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Molten metal, White Smoke and the World Trade Center Collapses 

STEVEN E. JONES / Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University

Abstract for a presentation at the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
at Snow College, Ephraim, Utah. 7apr2006


Also see:
Why Indeed Did the
WTC Buildings Collapse
Professor Steven E. Jones 19mar2006

Dramatic video footage reveals yellow-to-white hot molten metal dripping from the South WTC Tower shortly before its collapse on 9/11/2001. [1] (See: http://www.checktheevidence.com/911/Thermite2.htm ) The fact that this is indeed molten metal was confirmed in official FEMA and NIST 9/11 reports. [2, 3] Could this be molten aluminum (from the plane), or molten steel (due to fires), or molten iron (due to thermite reactions)?

The yellow-white color implies a molten-metal temperature of approximately 1000 -1200 oC, above the temperature which the dark-smoke fires in the Towers would likely produce.[1] In any case, structural steel melts at about 1510 oC, far above that which could be attained from the fires, and several scientists and engineers confirm that the jet fuel (or other fires that day) could NOT have melted the steel.[1] Hence, the molten structural-steel hypothesis is ruled out.

If aluminum alloy (e.g., from the plane) had melted, it would melt and flow away from the heat source at its melting point of roughly 500 - 650 oC and thus would not reach the yellow color observed for this molten metal. Furthermore, aluminum has unusually low emissivity and high reflectivity, so that in daylight conditions molten aluminum at any temperature will appear silvery-gray (confirmed in experiments done at BYU). But this molten metal clearly appears bright yellow-white, in broad daylight. Hence, molten aluminum is also ruled out as an explanation.

However, molten iron with the characteristics seen in this video is consistent with a thermite-reaction occurring in the Tower, since thermite produces molten iron at yellow-to-white hot temperatures:

2Al  + Fe2O3  =  Al2O3  +  2Fe (molten iron),         DH  =  - 853.5 kJ/mole.

Thus, the yellow-white hot molten metal seen on 9/11 could be molten iron from a thermite-derivative reaction; we have found no other reasonable explanations. Anomalous pools of red-to-yellow-hot molten metal observed under the rubble piles of both Towers and WTC 7 lend further evidence for the occurrence of highly-exothermic thermite reactions associated with the collapses of these WTC skyscrapers on 9/11/2001.[1]

1. S.E. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?" available at: http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html.

2. McAllister, T., ed. 2002. World Trade Center Building Performance Study: Data Collection, Preliminary Observations, and Recommendations. FEMA 403. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC, May, 2002.

3. NIST, http://wtc.nist.gov/progress_report_june04/appendixh.pdf

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