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UL Executive Speaks Out on WTC Study

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“The buildings should have easily withstood the thermal stress caused by pools of burning jet fuel.” - Kevin Ryan

Friday, November 12, 2004
(911Truth.org news service — updated 11/13, 11/14)

An executive at Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the company that certified the steel used in the construction of the World Trade Center, has questioned the common theory that fuel fires caused the Twin Towers to collapse.

In a letter dated Thursday (11/11, complete text below), UL executive Kevin Ryan called on Frank Gayle, director of the government team that has spent two years studying how the trade center was built and why it fell, to “do what you can to quickly eliminate the confusion regarding the ability of jet fuel fires to soften or melt structural steel.”

Kevin Ryan is Site Manager at Environmental Health Laboratories (EHL) in South Bend, Indiana. This is a division of UL, the product-compliance and testing giant. Because UL certified the WTC steel for its ability to withstand fires, the steel’s performance on September 11 is obviously of concern to the company.

While Ryan’s letter does not constitute an official statement from Underwriters Laboratories, it suggests incipient disagreements between UL and NIST about the true cause of the WTC collapses.

Gayle is deputy chief of the Metallurgy Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and head of the “NIST and the WTC” team. A draft of the government agency’s final report on the WTC collapses is due in January.

Ryan copied the letter to Gayle in e-mails to David Ray Griffin, author of the New Pearl Harbor, and to Catherine Austin Fitts, who is a member of the 911Truth.org board. Griffin requested and received permission to distribute Ryan’s letter to other parties. The letter was published Friday (11/12) at septembereleventh.org, the site of the 9/11 Visibility Project.

911Truth.org called Ryan Friday to confirm his authorship. Ryan made it clear he is speaking for himself only, not on behalf of his laboratory or the company, but others at UL are aware of his action.

The letter raises disturbing questions, pointing out that the temperatures of fuel fires in the towers on September 11 appear to have been
far too low to cause a failure of the structural steel.

A chemist by profession, Ryan
said he considers Gayle to be a good scientist and an honest person. Given the impact of September 11 on events around the world, Ryan
said everyone needs to know the full truth of what really happened on that day.

In a related development, the New York Times
reported Friday (11/12) that the NIST team under Gayle is planning to hold some of its deliberations in secret. “The announcement has been sharply protested by advocates for families of the 9/11 victims, who said they were considering a lawsuit to force the agency to open the meetings to the public,” the Times wrote.

As the Times noted, the NIST investigation was started in 2002 after lobbying by, among others, the Skyscraper Safety Campaign, an organization created by Monica Gabrielle and Sally Regenhard, both of whom lost family on September 11.

Gabrielle told the Times that NIST should have “one job, and one job only – to find out the truth of what happened to those buildings and to report to the public about it. You don’t owe industry, the Port Authority or federal agencies anything. You owe it to the public – the truth, no matter where it goes.” (See www.nytimes.com)

-911Truth.org (nl)

—————

Text of an e-mail letter from
Kevin Ryan to Frank Gayle, Nov. 11:

[NOTES: Kevin R. Ryan is Site Manager of the Environmental Health Laboratories at South Bend, Indiana (company site at www.ehl.cc). EHL is a division of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (company site at www.ul.com). Frank Gayle is Deputy Chief of the Metallurgy Division, Material Science and Engineering Laboratory, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Gayle heads the "NIST and the World Trade Center" project, see wtc.nist.gov. Dr. Gayle's biography is at wtc.nist.gov/pi/wtc_profiles.asp?lastname=gayle. The following text is taken from an e-mail forward, from Ryan to David Ray Griffin. Emphases are ours. - 911Truth.org]

———

From: Kevin R Ryan/SBN/ULI

To: frank.gayle@nist.gov

Date: 11/11/2004

 

Dr. Gayle,

Having recently reviewed your team’s report of 10/19/04, I felt the need to contact you directly.

