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Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Discussions and analysis of thermite theories

Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:53 pm

Metamars:

Is this what you want:

Calculation of the Heating Effect of a Thermite Coating on a Steel Column:

The thermite reaction of interest is Fe2O3 + 2Al = Al2O3 + 2Fe

The energy released by 1 kg of a stoichiometric mixture of ferric oxide and aluminium undergoing this thermite reaction is 3988 kJ/kg.

Consider a 100-micron layer of this mixture coated on a steel column on an upper floor of one of the Twin Towers.

For simplicity we shall assume the coated surfaces are on all four sides of a box column that is 20 cm wide spanning one 3.7-meter high floor. Thus we have a total surface area per column of 3.7 x 0.2 x 4 = 2.96 m^2. (We could also consider an equivalent wide-flange column)

The volume of our 100-micron coating is then = 2.96 x 100 x 10^-6 m^3 = 296 x 10^-6 m^3

The density of the thermite mixture is assumed to be ~ 4500 kg/m^3, so the mass of our thermite coating per one floor column length is = 4500 kg/m^3 x 296 x 10^-6 = 1.332 kg

Using the 3988 kJ/kg heat release of the thermite reaction we have a total heat release per one floor column length of 1.332 kg x 3988 kJ/kg = 5312 kJ.

Next we need to calculate the mass of steel that was exposed to this 5312 kJ of heat energy.

Column specifications for the upper floors of WTC 1 indicate the typical mass of structural steel per column per floor was about 1500 kg.

The heat capacity of steel is 0.45 kJ/kg so 1 kg of steel requires 0.45 kJ to be heated by 1 deg C.

Therefore 1500 kg requires 675 kJ.

The heat released by our 200-micron layer of thermite is 5312 kJ. Thus the expected temperature increase is (5312/675) x 1 deg C, or about 8 deg C.

Newton:

Ah yes, the old rocket-fuel coating idea is much better because the thermal insulation coating was say 1 cm thick while the nano-thermite coating appears to be only 100-microns or 100 times thinner.

If ammonium perchlorate is as energetic per gram as nano-thermite, the equivalent temperature increase is 100 x 8 deg C or 800 deg C - more than enough to cause some serious heat weakening.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby newton » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:20 am

but,once again, your calculation assumes a very thin layer.
useful, but not definitive of potential realities.

how about, how much would you need to cut a column? 3 lbs per column isn't much, and could not be expected to be very useful, from a demolition standpoint.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:37 am

Dr. G wrote:Metamars:

Is this what you want:



Yes, thanks. I'll take a close look next Sun. Got to get back to real work, now.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:41 am

My email to Professor Jones (most of it, that is):

This Ph.D. thesis ( http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available ... _FINAL.pdf ) on nanothermites, p.5, shows Al particles as rough, spherical like objects. The MoO3 oxidizer looks more plate-like. However, in your paper, you say "It is also shown that within the red layer there is an intimate mixing of the Fe-rich grains and Al/Si plate-like particles and that these particles are embedded in a carbon-rich matrix."

I guess the question I have is: Is elemental Al, encased in an aluminum oxide layer, always spherical? If so, then your Al/Si plate-like particles can't contain elemental Al, and thus your sample can't be an alumino-theric (at least as I understand them :-) ) Can you explain the difference?

FWIW, over 30 years ago, I was friendly with a material scientist who worked with aluminum. He told me (as best I can recall) that he had discovered a way to layer Al-?? alloys in very thin layers - I think 1 or two atoms thick - by applying pressure to the alloy sample as it cooled, in a cyclic fashion. This made the alloy much stronger. He told me (with a smile) that when he gave a talk to an Al producer wherein he talked about his discovery, the envelope containing his payment was heavier than usual. Looking at his impressive list of publications, I'm guessing that these alloys are called "multilayers".

Having said that, I have no idea if making Al oxide platelets with elemental Al inside is possible, or why you would want to do that, when you already have a means to create the 'normal' spherical Al/Al oxide particles. I will also take a wild guess that, if you can do that at all, it would involve a process analogous to what Professor T. told me about all those years ago. If my wild guess is correct, the Si may principally be there to allow ultra thin layers of aluminum to form, in the first place (again, I've no idea why old-fashioned spherical particles wouldn't do.) I suppose another possibility is to create a more intimate mixing of Al and Si. E.g., perhaps the plate is a multi-layer with Al 6 atoms thick, with the 2 extreme atoms bonded to oxygen to make an oxide. Interspersed are Si layers.

