Arabs and Osama
First Time in History
The Fires
The Twin Towers
World Trade Cener 7
The Free Fall Fallacy
Molten Steel Explained
Sounds of Explosions
The Firemans Quotes
Civil Engineers Quotes
Peer Reviewed Paper
Professor Steven E Jones
Massive Conspriracy
The Real Conspiracy
Government Planning
The 911 Zogby Poll
Debunking 911 Links

Rethinking Thermite

One of the pieces of evidence conspiracy theorists use to say the buildings were brought down is a photo with something they interpret as being left behind by a thermite reaction.

There are a number of things they claim with this photo. One is the timeline. They say the photo has firemen which means this was during the rescue operation which only lasted two weeks. Why would they have fireman after the rescue operations? This suggests to them that the cut on the columns were made very close to September 11. The suggestion here is that it was done during the collapse.

They claim that the angle of the cut can't be created by a welding tool and/or is designed to have the building fall in a certain direction.

The other is a yellow substance they claim is residue from a thermite reaction.

Let's examine these claims one by one to see where the evidence takes us...

Timeline and Firemen

The rescue operation took about two weeks. They figured anyone left alive would have died by then anyway, so they started clean up operations and body recovery. During this time there was always at least 50 policemen and 50 firemen left on the scene to recover their fallen brothers. There were even more than that on ground zero until the city of NY told them to leave in November 2001. The city couldn't justify risking the health of 150 police and fireman for body recovery. In fact there was a protest about it which ended with the mayor allowing 50 members of each department on the scene.

Citing safety concerns, Giuliani had sought to scale back the number of firefighters working at ground zero to 25. At one point there had been as many as 150 firefighters and police officers at the site.

The decision angered firefighters still mourning the loss of 343 colleagues in the attacks. Many bodies have not been recovered, and the firefighters said they wanted to help find the remains of their friends and colleagues.

The number of firefighters working at the site was increased to 50 on Thursday.


Below are photos of firemen well after September 11.


December 15th 2001

So the fact that there are firemen in the photo doesn't mean anything. That cut could have been done at any time during the clean up and recovery. Lets not forget the building went down some 6 stories underground. The firemen were recovering bodies mainly from the core and some were in the lobby when it happened. So it's not unreasonable to expect firemen there well after the event. Long enough for an ironworker to cut the column.

Angle and yellow residue

Another point is the angle of the cut. The argument here is that it suggests the column was cut at an angle so the building fell in a certain direction, like a tree. But is it possible the column was cut at an angle so just the column fell in a certain direction during cleanup? This can't be, surely the scholars would have asked an ironworker or someone else on the scene. I bet there isn't one photograph someone can find on the internet of a column which is cut at an angle. Remember, we're talking about "Scholars" here.

Once again, a close up of their column...

Maybe I'm being a little unfair. Maybe I just happened to get this from some obscure site. Maybe I work for the government and have a stash of photos the scholars aren't privy to... No, actually I got this from the same place the scholars got their photo.

Scholars Photo:

The above photo

Note the yellow smoke and residue left behind by the ironworker.

Thermite in general makes an ugly hole with molten metal drips/blobs. It doesn't make clean cuts. It's a powder that undergoes a violent chemical reaction as seen in the video below.


Note how much thermite is used. The pot is about a liter, but how much thermite is that?

Stoichiometric thermite requires 2 moles of Al per 1 mole of Fe2O3

2Al + Fe2O3 = Al2O3 + 2Fe

2 moles of Al weigh 54 g
1 mole of Fe2O3 weighs 160 g

density of Al=2.64 g/cc
density of Fe2O3=5.24 g/cc

54 grams of Al is equivalent to 20.5 cc of Al.
160g of Fe2O3 is equivalent to 30.5 cc of Fe2O3

Therefore, 51 cc of fully dense powder of 20.5 cc Al and 30.5 cc Fe2O3 weighs (54+160) g = 214 g.

A volume of 1000 cc would weigh (1000/51)*214 = 4.2 kg

For a powder packing density of 50%, the powder would weigh:

0.5*4.2 kg = 2.1 kg = 4.8 lb

That much just to burn a small hole in a small car engine. I bet it's even an aluminum block but lets say it isn't. How much do you think it would take to burn a massive core column? Then add enough to burn for 6 weeks! You see where we're going. You'd need tons.

Here's a Debunking911 Fun Fact!

How much mass would be required to produce molten iron from thermite equal to the same volume of molten aluminum droplets shown flowing from the south tower window:

A mole of Fe weighs 54 g. For every mole of Fe produced by thermite, one mole of Al and 0.5 mole of Fe2O3 is needed.

2Al + Fe2O3 = Al2O3 + 2Fe

One mole of Al weighs 27 g. 0.5 mole of Fe2O3 weighs 80 g.

Therefore, (27 + 80) g = 107 g of Al and Fe2O3 is needed to produce 54 g of Fe.

