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Old 11th April 2009, 05:47 AM   #24
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This post will form part of the rebuttal to Jones' paper. I've collated the information quickly in order to show JREF posters and any lurkers as soon as possible, but the evidence is quite damning.

Jones claims that samples a-d are essentially the same material and I agree with him. His paper's EDS spectra are very close and this confirms that the materials are identical.

An analysis of the chips was performed to assess the similarity of the chips and to determine the chemistry and materials that make up the chips.
All of the chips used in the study had a gray layer and a red layer and were attracted by a magnet.
Similarities between the samples are already evident from these photographs.
We also have information from another source of Jones' chips namely a chip that has also had SEM and EDS analysis performed on them.

Comparing this report and Jones' we see from these SEM photo-micrographs that samples a-d are identical to the chip in the above report.

We can now closely look at the morphology of the chips a-d and compare the structures therein to see whether there are any similarities between observed structures in the sample and known structures.

Jones' paper clearly examines these structures in samples a-d and notes

The results indicate that the small particles with very high BSE intensity (brightness) are consistently 100 nm in size and have a faceted appearance. These bright particles are seen intermixed with plate-like particles
By placing the beam on a cluster of plate-like particles, the spectrum in Fig. (11a) was generated. The spectrum in Fig. (11b) was acquired from a cluster of the smaller bright faceted grains. Again it was observed that the thin sheet-like particles are rich in Al and Si whereas the bright faceted grains are rich in Fe. Both spectra display significant carbon and oxygen
The results indicate that the smaller particles with very bright BSE intensity are associated with the regions of high Fe and O. The plate-like particles with intermediate BSE intensity appear to be associated with the regions of high Al and Si. The O map (d) also indicates oxygen present, to a lesser degree, in the location of the Al and Si. However, it is inconclusive from these data whether the O is associated with Si or Al or both.
Until now.

The following photo-micrograph shows samples a-d (on the left) and Kaolinite (on the right).

Examining the two side by side clearly shows similarity in size, crystal shape and thickness between the two groups of plate-like particles. Note the exact same style of grouping where platelets have "sandwiched" together in the top middle of b) and the top left of c) in Jones' samples and the exact same phenomenon in the photo to the right. This indicates very strongly that these particles are indeed Kaolinite.

There are many such photo-micrographs of Kaolinite available.

Therefore it is now essential that we examine EDS data of known samples of Kaolinite and compare them with the EDS data generated in Jones' paper. Note that I also include data from the chip sent in the report linked earlier. I have scaled these SEM spectra as best I can in a short space of time in order that the KeV scale matches across spectra.

One of Jones' claims, as is that of the author of the above linked report, is that the EDS spectra of the red layer show signs of contamination

The resulting spectrum, shown in Fig. (14), produced the expected peaks for Fe, Si, Al, O, and C. Other peaks included calcium, sulfur, zinc, chromium and potassium. The occurrence of these elements could be attributed to surface contamination due to the fact that the analysis was performed on the as-collected surface of the red layer. The large Ca and S peaks may be due to contamination with gypsum from the pulverized wallboard material in the buildings.
Gypsum is a naturally occurring mineral and aswell as being used in wall board or drywall is also used in the manufacture of paint. The following are EDS spectra from Kaolinite with Gypsum, Fig 7 c) of Jones' paper and finally slide/page 14 of the above link.

It is abundantly clear that the spectra share more than enough characteristics to say that not only is gypsum present, but that Kaolinte is too.

The plate-like structures seen in the photo-micrographs, of both "thermite chip" samples, share not only the same crystalline morphology and grouping, but also the same EDS signature.

This means that there is very little doubt remaining as to what these platelets are. In light of this evidence it is safe to say that these platelets consist of Kaolinite, which does not contain any "elemental aluminium". The SEM examination in Jones' paper does not show any other particle type (other than the rhomboidal Fe2O3) and no other data in the EDS spectra for samples a-d indicate it's presence.

Therefore these samples CANNOT be thermite.


For Jones to now claim that elemental aluminium is present then the only way to confirm this is by XRD analysis or a suitable equivalent.

Why was XRD analysis not performed on the samples?

Last edited by Sunstealer; 11th April 2009 at 05:49 AM.
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