“Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams” is an assertion made by 9/11 conspiracy theorists who claim that burning fuel from crashed jetliners would not have been able to melt the supporting beams of the World Trade Center, leading the Twin Towers to crumble. The claim has been widely debunked by researchers for its flawed evidence.
While the fervor of 9/11 “truthers” seems to be subsiding as the new generation of paranoid thinkers takes their place, 9/11 is still a foundation for people who see suspicious patterns in, literally, everything. The myriad theories that encompass that horrific day have been sitting on the ‘debunked’ shelf for almost two decades, and one of the most comprehensive debunkings came from Popular Mechanics back in 2005. A year later, those findings were translated to a book.
As Popular Mechanics pointed out, one of the core claims from 9/11 truthers is that there’s no way burning fuel from a decimated aircraft could be hot enough to melt the World Trade Center’s steel beams. PM explained that conspiracists are overlooking a key point.
Jet fuel burns at 800° to 1500°F, not hot enough to melt steel (2750°F). However, experts agree that for the towers to collapse, their steel frames didn’t need to melt, they just had to lose some of their structural strength—and that required exposure to much less heat. “I have never seen melted steel in a building fire,” says retired New York deputy fire chief Vincent Dunn, author of The Collapse Of Burning Buildings: A Guide To Fireground Safety. “But I’ve seen a lot of twisted, warped, bent and sagging steel. What happens is that the steel tries to expand at both ends, but when it can no longer expand, it sags and the surrounding concrete cracks.”
And then there’s blacksmith Trenton Tye.
In 2015, a video popped up on Reddit from Tye’s YouTube account purgatoryironworks, where he gives a simple yet conclusive demonstration of why the truthers’ favorite argument that says, “Jet fuel only burns at 1,500 degrees, and since steel melts at 2,700 degrees, 9/11 was a conspiracy” is silly on its face.
Using a piece of structural-grade steel, a 250-pound anvil, and a burning furnace, he makes his point beautifully.
This post has been updated.