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Old 23rd January 2012, 07:56 AM   #113
Oystein
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Originally Posted by Steen Svanholm View Post
Hi guys

Recently, I burned some steel wool live on tv (local Danish network) to challenge the claims of Harrit et al. and Harrit responded by e-mail with what I shall translate here:

"The experiment done by Steen Svanholm is the opposite reaction of the thermite reaction. He burns iron powder that ignite when the temperature is is high enough. Burning is by definition a reaction with the oxygen in the air. The process that Svanholm demonstrates is:
iron + oxygen produces ironoxide

Within chemistry this type of reaction is called an oxidation.

The particles he points to after the experiment are ironoxide and they are not round.

The thermite reaction is the exact opposite:

Ironoxide + aluminum produces aluminumoxide
Within chemistry this type of reaction is called a reduction.

The particles found in the dust from WTC contains elementary iron.

Many of them also contain aluminum and silicon. This is characteristic to iron-rich spheres produced in the thermite reaction.

Svanholm would have flunked the chemistry exam in high school if he had made a fool of himself in this manner."

What are you guys' opinion about his response?

Regards
Steen Svanholm
911facts.dk
And now, working backwards, some comments on your original question:

Originally Posted by Harrit
The experiment done by Steen Svanholm is the opposite reaction of the thermite reaction. He burns iron powder that ignite when the temperature is is high enough. Burning is by definition a reaction with the oxygen in the air. The process that Svanholm demonstrates is:
iron + oxygen produces ironoxide

Within chemistry this type of reaction is called an oxidation.

The particles he points to after the experiment are ironoxide...
This is correct so far. You have oxidized steel and produced iron-rich microspheres. That is as far as the steel-wool-experiment can take you: That there is at least one other, mundane, process by which iron-rich microspheres can be produced. This refutes any truther argument that "iron-rich microspheres can only be explained by a thermite reaction because only a thermite reaction reaches temperatures above the melting point of iron".
There are, in fact, many processes that can produce iron-rich microspheres.

Originally Posted by Harrit
The particles he points to after the experiment are ironoxide and they are not round.
I think he errs here. I haven't seen the particles that you point to, Steen, but I have seen Dave Thomas' video where he does in fact show spheres after burning steel wool that weren't there before.

Originally Posted by Harrit
The thermite reaction is the exact opposite:

Ironoxide + aluminum produces aluminumoxide
Within chemistry this type of reaction is called a reduction.
This again is correct. Only problem is: Harrit still needs to prove that a thermite reaction happened anywhere...

Anyway, if his argument is "my iron microspheres came fromn a different process than Steen's microspheres", then he is of course right, but you hopefully never claimed that Harrit's microspheres were produced by burning steel wool with a lighter.

Originally Posted by Harrit
The particles found in the dust from WTC contains elementary iron.
This is questionable. First of all, finding elemental iron in the dust is in itself not proof for a thermmite reaction, and whatever may have been found in the dust has not been connected by Harrit or anyone else to the supposed active thermitic material in the red-gray chips. It is simply unknown, for any sphere found already in the dust, what it originated from. If they take the >5% iron-rich microspheres quote from the RJ Lee report serious and assume only a thermite reaction can create such spheres, then quickyl you have to posit the burning of several tons of thermite before and during the collapse. Of which there is no corroborating evidence.

Now let's look at Harrit's own data. In Fig 27, he presents a sphere that was extracted from the dust (i.e. was not produced by burning chips) - it is a random sphere, they could have taken any of millions I guess. With all the possibility of picking a sphere with a particularly high Fe-content. Let's see what the data holds. Here is the sphere (plus some other freckles of dust):

And here is it's XEDS spectrum:

The higher Fe-peak is about 85% the height of the O peak. Compare this to Fig. 6 which shows the gray layer before any ignition:


In these spectra, Fe peak is between 70% and 120% of O peak. So it seems that the pre-ignition gray layer has more fe relative to O than the dust sphere. And how do Harritr e.al. describe the chemical composition of the gray layer? Page 19: "The gray layer was found to consist mostly of iron oxide"
Since the gray layer is "mostly of iron oxide", and since that sphere has relatively more O, it stands to reason to say that it also "mostly of iron oxide" rather than elemental iron.


Now on to microspheres that resulted from ignition of chips. The most extreme case seemed to be this:


We do not know what the characteristics were of this particular chip before it was destroyed in the DSC test, so it would be invalid to compare it to chips (a)-(d) or any others. Credit the sloppy work of Harrit e.al.
In the text, they say that "A conventional quantitative analysis routine was used to estimate the elemental contents. In the case of this iron-rich spheroid, the iron content exceeds the oxygen content by approximately a factor of two, so substantial elemental iron must be present".
I don't know... what do they mean by "elemental contents"? Proportions by weight or by atom count? If the former, then a Fe:O ratio by mass of 2:1 means about 4:7 by mols, which means we are looking at Fe2O3 with some O still to spend.
Anyway, since we don't know what was in that chip before the DSC procedure, we can't know if any iron was reduced. What we do know is that they flashed that probe with a thin carbon layer, and that carbon can reduce iron oxide. So even an experimental error is not totally implausible, given the fact that Jeff Farrer had never done DSC tests before.

Originally Posted by Harrit
Many of them also contain aluminum and silicon. This is characteristic to iron-rich spheres produced in the thermite reaction.
It is not surprising at all that they would find Al and Si post-ignition when they found aluminium silicate pre-ignition. It would be more surprising if the Al and Si would just vanish.


Originally Posted by Harrit
Svanholm would have flunked the chemistry exam in high school if he had made a fool of himself in this manner
Maybe, and you bet that Oystein will flunk almost every conceivable chemistry exam, but Harrit will flunk together with us. In fact, he flunked already by publishing that crap paper.
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