I suppose another possibility is that fashioning Al/Si chips might give you more bang for the buck not only by more intimately mixing Al and Si, but that the Si could also essentially function as the oxide layer in the 'planar' dimension. Only the edges would require a normal oxide layer.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:49 am

metamars wrote:
I suppose another possibility is that fashioning Al/Si chips might give you more bang for the buck not only by more intimately mixing Al and Si, but that the Si could also essentially function as the oxide layer in the 'planar' dimension. Only the edges would require a normal oxide layer.


What I was thinking about ito "intimate mixing" was forming a more effective eutectic. However, I got confused between Si and sulphur. Not much of a chemist, am I?
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby peterene1 » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:23 pm

Ok,you must be asking what the idiot (peterene1) posts here again, I apologize, but I feel that it must be pronounced:

the idea of thin- sprayed- on thermite is laughable ..and everyone knows it

second: everyone knows that the core columns were the only attacked parts of the strucutre (look for achimspok on youtube)

so, any thermite paint would have to be in the elevator shafts (constantly eroded by the elevator cables...)

no,...
the thermite was in standart boxes..end of story, as the removal of the core columns progressed, the collapse initated, while there were unignited charges (just for sure..)...-> our samples

any other explanation is......
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:56 pm

In my latest correspondence with Steven Jones he stated that he thought my ideas about ammonium perchlorate were irrelevant to his nano-thermite hypothesis.

Well a little digging led me to the book Advanced Energetic Materials, published by the National Academy of Sciences in 2004, which stated:

A second major area of effort being pursued at LLNL, where the incorporation of metal oxides (e.g. ferric oxide) with nanoscale aluminum into polymer support is being sought using sol-gel technology to produce a xerogel. The reaction of aluminum with ferric oxide produces a thermite reaction. The polymer binder and/or added gas-gererating materials are able to produce a working fluid when this is desired. The incorporation of nanodimensional organic energetic materials(e.g. RDX and pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and inorganic oxidizers (e.g. ammonium perchlorate) into silicate gels or resorcinol-formaldehyde gels by the use of sol-gel methods was initially pursued at LLNL ...."
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Re: Morphology of nano scale aluminotherics

Postby metamars » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:28 am

At http://www.stanfordmaterials.com/nano.html

The morphology for all alumina oxide nano powders is listed as "nearly spherical"
The morphology for all aluminum nano powders is listed as "spherical"

However, googling "multilayer aluminum silicon nano thermite" very quickly gets interesting hits (ito suggesting, to this layman, non-spherical nanoscale aluminotherics), e.g.:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/662267l63l82217q/fulltext.pdf?page=1

Quote:
Nano energetic materials (nEMs) represent a completely new frontier for
energetic material research and development [1, 2]. Various
ways have been used to realize nEMs such as physical mixing
of nanopowders of fuel and oxidizer [3–5], sol-gel [6],
aero-gel [7], and atomic layer deposition (ALD) [8]. Physical
mixing presents some limitations, such as not homogeneous
distribution of oxidizer and fuel, and poor compatibility
with a microsystem. In sol-gel, the random distribution
of the particles and the inherent organic impurities
result in limited performance. An aero-gel and an ALD
are not currently applicable for mass production. Blobaum
et al. have deposited multilayer foils of oxidizer and fuel
by sputtering [9]
. This approach results in enhanced atomic
mixing and reduced impurities. Porous-silicon-based nEMs
were proposed in [10], which can be conveniently integrated
into a silicon-based microsystem
.

Meanwhile, this link: http://www.primetprecision.com/index.php?id=10

talks about nano sized silicon platelets:

Quote:
Primet’s Nanoscission™ technology has been used to synthesize nano-silicon with platelet morphology and primary particle size as small as 20 nm.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:04 pm

Well, the conspiracy debunking crew over at JREF has been having a field day with Jones et al's "Active Thermite" paper as poster after poster has been attacking Jones' latest thermite hypothesis with great gusto. These debunkers appear to be convinced that the mysterious red chips are not nano-thermite but red primer paint from the corrosion protection coating applied to the WTC steel during construction of the Twin Towers.

It's quite difficult to get much information on the WTC primer paint but it is mentioned in Appendix D of NIST NCSTAR 1-3C, pages 433 - 438. Here you find a Table D-1 which gives the chemical composition of the primer. The main inorganic constituents are iron oxide, "zinc yellow", "Tnemec pigment of proprietary composition" and diatomaceous silica.