That means the mass of the reactants to that of Fe produced is a ratio of 107/54 = 2. The mass of thermite reactants (Al, Fe2O3) is twice that of the molten iron produced.

Comparing the weight of molten aluminum droplets compared with iron:

Iron is 7.9 g/cc. Aluminum is 2.64 g/cc. Fe is denser than Al by a factor of 3. For the same volume of droplets, Fe would have three times the mass as Al.

To produce the iron from thermite requires a reactant mass that is a factor of 2 more than the iron produced. Also, Fe is 3 times as dense as Al. So, it would take 2*3 = 6 times as much mass to produce the same volume of molten iron droplets from thermite compared with molten aluminum droplets.


Assume 3000 lbs of aluminum fell from the towers. If it had been molten iron produced by thermite, then 6*3000 = 18,000 lbs of thermite reactants would have been required to produce that same volume of falling mass.

Suppose 10 tons of molten aluminum fell from the south tower, about 1/8th of that available from the airplane. If it had been molten iron produced from thermite, 60 tons of thermite reactants would have to have been stored in Fuji Bank to produce the same volume spilling out of the south tower. The section of floor would have to hold all of that plus the aircraft.

*Amount of aluminum can be ascertained by counting the droplets and measuring their size compared to the known size of the window. It's not easy to get a good number on this. It's based on the number of slugs seen in video stills, their size relative to the window width which was about 22 inches, and the density of aluminum, assuming this was aluminum.


The weight of a gallon of aluminum is about 22.5 pounds. A hundred of these would already be 2250 lbs. A gallon size is not unlike the size of the slugs that were pouring out the window. Look at them relative to the window size. They look small at first, but when you realize how big the towers were, the slugs were fairly large. It must have been in the thousands of pounds.

Some of the
video stills show what look like 50 to 100 slugs in just one frame.

The thermite wouldn't have only needed to make a clean cut like the photo above, it would have also needed to cut sideways. Not an easy feat for thermite. You see, it's a powder which burns chaotically. Maybe with some device but no working device has been proven to me to work to cut a vertical column. You can direct it with a canister but that method wouldn't work to cut a column. The canister only makes a small hole. Nano-thermite has been talked about but its uses fall far short of cutting these massive columns. It's in its research stage. They include possible uses for welding molecular devices and possible use as a heat signature flare decoy. Then there is a patent of a device which has been brought up but as of yet, there is no evidence the idea went any further. Does it even work? Even if it did, they are "Ganged" together to make the cut. You would still need these boxes all over the columns. Once again the answer to this from the "scholars" is "rationalized technology". They need this technology to exist so it exists. There is some secret super thermite which can be placed in a canister which can survive 1,100 degree C so the primary charge doesn't go off. "Gee debunking, you're so dumb."


Steven Jones:

Actually, the metal-cutting device employing thermite is well known and documented; see the paper by Robert Moore published three months ago (January 2007) in the Journal of 9/11 Studies:
Furthermore, there is a demonstration of a “device employing thermite” cutting through a metal rod, here.

Yet another absurd comparison from Jones. A small metal rod is NOT the same as a large column. See how large that canister is compared to that small metal rod? The canister in that video, while being enough to cut the vertical rod, will only cut a small hole into a vertical WTC column. (Something I said long ago. See bold text above) For the towers columns to have been cut by a similar device you would need much larger canisters wrapped around the buildings at this scale. Absurd!

If Jones wants to salvage what credibility he thinks he has left, he MUST show us a working device which uses thermite and cuts a sizable hollow column. It MUST also be small enough to do the job yet hide from the average World Trade Center worker. Anything less is an attempt to deceive the public.


Another of the many examples of deceptive photos produced by the "scholars" and  cataloged on this site is the photo of firemen hovering over what they suggest is molten steel glowing from the use of thermite.


As you can see there are firemen standing in this glow. Unless you think the fire department is issued boots which can withstand 2000C, it's a safe bet we are not looking at molten steel. The other absurd logic is that the firemen would be standing around looking at a clump of molten steel while their brothers are trapped or buried. It's obvious they are looking at something which I reasonably suspect is a hole which they shinned a lantern in looking for their fallen brothers.

If anyone's ever hovered over a 200C barbeque in their backyard, they know hovering over a 2000C block of steel would radiate enough heat to make them think twice about putting their face over it. Yet one fireman is almost laying on the floor with his face very close to the glow. Another obvious point is the debris which looks like paper all over the place. Would at least [some] fall on 2000C steel and catch fire? Such careless firemen? Or careless conspiracy theorists?


This next video speaks for itself...


Much of Jones and the "scholars" evidence is made up of photographs or videos accompanied by suggestions on what they mean. Below is a passage from Jones' document.

