Monday, February 25, 2008

Molten Metal from WTC2

There is clear videographic evidence of brightly glowing molten metal flowing from the north face near the northeast corner of WTC 2 just prior to the onset of collapse.(NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, pp 375-376, and Figure 9-75 from 9:53:51 a.m.) The authors of the NIST report offer an indisputably flawed explanation for the observed material, speculating that it was molten aluminum, at or near melting temperature. This is physically impossible. The intensity and spectral distribution of the emitted light provide a reliable indication of the temperature range of the emitter. The fact that the material was glowing sufficiently to be detected by video cameras - to the point of saturating pixels - conclusively demonstrates that the material was not at or near the melting temperature of aluminum.

NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-75 Image of the northeast corner showing a bright stream of molten material flowing from above window 256 on the 80th floor.

This video shows the brightly glowing molten metal under discussion, and gives a good indication of the time of its appearance relative to the time of the collapse of WTC2.

By comparing pixel samples from images of flames with those from images of the molten metal within the same photograph it is possible to determine that the metal was actually hotter than the visible flames escaping from the building. This reasoning follows if both light sources are ideal black body radiators. As it happens, diffuse hydrocarbon flames such as occur in office fires generate their light through thermal radiation of soot which has very high emissivity, closely approximating a black body.[2] Metals, on the other hand, tend to have low emissivity, with the emissivity of aluminum significantly lower than that of iron. The result is that a diffuse hydrocarbon flame will glow more brightly than either iron or aluminum at the same temperature. Iron, in turn, will glow significantly more intensely than will aluminum at the same temperature.(See Jones 2007? for experiments with aluminum)

This single frame was extracted from the video linked above. Notice that the flames appear red-orange, whereas the molten metal is bright yellow-white. A pixel sample from a flame reveals an #RRGGBB (red, blue, green) color of #FFA181, whereas a sample from the molten metal gives #FFFFC5.

Since heat always flows from hot to cold, it is impossible for the visible flames to have produced the temperature indicated by the appearance of the metal. Because there was almost certainly a better supply of oxygen outside of the building than within the fire effected areas, it follows that these were likely the hottest hydrocarbon flames in the fire. Furthermore, it takes time to transfer heat. Any material hotter than the objects with which it is in contact will transfer its heat to the cooler objects. Thus, while heat is imparted to the metal by a flame, it will simultaneously be conducted away. Thus preventing the metal from reaching the temperature of the flame.

In addition, there is no explanation provided for how this significant quantity of metal was melted in such a way as to pool on the floor and retained this extraordinary heat, before spilling out of the window frame. There was no crucible to confine it while being heated.

Aluminothermic reactions, on the other hand, produce molten iron with exactly the appearance preserved in the video record. Aluminothermic reactions also produce a fine white aluminum oxide power identical to that which was observed wafting away from the northeast corner of WTC 2 at about the same time that the molten metal appeared, as can be seen in the photograph taken at 9:52:51 a.m.(NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-71)

NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-71 Image of the northeast corner showing brightly glowing molten material flowing from above window 256 of floor 80. A large plume of white ash is also visible issuing from northeast corner of the 81st floor.

Such aluminothermic reactions tend to be extremely bright, and even hard to look at with the naked eye. If such a reaction did take place in WTC 2 near the location from which the molten metal poured, we might expect to see such a light source, and indeed, we find evidence for this in a photograph of the northeast corner taken at 9:37:24 a.m. which shows a bright white light shining from the opening produced when part of the airplane exited the building through that corner.(NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-45)

NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-45 Image of the northeast corner showing a brilliant white light shining from within intense flames.

Another indicator of extreme temperatures inconsistent with diffuse hydrocarbon flames is found in other photographs of the flames from this same corner. For example the image recorded at 9:42:31 shows not only a conspicuous stream of white ash wafting away from the area, but also what appear to be "unnaturally" intense flames protruding from the corner of the building at the same location as the bright white light appeared 5 minutes earlier.(NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-51)

NIST NCSTAR 1-5A, Figure 9-51 Image of the north face showing conspicuously intense flames issuing from the northeast corner.

The location of all of these indications of a massive aluminothermic reaction is conspicuous because, as can be seen from the extracted video frames found here :Captured Stills from WTC 2 North East Corner Collapse, this is the location where the global collapse initiated. These images also reveal that as the building collapsed, an unmistakable stream of glowing material issued from the location where the molten metal had previously been observed. This material falls faster than the other emerging debris which indicates that it is heavier. The additional weight is probably due to the fact that much of it is molten iron.

Two videos and extracted stills depicting the onset of the collapse of WTC 2, showing a heavy glowing cloud which appears to be an amalgam of molten iron and dust.

The FAQ available on the NIST website attempts to explain the brightly glowing appearance of the molten metal by arguing that it was mixed with organic materials from the office contents of the building. They do not offer any citation to scientific literature in support their assertion, nor do they provide any experimental evidence to support it. Physicist Steven E. Jones conducted experiments attempting to reproduce such a phenomena, and was unsuccessful.

