Can Fire Melt Steel?

  1. I was recently watching an episode of The View on youtube where they were talking about 9/11 conspiracys. Rosie (I hate that woman) proceeded to tell the audience that it is impossible for fire to melt steel and therefore there were other factors involved that made the towers collapse. I want to make it very clear that I'm not one of those idiots who thinks that 9/11 was done by our own government, but Rosie did bring up an interesting point. Steel is pretty tough. Would the jet fuel create enough combustion to heat the steel to the point to where it would melt? I'm not asking anyone to verify conspiracy theories, I'm just asking this simple question: Can the fire produced by a plane crash produce enough heat to melt steel?
  2. jcsd
  3. im pretty sure this was the central issue in whichever committee it was that examined the crash, and their conclusion was a resounding yes. Jet fuel does burn hot enough to melt steel.
  4. Liger: the answer is generally no. But steel performs very badly in a fire. It loses much of its strength at a surprisingly low temperature, easily achievable in a garden bonfire. This is why a blacksmith can work steel on a forge. If you search the internet for "warehouse fire" or similar, or keep your eye open for news stories, you will see pictures of steel girders lying on the ground because a steel-framed building has collapsed. You can find out more for yourself here:

    Be alert for this conspiracy theory stuff. There are some quite mendacious liars out there with an agitprop agenda and a drip-drip-drip big lie technique devised to sway public opinion, especially amongst the younger generation.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2007
  5. FredGarvin

    FredGarvin 5,084
    Science Advisor

    I can't stand that wench.

    Here are some things that are incredibly incorrect about Fatty-Mcgee's statements:

    1) JET-A fuel is not the only source of fire/heat in the event. Therefore it is incorrect to imply that jet fuel does not release enough energy in a fire. There are other items such as carpet, furniture, paper, etc... that all added to the situation. That doesn't even mention the idea of any magnesium components from the aircraft that caught on fire.

    2) The yield strength of most ferrous metals does not hold up well under heat. Most steel will have a yield point reduction of around 25% at 600°F. It's not until the addition of nickel and other alloying components which are very expensive, does steel start to do better under high temp conditions.

    I'd like to prove that jet fuel has enough energy to melt Rosie O'Donnel.
  6. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    The utter stupidity of these conspiracy theories is why we do not discuss them here...
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