Molten Steel in the Debris Pile, Cool Down Time?

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
"Molten steel" is something that 9/11 Truth theorists use as evidence of controlled demolition. They point to the hot spots in the debris, and accounts of "rivers of molten metal" days after the collapse.

The conventional explanation for the hot spots is that they were caused simply by fires.

The presence of molten steel is meant to be evidence that thermite was used to melt lots of columns.

There's various objections to this theory. But I'd like to focus on one thing: how long can steel remain liquid without an additional heat source?

There's various equations, but much depends on the surrounding environment, and how well it insulates, and possibly reflects radiated heat. But is there a practical example we can use, like cast iron?

Iron and steel are often cast in sand molds, so there should be lots of references to how long it takes to cool.

https://www.foundry-planet.com/news...ation/?cHash=4c4245b391d11df364479c2b58f69e86
That maybe says 10 tons would take "several weeks" to get to 300C. But the initial cooling is faster.

What about smaller pieces, like a cast iron pan or a wheel.
This video shows the casting of some 45kg wheels:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTr8cscmx-M

20171118-110442-9jnt8.jpg
But he does not say how long it took to cool, just that he came back "some days later".

What I would like to establish is what is an actual plausible scenario for the lifetime molten steel underground, assuming it came from the melting of columns with thermite.

Any suggestions welcome!
 
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Oystein

Senior Member
Two problem to solve first:

  1. How much liquid iron from a thermite melting attack could be expected to pool, following the collapse event? Much of it would mix with cool debris and/or get dispersed.
  2. What starting temperature is plausible? The thermite is supposed to interact with cool steel: The thermite heats the steel to either melting or failing temperature, but at the same time, the steel cools the liquid products of the thermite reaction. Unless you assume wanton inefficiency and lavish wastefulness, I think an efficient use of the thermite would could it, on average to not very much above the melting point of steel. Then, during collapse, the liquid iron mixes with other cool material, making it rather plausible that little iron remains liquid a minute after the collapse!
[...]
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The topic here is how long it would take molten steel to cool down. Please keep on topic.
 

Tomi

Member
The answer of how long it takes molten steel to cool down depends on how cold it is and how much of it there is.

I believe that most of the melting was done after the collapse in the pile. At this time you had all the constituents of a blast furnace:
  1. You had a large insulated fire...
  2. You had forced ventilation paths caused by the steel interlocking, containing air paths being fed from the bottom of the pile. With new routes being opened up every time a steel element is pulled up.
  3. You had a large source of energy.. all the paper, aluminum, plastics and electrics of the offices
  4. And as the combustible material was consumed by flames, the fire would seek new directions that came from new airpaths and new access to combustible material.
So I suspect that this was quite hot enough to melt thin sheet aluminium and steel in office furniture, ceilings, raised floors, metal ducts, wires, cables, even reinforcement. Now the question you are asking is would this melting just mix with dust and form some kind of metallic mush or would it flow. I suspect the former.

Now I suspect that if there was thermite, it would have had an insignificant impact on the total amount of combustible material. And neither do I know what materials melt or burn in furnace conditions.

But what do the truthers think should have happened?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So I suspect that this was quite hot enough to melt thin sheet aluminium and steel in office furniture, ceilings, raised floors, metal ducts, wires, cables, even reinforcement. Now the question you are asking is would this melting just mix with dust and form some kind of metallic mush or would it flow. I suspect the former.
We can suspect all we want, but some numbers are really needed.

I'm trying to establish for upper bound. Let just say there was 100 pounds of molten steel in a pool formed from concrete. How long would it stay liquid?

Can we come up with a formula for the longest steel would stay liquid, with various starting masses?

Then from there we could consider other factors. '
 

Tomi

Member
We can suspect all we want, but some numbers are really needed.

I'm trying to establish for upper bound. Let just say there was 100 pounds of molten steel in a pool formed from concrete. How long would it stay liquid?

Can we come up with a formula for the longest steel would stay liquid, with various starting masses?

Then from there we could consider other factors. '
I am not sure there is any real difference between suspecting something and making up some numbers about something.

