Philosophical Society of Washington

Building and Fire Safety

Responding to the World Trade Center Disaster

S. Shyam Sunder
National Institute of Standards and Technology


2148th Meeting Abstract
Friday, September 13, 2002 at 8:15 PM

Abstract:

On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City crashing commercial aircraft into the 110-story towers. The damage to the buildings caused by the aircraft impacts combined with the ensuing fires ignited by the jet crashes, led both buildings to collapse killing in all 2823 people. The death and destruction was unprecedented in the United States and the worst building disaster in human history.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has proposed a response plan consisting of three key program elements to be conducted in parallel. These are:

The talk will describe the NIST response plan in the context of the events of September 11, 2001and the lessons expected to be derived to reduce future vulnerabilities.

About the Author:

S. Shyam Sunder is Chief of the Materials and Construction Research Division in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory at NIST and Lead Technical Investigator for the pending building and fire safety investigation into the World Trade Center disaster. He received a Doctor of Science degree in Structural Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981 where he held a succession of faculty and staff positions until joining NIST in 1994. From June 1996 to December 1997, he was on assignment to the Program Office, the principal staff office of the NIST Director. He was chief of the Structures Division from January 1998 until June 2002 when the Building Materials Division and the Structures Division were merged into the Materials and Construction Research Division.

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