Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Origin of Steven Jones' paint controll sample

1240 - Sunstealer: "damn, metamars, be a good chap will you and find the bit in Jones' report where it details what paint he used. Thanks."

1354 - metamars: "Thank-you. I just sent Professor Jones and email requesting the exact paint type, but as he didn't directly reply to my last email (though cc'ing me on others), I'm a little doubtful that I'll get a direct answer. We'll see."

1366 - Sunstealer: "You can also ask him why he failed to put that crucial information in his paper and whilst you're at it slap his wrist for such a basic error, it's unforgivable for someone of a post graduate level. "

1406 - metamars: "Professor Jones has replied. He wants to know for which purpose the paint you are asking about is supposed to be for. (AFAIR, there was a test for resistance, and some burn tests).

Can you please formulate the paint question more precisely. As in "The paint you referred to on page X, paragraph y, for which z was claimed, is which exact paint?"

1422 - Sunstealer: "Sure - I'm surprised he hasn't had more queries.

The following is from the bottom of page 16 and the top of page 17 of the paper.

2. Test Using Methyl Ethyl Ketone Solvent

By employing some means to separate the different components of the material, the chemical compositions of the different particles in the red layer were more accurately determined. The initial objective was to compare the behavior of the red layer with paint when soaked in a strong organic solvent known to soften and dissolve paint. Red/gray chips were soaked in methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) for 55 hours with frequent agitation and subsequently dried in air over several days. The chips showed significant swelling of the red layer, but with no apparent dissolution. In marked contrast, paint chips softened and partly dissolved when similarly soaked in MEK.

Those are the paint specimens I and everyone is interested in - what are they (that requires detail). I presume that this same paint was used for all of the testing comparisons.

I'd also ask why that particular type of paint was chosen as opposed to any other.

I'll leave it there for the moment - thanks.

1467 - metamars: "I submitted your post as the paint question. Actually, I broke it up into 2 questions, the last line in the quote above being question #2. "

1524 - metamars: "Professor Jones replied:

We used an epoxy paint used to paint the stadium at BYU, supposing that to be relatively resistant to solvent attack.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Discussion of the Harrit ed.al. paper

Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe

by Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge,
Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley and Bradley R. Larsen
The Open Chemical Physics Journal, Volume 2, pp. 7-31; 2009

Discussed at
Particularly Post 292 (Red layer is Paint with Kaolin pigments), Post 299 (grey layer is Micaceous Iron Oxide, used in anti-corrosion primer)
A French paper by Jérôme Quirant (Moorea34)
Some physical and chemical properties of thermite and thermate are discussed here.

Note on page numbers: Each page of the PFD document has two page numbers: One written on top of the page, and the page number count of the PFD file. I will refer to pages by dual numbers as, for example "16(22)", meaning "page 16 of the PFD file (page 22 as written on top of page)".


We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in all the samples we have studied of the dust produced by the destruction of the World Trade Center. Examination of four of these samples, collected from separate sites, is reported in this paper. These red/gray chips show marked similarities in all four samples. One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later. The properties of these chips were analyzed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The red material contains grains approximately 100 nm across which are largely iron oxide, while aluminum is contained in tiny plate-like structures. Separation of components using methyl ethyl ketone demonstrated that elemental aluminum is present. The iron oxide and aluminum are intimately mixed in the red material. When ignited in a DSC device the chips exhibit large but narrow exotherms occurring at approximately 430 °C, far below the normal ignition temperature for conventional thermite. Numerous iron-rich spheres are clearly observed in the residue following the ignition of these peculiar red/gray chips. The red portion of these chips is found to be an unreacted thermitic material and highly energetic.

