1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    It's interesting and sometimes useful perspective to look at the history of an idea. The one about nanothermite being used on 9/11 reminding me of the one about aluminum being in contrails. That became an easy exercise in "finding" evidence to prove your theory, because aluminum is everywhere.

    Evidence for nanothermite is harder to come by, but it still seems like evidence being collected to fit a theory, rather than a theory being formulated to best explain the evidence.

    So where did the nanothermite theory come from? Who thought it up, and what were they basing it on? What gap in their explanation did it need to fill

    It seems that just simple thermite came before nano, here's a Jun 20th 2004 post by a D. P. Grimmer:
    Who are these other researchers? Grimmer gives some details:

    Hoffman was someone I'd suspected as being the source. But apparently not.

    Michael Rivero runs a generalized evil-jewish-bankers-illuminati type site:
    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/ Metabunk 2018-02-08 15-54-44.

    Rivero brings up thermite in 1996 as a possible mechanism of sabotage of the plane of Ron Brown in Croatia.
    It was mentioned in passing in a 2002 article on WTC1, but seemingly just a temperature reference, no suggestion of it being used for demolition.

    The root article seems to be this one:

    Unfortunately the articles on the site don't seem to be dated. So it's hard to tell what was written when. They also seem to be updated over time. That one references a 2009 article. Perhaps then this was written after.

    Anyone have an recollection where this thing started?
  2. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    Sorry, all long before I got interested in it all (which was even after Harrit et al 2009). I have tried before to drill back into the past, with no memorable success. At some point, of course, Steven Jones grabbe the idea and ran with it so far that people, myself included, believed he invented the theory.

    You surely have at least skimmed "Why indeed did the WTC buildings completely collapse?" by Steven E. Jones, September 2006? In the References, page 46, he writes:

    Note the ending remark in parentheses.
  3. Jeffrey Orling

    Jeffrey Orling Active Member

    It was Jones who got the rug pulled out from his thermate diagonal cut column... he invented nano thermite... and looked for it in dust. Jones has no credibility.
  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Similar to what I found above then. It's possible that Jones was just (like me) accepting Derrick's account of earlier suggestions by Rivero. I can't find anything dated earlier that 2010 from Rivero.

    Here's an earlier (Nov 23 2003) post by Grimmer, archive Dec 7 2003.
    It also contains the mention of Rivero, and is a link to a WhatReallyHappened article. The earliest archived version of this article, from June 22, 2003, says:

    Nonsensical, of course. He's suggesting the core columns collapsed because they were essentially swimming in a pool of molten iron. Photos of the excavation of the cores shows this was not the case - and zero pools of molten iron (or previously molten iron) were found at the site. But it seems like this silly theory might have been the root of what eventually became the nanothermite thing, and subsequent search for evidence to fit the theory.
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  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Rivero's previous web site, Rancho Runnamukka, has some precursors to the "red chips" of nanothermite (more likely paint). Quite astonishingly similar types of claims.

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  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    So, preliminary timeline:

    1996 - Michael Rivero brings up thermite as a possible mechanism of sabotage of the plane of Ron Brown in Croatia.
    2000 - Rivero discusses "red residue" on TWO 800, maybe implying thermite?
    June 22, 2003 - Michael Rivero attempts to come up with a way the core could have fallen later. Has an idea about vast pools of molten iron pooling at the bottom, and theorizes that was made from thermite.
    Nov 23 2003 - Derrick Grimmer, based on Rivero's idea, makes some calculations of how much regular thermite would be needed to melt columns near the bases of the towers.
    September 2006 - Why indeed did the WTC buildings completely collapse? by Steven Jones is published, suggesting nanothermite (using the name "superthermite")
    2009 - Harrit and Jones publish Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe
  7. Keith Beachy

    Keith Beachy Active Member

    Thermite is pretty far from a crew using an approach plate which was not safe.

    Jones did an article posted on 9.16.05. on 8 points for CD, he mentioned thermite. The 8 point paper found here if you need a copy of 9/11 truth history.
    Debunked: Iron Microspheres in 9/11 WTC Dust as Evidence for Thermite
    Not exactly nano-thermite, yet.
  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    And here, dated 9-15-2005
    Same here:
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    I had a look on Usenet (although Google has really screwed up the search facility in recent years).

    I found this article from the Deseret Morning News, from [Nov 10] 2005, referencing Steven Jones:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2018
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  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    An earlier mention from March 2005 but with a long dead link:

    Going to the archived version of that link for the date in question:

    It turns out to be a link to the same "Whatreallyhappened" article. (archived version at that date).
  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Interesting. Sounds like this was the trigger that started him down the rabbit hole. Most people get sucked in via YouTube now.

    The BYU link goes to an earlier version of "Why Indeed....", archived 24 Nov 2005, but still labeled "Draft 2.4" indicating it had been in the works for a while. Quotes from this version:

    Back to Jones:
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  12. occams rusty scissor

    occams rusty scissor Active Member

    Where did the "nano" thermite come into it, and why "nano"? Is it simply because tacking on nano to everything makes it sound specialised and therefore "Military grade" (which is another meaningless term)?

