Monday, March 11, 2013

The Energetic Red Layer: The FTIR

Harrit et al. announced in 2009 that the dust from the WTC buildings contains remnants of active thermitic material that must have been used to demolish them in 2001. They state that the red layer of their chips is actually composed of grains of nano-thermite embedded within an energetic organic matrix, forming a novel hybrid material, called super-thermite, that is thermitic and explosive. Harrit´s reviewed paper is set up to prove the thermitic activity of the embedded thermite, while it leaves out the study of the matrix material and how it works; however, it does refer to studies that allow the authors to suggest that "the organic material in evidence in the red/gray chips is also highly energetic, most likely producing gas to provide explosive pressure."

The so-called debunkers have dismissed the matrix as some form of epoxy, but epoxy resin is a very broad term, since "polyepoxides are a class of reactive prepolymers and polymers which contain epoxide groups." The "debunkers" usually suggest that the matrix is epoxy-paint, but the term "epoxy resin" can also include various binders, gels, reactive and even explosive compounds: The Los Alomos National Laboratory actually first developed polymer-bonded-explosives in 1952, which contain explosive powder bound in a matrix - energetic polymers can replace inert binders to increase the power of any explosive. Organic peroxides can be used to make explosives, and this group could be a good candidate for an explosive matrix meant for a thermitic material, since it is reactive and it contains the fuel along with the oxygen in the same compound. Harrit et al. also happen to mention a known sol-gel process, that is sometimes based on organic epoxide as a gelling agent, that may have been used to make their chips.

The design Harrit et al. propose for their red layer has been previously described by the Livermore Laboratory as a process where, "[b]asically, the sol-gel chemistry is used to create a skeletal matrix, which is itself energetic." The best known example of a skeletal matrix is based on a fluorinated polymer, but the "debunker" known as Oystein states that it "is safe to assume that this [red layer]matrix is some form of organic polymer (or a mix of polymers), that contains no Fluorine or Chlorine," and his friend Kminek agrees, "since no fluorine was detected." The fallacy of their assumption becomes apparent when you realize that Harrit explained a long time ago that "one problem with the investigation which has just been done is that we cannot see fluorine because the response from fluorine lies under the iron response, which we see all the time. So we cannot see, determine if there are fluorine in there or not." Harrit goes on to explain that, "when fluorine is present, the fluorine takes the aluminum so the oxygen is free to form gasses and this is one way of turning the nanothermite into an explosive."

According to Harrit´s paper, his team has conducted tests that could potentially prove that their chips contain fluorine, and they may even already have conclusive results: "The Gash report describes FTIR spectra which characterize this energetic material. We have performed these same tests and will report the results elsewhere." Unfortunately, Harrit et al. have not published their FTIR report, but one member of the team has provided a little teaser: The snapshot of his FTIR spectrum in this video(at 9m.25s) demonstrates that their result is consistent with the fluorine-infused super-thermite in the Gash report.