The authors

  • Niels H. Harrit: Associate Professor Emeritus, Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, 1975, Thesis: mechanistic photochemistry; has published on some nano-stuff, but his main method is Spectrophotometry, and his main research interests focus around organic chemistry, photochemistry, fluorescence. Profile at AE911T
  • Jeffrey K. Farrer: PhD in Material Scince. Lab manager (read: technician) for electromicroscopy at BYU. Non-facult. Has about 4 legit scientific paper to his credit (3 at the Journal of Materials Science). Profile at AE911T
  • Steven E. Jones: Former Physics professor at BYU. The driving force behind this effort. Profile at AE911T
  • Kevin R. Ryan: B.S. Chem; Chemist, former Underwriters Laboratories manager (read: technician). Has never published at any science jurnal, except on 9/11 CTs. Profile at AE911T
  • Frank M. Legge: Diploma of Agriculture; Logical Systems Consulting, Perth, Western Australia (Chemistry). Has a US Patent (4,765,309 of 08/23/1988) on a tracking device for solar panels. A Frank M. Legge has 1 paper on fatty diet. No other scientific credentials can be found. Profile at AE911T
  • Daniel Farnsworth: (Grad?) student at Department of Physics and Astronomy, BYU. Did not sign AE911T petition.
  • Gregg Roberts: Business Analyst, Technical Writer/Editor, VBA Dev, Psych. B.A., UT Austin, 1990; Graduate Work in Social Work. Gregg Roberts at AE911T
  • James R. Gourley: Did not sign AE911T petition.
  • Bradley R. Larsen: MS Geology, University of Utah; mineralogist for oil-gas and gold exploration for S&J Scientific Co.; Profile at AE911T


The following weaknesses are found in the paper
  1. No proper peer-review
  2. Uncertainty about the source and chain of custody of the samples
  3. No comparison with thermite
  4. Comparison with one, unkown paint only is inconclusive
  5. Presence of C in all samples precludes DSC tests in atmosphere
  6. Energy release of >3.9J/g is proof that materials other than thermite react at 430°C
  7. The ignition point of 430°C is not shown to be indicative of any known thermite preparation and is contriaditcted by all known thermite preparations, which typically ignite above 900°C
  8. The chip that was soaked in MEK has different spectrum from chips a-d
  9. It is not clear how elemental Al was identified in chip e
  10. Elemental Al is known to react with MEK, making it highly unlikely that elemental Al was found after soaking 55 hours in MEK
  11. Comparison with images, formulae and spectra of known Kalolin preparations for paint show striking similarities with red layer
  12. Comparison with images, formulae and spectra of known Micaceous Iron Oxide preparations show stiking similarities with grey layer


The authors, and their supporter and parroters, do not tire of pointing out that the paper had been subjected to a proper peer-review process when it was published at Bentham Open. But is this really so? Let's first look at how peer-review is usually done:
A scientific journal has an editor-in-chief, and possibly more editors
A paper submitted to a journal is first reviewed by the editor. The editor determines the subject matter, picks a few scientists whom she or he deems experts on the subject matter ("peers"), and sends them the submission for review
The peers send back a critique, with recommendations that can be of the following nature: i.) accept without reservations ii.) accept with minor corrections iii.) reject, and ask author to resubmit when certain problems are fixed, iv.) reject right away (paper has no chance)
The editor reads the peer-reviews, and then decides if and how to publish the paper

So the role of the editor is absolutely central to the peer-review process.

Bentham's "The Open Chemical Physics Journal" isn't exactly hustling and bustling and overburdening the editor-in-chief with hundreds of submissions to be processed. In fact, in all of 2009, the journal published only 4 papers (View journal articles), totalling 46 pages.

How was the paper handled by TOCPJ's editor in chief? Editor in chief was Professor Marie-Paule Pileni. When the Danish science magazine videnskab.dk contacted Mrs. Pileni to get further information about the recently published Harrit-paper, they were in for a surprise (Translation): Mrs. Pileni, the editor in chief, did not know that this paper had been published in her journal! She resigned immediately from her position at the Journal.

A paper that has been published without the knowledge of the editor in chief has not gone through a proper peer review process.

(Further notes: The journal has a whopping 95 people on the Editorial Advisory Board - that is more than 2 advisors per page published in the whole of 2009! TOCPJ has not a single paper published in 2010.

One has to wonder if the authors have tried to publish their paper at any journal that is not as obscure as TOCPJ. They would have saved money, because at TOCPJ, authors have to pay US$ 600 before their submissions are published!

And finally, a post about the reputation of Bentham OA journals in general at JREF)

Comparison with paint.