But let's do it your way. So a 100 lbs of liquid steel is a 60mm (2.25in )plate by 1ft x 1ft

If it's molten it would be at around 1300 to 1500 deg C. So if it stayed in a highly insulated furnace like the pile and was continually heated, it could stay like that for weeks So it is much less dependant on its own properties than the environment that it's in. So a waft of cool air and the top surface would immediately freeze. And the plate would remelt if heat was added or progressively freeze with time if heat was not added

Now in making up these numbers I expect you know that concrete cannot reach 1500 deg and would disintegrate. So the container for molten steel could not be concrete. Perhaps it should be a steel container and if it was steel then the steel would either melt with the liquid steel or would be bonded to it.

Or much much more likely as the molten steel drops down it sometimes freezes and sometimes mixes with floor dust and sometimes continues to flow. As it drips down it could help to set alight unconsumed debris adding more heat. But highly likely to create a mushy or lumpy steel dust mixture.
 

NobleOne

Member
We can suspect all we want, but some numbers are really needed.

I'm trying to establish for upper bound. Let just say there was 100 pounds of molten steel in a pool formed from concrete. How long would it stay liquid?

Can we come up with a formula for the longest steel would stay liquid, with various starting masses?

Then from there we could consider other factors. '
I think we need analytic chemistry expert here if we want some answers.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
If it's molten it would be at around 1300 to 1500 deg C. So if it stayed in a highly insulated furnace like the pile and was continually heated, it could stay like that for weeks
Based on what? Sure, if it's big enough. We know very roughly that small amount of molten steel will solidify in seconds, several tons will cool in weeks, but at what point is it no longer liquid? And how is it continually heated?

I don't want to make up numbers. I want actual numbers that we can show to people. We know it seems highly implausible that there would be some mechanism that would make a river of molten steel under the pile, hours or days after the collapse. There's only a few general ways to explain a river of molten steel.

  1. Massive amounts of thermite melted tons of steel before the collapse, this collected in a large pool, which was later disturbed during recovery efforts, and flowed down to a lower level.
  2. Thermite that accidentally did not go off was somehow ignited later, causing a brief river of molten steel.
  3. Ordinary underground fires created blast furnace conditions that melted steel.
  4. It wasn't a river of molten steel, it was something like lead, aluminum or glass. Verbal descriptions did not match reality.
Now obviously #4 is the sensible choice. But people are convinced it was #1 or #2, and mostly, I think, #1. So it would be useful to put some numbers on this. When was this river of molten steel reported? How big a pool of molten steel would be required to create a flow after than amount of time had passed?

There are obviously other issues - like molten steel dropping and flowing through debris would cool rapidly. You could sidestep that by saying something like some core columns in the basement were melted down.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
It might be worth adding to this thread that it is simply impossible to identify a molten metal by its appearance without also knowing its exact temperature. This is because the color of any molten metal is a function of its temperature, a function that we can understand and evaluate using various laws relating to black body radiation. Not even a fireman who was very experienced generally in fire events could deduce the composition of a random molten substance unless he knew its exact temperature. Understanding this means you have to take any witness statement re the composition of a molten substance with a grain of salt. In the case of the fire fighters at ground zero, I suspect they were simply using an availability heuristic when making their claims of seeing molten steel (i.e., since they were surrounded by tons and tons and tons of steel, they simply assumed the molten substance they saw was also steel).
 

deirdre

Senior Member
steel melts (according to sources I see) at 2750F.

according to this, to manipulate the ingot (an ingot is solid but 'soft') you need 2200F
upload_2017-11-20_14-14-7.png

weren't there satellite heat signatures taken? were they as high as 2200 degreesF?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
AE911 has collected all the eyewitness accounts they could find:
https://www.ae911truth.org/images/PDFs/Molten_Steel_Witnesses_FINAL_3_14_16_v2.pdf


The most commonly cited one is:
Fixed video:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQyIN6OTMyY

(he actually says "channel rails", not "channel rail").

What's a channel rail? And could molten steel have run down it without almost instantly cooling? I'm thinking channel rails would likely be the metal deck that made up the floor panel?
upload_2017-11-20_12-52-4.png
I suppose if you had a lot of molten metal, and you poured it down there, it would run down to an extent. Of course it would also leave a coating.

The account though seem more to suggest some active fires causing the melting, not fires caused by days old molten steel.
 

