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Regarding melting points, some more detailed information is listed below:
Carbon steel: 2597ºF to 2800ºF (depending on the specific alloy)
Stainless steel: 2500ºF to 2785ºF (depending on the specific alloy)
From the pictures of Lahaina, it appears steel was not melted, as the structure of the burned vehicles is still intact. Most vehicle bodies are still made from steel; however, a few vehicles now have aluminum bodies, or body components, and there is evidence that the temperature was high enough to melt aluminum.
Aluminum (pure): 1220ºF
Aluminum alloy: 848ºF to 1230ºF (depending on the specific alloy)
The vast majority of commercial aluminum are alloys; aluminum will melt at half the temperature of steels. There are a lot of vehicle components that are made from aluminum, such as wheels, transmission cases, suspension components, and some engine blocks. Aluminum is more expensive than steel; therefore, automakers will use aluminum on heavier components where the weight savings will offset the cost increase. There is clear evidence that the fire was indeed hot enough to melt what appears to be aluminum. The fire was hot enough to have the aluminum melt and flow along the ground for several feet before solidifying. That suggests the fire was significantly hotter than the melting point of the alloy.
Melting point of glass: 2600ºF to 2900ºF (depending on the specific composition)
I cannot explain the melted glass along with the car bodies retaining their shape. It is possible the fire was not hot enough to melt the steel, but was hot enough to have the glass become flexible (not quite liquid, but hot enough to be flexible.
Submitted by Larry Paille
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