Harrit ed.al. conclude that the red-grey chips don't come from paint. They determined this by running the same tests on a chip sample, and on paint samples:
 Page 11(17): "The initial objective was to compare the behavior of the red layer with paint when soaked in a strong organic solvent known to soften and dissolve paint. ... In marked contrast, paint chips softened and partly dissolved when similarly soaked in MEK."
Page 16(22): "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 from the World Trade Center dust."
Page 21(27): "We measured the resistivity of the red material ... 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 [31]. ... On the other hand, paint samples in the same exposure to MEK solvent became limp and showed significant dissolution, as expected since MEK is a paint solvent."

It is striking that they mention paint samples several times, did work on the,, but fail to say which paint they tested! There must be hundreds of thousands of different paints and primers on the market, thousands used in the WTC and on all the objects in it, and several that had widespread use in the construction of the towers. Whatever paint they tested, one can't generalize fron these results:
- Some paints will get partly dissolved in MEK, but not all
- Some paints will immediately burn to fragile ashes in hot flame, but not all
- Some paints have high elecrical resistance, but not all

It bears noticing that both elemental aluminium and Fe<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> (rust) are very usual ingredients of many paints.

Even more interesting is the authors' description of the red-grey chips as fitting very nicely a description of paint films: On page 20(26): "Thus, the energetic nano-composite can be sprayed or even “painted” onto surfaces, effectively forming an energetic or even explosive paint. The red chips we found in the WTC dust conform to their description of “thin films” of “hybrid inorganic/organic energetic nanocomposite”. Indeed, the descriptive terms “energetic coating” and “nice adherent film” fit very well with our observations of the red-chips which survived the WTC destruction."

In typical "truther" parlance one could say: "The red-grey chips look just like paint"

I will further note in passing that thermitic materials, if "painted" on anything - that is: applied as a very thin layer - would bring so little chemical energy to a surface unit as to render it pathetically useless as an incendiary. The red layers are about 15 microns thick in some samples. It can be shown that one needs 3 volume units of thermite to melt 1 volume unit of iron, so a 15 micron layer of thermite could at most melt 5 microns of steel from a steel element. That is pathetically little! 15 microns thermite on a surface of 1m<sup>2</sup> is a volume of 15cm<sup>3</sup> and a mass of about 60g, containing about 240kJ of energy. Not even enough to heat 1 bottle (750ml) of water from room temperature to boiling point.

Ignition of thermitic material

From Thermite (Wikipedia):
"Ignition of a thermite reaction normally requires only a simple child's sparkler or easily obtainable magnesium ribbon, but may require persistent efforts, as ignition can be unreliable and unpredictable. ... Even when the thermite is hot enough to glow bright red, it will not ignite as it must be at or near white-hot to initiate the reaction. ... The reaction between potassium permanganate and glycerol or ethylene glycol is used as an alternative to the magnesium method. ... However, this method can also be unreliable and the delay between mixing and ignition can vary greatly due to factors such as particle size and ambient temperature."

Harrit ed.al. however claim to have ignited the red-grey chips, and started a thermitic reaction, at only 430°C: "As measured using DSC, the material ignites and reacts vigorously at a temperature of approximately 430 °C, with a rather narrow exotherm, matching fairly closely an independent observation on a known super-thermite sample. The low temperature of ignition and the presence of iron oxide grains less than 120 nm show that the material is not conventional thermite (which ignites at temperatures above 900 °C) but very likely a form of super-thermite."

