# The Thermite Paint Theory

#### JohnJones

##### Member
Harrit et al. report finding red/gray chips with a thickness of 10-100 microns in WTC debris. They conjecture that these are some form of thermite. Jim Hoffman (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/thermite/explosive_residues.html) supposes that this material was painted onto the steel supports of the WTC towers and contributed to their collapse.

The same publication by Hoffman quotes a figure of about 4 MJ/kg for the energy density of thermite, and assumes a density of 4,400 kg/m^3.

The thickness of the steel in the core columns of the WTC buildings tapers as they go up (http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/arch/core.html). At the mid-section of the building it is thought to have been about two inches thick (about 5 cm).

From these data, it is straightforward to calculate the maximum increase in temperature of the columns that could result from ignition of the thermite layer. What follows is a best-case analysis: it is assumed that the thermite remains in good thermal contact with the steel throughout its reaction; all the heat from the thermite is deposited in the steel, and that there is no cooling of the steel by convection, radiation, or conduction along the column. We assume that the thickness of the nanothermite layer is the maximum thickness of the chips reported by Harrit.

Consider one square meter of column surface. The thermite layer is assumed to be 100 microns thick, so its total volume is 0.0001 m^3 and its mass is 0.44 kg. It will therefore release 1.76 MJ of energy. The same area of column corresponds to 0.05 m^3 of steel, with a mass of 400 kg. The specific heat of steel is about 500 J/kg.K. So the expected temperature increase is

Delta T = 1,760,000/(400*500) = 8.8 C

This shows that Hoffman's paint theory cannot be true.

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#### Mick West

Staff member
100 nm seems rather thin. Did you mean 100 µm? (0.1 mm)?

#### JohnJones

##### Member
100 nm seems rather thin. Did you mean 100 µm? (0.1 mm)?

Yes, I did. I've now edited the post to fix this. The calculations do assume microns rather than nanometers, so the conclusion doesn't change. (I suppose I was thinking "nanothermite, so nanometers", if that can be called thinking.) Thanks for catching this!

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#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
If nanothermite was used then most of it would have reacted so you couldn't really judge the amount used or level of thickness on the left over material .

#### Mick West

Staff member
If nanothermite was used then most of it would have reacted so you couldn't really judge the amount used or level of thickness on the left over material .

But the theory being debunked here was that painting on nanothermite would have contributed to the collapse.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Yea I understand Im just saying that it could have been thicker than 100 microns, surely it would have been thats really small

#### Mick West

Staff member
Yea I understand Im just saying that it could have been thicker than 100 microns, surely it would have been thats really small

That's how thick paint is. This thread is about nanothermite applied like paint.

#### cjnewson88

##### Member
The simple truth of it is that things like this are not required to explain why those buildings collapsed. There was plenty of heat from 8 stories of massive office fires to weaken the steel. Thermite "paint" was not needed.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Is there any evidence the steel reached temperatures high enough to fail ?

As I recall the theory was that the fireproofing was removed and replaced with a new one, I'm not sure how wide in mm's fireproofing would be but I suspect its wider than paint.

#### Cairenn

##### Senior Member.
Yes, steel doesn't have to reach melting temp to fail.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Do you have any evidence for the steel reaching temperatures enough to weaken the steel

#### jaydeehess

##### Senior Member.
Yes, steel doesn't have to reach melting temp to fail.
Though it often does have to get more than 8.8 C hotter than room temperature.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Thats why the towers in dubai keep collapsing

#### WeedWhacker

##### Senior Member
Is there any evidence the steel reached temperatures high enough to fail ?

Take of it what you will, but this YouTube video seems compelling evidence:

There are segments (and sorry, I don't have the exact time references, in the above video), where a multitude of concepts discussed. Including the one mentioned. It involves the weakening of the floor trusses, which (in the case of WTC 1 and 2) were vital to the overall structural integrity.

I know that there exist people who proclaim themselves as "9/11 Truthers" who will dispute and dismiss actual science, however it is presented.

That is their loss, IMHO.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Show scientific tests on the steel to see what temperature was achieved by the fires not speculation or computer models based on speculation, truthers do not dismiss actual science its just none was actually performed by NIST.

#### WeedWhacker

##### Senior Member
Show scientific tests on the steel to see what temperature was achieved by the fires not speculation or computer models based on speculation, truthers do not dismiss actual science its just none was actually performed by NIST.

It is uncertain to whom, or to which post, this is addressed.

Could you, please, be more specific?

#### Pete Tar

##### Senior Member.
truthers do not dismiss actual science its just none was actually performed by NIST.
Maybe you need to define 'science' in this context?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Institute_of_Standards_and_Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), is a measurement standards laboratory,
...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrology
Metrology is the science of measurement. Metrology includes all theoretical and practical aspects of measurement.
...
As part of its mission, NIST supplies industry, academia, government, and other users with over 1,300 Standard Reference Materials (SRMs). These artifacts are certified as having specific characteristics or component content, used as calibration standards for measuring equipment and procedures, quality control benchmarks for industrial processes, and experimental control samples.
...
The "World Trade Center Collapse Investigation", directed by lead investigator Shyam Sunder,[12] covered three aspects, including a technical building and fire safety investigation to study the factors contributing to the probable cause of the collapses of the WTC Towers (WTC 1 and 2) and WTC 7. NIST also established a research and development program to provide the technical basis for improved building and fire codes, standards, and practices, and a dissemination and technical assistance program to engage leaders of the construction and building community in implementing proposed changes to practices, standards, and codes. NIST also is providing practical guidance and tools to better prepare facility owners, contractors, architects, engineers, emergency responders, and regulatory authorities to respond to future disasters.
Content from External Source

#### JohnJones

##### Member
Show scientific tests on the steel to see what temperature was achieved by the fires not speculation or computer models based on speculation, truthers do not dismiss actual science its just none was actually performed by NIST.