Redwood

Active Member
AE911 has collected all the eyewitness accounts they could find:
https://www.ae911truth.org/images/PDFs/Molten_Steel_Witnesses_FINAL_3_14_16_v2.pdf


The most commonly cited one is:
Fixed video:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQyIN6OTMyY

(he actually says "channel rails", not "channel rail").

What's a channel rail? And could molten steel have run down it without almost instantly cooling? I'm thinking channel rails would likely be the metal deck that made up the floor panel?
View attachment 30223
I suppose if you had a lot of molten metal, and you poured it down there, it would run down to an extent. Of course it would also leave a coating.

The account though seem more to suggest some active fires causing the melting, not fires caused by days old molten steel.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Mr. Ruvolo here describing conditions under WTC 6? Which poses real complications?
 

deirdre

Senior Member
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Mr. Ruvolo here describing conditions under WTC 6? Which poses real complications?
in the video he says "here", (so not 6) but without seeing the full documentary not sure if he is pointing to what he later describes. I cant tell what the FF at 5 seconds is saying.
tt.JPG
 

Tomi

Member
Based on what? Sure, if it's big enough. We know very roughly that small amount of molten steel will solidify in seconds, several tons will cool in weeks, but at what point is it no longer liquid? And how is it continually heated?

I don't want to make up numbers. I want actual numbers that we can show to people. We know it seems highly implausible that there would be some mechanism that would make a river of molten steel under the pile, hours or days after the collapse. There's only a few general ways to explain a river of molten steel.

  1. Massive amounts of thermite melted tons of steel before the collapse, this collected in a large pool, which was later disturbed during recovery efforts, and flowed down to a lower level.
  2. Thermite that accidentally did not go off was somehow ignited later, causing a brief river of molten steel.
  3. Ordinary underground fires created blast furnace conditions that melted steel.
  4. It wasn't a river of molten steel, it was something like lead, aluminum or glass. Verbal descriptions did not match reality.
Now obviously #4 is the sensible choice. But people are convinced it was #1 or #2, and mostly, I think, #1. So it would be useful to put some numbers on this. When was this river of molten steel reported? How big a pool of molten steel would be required to create a flow after than amount of time had passed?

There are obviously other issues - like molten steel dropping and flowing through debris would cool rapidly. You could sidestep that by saying something like some core columns in the basement were melted down.
I think the main thing you underestimate is the scale. This was not an "ordinary underground fire". It was a massive well aerated pile of combustible material, covered in a thick coating of insulation. All the conditions needed for a spectacularly large blast furnace.

I seem to remember the estimate of combustible material was 40kg/sqm so that would be 16,000 tonnes per tower. So if the goal was to keep a small plate hot for a few weeks, that would not be difficult.

If you had molten steel then you would also have had molten tin, molten lead, molten glass, molten aluminium etc. Or the Al would have itself burnt. I,m not sure what happens in a furnace.

So what did the fireman see.. Could have been any of the above, or it could have been water. ? I am sure all the water did not evaporate, some went in.! It is difficult to imagine that a fireman could have seen molten steel, as the air temperature to create these conditions would be very hot. Perhaps when he says channel rail, he may mean running down an I section.

Since sightings of liquid "steel" were very rare, its difficult to do any analysis.
 

JohnJones

Member
I don't want to make up numbers. I want actual numbers that we can show to people. We know it seems highly implausible that there would be some mechanism that would make a river of molten steel under the pile, hours or days after the collapse. There's only a few general ways to explain a river of molten steel.

  1. Massive amounts of thermite melted tons of steel before the collapse, this collected in a large pool, which was later disturbed during recovery efforts, and flowed down to a lower level.
  2. Thermite that accidentally did not go off was somehow ignited later, causing a brief river of molten steel.
  3. Ordinary underground fires created blast furnace conditions that melted steel.
  4. It wasn't a river of molten steel, it was something like lead, aluminum or glass. Verbal descriptions did not match reality.
Now obviously #4 is the sensible choice. But people are convinced it was #1 or #2, and mostly, I think, #1. So it would be useful to put some numbers on this. When was this river of molten steel reported? How big a pool of molten steel would be required to create a flow after than amount of time had passed?
We can do a calculation that will set an upper limit on the longest time that a given mass of steel can remain molten. Since we want an upper limit, whenever we have a range of plausible values for a parameter, we should choose that value that keeps the steel molten longest.

