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Beijing Television Cultural Center Fire

  1. Feb 24, 2009 #1
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Beijing_Mandarin_Oriental_Hotel_fire_of_February,_2009

    Can anyone explain to me why didn't this building collapse on itself after burning for 5 hours? I thought the steel would have weakened enough to allow some kind of total or partial collapse. This building was still under construction and had no working sprinkler system.

    The Chinese engineers that designed and built this thing are amazing! What kind of materials did they use? I always believed fire brought down large structures.

    Sorry if this was discussed before. I was searching through your forums and didn't find any mention of it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2009 #2
    Because in most cases, burning does not cause buildings to collapse, at least that's what I saw in a documentary on discovery channel or natgeo.

    In all engineering constructions there are safety factors, when human lives are at risk, these safety factors are very large. I'm guessing, the structure was built with these safety factors in place so that the building doesn't collapse during a fire. Steel melts at around 1300°C and house fires with fuels involved reach about 650°C.
     
  4. Feb 24, 2009 #3
    More importantly, how did a fire start from the outside? Since when does glass and metal catch fire so easily?
     
  5. Feb 24, 2009 #4
    This thread is just asking for a 9/11 conspiracy theorist to pop in.
     
  6. Feb 24, 2009 #5

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm wondering if they already have....

    Three things:
    1. The fuels for the fire would have been wood, paper products, and other construction debris. These things don't burn hot enough to risk significant weakening of the structure.
    2. As the building was not completed, it is quite possible the building was not as heavy as it would have been in a few months, which would lower the risk of collapse.
    3. As the building was under construction, the roof (and rest of the building) was probably covered with flammable construction materials/debris, making it an easy fire to start/spread.
     
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