Counter-Arguments to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Part 1 WTC Twin Towers

In preparation for our meetup on December 17th, that will feature a presentation by a representative of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a  detailed summary of counter-arguments to the AE9/11Truth claims that the destruction of WTC 1 & 2 shows typical features of controlled demolition, characteristic features of the use of high explosives, and evidence of the use of thermite.

Argument: The strong steel frames of the lower parts of the buildings would have arrested any collapse. However, the destruction zone not only proceeded symmetrically downwards but even accelerated constantly through what was the path of greatest resistance.

Stages of Collapse: (Stage 1) Fires caused by spilt aircraft fuel, exposes steel columns to temperatures exceeding 800°C. This leads to creep buckling of columns. (Stage 2) Buckling columns lose their load carrying capacity. (Stage 3) Weight of upper part of structure can no longer be supported once more than half of the columns suffer buckling, leading to collapse of the upper floors, gathering speed until impact. (Stage 4) Vertical impact applies enormous vertical dynamic load in excess of load capacity. Failure of trusses either accompanied by or quickly followed by buckling of core columns and overall buckling of the framed tube. (Stage 5) Building underneath impacted by even larger mass falling with greater velocity and stages 2 through 5 repeated all the way down the building until total collapse. Bazant, ZP & Zhou, Y. “Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? – Simple Analysis.” Journal of Engineering Mechanics January 2002.

What truly matters is ability of structure below to redistribute dynamic force being delivered to it by the mass that’s falling. Mass of structure does not matter if mass of section above delivers a dynamic load too large for structure to cope with. Once sections above impact zone had fallen a single story, the dynamic load exceeded the strength of the structure below by an order of magnitude leading to collapse.  (Don’t forget about the extra load of the planes on each floor, which were at least 236 tons)

 Argument: Extremely rapid onset of destruction.

(See above)

Argument: Blast pressure front effects: multi-ton steel sections ejected laterally up to 600ft at 50 mph.

In the pictures of the building collapsing, a lot of the “steel sections” are actually aluminum-alloy (T) cladding that were affixed to the front of the building. *  Since the light-weight T cladding was never meant to withstand such pressure and is much lighter than steel, it would make sense it would be ejected much farther from the same collapse over pressure than steel would be.

[* http://www.alcoa.com/building/en/news/news_items/wtc.asp ]

Argument: Mid-air pulverization of 90,000 tons of concrete. Large volumes of metal decking and floor trusses were missing. No “pancaked” floors were found.

(See Popular Mechanics article, section “Puffs of Dust”*.) According to the NIST, “Failure of the gusset plate welded to the top of the truss chord was again almost exclusively observed regardless of location. This may be a result of overloading the lower floors as the floors above were ‘pan-caking’.” NIST NCSTAR 1-3C Sect 3.5.3.  Pictures from Ground Zero show obviously pancaked floors.

*[http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/debunking-911-myths-world-trade-center#steel]

Argument: Massive volumes of rapidly expanding pyroclastic-like clouds.

Pyroclastic flows are a minimum of 100° C.  Not one person trapped inside the towers complained of these flows (i.e. no one had burns from these air flows), nor was there any evidence of such flows directly outside the collapse zones.  Wouldn’t the tower’s potential energy being converted to kinetic energy be enough to create such a dust cloud?  The collapse released enough energy to equal approximately 272 tons of TNT.  Wouldn’t this, coupled with each floor collapsing on to the floor below it 110 times be enough to pulverize concrete and result in such a rapidly expanding cloud?

Argument: High velocity ejections also seen up to 40 stories below cascading demolition canopies.

The windows blowing out can be explained either by the compression of air due to the “pancaking” of floors, or the ejection of material from elevator shafts and vents (such as the elevators themselves, the counter weights or the motors used to raise and lower said elevators).  FDNY members even reported being blown out of stairwells by a “hurricane-type force”. *

The ejecta coming out of the windows of the pancaking floors were uniform across the floors and light in color.  It was coming out of every floor window until the falling debris obscured its view.  Controlled demolition has staggered ejecta because the charges are only on some columns.  You also always see at least [some] before the collapse and not [only] during it.  There are none of these jets of debris before the collapse.

Also, the ejecta generally increase in intensity over time, as one would expect from pneumatic effects. Explosives are defined  by the fact of the incredibly short time in which their blast wave spreads, quite unlike the spurts in the Twin Tower videos.

