Wednesday, May 15, 2013

cjnewson's "American Airlines Flight 77 Evidence"

Fellow JREF forumite "cjnewson88" has compiled a massive blog post with tons of evidence (photos and videos) documenting the attack on the Pentagon: You will see the plane on video, plane parts inside and outside of the Pentagon, comparison with whole Boeing 757s, damage to the building and surroundings, radar information, aircraft control radio recordings, results from flight data recorder analysis, evidence concerning Hani Hanjour, etc., all in one place, with very little commentary. Please share (careful if you are on mobile or have a low bandwidth: This massive repository will take a little while to load!):

Please share! You can post the URL in YouTube comments without trouble if you copy and paste this:

Monday, April 8, 2013

All "Truther" Petitions fail miserably

(Update) Apr 10, 2013: Mark Ouwehand's petition at ended today with only 798 signatures of the required 100,000 (0.8%) (/Update)


Many 9/11 "Truthers" believe in change through popular support of their positions, and they believe they have the numbers on their side. Consequently, 9/11 Truthers have set up numerous petitions to make certain demands and points in connection with the conspiracy theorists' beliefs.

I have monitored eight "9/11 truth" petitions since the summer of 2012. The four most popular of these were started between May 2012 and March 2013. Three of them have a goal or expectation of reaching a "million" signatures, with no time frame, while the fourth is a petition to the White House and is thus expected to reach 100,000 in 30 days.

The purpose of this blog post is to visualize how terribly these "best" petitons have failed relative to their stated goals, and comment on the delusion of "truth" leaders who believe to have much popular support. Their own petitions prove them wrong.

Websites facilitating petitions

Several websites, such as [1] , [2], [3], [4] and [5] facilitate the setting-up of petitions Those petitions rarely come with a target when they are set up, but sometimes, the "truther" promoting one voices an expectation or hope about the number of signature that petition would eventually reach and surpass. As "truthers" often believe they have "millions" of supporters in the USA and the world, they usually set their hopes at "1 million" or "millions" of signatures, but without announcing a time frame to achieve that goal. To reach 1 million signatures within 1 year, they would need almost 3,000 signatures every day on average.

An exception is the White House's petition site, [6], which prescribes the target: A petiton there must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days to be considered by the Obama administration (until recently, the threshold was 50,000).

It easy for you to verify that on all these sites petitons with success large and small have been generated en masse: While many (probably most) issues are ill promoted, unpopular, or very local in scope and attract only a handful to few hundreds of signatures, there is a good number however that surpass ten thousand, one hundred thousand, and occasionally even a million signatures. I recommend you browse the sites at your leisure. Look for "popular" or "hot" petitions. Some sites offer success stories ("victories"), where petitons not only got a lot of signatures, but their demands were also eventually met (albeit not always because of that particular petition).

With the common "truther" claim that "9/11 truth" is supported by millions, by significant proportions of the population, and with all their busy campaigning on the internet, one might expect that their issues are both well promoted and popular; and 9/11 is a national and global issue that almost everybody on the planet is aware of. As a result, their petitions should rank among the more popular. But: They don't.

"Truther" petitions and their goals

Of eight "9/11 truth" petitions that I am currently monitoring, four (by Chris Sarns, James Hufferd, an anonymous and RL McGee) have apparently never been much promoted anywhere; they have between 49 (after 32 days) and 226 supporters (after more than a year). I won't bother you with these. Their creators never announced any ambitious goal, as far as I know. The following four have fared relatively better, and at some point "truthers" voiced ambitious expectations:

  1. Mark Graham: "Revise the U.S. government final report on the collapse of Building 7" at [7]. Posted May 7, 2012. I have blogged about this, and its failure, before [8], when I showed that 911Blogger commenter "kawika" had "dreamed" about reaching 1 million signatures. The petition was at ca. 1,470 signatures when I last updated late in June. It is now at 1,734.
  2. Richard Gage: "President Obama: 9/11 Families Ask You to Watch 9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out" at [9]. This has sat quite prominently, with a nice logo, on top of the right hand column on the startpage of (where it is now just one among several less prominent links). More recently, ae911truth sent out an email to all their newsletter recipients (probably a five-figure number) asking all to sign. The petition received most of its now ca. 5,600 signatures following this emailing, which had the subtitle: "Help us reach 1 Million Signatures!" [10].
  3. Jon Gold: "Statement For 9/11 Justice" at [11]. Not strictly a petition, as this "statement" does not advance any demands, Jon still hopes to get a lot of signatures, as he announced at 911Blogger [12]: "I am hoping this statement goes viral. I am hoping that millions sign it. Can you imagine how powerful a statement that would be?" (my bolding).
  4. Mark Ouwehand: "REINVESTIGATE THE COLLAPSE OF WTC BUILDING 7 ON 9/11. NEVER HAS A STEEL FRAME BUILDING COLLAPSED DUE TO OFFICE FIRES" [13]. This comes with an implicit goal of 100,000 signatures within 30 days, as that is the threshold set by the Obama administration for such petitions to be considered (even though the administration does sometimes publish an official statement on petitions with fewer signature, at its own discretion). The 30 days end on April 10th - 2 days from today.


The following graphs plot the development of the four petitions above. The three petitions that have been running since last summer and all want to reach 1 million are drawn to the same scale: The diagrams have the same size. The left-hand y-axis goes to the target of 1 million total signatures. The right-hand y-axis goes to the 3,000 that they'd need almost every day to reach 1 million within one year. The x-axis runs from the first day of the month the petition was started to May 1st, 2013.

The red lines shows the total number of signatures. The blue line shows new signatures per day - those are usually averages for 2 or 3 consecutive days, but intervals may vary.

The fourth graph is scaled differently, owing to the lower target and shorter runtime. So the total is scaled to 100,000 total and 3,000 per day (it would actually take an average of 3,334 to reeach the target), the x-axis shows the 30 days available:


In all four graphs (my originals, anyway; not sure how you download them), the span from 0 to max y-value is 182 pixels. Since none of the four petitions has even reached 1% of its target, the red lines rise no more than 2 pixels above zero. The blue "per day" plots occasionally peak above zero, but only one of the few discernible peaks exceeds 10% of what they need every single day. All four petitions have seen activity at practically 0% of what's required on almost all days.

