Friday, March 19, 2010

Super-Duper Thermite: A Year in Review

On November 07, 2008 James B. of the Screw Loose Change blog wrote:

Since the truthers cannot explain most of their theories, they have to create speculative technologies as some sort of deus ex machina for their stupidity, be it real time large scale voice morphing, Klingon cloaking technologies or Star War Death Beams. Like most science fiction they have at least some basis in reality, but are taken to ridiculous extremes far beyond proven science. The biggest example of this is the variations of thermite, a real substance, that they create and attach any properties that they want to for use in demolishing buildings, even though thermite has never been used to demolish a building. Here is a perfect example, from David Ray Griffin's aforementioned speech, 58 minutes in:
"With regard to planting explosives, a new technology has developed, known as nano-technology and it has completely changed the nature of discussion about explosives. So thermate, thermite is a very common incendiary, than you had sulfur to it, and it is called thermate because the sulfur added to it greatly lowers the temperature at which steel melts.

But if they used ultra-fine-grained particles then it increases the strength of this many many times, super-thermate is, uhh I don't know 10 times more powerful, something like that. Compared to ordinary thermate. (grumbling in crowd)."

It is an incendiary, it is an explosive, it removes tough stains! It can do anything! Call now 1-800-SCAM-SCIENCE to place your order now.
At least two months prior to this published a page thoroughly documenting the existence of high-tech metal-based explosives. I guess James missed it, plus that's a twoofer site, so why would he believe it. Well I know that James reads this blog, so I wanted to make him aware of a non-twoofer article I found while untangling my way through the internets recently. Granted, it is on Wikipedia, but remember these are the same people that renamed their 9/11 controlled demolition page to a "conspiracy theory" after the publication of the nano-thermite paper. This being said, it could have been written by Steven Jones for all I know, but if the people that so hate our "theories" had an issue with it, they would surely edit it, or remove it all together. Furthermore, it is not in need of any citations, so if you think it's factually wrong James, then by all means try to edit it. Until then, we will accept that it is accurate. The article begins with a super citation:

"Nano-thermite, also called 'super-thermite',[1] is the common name for a subset of metastable intermolecular composites (MICs) characterized by a highly exothermic reaction after ignition."
The article also informs us that:

"Super-thermites are generally developed for military use, propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics. Nanosized thermitic materials are being researched by the U.S. military with the aim of developing new types of bombs that are several times more powerful than conventional explosives."

So it IS an incendiary and an explosive. Well that is just super duper if you ask me.
Now the question is are these "new types of bombs" only "being researched," or were they actually used on 9/11? Well to begin to answer that question let's compare a few excerpts of the article with excerpts from the peer-reviewed nano-thermite paper entitled Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe.
The Wikipedia excerpts will appear in blue, excerpts from the paper will appear in red.
The products of a thermite reaction, resulting from ignition of the thermitic mixture, are usually metal oxides and elemental metals...

Nano-thermites contain an oxidizer and a reducing agent, which are intimately mixed on the nanometer scale.

What separates MICs from traditional thermites is that the oxidizer and a reducing agent, normally iron oxide and aluminium are not a fine powder, but rather nanoparticles.

We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in significant numbers in dust associated with the World Trade Center destruction. The red material is most interesting...
It is composed of intimately mixed aluminum, iron, oxygen, silicon and carbon. Lesser amounts of other potentially reactive elements are sometimes present, such as potassium, sulfur, barium, lead and copper.
Iron oxide appears in faceted grains roughly 100 nanometers across whereas the aluminum appears in plate-like structures approximately 40 nanometers thick.

As Jim Hoffman has pointed out:

These are all features of a nano-engineered material. It is not possible that such a material was formed as a by-product of the destruction of the Twin Towers...
Although these elements -- aluminum, iron, oxygen, and silicon -- were all abundant in building materials used in the Twin Towers, it is not possible that such materials milled themselves into fine powder and assembled themselves into a chemically optimized aluminothermic composite as a by-product of the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Nope, these materials certainly didn't mill themselves, so who did mill them? The Wikipedia article states that:
A method for producing nanoscale, or ultra fine grain (UFG) aluminum powders, a key component of most nano-thermitic materials, is the dynamic gas-phase condensation method, pioneered by Wayne Danen and Steve Son at
Los Alamos National Laboratory. A variant of the method is being used at the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center."

Funny thing about the Naval Surface Warfare Center:
The Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, (a branch of the Naval Sea Systems Command or NAVSEA), described in 1999 as the "national center for energetics"[1], "the only reliable source of aluminum nanopowders in the United States"[2] and in 2008 as "probably the most prominent US center for nano-thermite technology"[3], alleges via Freedom of Information Act replies that records "regarding research and development of nano-sized or Ultra Fine Grained (UFG) aluminum powders, nano-sized or Ultra Fine Grained (UFG) iron oxide powders or other metal oxide powders and Metastable Intermolecular Composites prior to 2002" do not exist. According to Indian Head, "research may have been conducted by Indian Head Division personnel but not submitted."- Source:
Nothing suspicious there, I'm sure bin Laden made the materials. And actually, so what if the materials found in the WTC dust have the same physical structure and chemical composition as nano-thermite. BB guns have the same physical structure and chemical composition as real guns, but that doesn't mean that they shoot real bullets!

At the temperatures prevailing during the reaction, the products can be solid, liquid or gaseous, depending on the components of the mixture.[12] Super-thermite electric matches developed by LANL can create simple sparks, hot slag, droplet, or flames as thermal-initiating outputs to ignite other incendiaries or explosives.[1]

After igniting several red/gray chips in a differential scanning calorimeter run to 700ºC, we found numerous iron-rich spheres and spheroids in the residue, indicating that a very high-temperature reaction had occurred, since the iron-rich product clearly must have been molten to form these shapes. In several spheres, elemental iron was verified since the iron content significantly exceeded the oxygen content. We conclude that a high-temperature reduction-oxidation reaction has occurred in the heated chips, namely, the thermite reaction.

"Super-thermite electric matches" have been developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory for which “applications include triggering explosives for ... demolition”

It is indeed possible that such matches, which are designed to be ignited by a simple electric pulse, could contain material similar to the red material we have found in the WTC dust.

As the Rock Creek Free Press pointed out in their bombshell article "Scientists Find Explosives in World Trade Center Dust

The authors avoided describing the material as "explosive" because the flakes studied are too small to assess the bulk properties of the material.

To test the power of this thermitic material, small samples were heated in a Differential Scanning Calorimeter, a very sensitive device for detecting the heat generated by a chemical reaction. The samples ignited at about 430ºC and generated as much or more heat than an equal mass of high explosive such as TNT.
So the material could have been the explosive itself, or it could have ignited other explosives. The scientists not being 100% sure about this has been used by the Screw Loose Change blog as a talking point against their findings. Which is beyond ridiculous, because they presented no argument that the material was anything but nano-thermite, but rather a debate about how energetic the material was.
So now the question is not if an explosive method was used, but which one? Well, there is evidence for both. Let's start with nano-thermite igniting other explosives, the Wikipedia article states that:
"Thermobaric weapons are considered to be a promising application of nanoenergetic materials."

This is interesting, because
as has pointed out before:

Advantages of thermobarics include:
Avoiding the need to install explosives near the Towers' perimeter columns. The thermobaric devices could have been installed entirely in discretely accessed portions of the Towers' cores. The number of devices could also be much smaller -- perhaps just one per floor.
Thermobarics include an absence of conventional explosive residues, and much higher energy densities than conventional explosives. For example, whereas TNT yields 4.2 MJ/kg, hydrogren produces 120 MJ/kg (not counting the weight of the oxygen it uses to burn). 4 Of the possible fuels that could be used in thermobarics, hydrogen has several unique attributes which could have been used to advantage by the planners.

The flash produced by hydrogen combustion is not visible to the naked eye in daylight conditions. The use of hydrogen-based thermobarics is thus consistent with the absence of colorful fireworks in the destruction of the Twin Towers.
On a weight basis, hydrogen has one of the highest energy densities of any fuel -- several times that of any hydrocarbon. The use of hydrogen would have allowed operatives to install far less material than would be required with other explosives.
The combustion of hydrogen in air produces only water vapor, a residue that is consistent with the vast light-colored clouds produced by the Towers' destruction.
Hydrogen has a very wide explosive range -- from 4 to 75 percent in air. That compares to 2.1 to 10.1 percent for propane and 0.7 to 5 percent for kerosene. 5 Thus it would be relatively easy to design hydrogen-based thermobarics that would function reliably in a variety of conditions.
Hydrogen has a very high vapor pressure compared to other fuels. This would have enabled its rapid dispersal into ambient air by shattering pressure vessels containing it.

