On June 14th, a massive fire got the 24-storey, 220-foot (70 m) high Grenfell Tower in the west of London and the 24 hours of burning that followed left behind lots of damage and many casualties.
The deadliest fire in the Britain in the last 100 years did a lot of damage, but the Grenfell Towers remain standing despite staying ablaze for an entire day. On the other hand, the World Trade Center Towers in New York in the September 11 attacks caught fire and collapsed in a matter hours. The reason is the different construction of the Grenfell and the WTC Towers, and in the latter case, the structural damage by the impact from the hijacked Boeing aircraft was a major factor.
The Grenfell Towers are designed to meet London’s 1971 building codes, which require increased fire insulation on the reinforced concrete frame. The basic structure of the towers is made with concrete which is a material capable of withstanding an enormous amount of heat before even raising its temperature. Steel, on the other hand, is much more responsive to heat with a much higher thermal conductivity.
A building made of concrete does not immediately respond to heat and keeps the fire confined much longer than a steel building would. When steel is subjected to such amounts of heat, it will begin to lose its strength. The building in such a case may not completely collapse, but it will deform under the heat for sure.
The World Trade Center Towers were a structure much higher than the Grenfell towers that suffered structural damage which was a reason for the collapse. More importantly, the WTC was made of a steel structure that had a much higher chance of collapsing under the fire than the Grenfell Towers. The basic structure of the Grenfell Towers has thus sustained despite the day-long fire.
This is a simple explanation to why the Grenfell tower did not fall. Do you have any other reasons to tell? Share them with us in the comments section.