Researchers at Columbia University, who took the seismic readings, specifically mentioned that they did not indicate explosives brought down WTC 1 and 2. **

* [ http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0209/07/pitn.00.html ]

** [ http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/debunking-911-myths-world-trade-center#seismic ]

Argument: Complete destruction of the buildings, shattering of many structural units.

Wouldn’t complete destruction of the structure be assumed when a 110 story building collapses in on itself?

Argument: Evidence for extremely high temperatures (2800°+F) before, during and after the destruction.

Claims made in the paper, “Extremely high temperatures during the World Trade Center destruction” Journal of 9/11 Studies volume 19 2008, which has not undergone the peer-review process. This study uses samples of questionable origin (see Argument: Evidence of thermite found in previously molten metal, WTC dust and steel) and a sample size too small to determine statistical significance.

[ journalof911studies.com/articles/​WTCHighTemp2.pdf ]

Argument: Evidence of thermite found in previously molten metal, WTC dust and steel

What is the origin of the samples? Who owned the chain of custody? What steps were taken to preserve the integrity of the samples?  According to the paper, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe*”,  the samples analyzed were obtained by citizens of NY on 9/11 and 9/12. These four samples were not collected and stored in sterile containers, nor is there any information guaranteeing that these four samples have not been contaminated. In a call for samples put out in 2006, five years during which samples could become contaminated, only five samples were able to collected and none by other researchers that obtained dust samples in sterile containers? In the Materials & Methods section, there are no sources given about standard sample collection procedure nor is there any information as to requirements for samples obtained, i.e., was the “general request” merely for dust collected in proximity to the WTC following collapse or was it more specific in asking for only samples in which these “red/gray chips” of such interest could be found? Without information about sample collection, the “experimental” results are void. The fact that the fifth sample obtained was not included in the study due to the owners unwillingness to disclose his identity is suspicious and requires explanation. Again, citations showing standard sample collection procedures are needed.

* http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tocpj/articles/V002/7TOCPJ.pdf

What is this evidence for thermite?  Is it simply trace elements that could be commonly associated with many other sources, or is it something that can only be explained by the use of thermite?

Steve Jones has claimed to have found iron, sulfur, aluminum, potassium, manganese, fluorine & titanium in the samples he tested, all of which are commonly used in thermite. Could there be another possible (and more likely) explanation for these elements being found?

Sulfur: The third most common ingredient in the WTC construction was gypsum-based drywall, which is 18.62% sulfur.

Iron: Used in paint & electronic devices.

Potassium: Used in concrete.

Manganese: Used in the structural steel, paint, batteries, & ceramics.

Fluorine: Used in Freon. 200,000 pounds of Freon cooled the WTC complex. This was the largest air-conditioning system in the country.

Titanium: Used in paper & paint & made up 2% of each of the 767’s. WTC7 was also clad in polished steel & titanium.

Wouldn’t it make sense to find natural sources for these elements before jumping to “thermite” as a cause?

Another of Jones’ claims is that 3000lbs of thermite (1000lbs per building) would be needed to demolish the three buildings (WTC 1,2, and 7).  Thermite is 2% sulfur, thus the total amount of sulfur in the theoretical thermite charges would be about 60 pounds.  Approximately 1 million tons (2 billion pounds) of dust blanketed lower Manhattan. So, based on Professor Jones’ estimates, a thermite reaction would result in the WTC dust containing approximately 0.000003% (3 millionths of a percent) sulfur.  Such a low percentage would be unlikely to be detected, especially when compared to USGS dust samples in which as much as 5.4% sulfur was reported.  Now, since we have elements which have a natural explanation, how about chemical signatures that are unique to thermite, such as aluminum oxide and barium nitrate?  Neither the USGS nor Steven Jones himself report finding any traces of either of these elements – two telltale elements of thermite.

Jones also claims to have detected 1,3-diphenylpropane from “sol-gel” used to affix the thermite to the support structure of the building.  1,3-diphenylpropane is a common bi-product of burning polyvinyl chloride (plastic).  Considering the massive amounts of plastic in use in two 110 story  (and one 47 story) office buildings, this would be a much more likely case than the much smaller amount of sol-gel necessary to place 3000lbs of thermate charges.  Also, 1,3-diphenylpropane was reported by the EPA three weeks after the attacks. *  This is even mentioned in an article that Steve Jones sources. **

Does Prof. Jones have credentials that enable him to make these claims?  Does he have training as a civil engineer, in demolition or building collapse forensics?  Is he a metallurgist?  Was his paper submitted for peer review in a respected journal related to the topic of his paper, such as The Journal of Engineering Mechanics?