There are not many possibilities to explain this huge discrepancy between the stated or implied targets of 100,000, "1 million" or even "millions" of signatures and the less than 1% of that actually reached - especially the question "why do truthers voice such an expectation":

  • They either sincerely believe that 1 million, or 100,000 within 30 days, is a realistic target, or at least one that is not magnitudes away from what is realistic. In that case, they are seriously deluded about the popularity of "9/11 Truth", its reach and the enthusiam of its followers
  • Or they know perfectly well that 1 million is totally unrealistic, and say such things for propaganda value only

I stated earlier that many online petitions fail to win much support when they are not well promoted, or unpopular, or only interesting to a small group (local issues or special interests). The former two might apply to "9/11 Truth" petitions, so one, or both, of the following must be true:

  • "Truthers" don't promote their petitions well
  • "Truthers"' demands and statements are unpopular

At least in the case of Richard Gage and AE911Truth, their petition has been seen by tens of thousands, as Gage has actively mailed to their "member" base, and his website gets a lot of daily traffic (thousands of daily content views). I have no good idea how and where the other petitions have been advertized, but it seems clear that their reach has been quite limited. "9/11 Truth" is mostly known as an internet phenomenon (yeah, citation needed; please comment if you disagree!), so it should be surprising, and I'd find it rather implausible, if none of these petitions haven't been promoted such that many or most "9/11 Truth" believers could have come across them.


In my opinion, all these petitions document that, today, "9/11 Truth" is a fringe issue that no more than a few thousand individuals worldwide have an actual interest in.

I suspect that the "truth" leaders who set up such petitions are sincere in their belief that they have "millions" on their side, and that they sincerely believe to break into widespread popular support any day now, and that thus their hope to at least approach 1 million of signatures isn't far-fetched.

These "truth" leaders are deluded. They live in a tiny bubble, frequent echo chambers, where the fringe few thousands mutually amplify their delusions.


[1] Democracy in action

[2] Petition2Congress. Free petitions that send email to Capitol Hill

[3] The world in action

[4] The world's petiton platform

[5] ipetitions. Your voice counts

[6] WE the PEOPLE. Your voice in our government

[7] Mark Graham: Revise the U.S. government final report on the collapse of Building 7. Posted May 07, 2012

[8] Oystein: Monitoring Truther Petition about WTC7 at Avaaz . Posted June 7, 2012; last updated June 26, 2012

[9] Richard Gage: President Obama: 9/11 Families Ask You to Watch “9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out”. Posted June 09, 2012

[10] AE911Truth: Sign the AE911Truth FAMILY MEMBER PETITION - Help us reach 1 Million Signatures!. Posted March 07, 2013

[11] Jon Gold: Statement For 9/11 Justice. Posted August 04, 2012

[12] Jon Gold: Off To A Great Start. Posted at 911Blogger on August 09, 2012.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

7.5 kJ/g disproves thermitic material


Harrit et al. [1] present 4 red-gray chips that they did a DSC test on. One of the chips was determined to yield a specific energy of 7.5 kJ/g. They believe that some of that energy yield comes from thermite in the red layer.

Assuming that the red layer contains at least as much Si as Al by weight and that Si is fully oxidized as SiO2, I have developed a simple spreadsheet to compute the minimum amount of energy that the organic matrix must contribute to raise the composite specific energy of the chip to the empirical value of 7.5 kJ/g. A number of cases is dicussed in which the following paramters are varied:

  • Specific energy of thermite: Theoretical value of 3.96 kJ/g vs. a more realistic practical value of 3 kJ/g
  • Mass of the gray layer: None vs. equal mass as red layer (this in effect doubles the effective specific energy of the red layer)
  • Organic matrix: Values of 42 kJ/g (highest tabulated value of all organic polymers, for PP), 30 kJ/g (upper limit for most polymers), 20.4 kJ/g (epoxy) and 9.5 kJ/g (ideal polymer plus oxidizer composite) are considered.


According to the data in [1] and Harrit et al.'s interpretation thereof, the red layer of their red-gray chips contains mainly just the elements C, O, Al, Si and Fe, while the gray layer is mainly iron oxide and chemically inert. They conclude that the red layer contains thermite (2 Al + Fe2O3) which reacts in the DSC test, and also an unidentified organic matrix that also reacts and is "itself energetic" (p. 28). Harrit et al. have heated four chips in a DSC up to 700 °C and measured heat flux. The most energetic of these four yielded a specific energy of 7.5 kJ/g (page 19):

Proceeding from the smallest to largest peaks, the yields are estimated to be approximately 1.5, 3, 6 and 7.5 kJ/g respectively. Variations in peak height as well as yield estimates are not surprising, since the mass used to determine the scale of the signal, shown in the DSC traces, included the mass of the gray layer. The gray layer was found to consist mostly of iron oxide so that it probably does not contribute to the exotherm, and yet this layer varies greatly in mass from chip to chip.

Later (p. 28) they correctly argue:

We observe that the total energy released from some of the red chips exceeds the theoretical limit for thermite alone (3.9 kJ/g). One possibility is that the organic material in the red layer is itself energetic.

When the chip as a whole exhibits 7.5 kJ/g, but it has constituent materials that are inert or have a lower energy density, then there have to be other constituents with an average specific energy that is significantly higher than 7.5 kJ/g. This already rules out conventional monomolecular explosives (Fig. 30 in [1]). So if the energy balance comes from the organic matrix, it has to react with an oxidizing agent: Either ambient oxygen, or, conceivably, some unidentified embedded oxidizer.

With reasonable assumptions to envelop ideal and realistic scenarios, it is possible to compute, dependent on hypothetical thermit contents, the minimum contribution of the organic matrix to the mass and energy yield of such a chip. I propose that, if significantly more of the energy yield comes from organic combustion than from thermite, then the characterization of the chips as "thermitic" as well as the interpretation of the DSC test results vis-a-vis nanothermite from literature are faulty.


It is known from practically all EDS spectra of red layers or residues that Harrit et al. present that the silicon amount is at least equal to, and often exceeds, the aluminium content. This is easy to verify: In Fig. 7, and Fig. 11, the Al- and Si-peaks are about equal, in Fig. 14, 16, 18, 25 and 26, the Si-peak is significantly higher than the Al-peak. The only exception, Fig 17, is from a small spot location specifically chosen for its high Al-content. That chip however contains less Al overall than Si (Fig. 14). Judging from Fig. 16 I find that Si is accompanied by enough O to form silica.

I will therefore assume that, for all chips tested in the DSC,

  • Si was present in the red layer in a mass fraction equal to that of Al.
  • Si is fully oxidized as SiO2. Since Si and O appear in silica in a mass fraction of 28:(16+16), this means that for each mass unit of Al, there are 32/28 = 1.14 mass units of O.

