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Old 13th September 2012, 07:03 AM   #1055
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Steven Jones responds to JREF:

Further comments and questions for JREFer's

So here is my reply, ProfJones

Originally Posted by ProfJones
So Zica, I did spend some time going through Jref comments; some are scientific and apropos and worth reading.
What good is it to announce you read scientific and worthy arguments, when you totally, absolutely refuse to address or even acknowledge a single one of them? ProfJones, You don't actually expect us to answer your new questions before you haven't addressed ours - or do you?

I'll anyway expand the courtesy and respond to the couple of points you have addressed at us - before repeating some of the issues you have so far failed to address or even acknowledge. I hope you will return the courtesy. Finally, I will address some pf the other issues you talk about in that latest comment of yours, particularly the issue of XRD tests you have already commissioned.

Originally Posted by ProfJones
1. Why do iron-rich spheres appear in the residue of the red/gray chips following ignition in the DSC, ...
We don't know why iron-rich spheres apear in the residue, and you don't know either. The main reason for this is that your team failed to give the readers of your paper any clue which kind, or kinds, of red-gray chips Dr. Farrer wasted in the DSC experiment.
  • Was it the kind of chips of which chips a-d are (Fig 2-11) an example of - those with kaolin as the Al-bearing pigment, that are an almost picture-perfect match for LaClede Steel primer?
  • Or was it the kind of chip represented by the MEK-soaked chip (Fig. 12-18) that so very much differes from chips a-d, but whose elemental spectrum is a surprisingly good match for the spectrum of Tnemec primer, as you, ProfJones, have presented a while ago in Sydney?
  • Or was it perhaps the multilayered kind of red-gray chip shown in Fig 31, that contains significant Pb, a feature entirely absent from the two other kinds of chips I just mentioned?
  • Or was it perhaps the kind of chips that you suspect Millette was looking at and which, as you imply, can also be found in WTC dust and extracted by a magnet - the kind that contains a few TiO2 pigments (of which your Fig. 25 might show some post-DSC residue of - that residue that Farrer found in the DSC contains the very Titanium signal that you claim was absent from the allegedly "thermitic" chips!)
  • Or was it chips of any of the various other kinds that may be found, perhaps rich in copper or barium, as your paper suggests on page 28?
You see, ProfJones, without a proper characterization of the materials that Dr. Farrer put in the DSC, it is impossible to interprete the results competently.
Originally Posted by ProfJones
...ignition in the DSC, which also provides a sharply-peaked heat trace?
First of all, ProfJones, I think the first a leading question - you imply that the heat traces are sharply-peaked, I say they are not, or not all of them.

Take a look at all four traces, plus the trace by Tillotson and Gash that you reference:

Tillotson and Gash's curve peaks at ca. 5 Watts/gram. Your specimens from the Intermont and White dust samples both exceed that value of 5 Watts/gram over a range from ca. 380C to 460C - at a heating rate of 10C/min, this means these two chips were smoldering above the peak power of Tillotson's nanothermite for an amazing 8 minutes! Of course, the base of these peaks is even much wider than that. In short: That was a very slow reaction indeed! Tillotson's graph stayed above 2 Watts/gram for a little under 6 minutes, which is what I would consider its "peak" during which the bulk of the thermite reaction happened. Of your 4 samples, only MacKinlay 1 has a narrower peak, the three others peak above 2 Watts/gram much much longer. So I would ask you, ProfJones: Why are the two peaks for the Intermont and the White sample so very wide compared to actual nanothermite?

Originally Posted by ProfJones
Do these results not imply SOME type of highly exothermic reaction, beyond that which can be reached by burning paint in air? That is -- where do the iron-rich spheres ( in the ignition residue) come from?
No - you have it all backwards.

There is nothing unusual about the power, the peak width or the energy release of your four specimen of unknown provenience, considering that they all probably consist mostly (70%-80% by weight, typically) of some unknown organic matrix that burns under air - as your paper freely admits on page 28 of your paper.

Your results, ProfJones, actually "imply SOME type of highly exothermic reaction, beyond that which can be reached by burning thermite".