* [ http://cfpub.epa.gov/si/si_public_record_Report.cfm?dirEntryID=62021#top ]

** [ http://faculty.missouri.edu/~glaserr/205f03/Article_Factory.html ]

Argument: Sophisticated, energetic nanothermite composite material found in WTC samples.

(See also Argument: Evidence of thermite found in previously molten metal, WTC dust and steel.)

The J.L. Hudson building in Detroit was 33 stories tall, and at the time of 9/11/01, it was the largest building to be brought down by a controlled demolition..  WTC 7 was 1.42 times that height. WTC 1 and 2 were 3.3 times that height. According to the demolitions team for the J.L Hudson building:  “It took us 24 days with 12 people doing nothing but loading explosives” James Santoro – Controlled Demolition Incorporated”.*  Also from the CDI,  “…In 24 days, CDI’s 12 person loading crew placed 4,118 separate charges in 1,100 locations on 9 levels of the structure. Over 36,000 ft. of detonating cord and 4,512 non-electric delay devices were installed in CDI’s implosion initiation system. As the implosion required the detonation of a total of 2,728 lb. of explosives, CDI implemented 36 “primary delays” and an additional 216 “micro-delays” in the implosion initiation sequence in an attempt to keep detonation overpressure to a minimum…” **  And the time mentioned by Mr. Santoro was strictly in planting the demolition charges, not in prepping the building for demolition (walls being ripped out, holes being bored into the steel support structure, etc…)  How then would this covert team be able to plant enough thermite to perfectly raze these three mammoth buildings in a short amount of time without anyone noticing, or without being detected by the 6 dedicated explosive detection dogs working in 24 hour shifts, 7 days a week, that were assigned to the Port Authority Police Department stationed in the WTC?  Why did none of these dogs detect explosives before or after the towers fell?)

* [ http://www.history.com/videos/tallest-building-ever-imploded#tallest-building-ever-imploded ]

** [ http://www.controlled-demolition.com/article/jl-hudson-department-store-detroit-michigan ]

Argument: Over one hundred first responders reported explosions and flashes of light.

As did anyone watching TV.  When a fully fueled jet crashes into a building, there are bound to be explosions.  In common house fires there are explosions, too.  Does this indicate that all house fires are started by controlled demolition or thermite, as well?

 Argument: No precedent or steel-framed high-rise collapse due to fire.

A 767 jetliner (empty) weighs between 315,000 and 450,000 lbs.  A 767 carries 23,900 gallons of kerosene, which weighs 6.6lbs per gallon (157,740 lbs).  Discounting passengers, cargo and other miscellaneous added equipment, a 767 loaded with fuel would weigh at least 472,740 lbs.  Since we can’t know the total weight of the 767s hitting WTC 1 and 2 because we don’t know the weight of the passengers and their luggage, we will just go with the sole weight of the plane and fuel.  A 236.37 ton object moving at approximately 500 mph (and loaded with combustible material) hitting the building obviously caused catastrophic damage to both the external structure, the elevator shafts and the load bearing steel girders contained within, for several floors.  Can you show a precedent for the aforementioned 767 hitting a 110 story building (that was a “tube in a tube” design) and for that building surviving the impact and ensuing inferno? According to Forman Willians, deputy editor of Combustion and Flame and a member of the editorial advisory boards of Combustion Science and Technology, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science and Archivium Combustionis, “The jet fuel was the ignition source.  It burned for maybe 10 minutes, and [the towers] were still standing in 10 minutes. It was the rest of the stuff burning afterward that was responsible for the heat transfer that eventually brought them down.”  The NIST also reported “that pockets of fire hit 1832°F.”

Steel does not have to reach its melting point (2750° F) to have its structural integrity reduced.  “Steel loses about 50 percent of its strength at 1100°F,” notes senior engineer Farid Alfawak-hiri of the American Institute of Steel Construction. “And at 1800° it is probably at less than 10 percent.” * NIST also believes that a great deal of the spray-on fireproofing insulation was likely knocked off the steel beams that were in the path of the crashing jets, leaving the metal more vulnerable to the heat.

