On the afternoon of Sept. 11, a New York Times reporter interviewed John Schuring, P.h.D., professor of civil and environmental engineering and chairperson of that department at NJIT. Schuring's analysis of why and how the towers collapsed appeared in the New York Times for Sept. 12. His initial assessment of the collapse was confirmed by a later report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
On the weekend following Sept 11, Schuring also visited ground zero, and, as part of a team of engineers, surveyed the surrounding buildings to determine their stability.
Since then, the civil engineering implications of the attack have been the subject of much discussion within NJIT's civil engineering department. Those discussions have touched upon the original design of the Towers, the impact the planes had on the structure and the influence of fire on the collapse. In addition to the civil engineering faculty covering these topics, the department also held a special seminar on Sept 11. And in January, the department participated in an NJIT Honors College seminar about the disaster. During that seminar, Schuring gave a presentation, along with photos he took of ground zero, illustrating in detail how the towers were built and what engineering factors caused them to fall.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Schuring is available to discuss the impact of Sept. 11 on civil engineers. He can also show his power point presentation, which includes photos he took at ground zero. )
"There is no question that an important, yet overlooked, hero of 9/11, was the structural redundancy built into the framing of the Twin Towers," says Schuring. "Structural redundancy means there are multiple load paths to sustain the building weight. This redundancy provided precious time for thousands of workers to escape. And although it's not technically feasible to design a skyscraper to be invulnerable from impact by fully fueled jetliners, as design professionals we must develop improved details and systems that provide ever-greater protection against progressive collapse such as what occurred at the WTC site."
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