No Something. No Another Thing. No Something Else.

Yeah, About that Thermite… (facts are a bitch, eh?)

Posted by RealDaffyDuck on October 27, 2010

One of the pieces of evidence conspiracy theorists use to say the buildings were brought down is a photo with something they interpret as being left behind by a thermite reaction.

Let’s examine those claims a bit more in depth, shall we?

There are a number of things they claim with this photo. One is the timeline. They say the photo has firemen which means this was during the rescue operation which only lasted two weeks. Why would they have fireman after the rescue operations? This suggests to them that the cut on the columns were made very close to September 11. The suggestion here is that it was done during the collapse.

They claim that the angle of the cut can’t be created by a welding tool and/or is designed to have the building fall in a certain direction.

The other is a yellow substance they claim is residue from a thermite reaction.

Let’s examine these claims one by one to see where the evidence takes us…

Timeline and Firemen

The rescue operation took about two weeks. They figured anyone left alive would have died by then anyway, so they started clean up operations and body recovery. During this time there was always at least 50 policemen and 50 firemen left on the scene to recover their fallen brothers. There were even more than that on ground zero until the city of NY told them to leave in November 2001. The city couldn’t justify risking the health of 150 police and fireman for body recovery. In fact there was a protest about it which ended with the mayor allowing 50 members of each department on the scene.

Citing safety concerns, Giuliani had sought to scale back the number of firefighters working at ground zero to 25. At one point there had been as many as 150 firefighters and police officers at the site.

The decision angered firefighters still mourning the loss of 343 colleagues in the attacks. Many bodies have not been recovered, and the firefighters said they wanted to help find the remains of their friends and colleagues.

The number of firefighters working at the site was increased to 50 on Thursday.

Below are photos of firemen well after September 11.


December 15th 2001

So the fact that there are firemen in the photo doesn’t mean anything. That cut could have been done at any time during the clean up and recovery. Lets not forget the building went down some 6 stories underground. The firemen were recovering bodies mainly from the core and some were in the lobby when it happened. So it’s not unreasonable to expect firemen there well after the event. Long enough for an ironworker to cut the column.

Angle and yellow residue

Another point is the angle of the cut. The argument here is that it suggests the column was cut at an angle so the building fell in a certain direction, like a tree. But is it possible the column was cut at an angle so just the column fell in a certain direction during cleanup? This can’t be, surely the scholars would have asked an ironworker or someone else on the scene. I bet there isn’t one photograph someone can find on the internet of a column which is cut at an angle. Remember, we’re talking about “Scholars” here.

Once again, a close up of their column…

Maybe I’m being a little unfair. Maybe I just happened to get this from some obscure site. Maybe I work for the government and have a stash of photos the scholars aren’t privy to… No, actually I got this from the same place the scholars got their photo.

Scholars Photo:

The above photo:

Note the yellow smoke and residue left behind by the ironworker.

Thermite in general makes an ugly hole with molten metal drips/blobs. It doesn’t make clean cuts. It’s a powder that undergoes a violent chemical reaction as seen in the video below.

Note how much thermite is used. The pot is about a liter, but how much thermite is that?

Stoichiometric thermite requires 2 moles of Al per 1 mole of Fe2O3

2Al + Fe2O3 = Al2O3 + 2Fe

2 moles of Al weigh 54 g
1 mole of Fe2O3 weighs 160 g

density of Al=2.64 g/cc
density of Fe2O3=5.24 g/cc

54 grams of Al is equivalent to 20.5 cc of Al.
160g of Fe2O3 is equivalent to 30.5 cc of Fe2O3

Therefore, 51 cc of fully dense powder of 20.5 cc Al and 30.5 cc Fe2O3 weighs (54+160) g = 214 g.

A volume of 1000 cc would weigh (1000/51)*214 = 4.2 kg

For a powder packing density of 50%, the powder would weigh:

0.5*4.2 kg = 2.1 kg = 4.8 lb

That much just to burn a small hole in a small car engine. I bet it’s even an aluminum block but lets say it isn’t. How much do you think it would take to burn a massive core column? Then add enough to burn for 6 weeks!

You see where we’re going.

You’d need tons.


4 Responses to “Yeah, About that Thermite… (facts are a bitch, eh?)”

  1. SBDOTKU said

    Well you are obviously one of THEM! Those scientific EVIDENCE apologists that demand things like PROOF.

    But AHHA! I caught you! You made a huge error. Thermites? Who cares about thermite? It was the Nano TERmites that did the job. Genetically modified termites that eat their way through metal, in diagonal lines only, with their special thermitic chemical drool! They were created by a secret government agency. I know because I read it on the web at some random site (with no proof). And noone will now change my mind no matter what amount of real evidence you supple to refute my beliefs.

    NANO TERMITES! They’re coming to get us all! Beware! Run away!

  2. Trig said

    All high explosives contain a certain amount of Nitrogen, Oxygen (or both) and sometimes Hydrogen. All chemicals that are gaseous in their natural state. Thermite does not “explode”, PERIOD. Is it mostly metal (Aluminum and Iron). Only because of the oxide present does it burn in an exothermic reaction.

    2 Al + Fe2O3 → 2 Fe + Al2O3

    Here a couple quickie references on explosives to help

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