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Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Discussions and analysis of thermite theories

Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:06 am

Well, the long awaited paper on "Red Chips" in the WTC dust has finally appeared:

http://www.bentham.org/open/tocpj/openaccess2.htm

The principle author is Niels H. Harrit - a Chemistry Prof from Denmark - but the usual suspects are co-authors: Jones, Ryan, Legge and Gourley from the Scholars group, .... plus some "new kids on the block"....

All in all an impressive list of nine authors.

I haven't had time to study the paper yet, but I have looked at the pictures... very nicely done!

I would argue that this is the most interesting "truther" effort in a long time.

However, I already have a few questions.

1. Why is the material magnetic?

2. Where is the XRD analysis?

3. Where is the organic analysis?
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:42 am

Just noticed that this topic has already been taken up by the JREFers.

I see the debunking crew over there are rolling out the usual suggestion that the red chips come from some kind of paint. This is a very weak rebuttal since ordinary commercial paints - ones that may have been used in the Twin Towers - are not bi-layered or magnetic , as are the red chips in question.

It is of interest that Harrit et al. claim that Fe2O3, ferric oxide, is a major constituent of these WTC chips because ordinary ferric oxide is invariably non-magnetic.

As I already mentioned, I believe the magnetism of the red chips provides a key to the origin of these mysterious WTC dust particles.

But as for Harrit et al's new paper, strangely, after mentioning that a magnet was used to collect the red chips, the authors make no further mention of the fact that the red chips are magnetic.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Hambone » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:26 pm

Dr. G wrote:Just noticed that this topic has already been taken up by the JREFers.

I see the debunking crew over there are rolling out the usual suggestion that the red chips come from some kind of paint. This is a very weak rebuttal since ordinary commercial paints - ones that may have been used in the Twin Towers - are not bi-layered or magnetic , as are the red chips in question.

It is of interest that Harrit et al. claim that Fe2O3, ferric oxide, is a major constituent of these WTC chips because ordinary ferric oxide is invariably non-magnetic.

As I already mentioned, I believe the magnetism of the red chips provides a key to the origin of these mysterious WTC dust particles.

But as for Harrit et al's new paper, strangely, after mentioning that a magnet was used to collect the red chips, the authors make no further mention of the fact that the red chips are magnetic.


Hi Dr. G,

Isn't it more correct to say that the chips are paramagnetic given that they are attracted to a magnet? Al is paramagnetic.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Hambone » Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:53 pm

If their dust composition proportion by mass is correct (i.e. chips/dust = 1/1000) then there was roughly 300 tons of this material in each building! Fascinating. Where in the building was this stuff used...and why?! considering the associated risk.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:33 am

Hambone:

Well, it's very interesting to try and estimate the total mass of ferromagnetic materials that were in the Towers.

Desktops, laptops, cell-phones, TV monitors, and other "consumer electronics" use synthetic magnetic materials, as do credit cards and RFID devices, ....

Fe-Al-Si-based alloys - "Sendust"-type materials - are key ingredient in a lot of commercial products that use magnetic materials.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sun Apr 05, 2009 3:32 am

Just e-mailed this to Jones and Harrit:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have been reading with great interest your new paper with Professor Harrit et al. entitled “Active Thermite Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.” While I have many questions about the results reported in this paper I would like, for now, to focus on just a few topics and would very much appreciate any light you are able shed on the following questions:

1. It is stated on page 9 of the paper that the red/gray chips are magnetic and were extracted from the WTC dust using a magnet. I am curious as to why the dust was subjected to magnetic separation and why the alleged thermitic material found in the dust would be magnetic. Does this unusual property not suggest many possible man-made sources for this type of unidentified magnetic material in the WTC?

2. You suggest that the DSC traces shown in Figures 19 and 29 are indicative of thermite reactions such as:

Fe2O3 + 2Al = Al2O3 + 2Fe

However, if this was true, the DSC traces should show a sharp endothermic reaction peak at 659 °C due to the melting of aluminium. Such a peak is absent from your traces. This, I think, seriously undermines your identification of the red/gray chips as some form of thermite.


3. The XEDS spectra for the gray layers of your samples, (shown in Figure 6 of your paper), exhibit a small peak at ~ 5.9 keV which indicates the presence of Mn. The height of this peak relative to the Fe peak at 6.4 keV shows that the Mn is about 1 % the abundance of the Fe. This surely suggests that A-36 steel is the most likely source of Fe in the gray layers of the chips, since A-36 steel contains about 1 % Mn. This is inconsistent with your proposed origin of the chips.