We can assume that the molten metal is in the form of a sphere. This is the shape that will keep it warm longest, and it will make the math easier. The sphere of molten metal is then wrapped in a uniform shell of crushed brick, and the outer surface of the shell is at atmospheric temperature.

So the variables we need to plug in are:

Greatest plausible mass of steel, M kg
greatest plausible thickness of shell of crushed brick, x meters
lowest plausible bulk conductivity of crushed brick, k W/m.K
maximum plausible initial temperature of steel, T K

(I suppose we could use the combustion temperature of thermite. Oystein has pointed out, earlier in the thread, that efficient use of thermite would give us a pool of molten steel at just above melting point, in which case it would all solidify rather quickly. But using the thermite combustion temperature would certainly give us an upper limit.)

We would also need the physical properties of steel, which can easily be looked up.

A potential problem with this model is that we're going to end up with a ball of steel that's solid on the outside and liquid inside, rather like the Earth. But we can ask, "For how long is there still liquid steel within, say, 1 centimeter of the surface?", supposing that a sufficiently thin solid surface could be easily ruptured by a digger to release a flow of molten metal.

Do we agree that this is a reasonable approach? If we agree on plausible values for the input variables, I believe a closed-form solution can be found somewhere in Carlsaw and Jaeger, Conduction of Heat in Solids.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Do we agree that this is a reasonable approach? If we agree on plausible values for the input variables, I believe a closed-form solution can be found somewhere in Carlsaw and Jaeger, Conduction of Heat in Solids.
It would be a good starting point.

I'm surprised there isn't an easily referenced guide for thing like how long it takes for cast iron to cool down inside a mold.
 

JohnJones

Member
It would be a good starting point.
There is a tradeoff between the parameters M, the initial mass of molten steel, and T, its initial temperature. We can either let M be the mass of the thermite and T the thermite combustion temperature of about 2,500 C, or we can let M be the mass of (the thermite plus some melted structural steel), in which case T will be somewhere between 2,500 C and the melting point of steel, around 1,400 C. Either approach should give about the same answer, since in both cases we're dealing with the same amount of energy. Let's take the former approach. What is the greatest mass of thermite that could plausibly have been planted in one of the towers?

I'm going to start with a figure of 10 tons, and make the further assumption that, even though the thermite is putatively distributed into a number of different charges in different parts of the building, all the molten iron flows down and collects in a single spherical blob. A large fraction of the thermite will turn to aluminum oxide and be lost, but we will ignore this and assume an initial 10-ton sphere of molten iron at 2,500 C.

The density of molten iron is around 7,000 kg/m^3, so 10,000 kg of iron occupies about 1.3 m^3, in the form of a sphere with a diameter of about 1.2 m. This sphere is surrounded by rubble, mostly crushed concrete. Steve Dutch at the University of Wisconsin calculates (see https://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/911NutPhysics1.HTM) that the crushed concrete fills the 18-m-deep bathtub below the towers and forms a pile about 15 m above the top of the bathtub.

We can now simplify a bit. Steel is a good conductor (k = 50 W/m.C) compared with crushed concrete (k = 1 W/m.C), so we will assume that all the molten steel is at a uniform temperature at any moment. We neglect any heat lost due to radiation, since we assume the crushed concrete is opaque to radiation.

Given the great thickness of the crushed concrete layer compared with the molten iron blob, I think we could approximate this as an infinite expanse of crushed concrete, initially at 0 C, surrounding a sphere of iron of diameter 1.2 m, initially at 2,500 C. (I accept that 0 C is too cold for the New York atmosphere, but it's a small adjustment and it makes the math easier.)

So heat will flow out of the iron quickly at first, more slowly as the crushed concrete warms up. If we look at a time interval short enough that the temperature of the iron is still around 2,500 C, the temperature of the crushed concrete at a distance r meters from the centre of the iron blob is

T = (0.6 * 2,500/r) erfc ((r-a)/2sqrt(alpha * t))

(This is equation 9.10.2 from Carslaw and Jaeger, Conduction of Heat in Solids, where "erfc" is the complementary error function, "alpha" is the thermal diffusivity of crushed concrete, 9*10^{-7} m^2/s, and t is time elapsed.)

