Iron-Rich MicrosphereMohr next addresses the “billions of iron microspheres” found in the dust from the collapse of the buildings. He gets a bit ahead of himself here addressing the iron-rich microspheres before addressing the finding of unreacted thermitic material in the dust, which he arrives at later. But what the reader needs to understand here is that such microspheres are a natural byproduct of the thermitic reaction (which we’ll come to). Mohr simply dismisses the microspheres by asserting that if thermite and or nano-thermite was used to attack the steel structure to bring the building down, it “would leave tons of formerly melted iron blobs, not just microspheres.” What is his basis for this statement? He doesn’t say, but just leaves it at that. In fact, melted steel was recovered from WTC 7, which Mohr comes to next and we’ll get to momentarily.

But before we come to that, Mohr suggests two possible sources for the microspheres. When the buildings were built in the 1970s and “workers welded thousands of steel beams together, hot microspheres were splattered everywhere.” So maybe the workers didn’t sweep up at the end of the day. And either the building janitors did a very lousy job of cleaning up over many decades or all of these billions of microspheres were hidden away inside the walls, which, to be fair, is perfectly plausible. But Steven E. Jones, Jeffrey Farrer, Gregory S. Jenkins, Frank Legge, James Gourley, Kevin Ryan, Daniel Farnsworth, and Crockett Grabbe studied the “high-iron, relatively low oxygen spheres” found in the WTC dust and found that they “are unlike spheres gathered from cutting structural steel with an oxyacetylene torch.”

The second possibility Mohr suggests is that the fires in the buildings on 9/11 created the microspheres. He quotes a report from the R.J. Lee Group, Inc., which characterized the microspheres as being part of the “signature” of the WTC dust. Unlike Mohr, R.J. Lee did not suggest they were leftovers from the construction in the 1970s, but were created on 9/11, offering the following explanation, quoting Mohr’s citation: “Considering the high temperatures reached during the destruction of the WTC … Iron-rich spheres … would be expected to be present in the Dust.” Mohr actually cites the wrong R.J. Lee report, but R.J. Lee did suggest in another report that the fires in the buildings on 9/11 were the cause of the spheres. This is a significant error in that report, however, and apparently Mohr is as unaware as the report’s authors that the melting point of iron is about 1535 °C, similar to that of structural steel at about 1538 °C, while, according to NIST’s own estimation, the maximum temperature of any of the fires in any of the WTC buildings was about 1,000 °C, and of the steel samples is studied that had been exposed to the fires, NIST found “no evidence of exposure to temperatures above 600 °C for any significant time.” Doh!

Eutectic Steel WTC 7“What about the sulfidized steel that melted and that FEMA found but which NIST ignored in their report?” Mohr next asks. He answers, “NIST didn’t ignore it.” Rather, “NIST determined that neither piece came from a supporting column in the collapse zone so it couldn’t have contributed to the collapse.” Mohr offers his readers a link to World Trade Center Disaster Study page of the NIST website, leaving his readers to search for this supposed information among the many thousands of pages from the many dozens of individual reports it produced that collectively make up this study. But it’s an obvious non-sequitur, whether coming from NIST or not, given the fact that beams, girders, and floor trusses in fact played a significant role in the collapses of the three buildings according to NIST’s own hypotheses for each. So all Mohr really offers is evidence of a cover up and scientific fraud (more of which we’ll also come to).

Mohr also fails to explain that of the two steel samples referred to, one came from one of the Twin Towers, but the other came from WTC 7. So what did NIST have to say about the steel sample recovered from WTC 7? Why, contrary to Mohr’s false assertion, NIST simply ignored it, claiming that “no steel was recovered from WTC 7” (NCSTAR 1-3, pp. iii, xliv, 115)! Doh!

Mohr adds that “Sulfidized steel melts at temperatures 1000° lower than regular steel so it could have ‘melted’ in a regular office fire.” Mohr would apparently have his readers believe that the steel used to build WTC 7 was “sulfidized steel” with a lower melting point than “regular steel”, by which he presumably means structural steel. But this was structural steel. What Mohr is really talking about is the finding of Barnett’s team at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, included as Appendix C of the FEMA report, that there had been “a severe high temperature corrosion attack on the steel, including oxidation and sulfidation with subsequent intergranular melting”. At temperatures approaching 1,000 °C, “which is substantially lower than would be expected for melting this steel”, a “eutectic mixture of iron, oxygen, and sulfur” was formed that “liquefied the steel”. Office fires just don’t do that to structural steel.

What was this eutectic mixture that melted the steel, and where did the sulfur come from? Mohr doesn’t trouble himself to actually offer any kind of explanation. Barnett’s team noted, “No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified.” The New York Times called these findings “Perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation”. So did the sulfur come from the gypsum wallboard that is used to provide fire resistance to the building? That question answers itself. Sulfur in gypsum is in the form of calcium sulfate (CaSO4·2H2O) and not iron sulfide (FeS), so one would have to explain how the gypsum could have reacted with other materials at high temperatures in order to free the sulfur to produce iron sulfide. To date, there remains no explanation for this “deepest mystery” that is consistent with the fire-induced collapse hypothesis.

Stephen E. Jones and others have observed, however, that sulfur can be added to thermite to produce thermate, with the addition of sulfur effectively lowering the melting point of the steel. Jonathan H. Cole, P.E., performed a series of experiments with thermate and was able to reproduce similar results as observed with the WTC 7 sample.