Additionally, there are numerous other phenomena which support this
conclusion such as:

  • eutectically eroded structural steel components[3],
  • accounts of molten metal in the pile[4],
  • photos of brightly glowing steel pulled from the pile weeks later[5],
  • cars set on fire by pyroclastic flows issuing from the collapses[6],
  • persistent heat on the pile melting worker's boots[7],
  • NASA/USGS thermal imaging evincing otherwise inexplicably high temperature[8] and
  • Micro-fine airborne metalic particles in the vicinity of the WTC rubble[9].

In summary, the evidence provided by the video record of brightly glowing molten metal flowing from WTC 2 just prior to its collapse argues very strongly for the presence of some type of aluminothermic reaction taking place at this time, and near this location. It is evident that the intense heat thus generated compromised the structure at this location resulting in the structural failure of the effected corner initiating the global collapse sequence.

[1] These are the images used to provide the pixel samples.

[2] "Continuous spectra, such as the ones radiated by the sun, in which the emitted energy is distributed in a continuous manner between all wavelengths within a certain domain, and which usually exhibits a maximum. This is the general case of radiation emitted by heated bodies in solid or liquid phase. Continuous spectra in combustion systems are generally observed in the sooty region of rich hydrocarbon flames."

These are the images used to provide the pixel samples.

"Continuous spectra, such as the ones radiated by the sun, in
which the emitted energy is distributed in a continuous manner
between all wavelengths within a certain domain, and which usually
exhibits a maximum. This is the general case of radiation emitted
by heated bodies in solid or liquid phase. Continuous spectra in
combustion systems are generally observed in the sooty region of
rich hydrocarbon flames."







[9] Did Iron Boil in the Rubble of the World Trade Center?

Experiments to test NIST "orange glow" hypothesis...

by Steven E. Jones, August 31, 2006

What I did is an experiment today, with two colleagues here, to test the NIST proclamation:

"NIST concluded that the source of the molten material [observed flowing out of WTC2 before its collapse] was aluminum alloys from the aircraft, since these are known to melt between 475 degrees Celsius and 640 degrees Celsius (depending on the particular alloy), well below the expected temperatures (about 1,000 degrees Celsius) in the vicinity of the fires. Aluminum is not expected to ignite at normal fire temperatures and there is no visual indication that the material flowing from the tower was burning.

"Pure liquid aluminum would be expected to appear silvery. However, the molten metal was very likely mixed with large amounts of hot, partially burned, solid organic materials (e.g., furniture, carpets, partitions and computers) which can display an orange glow, much like logs burning in a fireplace. The apparent color also would have been affected by slag formation on the surface."

NIST says that flowing aluminum with partially burned organic materials mixed in, "can display an orange glow." But will it really do this? I decided to do an experiment to find out.

We melted aluminum in a steel pan using an oxy-acetylene torch.

Then we added plastic shavings -- which immediately burned with a dark smoke, as the plastic floated on top of the hot molten aluminum. Next, we added wood chips (pine, oak and compressed fiber board chips) to the liquid aluminum. Again, we had fire and smoke, and again, the hydrocarbons floated on top as they burned. We poured out the aluminum and all three of us observed that it appeared silvery, not orange! We took photos and videos, so we will have the recorded evidence as these are processed. (I have now attached two videos showing clearly the silvery appearance of the flowing aluminum.) Of course, we saw a few burning embers, but this did not alter the silvery appearance of the flowing, falling aluminum.

We decided to repeat the experiment, with the same aluminum re-melted. This time when we added fresh wood chips to the hot molten aluminum, we poured the aluminum-wood concoction out while the fire was still burning. And as before, the wood floated on top of the liquid aluminum. While we could see embers of burning wood, we observed the bulk of the flowing aluminum to be silvery as always, as it falls through the air.

This is a key to understanding why the aluminum does not "glow orange" due to partially-burned organics "mixed" in (per NIST theory) - because they do NOT mix in! My colleague noted that it is like oil and water - organics and molten aluminum do not mix. The hydrocarbons float to the top, and there burn - and embers glow, yes, but just in spots. The organics clearly do NOT impart to the hot liquid aluminum an "orange glow" when it falls, when you actually do the experiment! (Refer to attached videos of our experiments.)

In the videos of the molten metal falling from WTC2 just prior to its collapse, it appears consistently orange, not just orange in spots and certainly not silvery. We conclude that the falling metal which poured out of WTC2 is NOT aluminum. Not even aluminum "mixed" with organics as NIST theorizes.

What is it? I have a bold hypothesis which still stands all our experimental tests to date, as described in my paper Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?.

NIST should do experiments to test their "wild" theories about what happened on 9/11/2001, if they want to learn the truth about it.

Liquid Aluminum Part 1
Liquid Aluminum Part 2


Steven E. Jones


Anonymous said...

Good post, but most of the pix don't show up - can you fix that? I find it highly suspicious that the corner collapses right after the metal stops flowing out of the building.

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