We plot this for a piece of crushed concrete at 0.01 m out from the surface of the blob:

Concrete temperature.jpeg


This looks reasonable: the concrete heats up, then approaches a steady-state temperature. If we evaluate the temperature at two points a short distance apart, we can also calculate the rate at which heat is flowing away from the blob:

Heat Flow.jpeg

So the rate of cooling of the blob falls with time, and after 20,000 seconds (about 5.5 hours), it is cooling at about 100,000 W. How long would it take to congeal?

It has to lose (10,000) * c * (2500-1400) J, where c is the specific heat of iron, about 400 J/kg.C.

This is 4.4 GJ, so at a cooling rate of 100,000 W, it will congeal after 44,000 seconds, which is about 12 hours.

This is a crude calculation, but most of the approximations have favored longer cooling times, so I think this is sufficient to show that we would not expect molten iron to be present weeks after the collapse.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
What gets me confused when piecing such formulas together from Wikipedia articles (which I have to do in lieu of studying thermodynamics since I have no real access to a good science library) is to wrap my head about the what properties of the surrounding material need to be plugged in somewhere. I have a gut feeling that the heat capacity of the debris would play a role, not only its heat conductivity - or is capacity somehow taken care of in the conductivity? For the debris heats up; the higher its capacity the more energy it can suck out of the steel per K of its own temperature increase.
 

JohnJones

Member
What gets me confused when piecing such formulas together from Wikipedia articles (which I have to do in lieu of studying thermodynamics since I have no real access to a good science library) is to wrap my head about what properties of the surrounding material need to be plugged in somewhere. I have a gut feeling that the heat capacity of the debris would play a role, not only its heat conductivity - or is capacity somehow taken care of in the conductivity? For the debris heats up; the higher its capacity the more energy it can suck out of the steel per K of its own temperature increase.
Your gut feeling is correct, the heat capacity of the debris does play a role. Specifically, it features in the parameter "alpha", the thermal diffusivity of the debris. Thermal diffusivity is defined as

alpha = thermal conductivity / (density * specific heat capacity)

It also now occurs to me that we should include the latent heat of fusion for some of the molten iron, since molten iron at 1,400 C still needs to give up some energy to turn into solid iron at 1,400 C. We don't want all the iron to solidify, since we're trying to match observer reports of "streams of molten metal", but we could imagine a 2-cm skin of solid iron on the outer surface of our blob of molten metal. This skin could then be ruptured by a digger to release a flow of molten iron from within.

Mass of a 2-cm skin of solid iron at the surface of a 0.6-m radius ball = 4 pi * 0.6^2 * 0.02 * 7000 kg

= 600 kg

Latent heat of fusion of iron = 272 kJ/kg

So we have to get rid of about 172 MJ on top of the 4.4 GJ already accounted for. This is a minor adjustment and does not change our conclusion that 12 hours is an upper limit for finding any molten metal left over from 10 tons of thermite.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This is a minor adjustment and does not change our conclusion that 12 hours is an upper limit for finding any molten metal left over from 10 tons of thermite.
Cool, so we could work backwards from that see what contrived situation you'd need to get 10 tons of molton iron in a neat blob in the first place.

Firstly, that's 10 tons of iron, not thermite, like you said?

A large fraction of the thermite will turn to aluminum oxide and be lost, but we will ignore this and assume an initial 10-ton sphere of molten iron at 2,500 C.
Looks like the resultant mass is about 50/50 Iron/Alumina.
http://www.thermobook.net/stoichiometry/
20171124-085011-on72q.jpg
Of course that's also +heat, which melts the steel.

But what actually happens when you cut steel with thermite? Can you actually make a river of molten steel even in the most contrived situation (burning thermite seconds earlier). It seems in mostl the examples I've seen a relative small amount of molten material cools to non-liquid form in seconds or minutes.

Here's 1000 pounds of thermite cutting a car in half. Now of course this is not "nano thermite", but still illustrative: In particular how long it takes.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIpa1K51os4

20171124-090533-yk8he.jpg

Hard to tell what remains in terms of molten steel.

