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Nanothermite Explosives at the WTC: Conclusive Evidence

One could argue that the "smoking gun" of explosive residues at the WTC was already in hand by mid-2007, as Steven Jones had shown that minute iron-rich spheres consistently found in samples of World Trade Center dust matched residues of nano- or 'super-thermites'. 1 However, far more conclusive evidence would emerge as he and other scientists continued to examine the dust, and acquired more samples of known provenance.

One of the types of particle common in that dust has a stratified red/gray appearance and are weakly attracted to a magnet. When the researchers put these particles under a scanning electron microscope they discovered a consistent nanostructure in which two types of nano particles -- one plate-like and one granular -- are intimately mixed within a porus matrix. Elemental analysis using XEDS showed that the plate-like particles are rich in elemental aluminum and the granular particles are rich in iron, oxygen, and silicon; and thermal analysis showed that the material has a high energy density. In other words, the researchers had found unignited fragments of nano-structured energetic thermitic material -- the kind of material used in high-tech engineered explosives that had been developed only as recently as the 1990s and in wide use today in the military.

In April of 2009, a detailed scientific paper describing their results was publshed in a scientific journal.

e x c e r p t
title: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe
authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen


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.

Keywords: Scanning electron microscopy, X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy, Differential scanning calorimetry, DSC analysis, World Trade Center, WTC dust, 9/11, Iron-rich microspheres, Thermite, Super-thermite, Energetic nanocomposites, Nano-thermite

A 9-11 Research essay summarizes the findings for the benefit of the less technical reader, and answers the most frequently asked questions about how aluminothermic pyrotechnics could have been surreptitiously installed in the Towers and used to demolish them in a way that superficially appears to match the official story.

e x c e r p t
title: Explosives Found in World Trade Center Dust
authors: Jim Hoffman

FAQ: Controlled Demolition With Aluminothermics

With the publication of Active Thermitic Material Discovered it becomes even easier to imagine plausible scenarios that answer workability arguments. The characteristics of super-thermites and the features of the thermitic fragments described in the paper, combined with a survey of methods for the programmable wireless detonation of energetic materials available in 2001, provides straightforward answers the most frequently-heard questions about the implementation of controlled demolition of the Twin Towers -- answers that thoroughly undermine assertions that controlled demolitions using aluminothermics was not feasible.


How Could Thermite, an Incindiary, Demolish the Towers When Buildings Are Normally Demolished Using High-Explosive Cutter Charges?

Why Weren't Demolition Charges Triggered by the Plane Crashes or the Subsequent Fires?

How Could the Demolition Equipment Have Been Installed in the Twin Towers Without Tenants Noticing?


1. Revisiting 9/11/2001 -- Applying The Scientific Method, Journal of 9/11 Studies, 5/27/07

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Portion of FIG. 4 showing a corner of a bi-layered chip.
Portion of FIG. 5 showing an edge-view of a chip with portions of a red layer and a gray layer.
FIG. 9 from Active Thermitic Material Discovered, in which the shapes of the iron-oxide-rich grains and the aluminum-rich plates can be seen. The plates are only about 40nm thick.