An intriguing photograph (below right) taken by Rob Miller, photojournalist with the New York Post, provides additional photographic evidence (Swanson, 2003) for the use of thermite or a sulfur-containing derivative such as thermate.  We see debris and dust as WTC 1 collapses, with WTC 7 seen in the foreground, across the street from WTC 1.  The photograph on the left shows, for comparison, the thermite reaction with a grayish-white aluminum-oxide dust plume extending from white-hot molten iron "blob" from the reaction. (Experiment at BYU by the author in which thermite-plus-sulfur cut through a steel cup in a fraction of a second.  Any thermite reaction is a dangerous reaction and should only be performed by a trained professional capable of assessing the hazards and risks.)

To illustrate how deceptive this is lets see If I can find the use of thermite using this same test.

To be fair I don't know if Gallagher uses a real Nano-thermite coated Sledge-O-Matic.

Alex Jones, professional conspiracy theorist radio host, has said Jones found evidence of thermite. This isn't true. What Jones found was something which would have been in the debris pile anyway. Sulfur...

WTC Thermite


In Steven Jones' PDF "Answers to Objections and Questions",  to support his claim for Sol-gels/Thermite he states:

"One molecule, described by the EPA's Erik Swartz, was present at levels "that dwarfed all others": 1,3-diphenylpropane. "We've never observed it in any sampling we've ever done,"

However when you look at the link he uses

You find out Mr. Jones edits out the VERY next line which states

"He said it was most likely produced by the plastic of tens of thousands of burning computers."

Apparently, Jones felt this was not important enough for his readers to know.



Kudos to an Italian debunker over seas who put an iron slab to the test.

If you still need convincing that the angled cut was done by workers cleaning up ground zero then please read his excellent page on the subject.


He also explains the method used in cutting steel in ground zero.


Jones continues to defend the indefensible. In a reply to Screw Loose Change Blog, Jones defends this deception by quote and photo mining while pointing out the obvious.

Jones writes:

The angle-cut beam in the first photo above has been the subject of much discussion. Recently, a first-responder has stated that he saw this particular cut-column (it is rather remarkable in appearance) when he arrived at the GZ scene on 9/11/2001. We are seeking a written statement from him to this effect to hopefully settle this issue. An analysis of the slag seen clinging to the inside and the outside (both) of this angle-cut column would also do much to answer questions about what did the cutting. I think you will agree that in the second photo, the worker is using an oxyacetylene torch to cut the steel.

INCREDIBLE! His argument for using the top photo as evidence seems to be that he has no evidence it's made without thermite...  Incredibly, he argues that the photo of the iron worker cutting the column I uncovered is all the evidence he needs for THAT column and that column only. With his absurd logic he is at the same time suggesting that because there is no photo of the iron worker cutting the iron in his original photo, the original photo is evidence of thermite! To put it plainly, if it walk and talks like a duck that doesn't mean it isn't thermite. He doesn't even have a source for the quote from the alleged first responder saying the photo was taken on 9/11, never mind evidence that he was actually there. Because we all know, if there is no photo on the internet then he wasn't there using Jones' logic. And yet this passes Kevin Ryan's peer review! (Editor of "scholars for 9/11 studies.") I say again, INCREDIBLE!

Had he been just an average internet poster I would let this go as gross ignorance of how the scientific method works, but not a professor. I am left to draw no other conclusion than Steven Jones is purposely deceiving his flock or he has a serious mental disease. What other conclusion can a one draw?

Listen to "Demo Dave" Griffin and his crew talk about ground zero and evidence of pancaking.

"For it being two hundred and ten story buildings, the pile wasn't an enormous pile. We were expecting it to be - I think a lot of the guys were expecting it to be a lot more. I cut away a section of the wall - my gang cut into a section of the wall and we - we counted 14 floors compressed into 8 feet."

He also points to perimeter columns with angled cuts which he says his men cut.

"You can see where they made the cuts along - [Dave points to columns with angled cuts]  right above - that's the bow tie connection they're cutting at about 3 to 5 foot above the bow tie connection before it starts in to the forming of the candle stick. They've got three candles left to cut."



Sloppy research or purposeful deception by the "scholars"? The evidence for one is growing...

Thanks to Shagster, ScottS and David B. Benson for their research.

Home | Osama Bin Laden | First time in history | Free Fall | The Fire | The Twin Towers | Impacts | Fires and Fire Proofing | Columns and Trusses Towers Collapse | WTC 7 | WTC 7 South Side | WTC 7 Photos | Squelching "Squibs" | Rethinking Thermite | Explosions | Firemen Quotes
Civil Engineers Quotes | Prof. Steven Jones | Massive Conspiracy | Zogby | Real Conspiracy | Government Planning | Molten Steel
Peer-reviewed Papers | Iron Burns!!! | Madrid/Windsor Tower |
Conspiracy Theorist Hall of Fame | Fire Gallery 1 | Fire Gallery 2 | Fire Gallery 3
General Fires Gallery