Now the Tnemec pigment caught my eye, but the fact that it's described as having a "proprietary composition" suggests that this material's chemical ingredients are "top secret". However, in the modern world of "right-to-know" legislation, you can determine the composition of just about any proprietary material by looking up its associated MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet).

I have done this for Tnemec's Series 010 Red Primer and this is what I have found reported as the ingredients:

Iron-oxide fume
Zinc compounds with traces of cobalt
Quartz and amorphous silica (SiO2)
Talc (Mg3Si4O10(OH)2)
Calcium Silicates and Aluminates

Now here lies the rub: Jone's red chips do not contain zinc, although some WTC iron-rich particles do indeed contain significant amounts of zinc. Nevertheless, zinc is essentially absent from Jones' red chips, thus it looks like these mystery particles are definitely not paint chips.

So it's back to the drawing board for those JREF debunkers.....
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby tanabear » Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:42 am

From the paper, it appears they did several experiments to determine if these red/gray chips were paint.

1) "The initial objective was to compare the behavior of the red layer with paint when soaked in a strong organic solvent[MEK] known to soften and dissolve paint...The chips showed significant swelling of the red layer, but with no apparent dissolution. In marked contrast, paint chips softened and partly dissolved..."

2) "...tests were also performed with a small oxyacetylene flame applied to red/gray chips...Several paint samples were also tested and in each case, the paint sample was immediately reduced to fragile ashes by the hot flame. This was not the case, however, with any of the red/gray chips..."

3) "We measured the resistivity of the red material using a Fluke 8842A multimeter in order to compare with ordinary paints,...Given the small size of the red chip, about 0.5 mm x 0.5
mm, we used two probes and obtained a rough value of approximately 10 ohm-m. This is several orders of magnitude less than paint coatings we found tabulated which are typically
over 1010 ohm-m
."

I guess the debunkers are now arguing that the WTC paint was somehow different than "ordinary paint". It appears that some analysis has already been done on the WTC paint fragments.

"We used SEM and TEM to examine chrysotile asbestos fibers, lead paint fragments, iron–chromium particles, and soot particles found in the < 75-μm fraction."

"The Market Street sample was also composed of construction debris (including vermiculite, plaster,synthetic foam, glass fragments, paint particles,..."
Characterization of the Dust/Smoke Aerosol that Settled East of the World Trade Center (WTC) in Lower Manhattan after the Collapse of the WTC 11 September 2001

I wonder if such samples still exist and would it possible to get a definitive answer?

Regardless of the quantity of the red/gray chips involved, what is their origin? If there is nothing mysterious about them, then what building components did they come from?

p.s. As well, paper seems to only mention white or lead paint. Does anyone know if the samples actually included paint similar to the red/gray chips?
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Interesting posts at JREF

Postby Hambone » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:09 am

Posted by Julio (referring to NISTNCSTAR1-3C appendix D):

As for the "energetic reaction" (page 435)

Quote:
Figure D-5 shows two superimposed DTA scans. The initial heating scan at 20K/Min exhibits a broad exothermic peak centered at 400ºC
Just before, it is explained how metastable phases can be formed when the metal is cooling, that can be detected using DTA. Upon heating, theses metastable phases can transform,being detectable as exothermic spikes.

From page 434:


Quote:
Beyond approximately 650ºC (...), a black scale formed between the steel and the paint,Fig. D-3. This scale layer had very poor adherence to the steel, and the paint was seen to flake off with slight pressure. Above approximately 800ºC, the kinetics of the scale formation were very fast, and after short exposures to this temperature a thick scale formed and spalled off the steel, carrying away the paint.


Originally Posted by moorea34
NISTNCSTAR1-3C appendix D p442
Figure D-4...Chips ?
See also table D-1... p438 Iron oxyde ?


Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Tnemec's Series 010 Red Primer http://www.tnemec.com/resources/product/msds/m10v.pdf

Zinc Compounds - 2.98% by weight


Dr. G, the authors did find zinc:

"Prior to soaking the chip in MEK an XEDS spectrum was
acquired from an area of the red-layer surface. The resulting
spectrum, shown in Fig. (14), produced the expected peaks
for Fe, Si, Al, O, and C. Other peaks included calcium, sulfur,
zinc, chromium and potassium. The occurrence of these
elements could be attributed to surface contamination due to
the fact that the analysis was performed on the as-collected
surface of the red layer. The large Ca and S peaks may be
due to contamination with gypsum from the pulverized wallboard
material in the buildings."
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Chips as remnant of nanofoils?