4. You imply in your paper that some form of exothermic thermitic material was applied to critical steel surfaces in the Twin Towers, presumably to hasten their destruction. However, you also claim that the thermitic material was in the form of a coating that was typically less than 100 microns thick. To evaluate the maximum heating effect of a 100-micron layer of thermite on a WTC column one needs to calculate the heat energy released to a hypothetical thermite-coated column on one of the upper floors of the Towers, assuming most of the heat liberated by the proposed thermite reaction was absorbed by the column. The result of such a calculation shows that a temperature rise of less than 10 ° C is expected for full reaction of a 100- micron thermite coating on an upper floor core column. I therefore feel compelled to ask why anyone would bother to apply such an ineffectual coating.

Hoping to hear from you soon regarding these questions,

Sincerely, etc .......
Dr. G
 
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:08 pm

Dr. G wrote:Just e-mailed this to Jones and Harrit:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Good letter. Would you like me to post it at 911blogger?
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Hambone » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:06 pm

Metamars,

Are you trying to get banned there?
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:09 pm

Metamars:

Sure, you can try, but someone who calls himself Reprehensor will probably take it down!
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Dr. G » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:03 pm

Well, already had some feedback from Jones and added some feedforward:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E-mail to S. Jones sent ~ 2:30 p.m. today:

Steven,

Thanks for the rapid reply, but I don't believe your answers cover all of my questions!

First, while you have explained why you used magnetic separation on the WTC dust, you have not explained why your red/gray chips are magnetic. You suggest that the iron is present as ferric oxide, but the usual form of ferric oxide, alpha-Fe2O3, is non-magnetic. There is a magnetic form of ferric oxide - gamma-Fe2O3 - but I see no reson why someone would use this in a thermite preparation, do you? On the other hand, I can think of plenty of ferromagnetic materials that would have been present in the Twin Towers in very large quantities, and some of these would be in the form of films or laminated sheets.

As for the missing endothermic peak in the DSC, I am simply basing my comments on published DSC data for aluminum-iron oxide thermite reactions - see papers by J. Mei and R-H Fan in Scripta Materialia and Thermochimica Acta.

I think you are missing my point about Mn. I clearly stated my estimate of the abundance of Mn as being relative to iron. The presence of organic carbon in the sample has no bearing on this! So, as I say Mn is clearly present in the gray layer of your chips and the Mn/Fe ratio is close to the Mn/Fe ratio seen in EDAX spectra of A-36 steel. (I base this claim from comparisons to spectra I recorded back when I was doing EDAX of iron and zirconium alloys on a daily basis as part of my research for the Canadian nuclear industry.)

But finally, let's address the one point you really fail to answer in your reply to me and which poses many problems for the CD hypothesis alluded to in your paper - the question as to why your alleged thermite samples are very thin and as such would not be capable of heating massive steel columns more than 10 deg C. And while you may now argue that there may have been massive amounts of thermite in the Twin Towers - and the red/gray particles are just chips off a larger block - you suggest on page 26 of your paper that the thermite was probably present in the WTC as a "thin film". Indeed, you suggest that the chips are fragments of a coating applied to steel surfaces much like a paint. And yes, I understand Figure 30 perfectly well, but it is not relevant to my point. Let me ask: Do you understand that a 100-micron thermite film, (nano, super sol-gel or otherwise), does not have the capability to thermally weaken massive steel columns?

Sincerely,

Frank

----- Original Message -----
From: Steven Jones
To: Frank Greening

Sent: Sunday, April 05, 2009 8:39 AM

Subject: Re: New peer-reviewed research paper published, in a Chemical Physics journal

Dear Frank,

I am glad you are reading the paper with interest. You have evidently overlooked a few important things, so I'm glad you asked. I'm including materials scientist Dr. Farrer and chemists Legge and Ryan who may wish to add to the replies I offer quickly this morning.

On Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 10:22 PM, Frank Greening <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Steven,

I have been reading with great interest your new paper with Professor Harrit et al. entitled “Active Thermite Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.” While I have many questions about the results reported in this paper I would like, for now, to focus on just a few topics and would very much appreciate any light you are able shed on the following questions:

It is stated on page 9 of the paper that the red/gray chips are magnetic and were extracted from the WTC dust using a magnet. I am curious as to why the dust was subjected to magnetic separation and why the alleged thermitic material found in the dust would be magnetic. Does this unusual property not suggest many possible man-made sources for this type of unidentified magnetic material in the WTC?

JONES REPLY:

I subjected the dust to magnetic separation because at the time I was looking for iron-rich spheres. I was surprised at the presence of these red/gray chips in abundance, along with the iron-rich spheres, and even more surprised when I examined the red material in the SEM/XEDS system. Of course man-made sources are implicated, especially given the rich 100 nm-scale structure of the red material.

GREENING (Cont):

2. You suggest that the DSC traces shown in Figures 19 and 29 are indicative of thermite reactions such as:

Fe2O3 + 2Al = Al2O3 + 2Fe

However, if this was true, the DSC traces should show a sharp endothermic reaction peak at 659 °C due to the melting of aluminium. Such a peak is absent from your traces. This, I think, seriously undermines your identification of the red/gray chips as some form of thermite.