Did they verify that superthermite has this property of igniting at only 430°C? No. On page 17(23) they state: "We would like to make detailed comparisons of the red chips with known super-thermite composites, along with comparisons of the products following ignition, but there are many forms of this high-tech thermite, and this comparison must wait for a future study.". They reference the following papers in conjunction with superthermite:
[20] http://www.p2pays.org/ref/34/33115.pdf
[21] http://www.mrs.org/s_mrs/sec_subscribe.asp?CID=2642&DID=115856&action=detail
[22] http://www.mrs.org/s_mrs/sec_subscribe.asp?CID=2642&DID=115976&action=detail
[30] http://awards.lanl.gov/PDFfiles/Super-Thermite_Electric_Matches_2003.pdf
The first 3 don't mention temperature of ignition. [30] explicitly states that super-thermite matches are particularly heat-resistant! See page 21(27):
"The Super-Thermite electric matches produce no toxic lead smoke and are safer to use because they resist friction, impact, heat, and static discharge through the composition, thereby minimizing accidental ignition."
We must conclude then that Harrit ed.al.'s assumption that a low ignition temperature may be indicative of superthermite is inproven at best. It isn't even specuation, as they give two separate reasons in the paper why we should believe thermite and superthermite only ignite at very high temps above 900°C. It is best characterized as wishful thinking. In the worst case, the assertion is outright fraudulent. The statement "the material ignites and reacts vigorously at a temperature of approximately 430 °C, with a rather narrow exotherm, matching fairly closely an independent observation on a known super-thermite sample" is wrong. They did not have a known super-thermite sample that ignited at 430°C. The statement, on page 15(21) "That thermitic reactions from the red/gray chips have indeed occurred in the DSC (rising temperature method of ignition) is confirmed by the combined observation of 1) highly energetic reactions occurring at approximately 430 °C" is wrong. As neither their own experiments nor the referenced literature indicate that any thermite reacts at 430°C, it is not true that the "highly energetic reactions occurring at approximately 430C" confirms that these reactions were thermitic. It remains unkown.

Energy release

Several times in the paper, the authors label reactions or materials as "highly energetic": pp 1(7), 15(21), 19(25), 21(27), 23(29). This label is misleading.
The authors admit that the thermite they are looking at (Fe2O3+Al) releases a theoretical maximum of 3.9kJ of energy per gram (p21(27)). They are themselves struck by the observation that their red/gray chips sometimes release more energy than that, which absolutely proves that whatever burned there could not just be thermite! This is quickly explained away by assuming that the samples also contain organic substances. These must have be even more "highly energetic" than thermite. How "highly energetic" are organic compounds? Here are some examples (all values are kJ/g):
3.9: Thermite (Fe2O3 + Al)
4.6: TNT
7: strongest high explosives
8: Household waste
17: Sugar
18: Wood
18: PVC
22: Potato chips
23. PET
26: Polyester (plastic)

32: black coal
38: Body fat
41: Polystrene (plastic)
43: Jet fuel
46: Polyethylene, Polypropylene (Plastics)
We find that pretty much all organic materials around us are a lot more "highly energetic" than thermite!

Coming back to the finding that one sample released more energy than thermite could possibly contain. This shows clearly that the samples are "contaminated". We must assume it highly likely that all samples, including those that released less than 3.9kJ/g heat, were contaminated with unknown organic material. Which raises the question: Could it not be the organic component of the samples that ignites at 430°C? Fact is: Many organic materials ignite at temperatures ranging between 230°C and 500°C. This includes all sorts of resins on which paints and primers are based.

The ignition point, and the energy released, point to small amount of organic materials. They are both nit typical for any known thermite.

On to another topic: The paper is clear that whatever they are analysing there is not ordinary thermite: p. 19(25): "All these data suggest that the thermitic material found in the WTC dust is a form of nanothermite, not ordinary (macro-) thermite." What properties does nanothemrite have, other than consisting of nano-sized particles? The paper quotes this:
"... when the ingredients are ultrafine-grain and are intimately mixed, the mixture reacts very rapidly, even explosively [20]. Thus, there is a highly energetic form of thermite known as an energetic nanocomposite or “super-thermite ..."
This wording makes it appear as if the ultrafine grains and intimate mixing somehow make the mixture (even more) "highly energetic". This is not so. The energy content does not change because of the physical structure of the thermite. All that changes is the reaction rate, or energy release rate.

The paper lists 10 characteristics or observations, before coming to a conclusion. I will address each of the 10 observations:
1. It is composed of aluminum, iron, oxygen, silicon and carbon. Lesser amounts of other potentially reactive elements are sometimes present, such as potassium, sulfur, lead, barium and copper.
 They did not measure hydrogene, as that element is too light for their method (p.22(28): "the middle-layer gray material contains carbon and oxygen and presumably also contains hydrogen, too light to be seen using this method". The elements listed first are precisely those that would be expected to be most abundand in the dust of a building collapse, as they are the constituents of the main materials: Steel Aluminium cladding, concrete and plastics. Sulfur, lead and copper are also abundand in office buildings. It is unclear why barium is mentioned in the conclusions - no data in the paper lists barium.
2. The primary elements (Al, Fe, O, Si, C) are typically all present in particles at the scale of tens to hundreds of nanometers, and detailed XEDS mapping shows intimate mixing.
 This is primarily due to the authors choosing their samples precisely because of this property. They specifically searched for nano-sized constituents, and could be sure to find some in any dust.