Postby metamars » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:32 am

Nanofoils admit of multiple layers (up to thousands) of nanoscale proportions. They can be used for ignition, as well as a better controlled form of soldering. Ignition sources can be electrical pulse, heat pulse or laser pulse (Max Photon, are you listening?). However, I'm not sure how viable those ignition methods are without pressure being applied (normally or always the case with soldering applications)

I think these foils were first manufactured by RNT, which was founded in 2001. See http://www.rntfoil.com/site/about-us

The article "Localized Heat Source for the Future" describes RNT's nanofoils. http://www.rntfoil.com/technology/documents/MicroNano-Heian4_07.pdf


See also http://www.smta.org/files/AZ_2008_HEIAN_Bonding_Using_Tin-Coated_NanoFoil.pdf

Looks like you can buy nanofoils that have Fe and O in them:
http://www.americanelements.com/fenmf.html

If the chips are remnants of nanofoils, then I would guess that the entire chips (including grey layer) should be thought of thermite. The Jones, et. al. paper suggest that just the red part is superthermite. Perhaps the reason for getting oxidizer from both the red and grey layers is that the red/gray layer interaction is faster than intr-red thermitic reactions. (Just speculating, of course.)

OTOH, looking closely at Fig 20, we also notice that most of the red part of the red/grey chip seems to be intact. The burning process thus seems very inefficient, which seems unlikely if the creators' purpose was to create a super dooper ignition or CD agent.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:27 pm

Hambone,

Yes, I have seen the XEDS spectrum in Figure 14 of Jones et al's new paper and it does show a small zinc peak. However, there are also the two sets of XEDS spectra in Figures 6 and 7 which are allegedly taken from the gray (Figure 6) and the red (Figure 7) layers of the chips and these show absolutely no zinc. Thus I was assuming that Figures 6 and 7 are most typical of the composition of the chips and we see the spectra in these Figures show peaks from C, O, Al, Si, and Fe only. This is certainly consistent with what Jones et al. state in the conclusion section of their paper.

Looking at the Figure 14 spectrum, which has Ca, Cr and Zn in addition to C, O, Al, Si, and Fe, I would suggest that the Figure 14 spectrum is from material containing primer paint chips, but this is clearly quite different to the material that gave the Figure 6 and 7 spectra.

Certainly Jones et al. should have pointed this out and should have considered Tnemec primer as a source of at least some of their red chips.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:21 pm

After thinking about the presence of Zn and Cr in some of the fed chips I have decided to ask the authors of the "Active Thermite" paper to comment on this issue. Here's a copy of an e-mail I sent a few hours ago to Jones et al:

To SJ and co-authors:

I have been following the debate about your new paper on the JREF forum. Now, while I can’t stand most of the posters on that site, they have managed to come up with some valid criticisms. One such concern that I have also been investigating is the suggestion that your red chips are in fact chips of the red primer paint that was used on the structural steel throughout the WTC Complex.

The composition of the WTC primer is discussed in Appendix D of NIST NCSTAR 1-3C and, apart from iron oxide, “zinc yellow” and silica, the proprietary material referred to as “Tnemec pigment” is also included in the list of ingredient. Using the MSDS for this product, I have ascertained that Tnemec pigment contains talc and calcium silicates and aluminates in addition to the zinc and iron compounds noted above.

Now this is very significant because the XEDS spectrum you present in Figure 14 of your report is essentially a perfect match for Tnemec red primer paint, particularly because of the Zn and Cr content. And, unfortunately, this represents a serious inconsistency in your paper; namely that the spectrum in Figure 14 is quite different to the spectra you present in Figures 6 and 7 of your paper – spectra that you claim are representative of the red chips.

Thus I think your paper is seriously flawed because it leaves one wondering how you could acquire no less than eight spectra of red chips that have no Zn or Cr and yet choose to investigate the chemical properties of a chip that contains these elements. Simply stating that the difference between the chips analysed in Figs 6 & 7 and the chip analysed in Figure 14, is due to “surface contamination”, is not very convincing. I have to ask why would you use a contaminated particle to do your chemical testing when you were able to acquire plenty of spectra of contaminant-free particles? I would, at least, subject the supposedly contaminated particle to an ultra-sonic bath to see if the contamination could be removed or reduced. Thus I find it a serious omission that you do not even mention the possibility that at least some of the red chips might be red primer paint fragments, especially when this explains the presence of Zn and Cr in the one chip you select for additional chemical testing.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:03 pm

Here are Jones and Legge's responses to my e-mail:

Thank you, Dr. Legge, for your response.