All the XEDS spectra that you have produced on the red layers (particularly Fig's 7 and 14) suggest strongly that the organic component of the red layer is roughly 65-85% of the mass, with the remaining 15-35% being distributed over inorganic substances that include various metals. Marc Basile has quantified his "lucky chip #13" and found it contains >70% carbon alone - which implies more than 85% by weight of some hydrocarbon. On the other hand, the same chip contains only traces of iron and aluminium, such that even if all the Al were elemental and it was all married with all the Fe2O3, there would be less than 5% thermite in the red layer. Considering that thermite has an energy density of <4 kJ/g, but practically all organic substances have energy densities of >15 kJ/g, it follows directly from Basile's study that >98% of the heat of reaction comes from the organic matrix, not from thermite.

Your MEK-soaked chip, ProfJones, is shown in Fig. 14 to contain more C, more O, more Ca, more Si, more S, more Fe and possibly even more Zn than Al. In fact, I am sure you will find that if you run a quantification routine on that spectrum, you will find that it shows less than 1% by weight Al in that chip's red layer (I ran XEDS simulations and estimate 0.6%). With that little Al, the chip could at most contain 4%, more likely <2.4% (most likely 0%, of course) thermite. At the same time, it seems to be about 40% by weight carbon, which would imply close to 50% organic matrix. Again, the energy content of that very real organic matrix exceeds that of the only hypothetical maximum thermite content by a factor of at least 50!

So if your four specimens in the DSC released 1.5-7.5 kJ/g of energy, rest assured that at most 0.03-0.15 kJ/g of that came from thermite. This is too little to even affect the organic matrix much: Given typical values for the heat capacity and enthalpy of gasification of typical organic polymers such as epoxy, the little thermite in the matrix wouldn't even heat the matrix enough to bring it to the brink of decomposition, let alone turn it to gas.

ProfJones, these are the facts that you must face: Your own data, presented in the Harrit paper, and corroborated by the work of Marc Basile and Dr. Millette, proves convincingly that none of the red gray chips are thermitic.

I don't know why you found this or that kind of spheres in the residue. What I do know is that you found too little (if any at all) Al before any ignition, no Al-oxide after, but too much heat. It all speaks for organic comustion as the main, if not sole, source of reaction heat. Can you exclude, for example, that the organic material, upon being heated, released CO or H2, which then reduced some of the iron oxide (either within the red layer, or of the gray steel layer of oxidized steel)?

Sorry ProfJones, your team is sitting on the samples, your team refuses to release any to your critics, your team did the experiments, your team did and/or documented the experiments inexpertly. It is not our duty to find the answers to the querstions that your experiments failed to address. It is, however, your duty, ProfJones, to respond to valid criticism of your conclusions. I am waiting.

Originally Posted by ProfJones
2. Our Figures 31,32 in the Active Thermitic Materials paper show multiple layers, and Fig. 33 shows the composition of the "light gray" layer. We published these results, and any future study of the WTC dust should also look for these multiple-layered red-gray chips. I intend to explore the dust once again for such multi-layered chips with the new (and skeptical) collaborating scientist.
Now my question to the Jref fellows: It is difficult to see how a "paint" applied to steel could result in such multiple-layered chips as we observed in the WTC dust and published -- have you attempted to account for the multiple-layered chips which we reported finding in the WTC dust? Millette does not mention them.
I am flabbergasted, ProfJones!

What have these chips shown in Fig. 31-33 to do with the other, different kinds of chips on which you did the bulk of the study? The multilayered chip contains "significant Pb" (page 28) - which none of the other chips do. ProfJones, Wouldn't you agree that this chip must be a different material than any of the chips, or their residues, whose spectra are shown in Fig. 7, 11, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 25, 26 - you never show Pb in any of these (just 1% Pb in a paint chip of similar composition as chips a-d, with C, O, Al, Si and Fe, would result in a very clear XEDS peak at 2.35 keV, the M-alpha level of Pb, a peak that would be about as prominent as, or even more prominent than, the L-alpha and K-beta peaks of iron at 0.82 and 7.06 keV, respectively, as simulations tools tell us).

So ProfJones, when you dismiss Millette's TEM data as "a different material" because it contains Ti, why do you not also dismiss that multilayered chip, as it most clearly is a different material?

All the conclusions of the Bentham paper rest in no way at all on that multi-layered chip. Instead, they rest on your test results on chips a-d which are all clearly single-layered, the MEK-soaked chip, which is clearly single-layered, and several unknown, uncharacterized, unidentified chips that Dr. Farrer wasted in the DSC.