3. On treatment with methyl ethyl ketone solvent, some segregation of components occurred. Elemental aluminum became sufficiently concentrated to be clearly identified in the pre-ignition material.
It remains unclear what that segregation was supposed to achieve. But ok, we learn that aluminium was present. No surprise here.
4. Iron oxide appears in faceted grains roughly 100 nm across whereas the aluminum appears in thin platelike structures. The small size of the iron oxide particles qualifies the material to be characterized as nanothermite or super-thermite.
Actually, no. Conjecture. Nano-sized particles, incuding Fe2O3, are not at all unusual in paints.
5. Analysis shows that iron and oxygen are present in a ratio consistent with Fe2O3. The red material in all four WTC dust samples was similar in this way. Iron oxide was found in the pre-ignition material whereas elemental iron was not.
No one is surprised. Rust is plentiful in buildings, and a very ordinary constituent of anti-corrosion primers.
6. From the presence of elemental aluminum and iron oxide in the red material, we conclude that it contains the ingredients of thermite.
This is true. Fe2O3 and Al are indeed the main ingredients of thermite.
7. As measured using DSC, the material ignites and reacts vigorously at a temperature of approximately 430 °C, with a rather narrow exotherm, matching fairly closely an independent observation on a known super-thermite sample. The low temperature of ignition and the presence of iron oxide grains less than 120 nm show that the material is not conventional thermite (which ignites at temperatures above 900 °C) but very likely a form of super-thermite.
Not at all. There is no reference in the paper to that  "independent observation on a known super-thermite sample". The paper itself references a paper that characterizes superthermite specifically as "heat resistant"!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

OneVoiceMore suggests papers to read

On my youtube channel, the user OneMoreVoice has responded to my request to name papers by title, author, date and publisher that best support his allegations that the common story of 9/11 needs to be rewritten. These are his comments, made on 9/11/2010 (numbering in blue added by me for further reference):

Feel free to Google any of these technical works.
(1) "Explosives Found in World Trade Center Dust" - Jim Hoffman
(2) "Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe" - Dr. Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, and others
(3) "Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials" - By Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley, & Steven E. Jones
(4) "Mysteries of the Twin Towers" - R. Herbst
(5) "The Missing Jolt: A Simple Refutation of the NIST-Bazant Collapse Hypothesis" - By Prof. Graeme MacQueen and Tony Szamboti
Here's another pile of scientists and scholars and professionals for you to browse:
(6) Journal of Engineering Mechanics:
Discussion of "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Center: A Simple Analysis" by K.A. Seffen - Dr. Crockett Grabbe
(7) "Momentum Transfer Analysis of the Collapse of the Upper Stories of WTC 1" - Gordon Ross, Journal of 9/11 Studies
(8) "Direct Evidence for Explosions: Flying Projectiles and Widespread Impact Damage" - Dr. Crockett Grabbe
(9) "Lies about the WTC by NIST and Underwriters Laboratories" - Kevin Ryan - U.L. whistleblower - former Site Manager
(10) "Physical Chemistry of Thermite, Thermate, Iron-Alum-Rich Microspheres at Demise of WTC 1 & 2" - Jerry Lobdill 6/15/2007
(11) "The Destruction of WTC 7" - Vesa Raiskila
(12) "The NIST WTC Investigation -- How Real Was The Simulation?" - Eric Douglas, Architect

Do me a favor. At least pretend to read some of these before you challenge me to produce documentation. That kind of chicanery is beneath an intelligent discussion.
It is telling that documents 6 to 12 are listed in that sequence on AE911truth.org's page Technical Articles suggesting that the list is not the result ofOneMoreVoice's own research, but simply copied and pasted from a website in which he places an inordinate amount of trust.

