184.108.40.206 Passive Protection
In WTC 1, structural elements up to the 39th floor were originally protected from fire with a spray applied product containing asbestos (Nicholson, et al. 1980). These asbestos-containing materials were later abated inside the building, either through encapsulation or replacement. On all other floors and throughout WTC 2, a spray-applied, asbestos-free mineral fiber material was used. Each element of the steel floor trusses was protected with spray-applied material. The specific material used was a low-density, factory-mixed product consisting of manufactured inorganic fibers, proprietary cement-type binders, and other additives in low concentrations to promote wetting, set, and dust control. Air setting, hydraulic setting, and ceramic setting binders were added in varying quantities and combinations or singly at the site, depending on the particular application and weather conditions. Finally, water was added at the nozzle of the spray gun as the material was sprayed onto the member to be protected. The average thickness of spray-applied fire proofing on the trusses was 3/4 inch. In the mid-1990s, a decision was made to upgrade the fire protection by applying additional material onto the trusses so as to increase fire proofing thickness to 1-1/2 inches (somehow, I doubt that 3 inches (1-1/2 inches «either side») of fire proofing would stick to the 1.09 inch diagonal rod of the trusses). The fire proofing upgrade was applied to individual floors as they became vacant. By September 11, 2001, a total of 31 stories had been upgraded, including the entire impact zone in WTC 1 (floors 94-98), but only the 78th floor in the impact zone in WTC 2 (floors 78-84).
Spandrels and girders were specified to have sufficient protection to achieve a 3-hour rating. Except for the interior face of perimeter columns between spandrels, which were protected with a plaster material, spray applied materials similar to those used on the floor systems were used. The thickness of protection on spandrels and girders varied, with the more massive steel column sections receiving reduced fire proofing thickness relative to the thinner elements.
The primary vertical compartmentation was provided by the floor slabs that were cast flush against the spandrel beams at the exterior wall, providing separation between floors at the building perimeter. After a fire in 1975 (note that this fire did not cause the building to collapse) vertical penetrations for cabling and plumbing were sealed with fire-resistant material. At stair and elevator shafts, separation was provided by a wall system constructed of metal studs and two layers of 5/8— inch thick gypsum board on the exterior and one layer of 5/8-inch thick gypsum board on the interior. These assemblies provided a 2-hour rating. Horizontal compartmentation varied throughout the complex. Some separating walls ran from slab to slab, while others extended only up to the suspended ceiling. A report by the New York Board of Fire Underwriters (NYBFU) titled One World Trade Center Fire, February 13, 1975 (NYBFU 1975) presents a detailed discussion of the compartmentation features of the building at that time.