Aluminum-Water Explosions Theory of Collapse, Christian Simensen

Jason

Senior Member
[Tread split from: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/molten-and-glowing-metal.2029/page-11 ]

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921074747.htm.

I don't know if this article has been cited in any of the 9/11 threads on this forum, but the lead scientist Christian J. Simensen of SINTEF proposed a new theory to explain the collapse of the world trade centers. He basically argues that the hull of the plane, which is made of an aluminum alloy, wasn't destroyed upon impact and that it very likely remained in the buildings. He proposes that the hull of the plane melted due to intense fires from the jet fuel and office fires. I bring this up because he said that when molten aluminum comes in contact with water, it will explode. He believes that these explosions which were heard within the buildings are a result of aluminum coming in contact with the water from the plumbing and sprinkler systems. This theory could explain why explosions were heard, and help explain why there appeared to be molten metal pouring out of the tower's corner.
 
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Redwood

Active Member
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921074747.htm. I don't know if this article has been cited in any of the 9/11 threads on this forum, but the lead scientist Christian J. Simensen of SINTEF proposed a new theory to explain the collapse of the world trade centers. He basically argues that the hull of the plane, which is made of an aluminum alloy, wasn't destroyed upon impact and that it very likely remained in the buildings. He proposes that the hull of the plane melted due to intense fires from the jet fuel and office fires. I bring this up because he said that when molten aluminum comes in contact with water, it will explode. He believes that these explosions which were heard within the buildings are a result of aluminum coming in contact with the water from the plumbing and sprinkler systems. This theory could explain why explosions were heard, and help explain why there appeared to be molten metal pouring out of the tower's corner.
Very unlikely, IMHO. Either he's talking a hydrogen-air explosion, caused by aluminum reducing water to hydrogen, or a steam explosion. A low-explosive, like a hydrogen-air mix, can't be used like a high explosive for demolition purposes. High explosives are formed into shape charges and placed directly onto support columns where they concentrate a large fraction of their energy onto a very small area in the form of kinetic energy in so short a time that it cannot be dissipated in the form of sound waves, and the material fractures.

Low explosives can't do this. In olden times, they were used to destroy fortifications and such, but the process was different. Tons and tons were used, and the process was really just pushing everything out of the way. Look up "The Battle of the Crater" in the American Civil War.

Any hydrogen-air or steam explosion capable of taking down a building would be heard over a thousand square miles.
 

Jason

Senior Member
Very unlikely, IMHO. Either he's talking a hydrogen-air explosion, caused by aluminum reducing water to hydrogen, or a steam explosion. A low-explosive, like a hydrogen-air mix, can't be used like a high explosive for demolition purposes. High explosives are formed into shape charges and placed directly onto support columns where they concentrate a large fraction of their energy onto a very small area in the form of kinetic energy in so short a time that it cannot be dissipated in the form of sound waves, and the material fractures.
The article wasn't proposing that the bldg's were taken down by explosives, the scientist was merely pointing out that the explosions heard could've been a result of the molten aluminum coming in contact with water from the plumbing or sprinkler systems. This could explain why explosions were heard in the towers. CT's want to believe that the explosions or the collapse of the bldgs were the result of demo or thermite, but I think this makes a much better case.. His point being is that the 9/11 commission and NIST didn't take into account that the airplanes brought 30 tonnes of aluminum into the bldgs.
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
A low-explosive, like a hydrogen-air mix, can't be used like a high explosive for demolition purposes.
Hydrogen gas/air mixtures are ignited very easily (rubbing your hand in your hair can do it) and in a semi-restricted enclosure (like the inside of a building) can improve their combustion efficiency (by raising the pressure).
Walls have been known to have been blasted out in the vicinity of large Down's Cells, when the weather is stormy outside them.

Nevertheless I don't believe your theory correct. Damaged and uninsulated yet burning lightweight steel super-tall structures have short lifetimes.

If their columns had been made of reinforced concrete or plain steel water-filled tubing they'd still be standing.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This whole theory sounds highly implausible to me. The only bit that's reasonable it that there might be some small "explosion", but even then a large quantity of aluminum is not going to be instantly submerged in a large quantity of water.

Just aluminum is not that reactive. See 2:20 into this:

also

This appears to be a steam explosion, requiring a confined space:

There are some videos of Aluminum Alkyl exploding in contact with water. But: A) it's not aluminum, and B) it does not really explode, just reacts rapidly over a couple of seconds.
 