As I’m sure you know, the company I work for certified the steel components used in the construction of the WTC buildings. In requesting information from both our CEO and Fire Protection business manager last year, I learned that they did not agree on the essential aspects of the story, except for one thing – that the samples we certified met all requirements. They suggested we all be patient and understand that UL was working with your team, and that tests would continue through this year. I’m aware of UL’s attempts to help, including performing tests on models of the floor assemblies. But the results of these tests appear to indicate that the buildings should have easily withstood the thermal stress caused by pools of burning jet fuel.

There continues to be a number of “experts” making public claims about how the WTC buildings fell. One such person, Dr. Hyman Brown from the WTC construction crew, claims that the buildings collapsed due to fires at 2000F melting the steel (1). He states “What caused the building to collapse is the airplane fuel . . . burning at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The steel in that five-floor area melts.” Additionally, the newspaper that quotes him says “Just-released preliminary findings from a National Institute of Standards and Technology study of the World Trade Center collapse support Brown’s theory.”

We know that the steel components were certified to ASTM E119. The time temperature curves for this standard require the samples to be exposed to temperatures around 2000F for several hours. And as we all agree, the steel applied met those specifications. Additionally, I think we can all agree that even un-fireproofed steel will not melt until reaching red-hot temperatures of nearly 3000F (2). Why Dr. Brown would imply that 2000F would melt the high-grade steel used in those buildings makes no sense at all.

The results of your recently published metallurgical tests seem to clear things up (3), and support your team’s August 2003 update as detailed by the Associated Press (4), in which you were ready to “rule out weak steel as a contributing factor in the collapse”. The evaluation of paint deformation and spheroidization seem very straightforward, and you noted that the samples available were adequate for the investigation. Your comments suggest that the steel was probably exposed to temperatures of only about 500F (250C), which is what one might expect from a thermodynamic analysis of the situation.

However the summary of the new NIST report seems to ignore your findings, as it suggests that these low temperatures caused exposed bits of the building’s steel core to “soften and buckle”(5). Additionally this summary states that the perimeter columns softened, yet your findings make clear that “most perimeter panels (157 of 160) saw no temperature above 250C”. To soften steel for the purposes of forging, normally temperatures need to be above 1100C (6). However, this new summary report suggests that much lower temperatures were be able to not only soften the steel in a matter of minutes, but lead to rapid structural collapse.

This story just does not add up. If steel from those buildings did soften or melt, I’m sure we can all agree that this was certainly not due to jet fuel fires of any kind, let alone the briefly burning fires in those towers. That fact should be of great concern to all Americans. Alternatively, the contention that this steel did fail at temperatures around 250C suggests that the majority of deaths on 9/11 were due to a safety-related failure. That suggestion should be of great concern to my company.

There is no question that the events of 9/11 are the emotional driving force behind the War on Terror. And the issue of the WTC collapse is at the crux of the story of 9/11. My feeling is that your metallurgical tests are at the crux of the crux of the crux. Either you can make sense of what really happened to those buildings, and communicate this quickly, or we all face the same destruction and despair that come from global decisions based on disinformation and “chatter”.

Thanks for your efforts to determine what happened on that day. You may know that there are a number of other current and former government employees that have risked a great deal to help us to know the truth. I’ve copied one of these people on this message as a sign of respect and support. I believe your work could also be a nucleus of fact around which the truth, and thereby global peace and justice, can grow again. Please do what you can to quickly eliminate the confusion regarding the ability of jet fuel fires to soften or melt structural steel.

1. http://www.boulderweekly.com/archive/102104/coverstory.html

2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 61st edition, pg D-187

3. http://wtc.nist.gov/media/P3MechanicalandMetAnalysisofSteel.pdf

4. http://www.voicesofsept11.org/archive/911ic/082703.php

5. http://wtc.nist.gov/media/NCSTACWTCStatusFINAL101904WEB2.pdf
(pg 11)

6. http://www.forging.org/FIERF/pdf/ffaaMacSleyne.pdf

Kevin Ryan
Site Manager
Environmental Health Laboratories
A Division of Underwriters Laboratories

South Bend