There was discussion of the difference between thermite and nanothermite here:
https://www.metabunk.org/nanothermite-vs-thermite-thermate-for-cutting-thick-steel.t2873/

Burning nanothermite is the same chemical reaction as thermite, just faster. Physically that would mean locall more heat in a shorter period of time, but also more kinetic energy spraying things around like a firework. Since the usage of nanothermite is largely theoretical it allows for some speculation. But what would have to happen? A large amount of heat in a short period of time? There's a variety of factors, but if you simply introduce a lot of heat to three inches of steel plate you don't get a neat puddle of molten steel, you get slow melting, or an explosion.

One of the proponents of the nano-thermite theory estimates the amount of nano-thermite as "100s of tons"
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5RDvs1ZGlc
 

JohnJones

Member
Cool, so we could work backwards from that see what contrived situation you'd need to get 10 tons of molten iron in a neat blob in the first place.

Firstly, that's 10 tons of iron, not thermite, like you said?

One of the proponents of the nano-thermite theory estimates the amount of nano-thermite as "100s of tons"
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5RDvs1ZGlc
My calculations are based on 10 tons of iron, which would correspond to about 20 tons of thermite.

I haven't tried to keep track of what would actually happen when the thermite reacts in contact with structural steel. The crucial point is that an analysis based on the assumption that the reacting thermite forms an isolated molten blob gives us the highest value for the length of time the iron can stay molten, and thus provides an upper bound to any other analysis.

I've slightly modified the analysis presented above for greater accuracy: instead of taking the asymptotic value of Q, the rate of heat loss, I now integrate the graph labelled "Q=kAdT/dr" to get the total loss of heat over time. I've also corrected my calculation of "A", the surface area of the sphere.

With this modification, I've calculated the cooling times for various initial masses of iron:

For an initial 10 tons of iron (about 20 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 0.7 m. The initial energy content is 4.4 GJ, and it will cool to 1400 C in about 30,000 seconds, or just over 8 hours.

For an initial 100 tons of iron (about 200 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 1.5 m. The initial energy content is 44 GJ, and it will cool to 1400 C in about 280,000 seconds, or 3 and a quarter days.

For an initial 1,000 tons of iron (about 2,000 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 3.2 m. The initial energy content is 440 GJ, and it will cool to 1400 C in just under 14 days

I have an Excel spreadsheet with the above calculations, which I can provide to anyone who'd like to check for errors.
 

JohnJones

Member
On checking my calculations, I found an error: The solution I took from Carslaw and Jaeger is based on the assumption that the temperature at the surface of the molten metal is fixed, whereas in fact it goes down as the metal cools, reducing the rate of heat loss. I've scaled down the rate of heat loss to take this into account, with the result that the times taken to cool to 1400 C increase. Here are my revised figures:

For an initial 10 tons of iron (about 20 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 0.7 m, which will cool to 1400 C in about 74,000 seconds, or just over 20 hours.

For an initial 100 tons of iron (about 200 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 1.5 m, which will cool to 1400 C in about 330,000 seconds, or just under 4 days.

For an initial 1,000 tons of iron (about 2,000 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 3.2 m, which will cool to 1400 C in just under 18 days
 

Tomi

Member
......

For an initial 10 tons of iron (about 20 tons of thermite) we get an initial spherical blob of molten iron of radius 0.7 m, which will cool to 1400 C in about 74,000 seconds, or just over 20 hours.
So what temperature did you assume as the base temperature within the pile. ?
 

John85

Member
So what temperature did you assume as the base temperature within the pile. ?
Good question. As in, what temp did the molten iron start off at? Clearly, the hotter we presume it was, the longer it stays molten. Or I suppose the question there is what temp was the surrounding rubble at, given that an iron temp of 2,500 degrees C was used, I believe, per the above posts.
 

JohnJones

Member
Good question. As in, what temp did the molten iron start off at? Clearly, the hotter we presume it was, the longer it stays molten. Or I suppose the question there is what temp was the surrounding rubble at, given that an iron temp of 2,500 degrees C was used, I believe, per the above posts.
Yes, 2,500 C for the initial temperature of the molten iron -- this is about the temperature of freshly-reacted thermite, before it's melted any structural steel. We can analyze the case where it's melted some structural steel, but this will just give us a larger, cooler, blob, which will solidify more quickly.