These are the only assumptions that are not "thermite friendly", but they follow from the data! I have three more assumptions that remain constant throughout all cases and that are either "thermite friendly" (i.e. deviation from them would render the case for Harrit et al.' "thermite" hypothesis even more unrealistic), or almost neutral:

  • I assume in all cases cases that all the Al is mixed with iron oxide as stoichiometric thermite: 2 Al + Fe2O3 (molar masses 2*26.98 + 159.69) consists of 74.7% iron oxide and 25.3% Al, so for each mass unit of thermite, there are 0.253 mass units of Al and 0.541 mass units of SiO2 (0.253 + 0.253*32/28).
  • The balance of the mass of the red layer is assumed to be organic material, with or without embedded oxidizer.
  • The gray layer is always present and assumed by Harrit et al. to not contribute to the exotherm. I disagree somewhat with this assumption - it is quite possible for hematite to experience exotherm phase changes when heated, but that will pale against redox reactions of fuel, so I ignore that and accept the assumption.

Parameters and cases

It is well known that many solid organic compounds, including many that could form such a matrix (epoxy, alkyd, other resins) are highly energetic. Practically all of them release more than the 3.96 kJ/g that thermite does. For non-halogenated polymers (Harrit et al. found no significant signals for halogenes), tabulated values for effective heat of combustion range from 12.0 kJ/ for Polyimide thermoplastic over 20.4 kJ/g for epoxy and around 25.5 kJ/g for Polyamides to 41.9 kJ/g for Polypropylene ([2], Table A-5). The large majority are in a range between 15 and 30 kJ/g. Itherefore propose that the effective specific energy of the unknown organic material cannot exceed 42 kJ/g, and probably does not in fact exceed 30 kJ/g. I will further consider the case that the matrix is epoxy, as Millette found chips with an epoxy matrix.

The previous paragraph considers organic combustion with oxygen from ambient air. Such a process limits the burn rate and would render the red layer material less-than-explosive. I will consider a hypothetical polymer readily mixed with pure oxygen as oxidizer: The highest energy yield is tabulated for Polypropylene (PP), at 42 kJ/g. PP has a sum formula of (C3H6)n. Complete combustion follows the formula: C3H6 + 4.5 O2 -> 3 CO2 + 3 H2O + heat. This means that a composite of PP and O2 would have to incorporate 144 (9*16) g of oxygene per 42 grams of PP. The effective specific energy of that composite would consequently drop to 42 kJ/g * 42/(42+144) ~ 9.5 kJ/g. Of course any actual solid oxidizer (such as perchlorates or permagnanates) contains additional mass that would further decreases the effective specific energy. I will use 9.5 kJ/ as an upper limit to envelop any and all (organic polymer + oxidizer) composites.

I will assume in the ideal case that all the Al is present as metal, none is oxidized, and that it reacts perfectly with all the available iron oxide to release the theoretical maximum of 3.96 kJ/g. In a more realistic case, I will assume the same proportions of aluminium and iron oxide, but consider that a sgnificant proportion of nano-Al is passivated, or that it won't react to completion, such that the effective energy yield of the thermite is decreased to 3 kJ/g.

The mass proportions of red:gray layers isn't known and difficult to estimate. However, as the gray layer is mostly iron oxide (>5 kg/L) and the red layer is only partly iron oxide, all other constituents lighter (Al: 2.7 kg/L; silica: 2.65 kg/L; polymers: usually <2 kg/L), it is clear that the gray layer has a significantly higher density. Harrit suggest that both layers are usually of similar thickness. In my unrealistic cases, I will ignore the gray layer, or assume its mass is 0, in the realistic cases I'll assume both layers have the same mass. That effectively doubles the specific energy of the red layer, from 7.5 to 15 kJ/g.



I created a spreadsheet with five input cells (numbers (1), (2), (6), (7) and (9) below) and with six relevant output cells (numbers (4), (5), (11), (13), (14), (15) and (17) below). The formulas provide a generic description of the spreadsheet formulas, so you can recreate the spreadsheet with any software you prefer:

(1) The mass of the red layer is constant: 100%.
(2) The mass proportion of thermite in the red layer, expressed in %
(3) The mass proportion of Al in the red layer: =(2)*0.253
(4) The mass proportion of SiO2 in the red layer: =(3)*60/28
(5) The mass proportion of the organix matrix is the balance: =(1)-(2)-(4)
(6) The specific energy of thermite: In the "ideal" case 3.96 kJ/g, in the "realistic" case 3 kJ/g
(7) The mass of the gray layer: In the "ideal" case 0, in the "realistic" case 100% (of the red layer)
(8) Total mass of the Chip: =(1)+(7)
(9) The measured specific energy of the chip, in kJ/g; constant at 7.5 kJ/g for the purpose of this article
(10) The specific energy of the red layer alone: =(9)*(8)/(1)
(11) The contribution of thermite to the specific energy of the red layer in kJ/g: =(6)*(2)
(12) The contribution of the organic matrix to the specific energy of the red layer in kJ/g: =(9)-(11)
(13) The specific energy of the organic matrix: =(12)/(5)
(14) The mass ratio of organics:thermite: =(5)/(2)
(15) The energy contribution ration of organics:thermite: =(12)/(11)
(16) The energy contribution of thermite, in % of total energy release: =(11)/(9)
(17) The energy contribution of organics, in % of total energy release: =(12)/(9)

For each of the three cases, I kept the specific energy of thermite (6) and the mass of the gray layer (7) constant and played with the mass proportion of thermite (2) such that the specific energy yield of the organic matrix (13) reached the target values of 9.5, 20.4, 30 and 42 kJ/g. I then copied the resulting values of interest into the tables.

Tabulated results

I have modeled three cases - one unrealistic, one half realistic, one realistic. In each case, I have tabulated results for 5 mass proportions of thermite:

  1. Thermite fixed at 12%. This means an Al-content just over 3%. I chose this value, as quantifications of XEDS spectra of red layers suggest there is less than 3% Al in them
  2. Thermite chosen such that the organic matrix computes to the specific energy yield of 9.50, which is a theoretical upper limit for organic polymer with embedded stoichiometric oxygen
  3. Thermite chosen such that the organic matrix computes to the specific energy yield of epoxy, 20.40
  4. Thermite chosen such that the organic matrix computes to the specific energy yield of 30 kJ/g, which is a realistic limit defined in my assumptions
  5. Thermite chosen such that the organic matrix computes to the specific energy yield of 42 kJ/g, which is the maximum for all organic polymers

Ideal case: Gray layer 0%, Thermite 3.96 kJ/g, chip yields 7.5 kJ/g

"Ideal" means "unrealistic" - this case gives absolute theoretical maxima for the contribution of thermite to the measured exotherm. It is however impossible to actually reach these values, as the energy yield of thermite in practice never reaches the theoretical maximum of 3.96 kJ/g, and there was in fact a gray layer that contributed significant mass but no significant energy.