This is drifting off-topic. This thread examines a particular claim made by 911research. Here's another 911research publication in which the same claim is made:

http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/thermite/blasting_scenario.html

Here is the relevant text from that URL [italics mine]:

• "Thermate incendiary coating compound: A mixture of aluminum powder, iron oxide powder, sulfur and other additives in a binder. Applied in a liquid form like paint, it dries to form durable coating that requires a high-temperature igniter to start the reaction by heating a spot to the 2,200ºC ignition temperature."
and

• "Aluminothermic nanocomposite sheet: A thin layer of a nanocomposite aluminothermic material laminated onto a thin brittle slab of iron oxides and hydroxides. The material deflagrates (burns gradually) when elevated to 430ºC, but detonates with high brisance only when extremely high temperature and pressure, such as provided by a micro-detonator, is applied to any part of its surface."

This "thin layer" is presumably the 10-100-micron-thick chips reported by Harrit et al. The claim that nanothermite detonates with high brisance has already been debunked by FireOfficer1822, here:

#### Mick West

Staff member
Any more off topic posts will be deleted.

New topics in new threads please. We don't need another 100 page 9/11 ramble.

#### jaydeehess

##### Senior Member.
Show scientific tests on the steel to see what temperature was achieved by the fires not speculation or computer models based on speculation, truthers do not dismiss actual science its just none was actually performed by NIST.
Fire science/fire engineering developed and utilizes computer simulation in forensics to determine temperatures reached in specific fires..
This has been the case for many years. The investigation into the fire and partial collapse of the Delft University Architectural building is one example. That determined the max compartment temp to be 950 C and that elevated temp, described as over 300 C , to have been the case in any compartment, for between 30-45 minutes.

These fire Sims are based on and utilize the knowledge gained in physical tests and the research done in a century of this field.

However, in the context of this thread it is odd that one would call for this given that no calculations, no simulations and no physical tests were performed before the thermite paint theory was put forth by Hoffman.

However, this is the same man who characterized the dust as a pyroclastic cloud and 'calculated' that it would have to have been at a temperature of several hundred degrees C in order to spread as it did. Unfortunately for that theory of his, there were survivors who were in that dust cloud thus demonstrating he was in error. That is the man who promotes this thermite paint theory.

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#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Given the abundant amount of steel debris after 911 how come NIST couldn't find steel that had temperatures of over 250c .

#### Mick West

Staff member
Given the abundant amount of steel debris after 911 how come NIST couldn't find steel that had temperatures of over 250c .

Can you A) explain the relevance to the thermite paint theory, and B) provide a reference to back up your claim.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
B)

Most steel pieces in the vicinity of the fires only reached 250c
Few pieces of steel were found to have reached 600c.
NIST uses 700c in their computer simulations yet no piece of steel was found by NIST to reach above 600c.

Relevance to A) NIST must have ignored steel that reached higher/melting temperatures and the office fires weren't capable of weakening the steel in order to collapse the building so NIST fudged the inputs to 700c

#### jaydeehess

##### Senior Member.
As to his second point, it is a miscomprehension of ehst NIST said. They checked steel from fire floors in the towers. To do that first they had to identify the original location of steel taken from the rubble. The steel in the towers had id marks stamped or painted on. Many pieces could not be positively id'd for its location because of heat damage to the markings. Thus only perimeter columns that were at lower temps could be used. The temps predicted for these columns matched the physical column's heat damage.
Its been a while because this meme is from several years ago but that how I remember it.

#### jaydeehess

##### Senior Member.
Oh, seems to me another issue was they could not use steel that had been in the hot spots uder the rubble as it would have been impossible to tell if it had been hot before being in that heat.

#### hamishsubedei

##### Member
Yes they couldn't use the steel under the rubble as it was extremely hot and or molten , what caused that heat under the rubble for so long?
Did NIST ever test a piece of steel to find temperatures that would match their computer simulations? Yes or no answer the question.

#### jaydeehess

##### Senior Member.
I won't go further off topic. You mischaracterized the topic of the steel temps. I corrected you.

#### jaydeehess

##### Senior Member.
If NIST had positively identified fire floor steel and that steel tests out as having reached a temp, any temp, and that temp is consistent with the temp predicted for that steel by the fire sim, it illustrates the veracity of the computer sim. If its correct for several samples of the steel then there is good reason to believe it is correct accross the entire compartment.

Simple concept, it dumbfounds me that others find it necessary to twist this to serve what is a political purpose.

#### Leifer

##### Senior Member.
Pardon my baffled thought on thermite paint.....but "thermite paint" applied to what ??
....the steel itself ??......back in the 70's ?

I'm not familiar with any typical procedure for coating steel in the 1970's build of the WTC.....before or during the (WTC) supporting members were installed.
This seems rather a far-fetched idea.....that a millimeter-or-so of paint can ignite a cut through a structural steel member.

#### Mick West

Staff member
This thread is about Hoffman's theory of thermite applied like paint. If your post does not directly address this theory, then do not make it.

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