I would add that Figure 7 shows spectra from chips which had been
fractured so as to expose a fresh surface, because we were well aware
by this time of the problem of surface contamination by other WTC dust
(which is loaded with CaSO4 also Zn and Cr etc.).

Dr. Greening: Indeed, if you will examine Figs 16, 17, and 18 or
various regions on this same chip AFTER the MEK soaking, you will
observe no zinc... indicating that the MEK soaking with agitation has
removed surface dust/contamination. Excuse us for not cleaning the
chip before the first SEM/XEDS examination, but note that this is
essentially all pro bono work -- and we spent a great of "free" time
examining the chip after it had been soaked and were not in a position
to start fresh.

You claimed (Dr. Greening): "Now this is very significant because the
XEDS spectrum you present in Figure
14 of your report is essentially a perfect match for Tnemec red primer
paint, particularly because of the Zn and Cr content. "

- I very highly doubt it: I challenge you to demonstrate your claim
QUANTITATIVELY or even semi-quantitatively. The mere presence of Si,
Ca, S, etc. is not enough for "essentially a perfect match", as you
must know.

-- Jeff, do you have anything to add?

Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
On 4/8/09, Frank Legge wrote:
> Frank,
>
> It seems odd that you should focus on fig 14 when fig 7 shows four spectra,
> all virtually identical, of the red side of chips from four different
> location. All these spectra clearly show Al, Si, Fe, O and C, and virtually
> nothing else. The spectrum shown in fig 14 is clearly contaminated. It just
> happened to be the chip chosen for the solvent test. The Zn and Cr content
> are miniscule. The Ca and S is easily explained as due to gypsum
> contamination. It seems your concern is based on very little.
>
> Then when you consider that after the solvent treatment, regions of high
> elemental Al were discovered, it appears that there is no possible ground
> for thinking that this red material could be paint as the paint has no
> elemental Al. I trust you will explain this to your friends at JREF.
>
> Regards
> Frank
>
> Frank Greening wrote:
>>
>> Steve et al,
>>
>> I have been following the debate about your new paper on the JREF forum.
>> Now, while I can’t stand most of the posters on that site, they have
>> managed
>> to come up with some valid criticisms. One such concern that I have also
>> been investigating is the suggestion that your red chips are in fact chips
>> of the red primer paint that was used on the structural steel throughout
>> the
>> WTC Complex.
>>
>> The composition of the WTC primer is discussed in Appendix D of NIST
>> NCSTAR
>> 1-3C and, apart from iron oxide, “zinc yellow” and silica, the proprietary
>> material referred to as “Tnemec pigment” is also included in the list of
>> ingredient. Using the MSDS for this product, I have ascertained that
>> Tnemec
>> pigment contains talc and calcium silicates and aluminates in addition to
>> the zinc and iron compounds noted above.
>>
>> Now this is very significant because the XEDS spectrum you present in
>> Figure
>> 14 of your report is essentially a perfect match for Tnemec red primer
>> paint, particularly because of the Zn and Cr content. And, unfortunately,
>> this represents a serious inconsistency in your paper; namely that the
>> spectrum in Figure 14 is quite different to the spectra you present in
>> Figures 6 and 7 of your paper – spectra that you claim are representative
>> of
>> the red chips.
>>
>> Thus I think your paper is seriously flawed because it leaves one
>> wondering
>> how you could acquire no less than eight spectra of red chips that have no
>> Zn or Cr and yet choose to investigate the chemical properties of a chip
>> that contains these atypical elements. Simply stating that the difference
>> between the chips analysed in Figs 6 & 7 and the chip analysed in Figure
>> 14,
>> is due to “surface contamination”, is not very convincing. I have to ask
>> why
>> would you use a contaminated particle to do your chemical testing when you
>> were able to acquire plenty of spectra of contaminant-free particles? I
>> would, at least, subject the supposedly contaminated particle to an
>> ultra-sonic bath to see if the contamination could be removed or reduced.
>> Thus I find it a serious omission that you do not even mention the
>> possibility that at least some of the red chips might be red primer paint
>> fragments, especially when this explains the presence of Zn and Cr in the
>> one chip you select for additional chemical testing.
>>
>> Frank
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