These list refers to the following articles:
(1) Explosives Found in World Trade Center Dust - Jim Hoffman, 911research.wtc7.net, 12/07/2009 (v. 1.03)
(2) Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe - Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen. The Open Chemical Physics Journal, Vol. 2 pp. 7-31, 2009
(3) Environmental anomalies at the World Trade Center: evidence for energetic materials - Kevin R. Ryan, James R. Gourley and Steven E. Jones; The Environmentalist Volume 29, Number 1, 56-63; March 2009
(4) Mysteries of the Twin Towers - R. Herbst; ?; Rev. 12.0 February 2009
(5) The Missing Jolt: A Simple Refutation of the NIST-Bazant Collapse Hypothesis - Graeme MacQueen, Tony Szamboti; Journal of 911 Studies; January 14, 2009
(6) Discussion of "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Center: A Simple Analysis" by K.A. Se en - Crockett Grabbe; Journal of Engineering Mechanics Volume 136, Issue 4, pp. 538-539 (April 2010)
(7) Momentum Transfer Analysis of the Collapse of the Upper Storeys of WTC 1 - Gordon Ross; Journal of 9/11 Studies Volume 1 June 2006
(8) Direct Evidence for Explosions: Flying Projectiles and Widespread Impact Damage - Dr. Crockett Grabbe; Journal of 9/11 Studies Volume 14 August 2007
(9) Lies about the WTC by NIST and Underwriters Laboratories - Kevin Ryan; ?; March 28, 2006
(10) Some Physical Chemistry Aspects of Thermite, Thermate, Iron-Aluminum-Rich Microspheres, the Eutectic, and the Iron-Sulfur System as Applied to the Demise of Three World Trade Center Buildings on 9/11/2001 - Jerry Lobdill; Journal of 9/11 StudiesVolume 12 June 2007
(11) The Destruction of WTC 7 - Vesa Raiskila? (article itself contains no credit); personal blog; first published April 2005, latest revision not dated
(12) The NIST WTC Investigation--How Real Was The Simulation? - Eric Douglas; Journal of 9/11 StudiesVolume 6 December 2006

Following my quick comments to these. I will strike out those item numbers that I find ill-suited for the debate of specific issues. I will bold those items that I find well-suited. Those item numbers that have no special formatting I have not decided upon, and would need some convincing.

