Friday math movie – finite element analysis

[25 Jan 2008]

This week’s movie is a sobering simulation from Purdue University of the Boeing 767 crashing into the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 11 Sep 2001.

The aim, according to the research team’s problem statement:

Simulate as faithfully as possible the effects of crashing an air frame loaded with fuel (simulating a Boeing 767-200ER) into a steel and concrete structure similar to the structure of the WTC-1, North Tower, of the World Trade Center.

From Purdue’s article, Scientists and engineers simulate jet colliding with World Trade Center, we read:

The simulation could be used to better understand which elements in the building’s structural core were affected, how they responded to the initial shock of the aircraft collision, and how the tower later collapsed from the ensuing fire fed by an estimated 10,000 gallons of jet fuel, said Mete Sozen, the Kettelhut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering in Purdue’s School of Civil Engineering.

The mathematics used to create this movie includes:

  • Modeling
  • Finite element analysis (a method of considering a finite number of geometric approximations of objects like buildings, ships, bridges and aircraft)
  • 3-dimensional analysis
  • Vectors
  • Trigonometry
  • Smoothed particle hydrodynamics (simulation of liquids
  • Reflection and refraction
  • Kinematics
  • Data analysis

I am disturbed by this movie. Why can’t we all use our education to improve the state of the world, rather than to destroy each other?

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One Comment on “Friday math movie – finite element analysis”

  1. Steven says:

    Yes, I also found that the movie was disturbing.

    I think it is the accent of that voiceover guy – it seems very cold and clinical.

    I agree with your sentiment:

    >> Why can’t we all use our education to improve the state of the world

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