Chemical Reaction Brought Down Twin Towers: Scientist

Melted aluminum, sprinkler water caused secondary explosions
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2011 2:36 PM CDT
Chemical Reaction Brought Down Twin Towers: Scientist
In this Sept. 11, 2001, photo, a shell of what was once part of the facade of one of the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center rises above the rubble.   (AP Photo/Shawn Baldwin, File)

(Newser) – The melting aluminum hulls of the jetliners that smashed into the twin towers may have combined with sprinkler water to set off the explosions that ultimately brought down the towers, according to a new report from a technology research group in Norway. “If my theory is correct, tons of aluminum ran down through the towers, where the smelt came into contact with a few hundred liters of water,” scientist Christian Simensen told a conference today, according to the AFP.

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“We know that reactions of this sort lead to violent explosions,” Simensen explained, citing one experiment in which 44 pounds of molten aluminum was allowed to interact with 20 liters of water. “The explosion destroyed the entire laboratory and left a crater 30 meters (100 feet) in diameter,” Simensen recalls. So the far larger quantities of aluminum in the planes could have caused explosions mighty enough to blow out sections of the building, and make it collapse under its own weight. (Read more September 11 stories.)

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