Mass of
% of red layer
Mass of
% of red layer
Mass of
% of red layer
Yield of


12.00 5.69 82.31 0.48 8.53 1:6.86 1:14.78 93.66%
19.90 9.44 70.66 0.79 9.50 1:3.55 1:8.52 89.49%
49.39 23.43 27.18 1.96 20.40 1:0.55 1:2.83 73.92%
55.87 26.50 17.63 2.21 30.00 1:0.32 1:2.39 70.50%
59.52 28.23 12.25 2.36 42.00 1:0.21 1:2.18 68.57%

More realistic case: Gray layer 0%, Thermite 3.00 kJ/g, chip yields 7.5 kJ/g

"More realistic" means "still unrealistic" - The thermite yield is now reasonable, but I still ignore the very real mass of the gray layer.

Mass of
% of red layer
Mass of
% of red layer
Mass of
% of red layer
Yield of


12.00 5.69 82.31 0.36 8.67 1:6.86 1:19.83 95.20%
18.20 8.63 73.17 0.55 9.50 1:4.02 1:12.74 92.72%
47.64 22.60 29.76 1.43 20.40 1:0.62 1:4.25 80.94%
54.57 25.89 19.54 1.64 30.00 1:0.36 1:3.58 78.17%
58.55 27.77 13.68 1.76 42.00 1:0.23 1:3.27 76.58%

Realistic case: Gray layer 100%, Thermite 3.00 kJ/g, chip yields 7.5 kJ/g

"Realistic" means that all assumptions are now within the bounds of what is possible in practice - it does not mean that these are probable values! Al still ist best estimated as less than 3% of the mass of the red layer! This case merely provides realistic maxima of hypothetical thermite contribution to mass and energy yield af that chip and its 7.5 kJ/g.

Mass of
% of red layer
Mass of
% of red layer
Mass of
% of red layer
Yield of


12.00 5.69 82.31 0.36 17.79 1:6.86 1:40.67 97.60%
n/p n/p n/p n/p 9.50 n/p n/p n/p
19.95 9.46 70.59 0.60 20.40 1:3.54 1:24.06 96.01%
36.38 17.26 46.36 1.09 30.00 1:1.27 1:12.74 92.72%
45.82 21.74 32.44 1.37 42.00 1:0.71 1:9.91 90.84%


The first, fully unrealistic case, shows that even under the most thermite-friendly assumptions - the highest possible energy contribution of the organic matrix and ideal composition of thermite, with no losses, and neglected gray layer mass, the organic matrix provides more than twice as much energy as the hypothetical thermite. In the case of a more typical or expected epoxy matrix, this factor increases to almost 3. If XEDS readings are reliable in their indicating 3% of Al or less, then the organic matrix provides at least 93.66% of the measured energy, or almost 15 times as much as thermite.

When we consider that nanothermite can't in practice yield the theoretical maximum but will in practice be limited to perhaps 3 kJ/g, then even the best, most "thermite-friendly" organic matrix would contribute 76.58% of the measured energy, which is more than 3 times the energy that thermite contributes in that case - even when the gray layer is ignored. If the matrix is epoxy, then thermite would only contribute 21% of the energy. If the polymer carries its own oxidizer, then it must contribute more than 4 times the mass of thermite and more than 12.7 times more energy.

Putting the gray layer into the equation, the last remaining hope that thermite could play a significant role is shattered: The best realistic case, with an organic matrix that has 42 kJ/g, there could be almost 46% thermite in the red layer, but it would contribute only 11% of the energy. A more typical organic material with 30 kJ/g would have to outweigh the thermite by mass and yield 92.72% of the total energy. An epoxy matrix would have to outweigh thermite by a margin of 3.54:1, giving it 24 times the energy content of the 20% thermite. However, as there probably isn't actually more than 3% Al in the red layers, which means no more than 12% thermite, we find that 7.5 kJ/g for the entire chip means that 97,60% of its energy must come from organic combustion.

The spreadsheet shows that, as long as the gray layer has more than 26.5% of the mass of the red layer. it is not possible at all to reach 7.5 kJ/g with an ideal hypothetical (polymer+O) composite that is independent from ambient air, regardless of thermite content (nor can thermite, with its mere 3.96%, explain that value).

Since in all realistic scenarios, no more than 36% of the mass of the red layer would be thermite, and that thermite would be intimately mixed with silica and organic matrix in a nanocomposite with a very high surface-to-volume ratio, we have to assume that the heat released by both the thermite and the organic matrix would increase the temperature of all ingredients uniformly. A significant proportion of that heat is lost in gasification of the organic polymer. It seems unlikely that any part of such a mix could reach a temperature near the melting point of iron, as Harrit et al. seem to suggest (page 19).


With only two limiting assumption - that there is as much Si as Al, and that it is fully oxidized to silica - I have shown that the theoretical maximum contribution of thermite is under 1/3 of the energy yield of that chip. This result of just 31.43% energy from thermite holds true only for a carefully chosen but impossible set of conditions: Perfect efficiency of the thermite, no mass contribution from inert gray layer, and the most energetic solid organic polymer fuel.

Considering realistic parameters - that the hypothesized nanothermit will yield no more than 3 kJ/g (about 75% of the theoretical maximum) in practice, and that the gray layer has the same, but chemically inert, mass as the red layer, I find that the organic matrix must contribute at least ten times as much energy as thermite. This factor of ten holds true only with an ideal organic fuel. A realistically chosen organic fuel, with a specific energy between 20 and 30 kJ/g, would have to have 1.27 to 3.54 times the mass of thermite, and contribute 92.7 - 96.0% of the energy to boost that chip to its empirically determined 7.5 kJ/g. In these scenarios, the thermite content falls to 20%

Considering that the actual Al-content of the red layers is probably under 3%, I find that thermite can at most contribite 2.4% of the 7.5 kJ/g

It is not within the realm of the practically possible to hypothesize that the organic matrix itself contains an embedded oxidizer.

With those findings, this red-gray chip cannot reasonably be called "thermitic" and cannot be explosive.


[1] Harrit N. H.; Farrer, J.; Jones, S. E.; Ryan, K. R.; Legge, F. M.; Farnsworth, D.; Roberts, G.; Gourley, J. R.; and Larsen, B. R.: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe. The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31

[2] Lyon Richard E.; Janssens Marc L.: Polymer Flammability. May 2005 - Final Report for the U.S. Department of Transportation and FAA. Report No. DOT/FAA/AR-05/14

Monday, February 18, 2013

Useful links for "Thermite" debate

Note: This link list may be appended or edited at any time without notice.