* [ http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/debunking-911-myths-world-trade-center#steel ]

 Argument: FDNY and other found several tons of “molten steel,” “flowing like lava” in the piles. 1400°F office fires cannot produce 2800°F molten metal. Thermite incendiaries can.

How did they know it was molten steel?  Was it tested at the site?  It could have just as easily been molten aluminum or some other metal with a lower melting point.

The ratio of thermite to produce 1kg of molten steel is 2:1.  If Steve Jones proposes that only 1000 lbs of thermite was needed to bring each tower down, this would not explain “pools of molten steel” claimed to be found at Ground Zero.

Argument: Microspheres formed from molten iron and other elements were found in the WTC dust by USGS, the RJ Lee Group, EPA, and other independent scientists. Thermite reactions can account for the ubiquitous spheres.

Is this the only thing that can account for this? And if not, how were other reactions ruled out?  Is it possible that the torch-cutting of the steel beams during the clean up process could have also caused these microspheres?  Couldn’t they be from the fly ash used in structural concrete?  Couldn’t they also be from magnetic printer toner which could have been present in printer cartridges or found in a large volume of paper documents?  How do we know when these microspheres were created?  How do we know they weren’t leftover from the buildings original construction, when steel was being cut and welded?

 Argument: WTC dust samples contain small chips of highly energetic nanothermite composite materials – uniformly nano-sized, appropriately proportioned, and embedded in an organic matrix that might have gas-generating properties.

(See also Argument: Evidence of thermite found in previously molten metal, WTC dust and steel.)

Thermite is an incendiary, not an explosive.  It needs to be heated to a particular temperature for the exothermic reaction to begin.  If this was the case, wouldn’t the thermite have ignited as soon as the required temperatures were reached shortly after the planes crashed into the buildings?  According to the paper written by Niels Harrit, he never actually says the material is thermite: “These observations reminded us of nano-thermite fabricated at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and elsewhere”.*  Also, mentioned in the paper: “We would like to make detailed comparisons of the red chips with known super-thermite composites, along with comparisons of the products following ignition, but there are many forms of this high-tech thermite, and this comparison must wait for a future study.”  That doesn’t sound quite as conclusive as previously stated.   “We have shown that the red material contains both elemental aluminum and iron oxide.”  Wouldn’t that make sense that you would find iron oxide (rust) and aluminum at the destruction site of buildings that were constructed using thousands of tons of iron, steel and aluminum?  When the “chips” were analyzed and found to have red/gray wafer-like layers, chemical analysis showed the red layer to be composed of carbon, oxygen, iron, zinc, aluminum, calcium, chromium, silicon and sulfur.  The gray layer was shown to be composed of carbon, oxygen and iron.  The carbon content on the red layer indicated an organic substance was present.  The paper jumps to the conclusion that this was evidence of some form of thermite.  Couldn’t there be a more common explanation for the composition of the red chips that did not involve thermite?  Such as the corrosion resistant paint used in the construction of the WTC.  The composition of this paint was: iron oxide, zinc yellow, tnemec pigment, diatomoacious silica, soya alkyd resin solids, hard resin, raw linseed oil, bodied linseed oil, suspension agents, driers and anti-skinning agents and thinners.**  The dried resinous and oily base might be the organic matrix that constitutes the base of the red layer, which is rich in carbon and, as shown, may have a primary role in the release of energy during the combustion process. In practice, the red layer of the wafers identified by the researchers contains exactly the same elements that we now know were present in the corrosion-resistant coating used during the construction of the World Trade Center, including the organic base constituted by linseed oil and alkyd resin. It’s not just a matter of the same chemical elements being present. The presence of fossil flour in the paint, too, is compatible with the porosity observed in the samples of the red layer. If one considers, moreover, that mica is also often present in fossil flour, then the presence of laminar particles mixed with crystalline particles of iron oxide might also be explained. The gray layer, which as noted is rich in iron and oxygen, might be linked to a green corrosion-proofing paint (Tnemec Green Metal Primer***), used extensively to provide markings on steel and explicitly listed in the materials supply specifications, or to a bonding agent used during construction to fix thermal insulation and soundproofing elements.

Also, has a building ever been brought down by controlled demolition with thermite, let alone one of the tallest buildings in the world?

* [ http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/gen.php?file=7TOCPJ.pdf ]

** [ http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201-3C%20Appxs.pdf ]

***[ http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201-6A.pdf ]

[ http://11-settembre.blogspot.com/2009/04/active-thermitic-material-claimed-in.html ]