Monday, March 10, 2014

Mohr Misunderstanding: R.J Lee Did Not Say Normal Fire Creates Iron Spheres

Notice! Understand the following before you read this article:
1. When Harrit et al. (and truthers) refer to "iron rich" spheres they are talking about spheres that contain a significant amount of pure iron, NOT iron-oxide! A thermite reaction leaves behind molten iron, so its presence after ignition of the red/gray chips is the most important evidence in Harrit´s paper.

2. We know it is possible to get molten metallic spheres with high temperature carbon-fueled fires, BUT those contain iron-oxide, NOT iron!

Part 1. (02/21/ 2014) Chris Mohr states on the JREF forum:
"MM also quotes RJ Lee, who like many scientists knows that iron-rich spheres can be created in ordinary fires and has said so himself in his original report and in a followup email."
In the above quote, Rev. Mohr is relying on Dave Thomas´s interpretation of R.J. Lee´s letter, as displayed on his own website, where Mr. Thomas tries to make it look as if Mr. Lee agrees that:

A. Normal fire creates molten spheres at typical fire temperatures.
B. The result is iron spheres/iron rich spheres identical to those obtained via thermite reaction.

Mr. Lee´s letter is a bit vague for non-technical readers, but upon close inspection it reveals that Mr. Lee disagrees with both statements above. The pertinent part of the letter is below, with important bits highlighted:
"...The iron is heated red hot or hotter and subjected to hurricane force blast furnace like wind. The iron flakes are liberated as small particles and some iron is vaporized...The formation of iron and other type spheres at temperatures obtainable by the combustion of petroleum or coal based fuels is not a new or unique process. These spheres are the same as iron and alumino‐silicate spheres in the well‐studied fly ash formed from contaminants in coal as it is burned in furnaces." 
Mr. Lee in fact identifies blast-furnace conditions and states that the spheres will be identical to the fly ash spheres found in furnace residues. What is the significance of this in the context of the two statements (marked A. and B.) above? Well:

A. A blast-furnace uses high pressure forced air to double the temperature of the fire - even compared to the hottest building fire. Lee´s hurricane reference is simply meant to infer blast-furnace conditions to explain away evidence for extreme temperatures way above normal building fires. The blast furnace typically operates at 2000C to 2300C (3600F to 4200F).

B. The spheres that R.J Lee refers to are actually oxidized metal like all molten metal obtained via conventional combustion: these are iron-oxide spheres, NOT the iron (or iron-rich) spheres found in the WTC dust and after the ignition of Harrit´s red/gray "thermitic" chips. The fact that Harrit´s spheres contain "substantial elemental iron" (p.21) instead of iron-oxide is why they are cited as thermitic evidence in the paper!

CONCLUSION: RJ Lee actually notes that it would take unusually high temperatures to account for molten metal spheres and he acknowledges that melting via fire results in iron-oxide spheres, not iron spheres. Even if Lee´s hypothetical "hurricane blast-furnce" story were true, it could not account for the observed iron spheres.

In Mohr´s defence, he is still relying on his famously dishonest and incompetent JREF forum friends as his sources. But on the other hand, a self-professed investigative journalist like Rev. Mohr should know that his trust is unfounded, since Dr. Greening publicly ridiculed and abandoned the JREF 9/11 forum in 2007.

Part 2. Chris Mohr has made some YouTube videos and one of them deals with the spherical evidence. In the description of the video, Rev. Mohr complains that his opponents keep saying that he has not showed any matches to the iron spheres that Harrit et al. observe in their paper. Mohr says he disproves them by showing examples of what he calls "iron rich" spheres from a paper called Fly ash characterization by SEM--EDS, but then he cites the abstract which debunks him on the spot:
"The majority of the iron-rich spheres had two components: iron oxide and amorphous alumino-silicate"
Since the paper is of course about the "well studied" fly ash spheres RJ Lee refers to in his letter, the paper clearly states:
"The iron-bearing phases observed, collectively referred to as spinel, were identified as magnetite and hematite." 
Note: magnetite and hematite are the most common forms of iron-oxide. The "iron richness" actually refers to bits of iron-oxide, not iron; these spheres do NOT match the "iron rich" definition that Harrit et al. and truthers refer to. Rev. Mohr goes on to point to
" article about iron-rich microspheres (which also have aluminum in them) that were created in a regular incinerator at temperatures under 1800 degrees F. No steel-melting temperatures required!"
But this is another article that actually refers to fly ash spheres from an incinerator, not iron spheres. The "under 1800F" is also actually "over 1800F," and that temperature seems to refer to the "flue gas" exhaust temperature, not the fire temperature.

Update 3/11/2014: Note that in the Fly ash paper, the iron-oxide appears like contaminants within the spheres, which means those specks may not have melted, although it is possible since the furnace operates at over 1400C. The discovery of an iron-phase in a sphere from lower temperatures would suggest the sphere is some other compound (with a lower m.p.), and that it has specks of solid iron-oxide within it.

A follow-up article: