Purdue University recreates 9/11 in science-driven animation

  • West Lafayette (IN) - Though still a sensitive subject, scientists at Purdue have recreated what happened on September 11 to help with construction of stronger buildings in the future.

    Through a simulated program, researchers said they were able to recreate the physics of the building and get a more in-depth look on what actually happened to the World Trade Center towers immediately upon the intrusion of the commerical airliners.

    News stations and other animation producers have created basic visualizations of what happened, but Purdue says this is one of the most realistic interpretations of the actual attacks. "The crashes and computer models you often see on television are not scientifically accurate," said Purdue computer science professor Voicu Popescu, and unlike other scientific renderings, the new animation can be understood by "nonexperts".

    Professor of structural engineering Mete Sozen, who helped develop the animation, says the simulation took years to create, including "weeks of supercomputer time over a number of years to simulate the event in many credible angles of impact of the aircraft."

    Like simulations beforehand, the Purdue model shows that the thousands of pounds of jet fuel caused the most damage and not the actual impact from the craft.  The liquid instantly lit multiple floors ablaze, causing essential pieces of the structure to crumble.   Researchers hope this new model will help with implementation for new structural support systems in the future.  

    The animation can be viewed from Purdue University's website.