JONES REPLY:

Notice that that a sharp exothermic reaction occurs first, at about 430 C. This we identified as a thermitic reaction which would consume much or all of the aluminum, so why do you insist that an endothermic reaction due to melting aluminum should occur at 659 C?

GREENING (Cont):

The XEDS spectra for the gray layers of your samples, (shown in Figure 6 of your paper), exhibit a small peak at ~ 5.9 keV which indicates the presence of Mn. The height of this peak relative to the Fe peak at 6.4 keV shows that the Mn is about 1 % the abundance of the Fe. This surely suggests that A-36 steel is the most likely source of Fe in the gray layers of the chips, since A-36 steel contains about 1 % Mn. This is inconsistent with your proposed origin of the chips.

JONES REPLY:

First, I don't agree that Mn is about 1% of the abundance of the Fe -- where did you get this number? Second, you are overlooking the presence of significant carbon which suggests an organic component -- although I say this requires further study to pin this down. Third, what are you saying is inconsistent with "your proposed origin of the chips"? I seeing nothing inconsistent here, but ask you to clarify.

GREENING (Cont):

You imply in your paper that some form of exothermic thermitic material was applied to critical steel surfaces in the Twin Towers, presumably to hasten their destruction. However, you also claim that the thermitic material was in the form of a coating that was typically less than 100 microns thick. To evaluate the maximum heating effect of a 100-micron layer of thermite on a WTC column one needs to calculate the heat energy released to a hypothetical thermite-coated column on one of the upper floors of the Towers, assuming most of the heat liberated by the proposed thermite reaction was absorbed by the column. The result of such a calculation shows that a temperature rise of less than 10 ° C is expected for full reaction of a 100- micron thermite coating on an upper floor core column. I therefore feel compelled to ask why anyone would bother to apply such an ineffectual coating.

JONES REPLY:

First, two of the red/gray chips release more energy than thermite (more than 3.9 kJ/g) -- and indeed more than HMX, a conventional explosive -- have you understood Fig. 30? Second, we note that the chips found may be just thin material that has survived the destruction. Thicker material might have been present and consumed. There are other possibilities. The fact remains that this material exists in the WTC dust, and the central question to me is not HOW it was used, but rather WHO made the stuff and why?

--Steven J
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:50 pm

Hambone wrote:Metamars,

Are you trying to get banned there?


No, but maintaining posting privileges at 911 blogger is not the goal of my life.

OK, I'm not sure what the goal of my life is, but that ain't it!
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:56 pm

Dr. G wrote:Metamars:

Sure, you can try, but someone who calls himself Reprehensor will probably take it down!


I have posted it, and invited Professor Jones to post replies directly, here.

BTW, I've also (roughly) calculated the thickness necessary to raise 1/4 of a box column by 600 deg C, and it's only 4% of plate thickness, or 1 mm for a 1 inch thick plate. This doesn't seem consistent with your calculation, at all.

We have both optimistically assumed that all heat energy will go into the column.

Would you please show your calculations, so that we can figure out who is correct?
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby metamars » Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:12 pm

Hambone wrote:If their dust composition proportion by mass is correct (i.e. chips/dust = 1/1000) then there was roughly 300 tons of this material in each building! Fascinating. Where in the building was this stuff used...and why?! considering the associated risk.


Are you saying that there was 300,000 tons of dust? :o
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby Hambone » Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:24 pm

metamars wrote:
Hambone wrote:If their dust composition proportion by mass is correct (i.e. chips/dust = 1/1000) then there was roughly 300 tons of this material in each building! Fascinating. Where in the building was this stuff used...and why?! considering the associated risk.


Are you saying that there was 300,000 tons of dust? :o


No. On second thougt I see more than just a few problems with that statement. I.e. not all of the red/gray material was necessarily "dustified" and the total amount of dust was probably closer to 90,000 tons. However, from that we can gather that at least 90 tons were present. Still alot of stuff.
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Re: Active Thermitic Material in WTC Dust

Postby newton » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:20 pm

shouldn't it be kind of obvious that whatever active thermitic chips are leftover in the dust represent a small minority of the amount that would have been consumed destroying the building?
if the chips left over are 10 to 100 microns thick, who's to say the original 'bombs' weren't an inch thick?
the compound sure seems to pack a wallop, whatever it is.

it is known that fireproofing was peeling off in some places, and a replacement material was being used to repair the affected areas. maybe your idea of spray on rocket fuel isn't so far fetched as i think you seem to think it is, dr. g. except, substitute nanothermate 'paint' for rocket fuel.
just one possibility. it (the red/grey compound) could've been disguised as ANY 'upgrade' for the building.
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