Studies already done or proposed

[] Basile, M.: Progress Report. August 2014
[] Basile, M., Shaddock, R.: Proposal for Independent Study of the WTC Dust
[] Harrit N. H.; Farrer, J.; Jones, S. E.; Ryan, K. R.; Legge, F. M.; Farnsworth, D.; Roberts, G.; Gourley, J. R.; and Larsen, B. R.: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe. The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31
[] Harrit N. H.: Why The Red/Gray Chips Are Not Primer Paint. Open Letter, May 2009
[] Millette, J. R.: Revised Report of Results: MVA9119. Progress Report on the Analysis of Red/Gray Chips in WTC dust. Prepared for Classical Guide, Denver, 01 March 2012.

References in "ATM"

[14] :
[16] :
[18] Sun, J.; Pantoya, M. L.; Simon, S. L.: Dependence of size and size distribution on reactivity of aluminum nanoparticles in reactions with oxygen and MoO3. Thermochimica Acta, Volume 444, Issue 2, 15 May 2006, Pages 117–127
Abstract and Figures only; Figures are interesting: DSC scans with Al nano particles
[19] Gash, A. E.; Simpson, R. L.; Tillotson, T. M.; Satcher, J. H.; Hrubesh, L. W.: Making nanostructured pyrotechnics in a beaker. pre-print UCRL-JC-137593, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: Livermore, Ca; April 10, 2000.
[20] Miziolek, A. W.: Nanoenergetics: an emerging technology area of national importance. Amptiac Q 2002; 6(1): 43-48.
[21] Gash, A. E.; Satcher, J. H.; Simpson, R. L.; Clapsaddle B. J.: Nanostructured energetic materials with sol-gel methods. Mater Res Soc Symp Proc 2004; 800:55-66.
[28] Tillotson T. M.; Gash A. E.; Simpson R. L.; Hrubesh L. W.; Satcher J. H. Jr, Poco J. F.: Nanostructured energetic materials using sol-gel methodologies. J Non-Cryst Sol 2001; 285: 338-345. [Alternative]
[] :
[] :

Further papers on nano-energetic materials

Clapsaddle, B.J.; Gash, A.E.; Plantier, K.B.; Pantoya, M.L.; Satcher Jr., J.H.; Simpson, R.L.: Synthesis and Characterization of Mixed Metal Oxide Nanocomposite Energetic Materials. International Pyrotechnics Seminar Fort Collins, CO, United States July 12, 2004 through July 16, 2004
Wang J, Hu A, Persic J, Wen, JZ, Zhou YN: Thermal stability and reaction properties of passivated Al/CuO nano-thermite. Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids 72 (2011) 620–625.
Wang, Yi; Song, Xiao-lan; Jiang, Wei; Deng, Guo-dong; Guo, Xiao-de; Liu, HHing-ying; Li, Feng-sheng: Mechanism for thermite reactions of aluminum/iron-oxide nanocomposites based on residue analysis. Transactions of Nonferrous Metals Society of China 24(2014) 263-270


Start page

[] NIST: Final Reports from the NIST Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster

Individual reports of interest

[] Luecke, W. E.; Siewert, T. A.; Gayle, F. W.: Contemporaneous Structural Steel Specifications. Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (NIST NCSTAR 1-3A). December 2005
Table 3-5, p. 21 (list of steel manufacturers)
Alternative URL
[] Luecke, W. E.; Siewert, T. A.; Gayle, F. W.: Contemporaneous Structural Steel Specifications. Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (NIST NCSTAR 1-3A). December 2005
Table 3-5, p. 21 (list of steel manufacturers)
Alternative URL
[] Carino, N. J.; Starnes, M. A.; Gross, J. L.; Yang, J. C.; Kukuck, S. R.; Prasad, K. R.; Bukowski, R. W.:Passive Fire Protection. Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (NIST NCSTAR 1-6A). December 2005
Page 87: “...Series 10 Tnemec Prime (99 red), which is the primer that was specified for the exterior columns”
Alternative URL
[] Gross, J. L.; Hervey, F.; Izydorek, M.; Mammoser, J.; Treadway, J.: Fire Resistance Tests of the Floor Truss Systems. Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster (NCSTAR 1-6B). December 2005
Appendix B, p. 157 of the PDF: LaClede primer specification
Alternative URL


[] Basile, M.: 911 Dust Analysis Raises Questions. Videotaped presentation at the Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire on 26th June 2010.
[] Basile, M.: Mark Basile ignites a chip (nano-thermite) - 9/11. Clip (15 seconds) from the above video (at 41:43 minutes)
[] Basile, M; Suarez, B.; Steele, A.: Mark Basile and WTC dust. Interview at 9/11 Free Fall, 27 December 2012.
[] BBC: The Conspiracy Files - 9 11 Ten Years On. Friday, September 09, 2011. At 31:25, interview with Niels Harrit. At 34:15, interview with Richard Fruehan and Chris Pistorius of Carnegie Mellon.
[] Charters, Adrian: Prof. Niels Harrit - Interview London (2009) Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. July 2009.
[] Harrit, N. H.: The Toronto Hearings on 9/11 Uncut - Niels Harrit (Full Presentation). September 2011.
[] Jones, S. E.: Dr. Steven Jones - Boston 911 Conference - Full Presentation - 12/15/07
[] Jones, S. E.: Steven Jones 2009 "Science and Society". Presentation, "Hard Evidence Tour Down Under", Sydney, November of 2009.
[] Jones, S. E.: DR STEVEN JONES- 911- THERMATE EVIDENCE PART 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. Uploaded January 30, 2009
[] Mohr, Chris: Part 23 Epilogue: WTC Dust Update; Saying Goodbye to 9/11 Truth . Uploaded May 25, 2015.
[] :
[] :


Jones, S. E.: Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?. 2006. Slides, with two MP3 sound files to listen along.


