New simulation shows 9/11 plane crash with scientific detail

September 10, 2002

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Engineers, computer scientists and graphics technology experts at Purdue University have created the first publicly available simulation that uses scientific principles to study in detail what theoretically happened when the Boeing 757 crashed into the Pentagon last Sept. 11.

Researchers said the simulation could be used as a tool for designing critical buildings -- such as hospitals and fire stations -- to withstand terrorist attacks.

The simulation merges a realistic-looking visualization of the airliner approaching the building with a technical, science-based animation of the plane crashing into the structure.

"This is going to be a tremendous asset," said Mete Sozen, Purdue's Kettelhut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering. "Eventually, I hope this will be expanded into a model that we can use to help design structures to resist severe impact loads.

"Using this simulation I can do the so-called 'what-if' study, testing hypothetical scenarios before actually building a structure."

The simulation can be recorded on a DVD and played on an ordinary personal computer.

The software tool is unusual because it uses principles of physics to simulate how a plane's huge mass of fuel and cargo impacts a building. The plane's structure caused relatively little damage, and the explosion and fire that resulted from the crash also are not likely to have been dominant factors in the disaster, Sozen said.

The model indicates the most critical effects were from the mass moving at high velocity.



Purdue University

Related Fire Articles from Brightsurf:

In the line of fire
People are starting almost all the wildfires that threaten US homes, according to an innovative new analysis combining housing and wildfire data.

The Venus 'ring of fire'
ETH researchers used computer simulations to classify the current activity of corona structures on the surface of Venus.

Fire from the sky
Before the Taqba Dam impounded the Euphrates River in northern Syria in the 1970s, an archaeological site named Abu Hureyra bore witness to the moment ancient nomadic people first settled down and started cultivating crops.

Tunnel fire safety
With only minutes to respond, fire education really counts.

Native approaches to fire management
In collaboration with tribes in Northern California, researchers examined traditional fire management practices and found that these approaches, if expanded, could strengthen cultures and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Northern California.

New concept for novel fire extinguisher in space
A research team at Toyohashi University of Technology has developed a new concept of fire extinguishing, named Vacuum Extinguish Method.

Watching brain cells fire
Brain scientists have plenty of ways to track the activity of individual neurons in the brain, but they're all invasive.

Neurons that fire together, don't always wire together
As the adage goes 'neurons that fire together, wire together,' but a new paper published today in Neuron demonstrates that, in addition to response similarity, projection target also constrains local connectivity.

A world on fire
The world is on fire. Or so it appears in this image from NASA's Worldview.

Can we have a fire in a highly vacuumed environment?
Toyohashi University of Technology researchers have discovered that non-flaming combustion (smoldering) of a porous specimen can sustain, even under nearly 1 percent of atmospheric pressure.

Read More: Fire News and Fire Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.