I assume the debris pile is at environmental temperature (rounded off to 0 C to simplify the math). Obviously there were in fact extensive fires, but I'm trying to analyze Alternative 1 of the four alternatives Mick presented in an earlier post:

There's only a few general ways to explain a river of molten steel.

  1. Massive amounts of thermite melted tons of steel before the collapse, this collected in a large pool, which was later disturbed during recovery efforts, and flowed down to a lower level.
  2. Thermite that accidentally did not go off was somehow ignited later, causing a brief river of molten steel.
  3. Ordinary underground fires created blast furnace conditions that melted steel.
  4. It wasn't a river of molten steel, it was something like lead, aluminum or glass. Verbal descriptions did not match reality.
Certainly if we postulate a debris pile heated by sufficiently intense ordinary underground fires (Alternative 3), we can keep the steel molten as long as we like. But we are attempting to debunk the argument "People saw molten steel weeks after the event, so that is proof of thermite!" This argument loses its force if its proponents need to invoke intense ordinary underground fires to keep the thermite molten.
 

John85

Member
Yes, 2,500 C for the initial temperature of the molten iron -- this is about the temperature of freshly-reacted thermite, before it's melted any structural steel. We can analyze the case where it's melted some structural steel, but this will just give us a larger, cooler, blob, which will solidify more quickly.

I assume the debris pile is at environmental temperature (rounded off to 0 C to simplify the math). Obviously there were in fact extensive fires, but I'm trying to analyze Alternative 1 of the four alternatives Mick presented in an earlier post:

Certainly if we postulate a debris pile heated by sufficiently intense ordinary underground fires (Alternative 3), we can keep the steel molten as long as we like. But we are attempting to debunk the argument "People saw molten steel weeks after the event, so that is proof of thermite!" This argument loses its force if its proponents need to invoke intense ordinary underground fires to keep the thermite molten.
Gotcha. Call me an empiricist but I'd go the other way around, at least partly, and start with what the witnesses saw, whether they were in a position to know what they were talking about, and how reliable they were as individuals. That'll tell us when the so-called molten metal was seen.

Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition Inc, responsible for the cleanup of the WTC site, is quoted as saying:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy_jMrJGF9M

2:50-3:34

I don't think anyone on here is going to claim that Mark Loizeaux was an unreliable witness who didn't know what he was looking at. He is also not a proponent of controlled demolition, so his testimony was not motivated by a desire to exaggerate the temperatures found in support of thermite.

I know what molten steel found a month later means to me, but this thread is more about what it means to skeptics of the 9/11 truth movement. It's over to you guys.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
@John85, the base premise of this thread is that liquid iron has been found in the rubble after the collapses, so no need to quibble with that - it's granted to you for the sake of argument.

The question then is: when and where was this melt created? Before/during the collapses high up in the towers, or after collapse in the rubble pile?

If, as the Loiseaux quote would suggest, iron was liquid weeks after, but it can be shown that any iron that was liquid at collapse time must have solidified within hours, then this witness testimony would imply iron melted long after the collapse due to conditions in the pile, and cannot (as some Truthers insinuate) have been created as part of a demolition sequence.

It's back to you guys.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think anyone on here is going to claim that Mark Loizeaux was an unreliable witness who didn't know what he was looking at.
He never saw molten steel

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/alt.alien.visitors/-Nz_7DpwH58/TiVwcAaQ798J
 

John85

Member
He never saw molten steel

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/alt.alien.visitors/-Nz_7DpwH58/TiVwcAaQ798J
He was nonetheless confident enough to report it, and then, when asked by Mr Bryan, to confirm what he had heard in writing, as well as indicate the existence of photo and video evidence that supported it. Unreliable?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
He was nonetheless confident enough to report it, and then, when asked by Mr Bryan, to confirm what he had heard in writing, as well as indicate the existence of photo and video evidence that supported it. Unreliable?
Yes, he's not a steel foundry worker or a materials scientist. And this is getting off topic.
 

Oystein

Senior Member
Again, @John85, this thread gives you the premise of molten steel for free. No need to discuss the reliability of testimony for it.

This thread discusses how long before its discovery any molten iron can have melted, at a maximum.