(1) This is merely a digest of (2), seeking to explain the findings of (1). I propose we skip this article and go straight to (2)
(2) Arguably the most important, most widely claimed, and practically the only paper that purports to contain direct proof of thermite. I will definitely respond to it at length.
(3) Claims that unusual materials were found that somehow might be explained by the use of thermite or "superthermite". However, nowhere in the article is a mechanism proposed that indeed would constitute such an explanation. No physical or chemical properties of thermite are discussed at a level of measurements and numbers that could serve as a base to determine whether some observations could indeed follow from these. The article remains vague and speculative and not very conductive to formulationg an alternative hypothesis about the macroevents of 9/11
(4) Is a summary of many issues raised by the TM and thus not at all responsive of my challenge to support specific claims with specific research. While maybe valuable as a summary, it seems to contain no original reasearch. It is also not realistic to debate all issues raised there on leisure time within a short space of time of days or weeks.
(5) The "jolt" referred to in the title of the paper is taken from Bazant and Zhou's Addendum to ‘‘Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?—Simple Analysis’’ - Journal of Engineering Mechanics, March 2002, page 369. Quote: "...if the upper part had the height of only 3 stories, ... the upper part would be slender enough to act essentially as a flexible horizontal plate in which different column groups of the upper part could move down separately at different times. Instead of one powerful jolt, this could lead to a series of many small vertical impacts, none of them fatal.". This is the only mention of a "jolt" in the Bazant and Zhou papers, and nothing that NIST picks up upon. MacQueen and Tony Szamboti construe this note as Bazant and Zhou predicting a powerful jolt in the real world, if the upper block behaved as a rigid block, when it impacts the first upper block floor after collapse initiation. That assumption is false. Bazant and Zhou, in their original paper, present a theoretical best case scenario with regards to column survivability, that would eventuate if all upper block columns were to impact corresponding lower block columns simultaneously. They show that even in that best case scenario, the kinetic energy and momentum picked up by the upper block during its initial fall through the first destroyed floor (3.7m) would suffice to fail the structure below, and send the tower to unterminable cascading collapse. However, in the real world, a scenriao would play out that is worse. In any case, including the vast majority of cases that would not have "a powerful jolt", global collapse is expected, as the structure in no way is capable of absorbing the initial momentumg an energy.
The paper is discussed at JREF.
(6) This article discusses a paper by K.A. Se en in the February, 2008, Vol. 134 No. 2 of the Journal of Engineering Mechanics , pp. 125-132. I can't access that paper without paying a hefty price to the journal, therefore I can't debate that discussion.
(7) Refuted by To whom it may concern - Frank R. Greening, Volume 2 August 2006. Discussed at JREF. Main flaw: Ross calculates energy lost to "Momentum losses", and also energy lost to pulverization of concrete. However, momentum losses of energy occur through inelastic collision, and the energy lost in that inelastic collision mainly goes into material strain, such as pulverization of concrete. Ross thus accounts for that strain twice! He discounts 304MJ twice for pulverization in upper and lower block, when in fact he should not deduct these 608MJ at all. His energy balance thus turns from a "Minimum Energy Deficit -390MJ" to an Energy Surplus of 218MJ! In other words: Correcting Ross for this obvious blunder will lead to the prediction that the initial collapse cannot be arrested, and will propagate.
(8) Has several silly assumptions. I'd take the challenge, but really this paper should not be used by any CTist. It is pretty embarrassing. Some silly assumptions: a) Cars are only or mainly damaged by material that was ejected high in the towers, and then fell freely without being further pushed by anything. I contend: Most of the debris was blown by strong horizontal winds close to street level after most of the collapse had occurred, and kinetic energy been deflected to all four sides  b) That "squib" (Figure 4) contains large parts. I see no reason why not most or all of it should be small particles (dust). With all those nearby cameras on the towers, that large squib should be found much more clearly elsewhere. Image quality (resolution, contrast) is very bad. The image is taken from 911research.wtc7.net, frame 7. There, you will notice that this squib "suddenly" appears between frames 5 and 6, then only intensifies between 6 and 7, and hardly changes position between 7 and 8, and 8 and 9, while the big debris cloud above rapidly falls and finally engulfs the squib from frame 10 on. this shows that the material ejected in that squib must have been ejected rapidly, then slowed much, and then have remained afloat, indicating that it is mainly dust.
(9) This is a political opinion piece, and a rant with many personal accusations, but not a scientific paper. He repeats some of the old strawmen ("not enough to melt steel") and even brings up the long-discredited "Larry said pull it" silliness. Claims that "live loads on these columns can be increased more than 2,000% before failure occurs." - from a 1964 news piece! That statement is plain preposterous, and if Ryan knew anything about structural engineering, he'd know that. Maybe that quote talked about live loads (office contents)? We don't know. He attacks the pancaking theory - which is not the incumbant theory today. When Ryan talks about steel properties and UL certification, it bears keeping in mind that Ryan is NOT a metallurgist, or structural engineer, or did ever do any work in fields related to steel construction. He is a chemist. Degree unknown. He worked at UL in the the field of water treatment (environmental health) and is out of his field of expertise when he questions UL's involvement in steel certifiction! I tend to dismiss this article as unscientific.
debunked at http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com/2006/05/loose-screw-3-kevin-ryan-of.html
(10) The assumption of "white hot temperatures" is unfounded, and not supported by images of glowing liquid flows from the 80th-82st floor of the WTC2 prior to collapse. The paper further asummes that "The evidence is overwhelming that thermite or a thermite-like mixture was used in the WTC 2 tower very shortly before the building fell", instead of proving it. It assumes that "[i]t appears that in the WTC [thermite] was used to cut structural steel in an early phase of controlled demolition". It misleadingly states that thermites "release a large quantity of heat", when in fact they release a lot less heat (per mass unit) than, for example, fule or paper. "Spectre Enterprises’s patent for a linear pyrotechnic cutting device" is not applicable to cutting structures as large (thick) as steel columns. Lobdill states that "thermate is said to have superior steel cutting capabilities compared with thermite" and believes that this is "for reasons that have not yet been fully explained". What is known however is that sulfur does not add to the energy release. Sulfur is know to lower the melting point of steel, that os probably why thermite+sulfur works better. On page 6: "Now consider the problem of the molten metal flowing from the 82nd floor of WTC 2. Some have suggested that this metal was the eutectic mixture of Fe and S.". Who?? And why? On page 7, the claim is made that iron-rich spheres can only be created by melting iron. No reference is given.  The conclusion finally does not make any claims about any events of 9/11. The purpose of the paper was not to prove any claim about 9/11. I therefore tend to eliminate this paper from the debate. It may howeber be useful as a reference for debate claims made elsewhere.
(11) This blog entry ,akes a number of claims, none of which original. It repeats outdated (debunked) claims about freefall and collapse duration. It is not a paper.
(12) From the Abstract: "This paper will conclude that the findings of the NIST investigation, although not necessarily incorrect, are not inherently linked to the reality of the failure mechanisms that took place in WTC buildings 1 and 2. The author calls on NIST to explain the discrepancies in its reports, admit the level of uncertainty in its findings, broaden the scope of its investigation, and make its raw data available to other researchers."  Sounds legit. I will concede, without debate, that very likely, the model simulations done by NIST deviate somewhat from reality and are in part uncertain. This does not, however, lend any credibility to any competing claims, if these are made. I therefore think this paper is not suited as a topic for the kind of debate I envision in this blog. It may be valuable as a reference for debate on claims made elsewhere.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rules of the Debate