Jason

Senior Member
This whole theory sounds highly implausible to me. The only bit that's reasonable it that there might be some small "explosion", but even then a large quantity of aluminum is not going to be instantly submerged in a large quantity of water.

Just aluminum is not that reactive. See 2:20 into this:

also

This appears to be a steam explosion, requiring a confined space:

There are some videos of Aluminum Alkyl exploding in contact with water. But: A) it's not aluminum, and B) it does not really explode, just reacts rapidly over a couple of seconds.
I agree, I've been doing a little digging myself and keep coming across the same videos that you posted above. In the first video, we do see an immediate reaction when the water is added to the molten aluminum by the hose. We see steam coming off of it. I wonder though, with 30 tonnes of airplane aluminum in each bldg, how accurate are back yard test in comparison, and also what would all of that super heated steam do to the inside of the bldg in conjunction with office fires. I remember there clearly being a great deal of white smoke coming out of the towers after the black smoke settled down. Could this have attributed to that?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I agree, I've been doing a little digging myself and keep coming across the same videos that you posted above. In the first video, we do see an immediate reaction when the water is added to the molten aluminum by the hose. We see steam coming off of it. I wonder though, with 30 tonnes of airplane aluminum in each bldg, how accurate are back yard test in comparison, and also what would all of that super heated steam do to the inside of the bldg in conjunction with office fires. I remember there clearly being a great deal of white smoke coming out of the towers after the black smoke settled down. Could this have attributed to that?
I doubt that steam from boiling water was a significant component of the smoke.

Discussing "30 tonnes" of aluminum makes it sound like there's a 30 tonne bomb going off. In reality any water-aluminum interaction is going to be incremental as the aluminum flows down into an area of standing water. And it's not like there are going to be swimming pools of water there. You might give rivulets of water flowing into puddles of water, but all it's going to do is splatter molten aluminum around.
 

Jason

Senior Member
I doubt that steam from boiling water was a significant component of the smoke.

Discussing "30 tonnes" of aluminum makes it sound like there's a 30 tonne bomb going off. In reality any water-aluminum interaction is going to be incremental as the aluminum flows down into an area of standing water. And it's not like there are going to be swimming pools of water there. You might give rivulets of water flowing into puddles of water, but all it's going to do is splatter molten aluminum around.
I did come across this article by pyrotek where they basically break down Alluminum/water explosions into 3 different categories. Here's the article;
I also thought the last part I highlighted could have attributed to a different set of circumstances than your backyard test... What do you think and did they find any aluminum oxide? We've also established that the fireproofing was ripped off of the beams when the plane impacted the towers, which would've revealed the steal beams, and due to their age would've shown rust on them as evident in many of the pictures following the attack. Could the molten aluminum have come in contact with the steal beams that lost their fire proofing?
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I was just about to post that. Specifically the bit that seems to refer to the "crater 30 meters in diameter" experiment referenced by Simensen
Seems like a large explosion requires a very specific set of circumstances.[/ex][/ex]
 

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Jason

Senior Member
I was just about to post that. Specifically the bit that seems to refer to the "crater 30 meters in diameter" experiment referenced by Simensen
Seems like a large explosion requires a very specific set of circumstances.[/ex][/ex]
Yes but correct me if I'm wrong, this has to deal with a furnace for smelting metals. These are very controlled conditions, and an office fire in a sky scraper wouldn't have had the same conditions. Come to think of it, there was plenty of copper wiring and plumbing running through each floor as well. It's plausible that this could've aided in the destruction of the towers, but impossible to prove 13 yrs after the fact.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Yes but correct me if I'm wrong, this has to deal with a furnace for smelting metals. These are very controlled conditions, and an office fire in a sky scraper wouldn't have had the same conditions. Come to think of it, there was plenty of copper wiring and plumbing running through each floor as well. It's plausible that this could've aided in the destruction of the towers, but impossible to prove 13 yrs after the fact.
Yes, very controlled conditions, enclosed space, high temperatures. And the instantaneous introduction of 20kg of Al into 20Kg of water, in an enclosed container, in the presence of an oxidising agent.