911Blogger - Reprehensor: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe. Posted April 04, 2009

DSC Testing

[] Lyon, Richard E. and Janssens, Marc L.: Polymer Flammability. DOT/FAA/AR-05/14, May 2005
[] Budrugeac, Petru: Thermokinetic study of the Thermo-oxidative Degradation of a composite Epoxy Resin Material. Revue Roumaine de Chimie (Rev. Roum. Chim), 2013, 58(4-5), 371-379
[] Epoxy Technology, Inc.: Epoxy Adhesive Application Guide. Epoxy Technology, Inc., 14 Fortune Drive, Billerica, MA 01821 (USA), 2009
[] Ferranti, Louis, Jr.: Mechanochemical Reactions and Strengthening in Epoxy-Cast Aluminum Iron-Oxide Mixtures. Georgia Institute of Technology, 2007
[] Izzo FC, Zendri E, Biscontin G, Balliana E: TG–DSC analysis applied to contemporary oil paints. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, May 2011, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 541-546. Full paper:
[] Schawe J., Riesen R., Widmann J., Schubnell M., Jörimann U.: Interpreting DSC curves. Part 1: Dynamic measurements. METTLER TOLEDO GmbH, Switzerland, 2000.
[] Schubnell M., Riesen R., Widmann J., Schawe J., Darribère C., Jörimann U.: Interpreting DSC curves. Part 2: Isothermal measurements. METTLER TOLEDO GmbH, Switzerland, 2000.
[] Sichina WJ: Characterization of Polymers Using TGA. PerkinElmer Thermal Analysis - Application note.
[] :
[] :
[] :

About Pigments

Buxbaum, Gunter; Pfaff, Gerhard (editors): Industrial Inorganic Pigments, Third Edition. John Wiley & Sons, 2006, ISBN: 978-3-52760-403-6
Eastaugh, Nicholas; Walsh, Valentine: The pigment compendium: optical microscopy of historical pigments, Vol. 2. Taylor & Francis, 2004; ISBN: 0 7506 4553 9, 9780750645539. Page 180+181: Strontium chromate
Jones, Thomas S: Iron Oxide Pigments (in Two Parts). 1. Fine-Particle Iron Oxides for Pigment, Electronic, and Chemical Use. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, 1978
Khokhani, Ashok: Coatings Technology Handbook, Third Edition - Chapter 82: Clays. Taylor & Francis, 2005; ISBN: 978-1-57444-649-4
LANXESS : Inorganic pigments using the Laux process. Details the Laux process, and the pigments Bayer LANXESS produces with it in Krefeld.
Murray, Haydn H.: Applied Clay Mineralogy; Occurrences, Processing and Application of Kaolins, Betonites, Palygorskite-Sepiolite, and Common Clays. Elsevier, 2007; ISNB: 978-0-444-51701-2
Pruett, Robert J.; Webb, Harold L.: Sampling and Analysis of KGa-1B well-crystalized Kaolin Source Clay. Clays and Clay Minerals, Vol. 41, No. 4, p. 514-519, 1993
QuikClot: Homepage. A manufacturer of kaolin-containing devices to stop bleeding. Has electron microscopy images.
Shanghai Yipin Pigments Co., Ltd - Products - Iron Oxide Pigments. Offers commercial bulk amounts of several qualities and color hues of hematite pigment, with Technical Data Sheets for properties such as "Predominant particle size".


[] Ritchie, N. W. M.: NIST DTSA-II multiplatform software package for quantitative x-ray microanalysis.
[] Daéid, Niamh Nic (editor): 17th Interpol International Forensic Science Managers Symposium, Lyon. 8th - 10th October 2013. Review Papers
[] :

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Asking Truth scientists: How do you tell energetic and mundane chips apart?


It has been alleged that dust particles from WTC dust that have the two properties "attracted by a magnet" and "are red-gray chips" are also active thermitic material. However, recent remarks made by some of the researchers involved strongly suggest that many chips selected by those criteria may in fact be really just paint.

In order for follow-up researcher to select the "right" chips, an objective method should exist to separate the "right" ("energetic", "thermitic") from "wrong" (perhaps "paint" etc.) chips.

It is also not entirely clear, in my mind, if the researchers like Harrit, Jones, Farrer or Basile who have reported on "energetic" chips were aware of the distinction at the time, and did in fact separate the different kinds of chips prior to any desctructive tests that yielded exotherm reactions and suspicious residues.

I expect that these "thermite"-proponents can declare unequivocally how to distinguish "thermitic" from mundane chips before any destructive experiments are done. I have designed a series of questions to shed light on this.


  1. Introduction
  2. Detailed Questions
  3. How the Bentham authors selected the chips to be studied
  4. How Millette selected the chips to be studied
  5. Statements by "truther" scientists
    • Steven Jones
    • Frank Legge
    • Kevin Ryan
    • Mark Basile
  6. References


Harrit (2009 [1], refered to as "ATM [1]" throughout the rest of this article) have studied red-gray chips found in dust from the World Trade Center collapses that settled around "Ground Zero" on 9/11/2001. Their paper describes how these chips were selected, discusses how they are all similar, and presents data, much of which is said to be "representative" of all the red-gray chips they studied. They conclude that the red layer of these chips is "active thetmitic material" and some kind of "super-thermite" and "nano-thermite", i.e. contains the classical thermite ingredients iron oxide and elemental aluminium as nano-sized particles, embedded in an organic matrix.

The method to select these chips is described as involving only two steps:

a) Pull a magnet through the dust and select all particles that are attracted to it
b) Visually inspect particles and select those that are chips with a red and a gray layer

The paper gives the impression that virtually all chips that the authors found by this two-step method have the same "thermitic" properties - in particular, that they are all "energetic", and, when ignited and burned, leave in their residue iron-rich micro-spheres.

I have previously argued (Oystein [2]) that the data presented in ATM [1] speaks for the presence of several different kinds of red-gray chips, precluding the validity of lumping data from different chips together to form a single conclusion for all chips.

Millette (2012, [3]) has done a follow-up study to ATM [1] and selected red-gray chips from WTC dust samples using the very same method: a) Pull particles out with magnet; b) visually select red-gray chips. In addition, he focused on chips whose red-layer were similar in morphology and elemental composition (EDS spectrum) to chips a-d in Figures 6-11 in ATM [1]. He found that these chips contain no elemental Al, and thus no thermite at all. Instead, all the compounds he identified (kaolin clay, pigment-sized hematite and titanium dioxide ambedded in epoxy) are consistent with primer paint. His chips appear to be mundane.

It appears now that some of the authors of ATM [1] acknowledge that indeed some of the red-gray chips they selected were mundane - and believe that Millette looked at the wrong chips! This raises a few questions, that I would like these scientists to answer before any further studies (e.g. Mark Basile, [4]) are undertaken – most prominently:

  • By what non-destructive method and objective criteria – in addition to selection by magnet and visually seperating red-gray chip – can a researcher who attempts to study the "energetic" red-gray chips, that are alleged to be thermitic, distinguish them from mundane materials such as paint?