  1. The Topic of our debate will be a claim that you make. It should be a claim that, if true,would help to refute the common narrative of the events of 9/11 ("19 members of Al Quaeda hijacked 4 planes, caught America's defences by surprise, flew them into buildings, and that alone caused caused all the death and demolition"). You should have evidence for it. That evidence should be available in books or on the internet, so you can make references to sources. You should be able to explain why your claim implies that the common narrative is not correct, and what else you think is correct. Very important: I want you to pick a very narrowly and specifically defined claim, that has specific implications. For example: Saying "the air force was stood down" would not be very narrow or specific. The sort of claim I want to debate might be as narrow and specific as: "General Arnold issued an oral order to NEADS in Rome to delay the launch of the alarm fighters at Langley AFB at some point between 9:03 and 9:15". Another example: Saying "There were pools of molten steel at GZ" would be a little vague (how do you know? Where? When?). Better claim would be: "Rescue worker John Doe spotted a pool of molten steel underneath the rubble of building WTC5 on September 22, 2001, as he told a reporter of the NYT a week later".
  2. The Goal of the debate is not to prove or disprove the whole story of 9/11 or any alternative theory. The objective is to evaluate your claim. Is it true? Is it proven? Does it imply what you think it implies? In other words: Is this claim a good argument in the overall debate about what happened on 9/11? The answer does not have to be a yes or no. Could be a number of things. Claim is proven true, and does have implications. Or claim is proven false and should not be used any longer. Or claim is true, but does not mean anything that merits its use. Or we can't determine if the claim is true or not. 
  3. Your Objective therefore should be to present the best and strongest claim you have: The one that you are most convinced of. The one that has the strongest evidence for it. The one that has the most damning implications. Chose wisely! Because My Objective will be to show that your claim is not true, not proven, or does not have serious implications, and to conclude that you really have nothing at all in your hands against the common narrative, as your one best claim turned out to be unconvincing.
  4. To Participate, you have to sign up to blogger.com and become a member of my blog. Contact me somehow and kindly ask me to invite you to this blog. Indicate the topic you wish to discuss. I will then invite you become a member of this blog, so you can write bog postings.
  5. You present your claim by writing a new blog posting. We will debate by writing comments. We may agree over time to edit postings, or write new postings. For example, I might ask you to clarify a few things, link to sources, etc.
  6. Quite likely, we will not agree on an outcome. I realise it is hard to convince me, and hard to convince most of you. But I promise I will consider everything you say fairly.
  7. Netiquette: I will not call you names, and you will not call me names. You will not accuse me of being bribed, a member of the NWO, etc., and I will likewise abstain from making such accusations.
  8. Stay on topic! Since you picked the claim you want to defend, thart is exactly the topic we will discuss. Stick to it! If your claim is "John Doe spotted a pool of molten steel underneath WTC5", you would be off-topic if you argued that "Jane Doe spotted molten metal dripping from WTC1", unless you can convince me that her molten metal is the same that John saw. If your claim is that General Arnold ordered a stand-down, don't tell me that the LearJet of Payne Steward was intercepted some years earlier, as that has nothing to do with any orders given in 2001.