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Use of Visual Imagery for the NIST World Trade Center Investigation



William M. Pitts, Kathryn M. Butler, Valentine Junker


The attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City on September 11, 2001 by terrorists flying hijacked commercial aircraft into the two towers (WTC 1 and WTC 2) was among the worst building disasters in the history of the United States. In response, Congress requested that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigate the technical causes for the disaster. NIST publicly announced its Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster on August 21, 2002. On October 1, 2002, the National Construction Safety Team Act was passed by Congress, and the Investigation was carried out under the authority provided by this act. A draft copy of the final report dealing with the WTC towers was released for public comment on June 23, 2005. It consists of an overall summary report, eight project reports, and 34 supporting technical reports totaling over 10,000 pages. The final version will be available in late September or early October. Complete versions are available on the Investigation website at The eight projects that made up the Towers Investigation dealt with applicable building codes, baseline building performance and aircraft impact, analysis of structural steel, active fire protection, thermal environment, structural collapse mechanisms, occupant egress, and emergency response.
Proceedings Title
Chemical and Physical Processes in Combustion. Technical Meeting, 2005
Conference Dates
November 13-15, 2005
Conference Location
Orlando, FL
Conference Title
Proceedings Combustion Institute/Eastern States Section


combustion, World Trade Center, fire investigations, visual imagery, fireballs, aircraft impact, damage, fire behavior, fire spread, high rise buildings


Pitts, W. , Butler, K. and Junker, V. (2005), Use of Visual Imagery for the NIST World Trade Center Investigation, Chemical and Physical Processes in Combustion. Technical Meeting, 2005, Orlando, FL, [online], (Accessed May 20, 2024)


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Created November 13, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017