Worcester Polytechnic Institute Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection

Title page for ETD etd-042907-214619

Document Typethesis
Author NameLaMalva, Kevin Joseph
TitleFailure Analysis of the World Trade Center 5 Building
DepartmentFire Protection Engineering
  • Jonathan R. Barnett, Advisor
  • Donald O. Dusenberry, Co-Advisor
  • Keywords
  • structural collapse
  • WTC 5
  • World Trade Center 5
  • structural fire protection
  • Gerber beam design
  • progressive collapse
  • shear connections
  • thermal-stress analysis
  • steel construction
  • Date of Presentation/Defense2007-05-01
    Availability unrestricted


    This project involves a failure analysis of the internal structural collapse that occurred in World Trade Center 5 (WTC 5) due to fire exposure alone on September 11, 2001. It is hypothesized that the steel column-tree assembly failed during the heating phase of the fire. The results of this research have serious and far-reaching implications, for this method of construction is utilized in approximately 20,000 existing buildings and continues to be very popular. Catastrophic failure during the heating phase of a fire would endanger the lives of firefighters and building occupants undergoing extended egress times (e.g., high-rise buildings), or relying upon defend-in-place strategies (e.g., hospitals). Computer software was used to reconstruct the fire event and predict the structural performance of the assembly when exposed to the fire. Results from a finite element, thermal-stress model confirms this hypothesis, for it is concluded that the catastrophic, progressive structural collapse occurred approximately 2 hours into the fire exposure.

  • Addendum.pdf
  • LaMalva.pdf

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