Detailed Questions

The scientists that, to my best knowledge, have stated there are non-thermitic yet magnetic (?) red-gray chips (I'll present their statements below) and who the following questions are addressed to most immediately are:

  • Steve E. Jones – the actual lead author of ATM [1]
  • Kevin R. Ryan – co-author of ATM [1]
  • Frank M. Legge – co-author of ATM [1]
  • Mark Basile – acknowledged in ATM [1] as contributor; has studied chips himself; proposes a new study to be done by an independent lab

Others who I'd expect to be able to answer them are:

  • Niels H. Harrit – named lead author of ATM [1]
  • Jeffrey Farrer – co-author of ATM [1], responsible for much of the analytical work in the lab (DSC tests and, I believe, all the work on at least chips a-d)
  • David Griscom – peer-reviewer of ATM [1] and currently advisor to Mark Basile

In the remainder of this section, I will talk about red-gray chips that are attracted to a magnet, and I will just call those „chips“. So whenever you read the word „chips“, I am talking about dust particles drawn from WTC dust with a magnet that have (at least) a red and a gray layer.

Here are two more terms that I define and consistently use throught this section to describe and identify chips:

  • energetic: This word denotes chips that react with an exotherm when ignited in the manner described in ATM [1] and produce spherical residues that include the element iron. Those are the chips that are considered „interesting“, „active thermitic material“, „suspect“ or what you want to call it. I give you some freedom to decide for yourself which chips you want to consider energetic.
  • mundane: Those are all other chips - they don't react energetically, or don't produce iron-rich spherical residue, and can thus considered to be non-thermitic, or not active, or not interesting, or whatever you prefer. Some or all of the mundane chips might be paint, but it is not important here what they are.

Each chips is either energetic or it is mundane, but can't be both, and can't be neither.

So here are my questions:

  • Do you agree that there are both energetic and mundane chips in the WTC dust?

If you agree that at least some chips are mundane, please answer the following (skip those that don't apply to you or that you can't answer on behalf of your team mates) (note that the recurring question „If yes, how (did you separate them)?“ is really the most interesting at the time of writing):

  • When did you first realize there are both mundane and energetic chips in the WTC dust?
  • Did you separate mundane chips from energetic chips before you photographed them? If yes, how?
  • Do any of the photographs you present in your work show mundane chips? If yes, which? If not, why did you not show photographs of any mundane chips? Do such photographs exist?
  • Did you separate mundane chips from energetic chips before you put them in the electron microscope? If yes, how?
  • Do any of the SE- or BSE-images in your work show mundane chips? If yes, which? If not, why did you not show micrographs of any mundane chips? Do such micrographs exist?
  • Did you separate mundane chips from energetic chips before you did XEDS scans on them? If yes, how?
  • Were any of the XEDS graphs you present in your work taken from mundane chips? If yes, which? If not, why did you not show any XEDS scans from mundane chips? Do such XEDS graphs exist?
  • Did you separate mundane chips from energetic chips before you did DSC or other ignition tests on them? If yes, how?
  • Were any of the DSC graphs you present in your work taken from mundane chips? If yes, which? If not, why did you not show any DSC traces from mundane chips? Do such DSC traces exist?
  • Was any of the post-ignition (DSC, flame test, heating strip...) residue you show in your work from mundane chips? If yes, which? If not, why did you not show photographs, micrographs or XEDS spectra from residue of mundane chips?
  • In your opinion, should a researcher who tries to replicate „ATM“ today, or wants to go beyond ATM and perhaps tackle the open questions, attempt to separare mundane chips from energetic chips before doing any ignition tests (such as DSC)? If so, how do you propose this be done?

If, on the other hand, you disagree that some of the chips are mundane, in other words, if you believe that all (magnetic! red-gray!) chips are energetic, then please answer the following:

James Millette reported on chips (from WTC dust that are both magnetic and red-gray), yet he said he didn't find any elemental Al in them.

  • Do you accept that Millette validly showed there is no elemental Al in the specimens he analyzed in depth? If not, what did he do wrong?
  • Do you agree that these specimens, where Millette ruled out elemental Al and thus thermite, are indeed chips, i.e. from WTC dust, red-gray, and attracted to a magnet? If yes, how do you square that with your assertion that all chips contain thermite? If not, what did Millette do wrong?

How the Bentham authors selected the chips to be studied

From ATM [1], page 9 (font colors added by me):

2. Chip Size, Isolation, and Examination

For clarification, the dust samples collected and sent to the authors by Ms. Janette MacKinlay will be sample 1; the sample collected by Mr. Frank Delassio, or the Delassio/ Breidenbach sample, will be sample 2; the sample collected by Mr. Jody Intermont will be sample 3; and the sample collected by Mr. Stephen White will be sample 4. The red/gray chips are attracted by a magnet, which facilitates collection and separation of the chips from the bulk of the dust. A small permanent magnet in its own plastic bag was used to attract and collect the chips from dust samples. The chips are typically small but readily discernible by eye due to their distinctive color. They are of variable size with major dimensions of roughly 0.2 to 3 mm. Thicknesses vary from roughly 10 to 100 microns for each layer (red and gray). Samples of WTC dust from these and other collectors have been sent directly from collectors to various scientists (including some not on this research team) who have also found such red/gray chips in the dust from the World Trade Center destruction.

Note that this section of the text provides only two methods to select chips of interest, and doesn't hint at any other criteria by which to select specimens to be studied. Further in the paper, it points out several times how the chips are similar, and how the data presented is representative for all chips (from pages 10-15):

1. Characterization of the Red/Gray Chips

Red/gray chips were found in all of the dust samples collected. An analysis of the chips was performed to assess the similarity of the chips and to determine the chemistry and materials that make up the chips.
All of the chips used in the study had a gray layer and a red layer and were attracted by a magnet. ... Similarities between the samples are already evident from these photographs.
... Fig. (5). These four cross sections are representative of all the red/gray chips studied from the dust samples. The BSE images illustrate the finding that all of the red layers studied contained small bright particles or grains characterized by a high average atomic number. ...
(XEDS) analyses of both the red and gray layers from cross sections prepared from the four dust samples were performed and representative spectra are shown in Figs. (6, 7). The four spectra in Fig. (6) indicate that the gray layers are consistently characterized by high iron and oxygen content including a smaller amount of carbon. The chemical signatures found in the red layers are also quite consistent (Fig. 7), each showing the presence of aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), iron (Fe) and oxygen (O), and a significant carbon (C) peak as well.

At still higher magnifications, BSE imaging of the red layer illustrates the similarity between the different dust samples.

No hint at all in all of the paper that some of the magnetically selected red-gray chips can be distinguished by any of the methods described and be grouped as "thermitic/energetic" chips vs. "non-thermitic/mundane" material before testing them in the DSC.