The Thermitic Material authors mention that in April 2001 the American Chemical Society held a symposium on the defense applications of nanomaterials in which they stated:
At this point in time, all of the military services and some DOE and academic laboratories have active R&D programs aimed at exploiting the unique properties of nanomaterials that have potential to be used in energetic formulations for advanced explosives…. nanoenergetics hold promise as useful ingredients for the thermobaric (TBX) and TBX-like weapons, particularly due to their high degree of tailorability with regards to energy release and impulse management.
The authors then go on to point out that:

"The feature of 'impulse management' may be significant. It is possible that formulations may be chosen to have just sufficient percussive effect to achieve the desired fragmentation while minimizing the noise level."

In other words, these materials, in any form that they are used, are perfect for a covert demolition in which one would want to reduce the loud pops and flashes of conventional demolitions. Lacking these attributes makes for a good defense against the obvious!

The Wikipedia article also informs us that:
Nanoparticles can be prepared by spray drying from a solution, or in case of insoluble oxides, spray pyrolysis of solutions of suitable precursors. The composite materials can be prepared by sol-gel techniques or by conventional wet mixing and pressing.

Similar but not identical systems are nano-laminated pyrotechnic compositions, or energetic nanocomposites. In these systems, the fuel and oxidizer is not mixed as small particles, but deposited as alternating thin layers.
The Thermitic Material paper quotes an April 2000 report by Gash et. al. which states the following about the sol-gel process:
"Once dry the (hybrid inorganic/organic energetic composite) material burns very vigorously and rapidly with the evolution of significant amounts of gaseous species."
The authors note the following of the red chips in their conclusion:

"The carbon content of the red material indicates that an organic substance is present. This would be expected for super-thermite formulations in order to produce high gas pressures upon ignition and thus make them explosive."

And again, this is all perfect for a covert demolition:

The bottom line is that nano-thermite is real, it is super-duper, and it was found in the WTC dust.
The one year anniversary of the nano-thermite paper quickly approaches
and no peer-reviewed refutation has been offered. But that's OK, just attack the journal the findings were published in, and when that is demonstrated to be nonsense just continue the super-duper meme implying that it doesn't exist, and when that doesn't work, just claim (again) without any basis, that what was found was just paint. As Debunking the Debunkers blog contributor Scootle Royale said: "I don't know what debunkers paint their houses with but let's just say I don't want any of it near my house."

And when that doesn't work just question the chain of custody. Which Scootle pointed out is "effectively accusing the scientists and the citizens of conspiring to fake evidence by manufacturing high-tech energetic nanocomposites." Conspiracy theory anyone?When all else fails act ignorant of the facts. When Scootle points out that:
This stuff ignites when heated to 400-450°C and after ignition we find molten iron. Since iron doesn't melt until 1500°C, this ignition temperature of 400-450°C couldn't possibly melt iron. So the fact that we find molten iron is proof that some kind of chemical reaction has occurred.
...Just act like he is claiming that thermite burns at 400-450°C when he was actually pointing out that 400-450°C is the temperature that TRIGGERS the reaction.

Some suggestions: either fix the Wikipedia article or remove your former blog James, and then pass the word along that your side needs to put up or shut up!

Oh, and on the topic of magic:
Are there more seeming opposites than technology and magic? Technology works objectively and is usually efficacious, whereas magic, based on superstition, seems to be ineffective. The former is perceived to be rational and is associated with a scientific outlook; the latter is seen to be irrational and is associated with a religious sensibility. But our expectations for technology have become magical and our use of it is increasingly irrational. Magic in turn has acquired a rational façade and is used like technology for purposes of efficiency. In short, technology and magic, while separate and distinct categories in some abstract sense, are now related to one another in such a way that each has acquired important characteristics of the other. - Source:
Related Info:

Thermite Denial - A Year in Review

Put up or Shut up: A Year in Review

9/11 Truth Movement: Year in Review

The Sounds of Loud and Clear

Reply: Jesse The BSer Ventura: I Called It!