The Case from Economics

By now, the “red-gray chips” have become infamous pieces of evidence in the publics’ case to open an independent review of the WTC collapses.  Proponents of the Official Conspiracy Theory (OCT) have devised several arguments for the purpose of dismissing the chips as the smoking gun pointing to a high-level organizational effort to destroy the towers on 9/11/2001.

“They’re paint chips.”

We’ve heard this refrain from the OCT camp from the moment Harrit, Jones, Farrer, et al. first published their paper on the chips.  It’s a fair hypothesis to make since the steel structure was indeed coated with anti-corrosive paint which did contain a number of similar components to the red-gray chips.  So it’s worth distinguishing between the properties of Fe2O3 pigment particles found in paint and the Fe2O3 particles found in the red-gray chips.

Since both the OCT camp and the “truther” camp agree that the faceted iron-and-oxygen containing particles in the substrate are indeed iron oxide III, they can be used to compare with industrial grade iron oxide used in paint production.  If production-grade paint uses particles that look similar to the particles in the chips, we cannot rule out the possibility that the red-gray chips are just standard paint flecks.  If they are qualitatively different, then another hypothesis must be explored.

This composite material was found in relative abundance of the WTC dust:

Taken from “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe” published in The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31

The red material is composed of at least 3 parts: alumino-silicon crystals of relatively uniform size of about 1000nm at the longest point, iron-oxide III crystals of relatively uniform size of 100nm, mixed in a hydrocarbon-gel substrate as if to provide for an absolute maximum of surface area—far beyond any obvious commercial application.  When it comes to nan0-energentic materials, increased surface area is the name of the game.

These pieces have been analyzed using X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy to determine the relative ratio of elemental concentration. With a statistically significant study, the likely compounds can be determined. The methods are sound. There isn’t anything to “make up” about this stuff because it’s way more interesting than anything that could’ve been planted.

Now keep in mind that this stuff is ubiquitous in the samples tested. There are people who have samples of the dust who claim they have not found this substance, but regardless, it was found in the dust and it does appear to be exotic.  Below we see the iron-oxide particles as whitish flecks below:

Backscattered Electron Image of a cross section of the red material

And by “exotic” I mean high dollar. You see, here’s the clincher: 1 gram of Iron Oxide III in relatively uniform 100nm cost in 2006 cost about $58 USD. Imagine if a gram of metal oxide pigment cost $60, and you need 20 grams per gallon of paint. That gallon would cost $1200 just for the pigment! No, this stuff is not paint nor is it a component of paint.  Nano-scale iron oxide has been in production for a number of years, but the technology required to make it has only reduced in price.  Even if we cut the price in half or by a quarter, it’s still cost prohibitive by orders of magnitude.  No contractor on the planet would or could spend $300/gallon on corrosion resistant paint for structural steel.  Before any contractor spent that kind of cash, he’d find an alternative.  Period.

Below we see an SEM image of the red substrate.

Scanning Electron micrograph (SE)

This stuff was engineered. It’s exotic, cutting-edge materials technology on the cusp of research. The Lawrence-Livermore National Labs has produced a few notable papers about nanocomposites, particularly, sol-gel explosives whose applications have not been fully defined. These sol-gel substances consist (sometimes) of a hydrocarbon matrix (gel) and often a binary reactant system (solid), like aluminum and iron oxide, for instance.

It can be mixed to produce varying rates of energy-release—from relatively slower (for melting and cutting steel and concrete) to relatively fast (explosives). As Danish materials engineer and professor, Nails Harrit said in reference to the samples found in the WTC dust, “It is the bitches brew of nanothermitic explosives.”

This stuff is EXPENSIVE!

The creation of this stuff requires much highly-calibrated and technical equipment that is only run by highly educated and trained professionals in the most advanced laboratories in the world. This stuff was not made in a paint factory or a paint-precursor laboratory, much less by anyone in an Afghan cave.

Production at this level of cost-per-gram is absolutely cost-prohibitive for construction purposes.  As to what it was doing in such quantities in the WTC dust leaves at least some room for speculation.  The cost of uniform size nanoparticulate iron oxide III leaves little doubt that it was not used for paint pigment nor any construction material.

We know without doubt it was not pigment.  We also know there were no registered research labs which specifically used this material in the WTC center.  So what was it doing there?  Why does it appear to explode?  Why does it appear to leave iron microspheres as a by-product of ignition?  Are they the same iron microspheres studied by S. Jones in his previous papers on the WTC dust?

Without being much of a sleuth, these questions all seem to coalesce into an uncomfortable hypothesis about the nature of the collapses on 9/11/2001.

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