How Millette selected the chips to be studied

From [3], page 2 and 3:

The criteria for the particles of interest as described by Harrit et al.1 are: small red/gray chips attracted by a magnet and showing an elemental composition primarily of aluminum, silicon and iron as determined by scanning electron microscopy and x-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) (Figure 4). The spectrum may also contain small peaks related to other elements. To that end, the following protocol was performed on each of the four WTC dust samples.
1. The dust sample particles contained in a plastic bag were drawn across a magnet and those attracted to the magnet were collected (Figure 5).
2. Using a stereomicroscope, particle chips showing the characteristic red/gray were removed and washed in clean water.
3. The particles were dried and mounted on a carbon adhesive film on an SEM stub and photographed (Figure 6).
4. Analysis of the surfaces of the chips was done by SEM-EDS at 20 kV without any added conductive coating (Figures 7 and 8).

Red/gray particles that matched the criteria (attracted to a magnet and an EDS Al-Si-Fe spectrum) were then considered particles of interest and subjected to additional analytical testing.

Millette used the exact same criteria that Harrit did – plus making sure the red layer has the Fe, Si and Al signals that Harrit consider a significant finding in "thermitic" chips.

Statements by "truther" scientists

Steven Jones

At the end of a blog post at 911Blogger [5], Steven Jones appended the following remark at the very end:

I (Dr. Jones) have searched Millette's plots and see no indication of strontium (Sr) or lead (Pb) in his samples, but he does report titanium (Ti) which we do not see. Thus, his samples do not appear to be the same material as what we reported on.

This implies that red-gray chips can be pulled from WTC dust with a magnet that are not the same material that Harrit reported on – i.e. a different material.

Frank Legge

Frank Legge recently engaged in an online debate with Ronald Wieck and others in the comments section of an Amazon customer review [6]. Note that he incorrectly addressed "Ronald and Millette", it should have been "Ronald and Erich", as Millette didn't participate in that exchange. To make reading easier, I'll format the questions quoted from Ronald's previous post blue, Legge's own words purple:

Ronald and Millette

"you write "Millette's ... carefully selected some paint fragments on which to perform his analysis. He did not study the chips described in the Active Thermitic Materials paper."

Do I understand you correctly when I construe your words to imply
1. that there are different kinds of red-gray chips, i.e. different materials? Such that some may represent thermitic incendiaries/explosives, some may perhaps represent paint, and some may perhaps represent other mundane or not so mundane things?"

Of course!

"2. that it is possible to select chips and pick out those that are not thermitic?"

Of course

"3. that, as a corrolary to 2., it would be possible to select thermitic chips from a mix of various kinds of red-gray chips?"

Of course.

"If that is so, can you provide objective, unambiguous and non-destructive, criteria by which to distinguish and separate thermitic chips from the dust? I believe this would be a great help for future studies, such as the one contemplated by Mark Basile ( right now? "

Of course. Read the Active Thermitic Materials paper. It is all set out there.

The questions don't mention the magnetic separation of red-gray chips. However, since Legge is very clear that "[i]t is all set out [in the Active Thermitic Materials paper]", these words must be construed as meaning that ALL red-gray chips selected with a magnet are thermitic.

Kevin Ryan

Prior to commissioning the James Millette study, Colorado-based journalist Chris Mohr was in conversation with Harrit's co-author Kevin Ryan. In those exchanges, Ryan acknowledged that there are paint chips among the red-gray chips, as Mohr relates on the JREF forum [7]:

BTW in support of what MM said, when Kevin Ryan was still talking to me, he said that he has in his possession both red-grey paint chips and red-grey thermitic chips, "and I can tell you they are not the same." He claimed that they look different to the eye, but more importantly, that the thermitic chips have an exothermic quality that the paint chips don't. Unfortunately, he refused to release the samples to me or Millette, and our personal connection broke down around that time. I was never able to get samples of these different kinds of chips, or more info about them in relation to the Bentham paper. Nor did I know at that time about the two different types of paint primer in use at WTC. So MM is right that the Bentham authors knew there were paint chips, but his noncooperation has made it impossible to know what he actually has. In the meantime, however, the Millette study has not been credibly refuted when it comes to the question of which chips he tested. Many 9/11 Truth people seem to agree that his methodology in finding the correct chips was sound.

Red font marking added by me to highlight the key statement. So the question is: How do the acknowledged paint chip look different? I note that there is again no mention of magnetic properties, which would in this case seem to indicate that magnetic attraction is not a key difference.

Mark Basile

Mark Basile is a chemical engineer who first approached Steven Jones about the alleged thermitic nature of the red-gray chips in december 2007, and was in due course supplied with a sample of WTC from one of the sources (Janette MacKinlay) which he did some tests on. I commented some of his results elsewhere in my blog

As Basile is currently proposing yet another lab study of the dust, he was recently (december 2012) interviewed by the radio talkshow "9/11 Free Fall Radio" (Bernie Suarez and Andrew Steele) on No Lies Radio [8]. Some passages transcribed - first one starting at the 27:26 minutes mark:

There are a lot of paint chips in the dust! You should make that perfectly clear! Just when you, if anybody in the audience, let's say, would get out there and get a World Trade Center dust sample, and they pull out red chips from this, I'm not telling anybody in the world that every red chip you're gonna pull out of there is one of these nano-thermite chips. The vast majority of them actually are primer paint, from what I'm finding, but that doesn't mean they all are. And they are not all, because […?...] pulled out ones where I've seen the reaction, I've seen the product, so I know you're in there. But there is also a lot of primer paint chips in there, too.

He even goes on to speculate about the work of Steven Jones (28:28 minutes):

I think some of the chips that, you know, Jones and all looked at were definitely, you know, primer paint chips, too, so not everything in there was necessarily nano-thermite chips.

(I wonder what Jones, Harrit etc. have to say on this?)


[1] 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: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe ("ATM"). The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31

[2] Oystein: Why red-gray chips aren't all the same. Posted in author's blog on March 14 2012

[3] James R. Millette: Revised Report of Results: MVA9119. Progress Report on the Analysis of Red/Gray Chips in WTC dust. Prepared for Classical Guide, Denver, 01 March 2012.

[4] Mark Basile: Proposal for Labs to Study the Building Fire Dust.

[5] Steven E. Jones: Letter regarding red/gray chip analyses. Posted on 911Blogger on September 08 2012. Last retrieved: 2013/01/16

[6] Frank M. Legge: Reply to a question. Posted at as a comment to a Customer Review on December 25 2012. Last retrieved: 2013/01/16

[7] Chris Mohr: A forum post. Posted at the JREF forum on January 10 2013. Last retrieved: 2013/01/16

[8] Mark Basile: 9/11 Free Fall: Mark Basile and WTC dust. Radio talkshow, broadcast by No Lies Radio on December 27 2012.