    I've looked but can't seem to find its origin, just seems to be one of those terms now taken for fact.
  13. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    because regular thermite wasn't 'strong' enough? (<this is a question, not a statement so don't quote me, I didn't research in depth)

    I tried looking for nanothermite online scientific papers btween 1990 and 2003.. but unfortunately a lot of 9/11 CT sites back date, so mostly I got "truther" links and gave up rather quickly.

  14. occams rusty scissor

    occams rusty scissor Active Member

    Yep, that's my issue. It appears to be something fabricated to fit, as I can't seem to understand what the advantage would be to using a "NanoThermite (tm)" aside from appearing more nefarious in the overall scheme.
  15. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    Seems that way to me too. It's like Nano just automatically means Hi Tech and therefore probably Military as opposed to just meaning tiny ( and mostly a very specific SIZE of tiny at that. )
    It seems like it was simply a stretch from:

    It looks like CD.
    Oh but it's not noisy enough. Rather than think I might be wrong then it MUST be super secret military SILENT explosives.

    Thermite doesn't make noise. Must be thermite.

    Thermite doesn't work like an explosive so ummm


    Let's look for evidence of thermite in dust
    Thermite is aluminium and iron oxide and residue is aluminium oxide and iron. ( YES, Americans that IS how it's spelt :p)
    Found some of those very common elements and compounds and not bothered to rule out any other sources ( i.e doing real science)
    We have found the SIGNATURE OF THERMITE in the dust.
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  16. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    Is there a clear statement in one of those early documents that lack of noise was perceived as a problem, and thermite hence introduced as the solution?
    It looks more to me as if "molten metal" was the impetus to speculate about thermite, not lack of noise - at least according to what I read. I can't read minds.
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  17. Jeffrey Orling

    Jeffrey Orling Active Member

    Likely the "thinking" which informed to nano thermite speculation was that critics claimed that there are very loud sounds in CDs... explosives... characteristics of all CDs. So they needed a silent CD... They needed something to cut the steel to make the frame fall. Cut strongly implies heat... so they suggested a highly exothermic chemical reaction... Thermate is such a substance. I think the amount required and the tell tale signs of thermate use would have to be found.... ergo the diagonal cut column claim.

    When this was shown to be part of the clean up... they needed to find a substance which would leave little to now trace. They looked in the dust girded by the bogus claims of rivers of molten steel. Dust would prove NT and so they produced the bogus NT paper submitted to a pay for play journal which had the gravitas of "peer review".

    All of these efforts were grasping at straws which were not there. All of these claims had the rug pulled out from under them because they were demonstrably false. Their schtick is to make scientific sounding claims with a supporting papers which fooled the naive. The papers were all flawed for any number of reasons... none of these "experiments" are repeatable... and some of the demonstrations like Gage and his cardboard boxes are [deeply flawed]
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2018
  18. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Please let’s avoid unqualified speculation as to motive. It’s sufficient to describe the history, the claims, and the errors therein. Keep it polite so we don’t alienate truthers on the fence.
  19. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Regarding the switch to nano-
    There was also the powder problem.. concrete not being able to be powderized by the energy of a falling building alone..
    It doesn't sound to my total laymen self, like regular thermite could powderize all the concrete.

    This is probably off topic, but do you remember what the final verdict of this thread was? Is nanothermite capable of melting the columns as well as regular thermite? https://www.metabunk.org/nanothermite-vs-thermite-thermate-for-cutting-thick-steel.t2873/page-2
  20. Keith Beachy

    Keith Beachy Active Member

    That matches Jones reaction to claims of molten metal. Where did the idea come from for thermite; it comes from a need to explain how the metal was melted. (ignore the office fires)

    Ignoring office/debris pile fires burning for weeks.
  21. Jeffrey Orling

    Jeffrey Orling Active Member

    Concrete was pulverized by the collapse avalanche of billions of mechanical collisions. The floor slab "concrete" had no stone aggregate and was very susceptible to pulverization. No explosives necessary.
  22. Efftup

    Efftup Senior Member

    I don't know of any mechanism by which ANY sort of thermite will powerdise concrete by its action.
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  23. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The pulverize of concrete is another historical oddity. That whole obsssion makes no sense except as an unnecessary explanation for the dust cloud. It’s hard to shoehorn it in with “nanothermite”
  24. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    i thought the topic here is why did the Truthers go with nanothermite. If I was a truther (ie Jones) and read
    then I could assume the thermite part would still cut the metal and the "high explosives" part would powderize the concrete, no?
  25. occams rusty scissor

    occams rusty scissor Active Member

    Except thermite is not an explosive, more incendiary than anything else.
    Also high explosives are generally categorised as such because of the velocity of detonation, being supersonic, and therefore cause a shockwave. This is why they're easily detected and audible vs thermite, which doesn't have that rapid "push" to cause damage inn the same mode.
  26. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    yea I might be misunderstanding how they use the term explosive, (pg 97)

    because a few slides later in this 'talk' (July 18, 2005) he says "
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  27. occams rusty scissor

    occams rusty scissor Active Member

    There seems to be a bit of confusion as to thermite being an explosive.