And look at the Force 3 explosion in China:

Before:


After:


Look pretty dramatic, but there's really very little structural damage. Basically just overpressure blowing out the walls and roof. The columns are untouched. The roof collapsed because it was lifted off its supports, not because the supports were damaged.

If such a thing happened in the WTC you would see a massive simultaneous expulsion of all the windows on one floor before the collapse started. Nothing like that was observed, so it didn't happen.
 

Jason

Senior Member
Yes, very controlled conditions, enclosed space, high temperatures. And the instantaneous introduction of 20kg of Al into 20Kg of water, in an enclosed container, in the presence of an oxidising agent.

And look at the Foce 3 explosion in China:

Before:


After:


Look pretty dramatic, but there's really very little structural damage. Basically just overpressure blowing out the walls and roof. The columns are untouched. The roof collapsed because it was lifted off its supports, not because the supports were damaged.

If such a thing happened in the WTC you would see a massive simultaneous expulsion of all the windows on one floor before the collapse started. Nothing like that was observed, so it didn't happen.
I have to agree with you that a Force 3 explosion was highly unlikely since we didn't see evidence of this prior to their collapse, but could there have been smaller explosion within the towers that could've contributed to the overall demise of the towers. It could also help explain why witnesses "thought" they heard explosions in the towers. I may be wrong but smaller force 1 & 2 explosions could easily explain away why explosions were heard. Pardon me for not knowing this, but did NIST take any of this into consideration, I mean the airplanes mass or aluminum hull..
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I have to agree with you that a Force 3 explosion was highly unlikely since we didn't see evidence of this prior to their collapse, but could there have been smaller explosion within the towers that could've contributed to the overall demise of the towers. It could also help explain why witnesses "thought" they heard explosions in the towers. I may be wrong but smaller force 1 & 2 explosions could easily explain away why explosions were heard. Pardon me for not knowing this, but did NIST take any of this into consideration, I mean the airplanes mass or aluminum hull..
I don't think water-aluminum explosions were considered as a factor. Probably because there was no evidence of any substantial explosion, and even very large explosions would not do much structural damage.
 

Redwood

Active Member
The article wasn't proposing that the bldg's were taken down by explosives, the scientist was merely pointing out that the explosions heard could've been a result of the molten aluminum coming in contact with water from the plumbing or sprinkler systems. This could explain why explosions were heard in the towers. CT's want to believe that the explosions or the collapse of the bldgs were the result of demo or thermite, but I think this makes a much better case.. His point being is that the 9/11 commission and NIST didn't take into account that the airplanes brought 30 tonnes of aluminum into the bldgs.
I wasn't suggesting that anyone was suggesting that actual explosives were used; I was explaining that a steam explosion or a hydrogen-air explosion would act like a low explosive such as black powder. (OK, maybe a medium one like ANFO.) I also pointed out that demolitions with such explosives require huge quantities, and their mode of operation is different. Think of the OKC bombing as a modern example. A huge explosion heard for miles. Sorry if I wasn't clear on this.
 

Matt50

New Member
Well the official investigation didn't factoring any aluminium into there investigation so no one knows for sure. As for the power of the explosion well it don't have to be that powerful as all it needs to do is push the beams beyond there stress limits or damage the protective coating. With out the protective coating the beam would fail in about 12 minutes.
 

Chainsaw

New Member
I doubt that steam from boiling water was a significant component of the smoke.

Discussing "30 tonnes" of aluminum makes it sound like there's a 30 tonne bomb going off. In reality any water-aluminum interaction is going to be incremental as the aluminum flows down into an area of standing water. And it's not like there are going to be swimming pools of water there. You might give rivulets of water flowing into puddles of water, but all it's going to do is splatter molten aluminum around.
Actually that may not be the case, carbon monoxide and carbon dust,
With zinc oxide, red paint chips, and superheated steam can cause quite
Localized effects that can lead to pulses of vaporized Al, the significance
Of which is unknown.
So reactions can take place with out the Al flowing in the critical
Impact zones.
Also red international paint works well to create accidental thermitic
Paint with aluminum cutting dust that can be ignited under argon gas.
That's all I wanted to say have a good day.
 

Chainsaw

New Member
I don't think water-aluminum explosions were considered as a factor. Probably because there was no evidence of any substantial explosion, and even very large explosions would not do much structural damage.
Why would you need subsancial explosions, when vaporized aluminum in air at 3000C can vaporize steel, causing damage to the structure?
 
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