If Loiseaux workers indeed saw molten steel three or more weeks after the collapses, but we can show that even a large amount of molten steel under ideal conditions solidifies within hours, then we can conclude that this steel did not melt on 9/11. This is a problem for those Truthers who believe that somehow liquid iron was produced on 9/11 as part of a means to destroy the towers.
 

Tomi

Member
If there was molten steel then there was molten lead and molten other things.

The smaller the steel the easier it is to heat and the easier it is to melt. So filing cabinets at .2mm thick or steel cable trays could be dripping whenever there was enough local heat.

If the pile acted like a blast furnace because
1. it was well insulated, by dust and muck and water
2 the pile was well ventilated by a jumble of steel creating interconnected air paths
3 the pile flames were supported by enormous quantities of compacted flammable material
4. and as the combustible material was consumed it would create new air paths.

Thus local dripping of thin material would be expected when the flames reached them. That is why the debris removed largely consisted of large bits of steel and black burnt mush

Filing cabinets, office furniture, gypsum walls, paper, people, ceilings, ducts, cables, computers, wires, concrete, rebar, all but disappeared. That is not to say that they did not exist... but most of them performed exactly as if they had been in a blast furnace for a short period... which they had
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
If there was molten steel then there was molten lead and molten other things.

The smaller the steel the easier it is to heat and the easier it is to melt. So filing cabinets at .2mm thick or steel cable trays could be dripping whenever there was enough local heat.

If the pile acted like a blast furnace because
1. it was well insulated, by dust and muck and water
2 the pile was well ventilated by a jumble of steel creating interconnected air paths
3 the pile flames were supported by enormous quantities of compacted flammable material
4. and as the combustible material was consumed it would create new air paths.

Thus local dripping of thin material would be expected when the flames reached them. That is why the debris removed largely consisted of large bits of steel and black burnt mush

Filing cabinets, office furniture, gypsum walls, paper, people, ceilings, ducts, cables, computers, wires, concrete, rebar, all but disappeared. That is not to say that they did not exist... but most of them performed exactly as if they had been in a blast furnace for a short period... which they had
This all seems rather speculative. Can we stay on the topic of molten steel cool-down time?
 

Tomi

Member
I disagree can you tell me what you believe is speculation

It is also completely on topic which was "how long can steel stay molten " as it describes where molten steel will come from and how it long it will stay molten which depends on its thickness and heat input

But I will let you get back to your speculation about 100 ton balls of molten steel cooling to zero deg C in the burning pile.
 

deirdre

Senior Member
But I will let you get back to your speculation about 100 ton balls of molten steel cooling to zero deg C in the burning pile.
he isn't speculating about 100 ton balls. He is looking to determine cool down time for various sizes of molten pools or rivers. He picked a random size (as an example) to start off with.

Feel free to tell us, with supporting evidence, the cool down time of these supposed file cabinet drips. (and we'll need to know the mass of these drips).


add: meaning, he wants help researching ACTUAL cool down times (in the literature) for molten steel. ANY molten steel not a specific 'size' at this point.
 
Last edited:

Fromage

New Member
AE911 has collected all the eyewitness accounts they could find:
https://www.ae911truth.org/images/PDFs/Molten_Steel_Witnesses_FINAL_3_14_16_v2.pdf

What's a channel rail? And could molten steel have run down it without almost instantly cooling? I'm thinking channel rails would likely be the metal deck that made up the floor panel?
I asked myself that question a few months ago, and my research seemed to indicate that "channel rail" was a relatively light U-channel member used to hold vertical panels in place. Often used in construction where the building "skin" is prefabricated panels - but not prefab structural steel panels in the case of WTC1/2. Or sometimes with glass panels (which generally means they're not very big)

The excerpt gives no real indication of where they saw this. My (and many other people apparently) assumption is that they're probably referring the "cascade" of "melted stuff" from around the 80th floor.

My best guess is that the two firemen in question confused the construction method and thought that the "spill" of molten metal was running thru a channel, but it was just a low point in the floor.

Under most conditions, I suspect that bulk flow of lots of molten metal WILL heat up a light channel enough to not block itself. But obviously, an aluminum channel trying to transport molten steel won't last very long. Probably not long enough to see molten steel "running down it".
 
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