Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe
Authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg
Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen
The Open Chemical Physics Journal
We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in all the samples we have studied of the dust produced by the destruction
of the World Trade Center Examination of four of these samples, collected from separate sites, is reported in this
paper. These red/gray chips show marked similarities in all four samples. One sample was collected by a Manhattan
resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week
later. The properties of these chips were analyzed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray
energy dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The red material contains grains
approximately 100 nm across which are largely iron oxide, while aluminum is contained in tiny plate-like structures.
Separation of components using methyl ethyl ketone demonstrated that elemental aluminum is present. The iron oxide and
aluminum are intimately mixed in the red material. When ignited in a DSC device the chips exhibit large but narrow
exotherms occurring at approximately 430 °C, far below the normal ignition temperature for conventional thermite.
Numerous iron-rich spheres are clearly observed in the residue following the ignition of these peculiar red/gray chips.
The red portion of these chips is found to be an unreacted thermitic material and highly energetic.
Global Research Editor's Note
The definition of thermitic material:
A trademark used for a welding and incendiary mixture of fine aluminum powder with a metallic oxide, usually iron, that
when ignited yields an intense heat.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Updated in 2003. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Thermite is a pyrotechnic composition of a metal powder and a metal oxide, which produces an aluminothermic reaction
known as a thermite reaction. (Wikipedia)
What we are dealing with is the melting/ burning of metal structures.
"Metals are capable of burning under the right conditions, similarly to the combustion process of wood or gasoline. ...
A thermite reaction is a process in which the correct mixture of metallic fuels are combined and ignited. Ignition
itself requires extremely high temperatures."
Readers can reach their own conclusions as to the far-reaching implications of these findings.
Although the authors do not address the broader issue of the 9/11 attacks, their findings have a direct bearing on the
likely causes of the collapse of the WTC buildings on September 11, 2001. The findings also question the validity of the
official report of the 911 Commission.
Below are selected excerpts of the article. Readers can also link to the complete text, by clicking the link
The destruction of three skyscrapers (WTC 1, 2 and 7) on September 11, 2001 was an immensely tragic catastrophe that not
only impacted thousands of people and families directly, due to injury and loss of life, but also provided the
motivation for numerous expensive and radical changes in domestic and foreign policy. For these and other reasons,
knowing what really happened that fateful day is of grave importance.
A great deal of effort has been put forth by various government-sponsored and -funded investigations, which led, in
large part, to the reports released by FEMA  and NIST . Other studies of the destruction have been less well
publicized but are no less important to the outstanding obligation that remains to the victims of that tragedy, to
determine the whole truth of the events of that day [3-10]. A number of these studies have appropriately focused
attention on the remaining physical material, and on available photographs and video footage, as sources of evidence
still in public hands, relating to the method of destruction of the three skyscrapers.
We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in significant numbers in dust associated with the World Trade Center
destruction. We have applied SEM/XEDS and other methods to characterize the small-scale structure and chemical signature
of these chips, especially of their red component. The red material is most interesting and has the following
1. It is composed of aluminum, iron, oxygen, silicon and carbon. Lesser amounts of other potentially reactive elements
are sometimes present, such as potassium, sulfur, lead, barium and copper.
2. The primary elements (Al, Fe, O, Si, C) are typically all present in particles at the scale of tens to hundreds of
nanometers, and detailed XEDS mapping shows intimate mixing.
3. On treatment with methyl ethyl ketone solvent, some segregation of components occurred. Elemental aluminum became
sufficiently concentrated to be clearly identified in the pre-ignition material.
4. Iron oxide appears in faceted grains roughly 100 nm across whereas the aluminum appears in thin platelike structures.
The small size of the iron oxide particles qualifies the material to be characterized as nanothermite or super-thermite.
5. Analysis shows that iron and oxygen are present in a ratio consistent with Fe2O3. The red material in all four WTC
dust samples was similar in this way. Iron oxide was found in the pre-ignition material whereas elemental iron was not.
6. From the presence of elemental aluminum and iron oxide in the red material, we conclude that it contains the
ingredients of thermite.
7. As measured using DSC, the material ignites and reacts vigorously at a temperature of approximately 430 °C, with a
rather narrow exotherm, matching fairly closely an independent observation on a known super-thermite sample. The low
temperature of ignition and the presence of iron oxide grains less than 120 nm show that the material is not
conventional thermite (which ignites at temperatures above 900 °C) but very likely a form of super-thermite.
8. After igniting several red/gray chips in a DSC run to 700 °C, we found numerous iron-rich spheres and spheroids in
the residue, indicating that a very high temperature reaction had occurred, since the iron-rich product clearly must
have been molten to form these shapes. In several spheres, elemental iron was verified since the iron content
significantly exceeded the oxygen content. We conclude that a high-temperature reduction-oxidation reaction has occurred
in the heated chips, namely, the thermite reaction.
9. The spheroids produced by the DSC tests and by the flame test have an XEDS signature (Al, Fe, O, Si, C) which is
depleted in carbon and aluminum relative to the original red material. This chemical signature strikingly matches the
chemical signature of the spheroids produced by igniting commercial thermite, and also matches the signatures of many of
the microspheres found in the WTC dust .
10. The carbon content of the red material indicates that an organic substance is present. This would be expected for
super-thermite formulations in order to produce high gas pressures upon ignition and thus make them explosive. The
nature of the organic material in these chips merits further exploration. We note that it is likely also an energetic
material, in that the total energy release sometimes observed in DSC tests exceeds the theoretical maximum energy of the
classic thermite reaction.
Based on these observations, we conclude that the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is
active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive