mainly in the form of graphs of deflection and internal force of members against time.
Key Words
    composite truss; catenary action; numerical modelling; progressive collapse; structural fire engineering; World Trade Center.
Seng-Kwan Choi; Department of Fire and Engineering Service Research, Korea Institute of Construction Technology, Ilsan, Goyang 411-712, Korea
Ian Burgess; Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Sheffield, Mappin Street,
Sheffield S1 3JD, UK
Roger Plank; School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK

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