Nano-thermiteMohr next comes to the unreacted thermitic material found in the dust, where he addresses the findings of a team of scientists led by Dr. Niels Harrit of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, which were published in the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal. (Mohr forgot to provide a link for his readers to go and read the paper for themselves, so here you go). Mohr doesn’t actually address most of the findings of Harrit, et al. He never tried to reproduce their experiments to verify or falsify their findings. Instead, he simply suggests that they should have also done additional experiments that they didn’t do. We could get into these other tests Mohr thinks should have been done, but it isn’t necessary; it suffices to observe that Mohr also didn’t perform these additional experiments he thinks would be required to be absolutely certain that the substance found in the dust is nanothermite. Instead, he simply seems to presume that if these additional tests were conducted, they would falsify their findings. But that is not science. (It should also be pointed out that Harrit, et al, stated explicitly that further studies should be conducted to better understand the nature of these materials, but found that those tests they did perform were sufficient to conclude with reasonable certainty that the material was nano-thermite.)

Mohr’s best effort to challenge their actual findings is to say that “They compared the sudden energy spike of their burning chips with the spikes of known nanothermites, and found that their chips ignited at around 150° C. [sic] lower than the known nanothermites, and the energy release was off between their chips and the nanothermites by a factor of at least two. Yet they called this a match for nanothermite!” Turning to their paper, Harrit, et al, found that “the red/gray chips from different WTC samples all ignited in the range of 415-435 °C” when thermal analysis was conducted by heating the chips using a differential scanning calorimeter. They stated that “Ordinary thermite ignites at a much higher temperature (about 900 °C or above) … than super-thermite [a.k.a. nano-thermite].” Mohr doesn’t say where he gets his information for the temperature at which nanothermite ignites, but turning to the source provided by Harrit, et al, for the statement just quoted, we find that “The ignition point of the traditional thermite material is ~325 °C higher than that for the nanocomposite.” Thus, we may deduce that nano-thermite ignites at about 575 °C. This is presumably where Mohr gets his “around 150 °C” difference between the ignition point of the chips found in the dust and “known nanothermites”.

One problem here is that Harrit, et al, were dealing with an apparently theretofore unknown nano-thermite with a different composition from the “known” source. But the main point to take away from this, as the source cited states, is “that the nanostructured energetics … are much easier to ignite and burn much more rapidly than the conventional thermite composites.” Thus, ultimately, Mohr’s observation only serves to reinforce the finding of Harrit, et al, that the thermitic material found was not conventional thermite, but some kind of nano-thermite.

Mohr also doesn’t provide a source for his assertion about the energy yield of nano-thermite, but as to his assertion that the material found in the dust was off “by a factor of at least two”, turning to the Harrit, et al, paper, they state that the energy release for each sample varied, with the yields “estimated to be approximately 1.5, 3, 6, and 7.5 kJ/g, respectively.” They explain this by noting, “Variations in peak height as well as yield estimates are not surprising, since the mass used to determine the scale of the signal … included the gray layer”, which “was found to consist mostly of iron oxide so that it probably does not contribute to the exotherm, and yet this layer varies greatly in mass from chip to chip.”

They also noted that these reactions produce iron-rich microspheres like those that are part of the “signature” of the WTC dust.

Mohr suggests that attempts to replicate the findings of Harrit, et al, have been “dismal”. He says Mark Basile made the same “error” of not performing the additional experiments Mohr thinks would be required to prove beyond any doubt the material is nano-thermite, and that he didn’t measure the energy released. And yet Basile was nevertheless able to replicate their principle findings that from which it could be reasonably determined that the chips were unreacted thermitic material. Mohr writes that a “chemist named Frédéric Henry-Couannier got another dust sample from the original experimenters and wrote, ‘Eventually the presence of nanothermite could not be confirmed.’” Yet Henry-Couannier also noted the “chemical composition of layers” of the red/gray chips found in the dust was “roughly confirmed” by his own study and was “Compatible with the nanothermite hypothesis”. He was not able to ignite any of his chips, however. He concluded that there were two possibilities, that either the chips “are from nanothermite that were deactivated in all my samples” or that Harrit, et al, were deceived or disinformation agents whose work is intended “to protect the secrecy of the genuine destruction technology at the origine of red chips and up to thousand tons of molten iron in the dust” (sic). Whoa. What was that? He continues: “The numerous metallic microsphers at the surface of some of these chips point toward an obvious link with a high power density process hence certainly related to the destruction technology employed to bring down the towers.” Whoa. Note that Mohr doesn’t disclose that Henry-Couannier is a conspiracy theorist who seems to think that some kind of directed energy beam weapon, some “new highly powerful weapons” developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, was used to destroy the WTC buildings. Moreover, while Henry-Couanier on one hand says he could not get the chips to ignite, and that there was “no evidence of molten iron production” when he heated them, also suggests that the “red-red chips” he studied didn’t ignite because they “are just fragments originating from red-grey chips that already reacted at the WTC and for this reason cannot react anymore”, and then seemingly contradicts himself by stating that the chips “can even burst [sic] when heated and expel iron rich particles, even microspheres which often seem to appear at their surface.” Whew! Little wonder Mohr doesn’t want to go there.

Mohr lastly states that the R.J. Lee Group “didn’t find thermitic material”. But what he really means to say is that R.J. Lee never tested any of the material it found in the dust to determine whether any of it was thermitic or not. NIST, incidentally, also has admitted that it never looked for evidence of thermitic materials, offering as explanation the logic that since it was “unlikely” any such evidence existed, there was no point in looking for it. (No, really. No kidding. You couldn’t make this stuff up.)