    Thermite is low explosive at best. It's a deflagration rather than a detonation, and there is no shock front ("push") like that of a detonation of high explosives, which occurs at supersonic speeds. However, it burns at extremely high temperatures which means it's useful for welding and so forth.

    What some of the quoted research papers are getting at is the use of fine meshed aluminium to speed the reaction up or increase the effectiveness of explosives such as RDX, PE4 etc.

    One of the studies suggest that nano mesh aluminium enhances certain properties of the explosives like velocity of detonation, reducing air blast pressure in some and decreasing heat in others.

    What stumps me is if nano-mesh Al increases the rate of reaction to near HE level, sometimes higher, then what is the advantage to using it at all? I.E. if it potentially detonates as is suggested by some of the science then why is it any more use than a conventional HE/Thermite?
  28. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    It is quite a job to disentangle the confused minds of Truthers 13 years ago. They still have not sorted it all out.

    deirdre, I think you are correct to identify that Steven Jones hypothesised (regular) "thermite" to account for high temperatures and molten metal, and that he conjectured "nano/super thermite" to account for pulverization.

    All these point are nonsense on multiple levels, but that's not the topic of this thread: "Nanothermite on 9/11 - Where did the idea come from?"

    Someone upthread conjectured that the idea came from the fact that there was no sound of explosions, yet Truthers wanted to believe in explosions. But as far as I can see, that conjecture is not supported by the evidence of early Truther writing on the subject.
  29. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    he also mentions those special "matches" and basically how they wouldn't ignite in the office fires. (I'm lazy and don't want to relink :( ) the matches seemed related to thermite as well.

    so that ?? could have been part of the reason they went the thermite route, because regular TNT type explosives would have gone off just from the office fires?
  30. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    You are giving him too much credit. He read random stuff and dropped it randomly into his confused paper. At some point, I guess, "thermite" became an Idée fixe for Jones, and he lapped up every bit of related information he happened to stumble upon and tried to somehow find meaning in it for his purposes - never mind the contradictions. Around 2006, the thinking revolved around material that ignites at high temperatures and contains sulfur (for ill-understood reasons). Then, in 2009, they "found" the stuff they had hypothesized - never mind it containing no sulfur and being very eay to ignite!
  31. Jedo

    Jedo Member

    My first guess was to check the usage of the terms in Google trends and Ngram.

    Usage of the terms nano thermite, nano-thermite, nanothermite, super-thermite and super thermite over time in Google trends gives the following curves:
    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2004-01-01 2018-02-13&q=nano thermite,nanothermite,nano-thermite,super thermite,super-thermite

    The online publication of article by Harrit et al. coincides with spike we see around beginning of 2009,

    Unfortunately, Ngram did not yield any results. I am not aware of a similar tool for academic usage. I used a Web of science search for the terms including nano, yielding

    So these terms seem to appear in academic research under the name "nano thermite" etc around 2006.

    A Google Scholar search
    yields earlier results, but it seems that previous other terms like "energetic metastable nano-composite powders" have been used rather. So nano-composites as a research topic have been around at least since the mid-90s.

    When bing in a physics department, it is quite likely that you come into contact with all kind of current research topics even if that is neither of your field nor represented at your faculty. There are faculty talks, seminars, etc or you hear a talk at some conference, workshop, etc.

    It is quite plausible that Steven Jones, who seems, as this thread uncovered so far, to be the first proponent of the term, has heard a seminar talk or something similar about the topic in his academic lifetime.

    So citing from the same slides cited above
    So it seems that the conclusion was "molten metal" -> "thermite", confirmed by the following paragraph on a later slide
    He then cites the FEMA report:
    and then states the following:
    and (p85)
    Jones_p85. (p86)
    Here we see the connection to the fineness of the thermite mixture relating to its characteristics as incendiary or explosive. Repeated again at the before mentioned p97
    The link is broken by now, but an archived version exists, linking to the research of Alex Gash (current webpage).

    I did then a cross-check on the Harrit et al paper for their references on "super-thermite", which are references 19-28. Of half of those, Alex Gash is an author, and at least one other is authored by multiple co-authors of Gash.

    So it is quite plausible to assume that Jones stumbled across Gash's research and "connected the dots". ;)
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  32. benthamitemetric

    benthamitemetric Active Member

    Where ever the idea of nanothermite as an explosive came from, I think there's little doubt that AE911Truth and its fellow travelers popularized it. Today in NYC we found out that at least two people took their claims seriously:

    (Emphasis added.)

    Maybe, in the end, AE911Truth has done us a favor by leading potential terrorists to stockpile the wrong materials when attempting to build their bombs.

    In any case, perhaps this arrest will lead some major news organizations to dig deeper and try to find out where these two numbskulls came up with the idea for making such an esoteric substance.
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  33. Me2

    Me2 New Member

    I see a reference to concrete pulverization above that the concrete in the floor slabs had no coarse (stone) aggregate? That would be quite unusual. It probably warrants it's own topic, unless one is already here?