To even think that the multi-layered chip might be the same material as any of those that went into your conclusions is naive. To ask us, or scientists determined to replicate your tests to consider it, borders on deceptive.

The same goes for the chip in Fig 33 -it clearly must be considered a different material, as the gray layer has no resemblence with the gray layers of chips a-d, except that it is gray.

ProfJones, asking us such nonsense questions doesn't improve your standing. Please try to focus on those experimental results, and those specimens, and those kinds of chips, that you used to form your conclusions! You see, your conclusions do not follow from your data. Don't try to distract from that uncomfortable situation by running away to the discussion of different materials, on which we can only speculate due to a glaring lack of useful data!

Now, ProfJones, there were a few questions to you implied in the posts here that you say you already read, but you did not address them. Please be so kind and do so now:

The first four questions I ask of you follow from the four points I raised yesterday in my own blog, where I offered a response to your current article at 911Blogger:
Steven Jones and Jeff Farrer confirm four of my claims concerning red-gray chips
  1. Do you acknowledge, ProfJones, that (a) there were more primer paints used on WTC steel than the Tnemec formulation you have been talking about so far, most notably the primer by LaClede Steel Company with which the floor joists were painted, (b) the spectra as well as the appearance of chips a-d are a very good match for the LaClede primer formulation (as well as for the LaClede steel - a low-carbon-manganese alloy), (c) that LaClede primer contains a small amount of Strontium Chromate, (d) that Dr. Farrer's finding of small amounts of both Sr and Cr may corroborate the conclusion that some of the chips, including chips a-d, may be LaClede primer on LaClede steel, (e) it is possible that even more different kinds of primers were used on the twin tower cores (for which no brand or specification is known) and WTC7, and other structures?
  2. Can you please acknowledge that, as per Dr. Farrer's comments from september 9th, you can't exclude the conclusion that the platelets in chips a-d are kaolin after all? They contain either as much Si as, or slightly more than, Al, and also a large amount of O (Fig. 11a; compare the C:O ratio there with that in Fig 7 to detrmine that most of the O in Fig 11a must be associated with Si and Al)? As your XRD and TEM data was inconclusive, you should acknowledge that kaolin is a possibility, and elemental Al unproven!
  3. Since you now don't know any longer, and have good reason to doubt, that Tillotson and Gash did their DSC under air, are you ready to cast doubt on the usefulness of the DSC tests Farrer did for the Harrit paper, and particularly retract the conclusions drawn from it, until the issue has been cleared up? This in light of the facts I gave you avove: That XEDS data shows that only 2% or less of the energy released in Farrer's tests would come from thermite, but 98-100% from reactions of the dominant material, the organic matrix, under air"
  4. Most importantly, ProfJones, could yoiu please clearly acknowledge that you understand by now that the red-gray chips aren't all the same material, and that thus test results gained from one chip can't be assumed to apply to another chip unless you show first that both have the same composition? Please keep in mind that ir was YOU, ProfJones, who suggested that a red-gray chip may be of a different material, if it contains one element that some other red-gray chip does not! When you answer this, please consider the implication this realization has on the conclusions of the Harrit paper. In particular: Do you realize that the MEK-soaked chip must be a material different from that of chips a-d, and that thus the finding that the MEK-soaked chip may have contained a trace (clearly <1%) of elemental Al cannot validly applied to either chips a-d, in which all the Al seems to be contained in the kaolin-like, Si-, O- and Al-rich platelets, or the unknown chips that Dr. Farrer wasted in the (probably) incorrectly done DSC test?

As this post is growing very long, I shall leave my questions at that. They address some of the information you provided a few days ago, so I hope you will be happy to reply to them and clarify what you think about the implications!

Now some comments on the remainder of your latest comment:

Originally Posted by ProfJones
The geologist PhD that I am now collaborating with wrote to me:
"Our lab is prepared to identify any mineral by XRD, and we often run patterns of kaolinite and aluminum metal."
This sounds good: It is probably good that a geology PhD will be doing this. Please tell me it's not Dr. Griscom (who holds a PhD in physics, but is a member of the Geological Society of America). Also, I understand that XRD is a competent method (as opposed to the DSC and MEK tests) to characterize a range of materials. For example, Tillotson and Gash used (P)XRD to determine that a reaction product of their nano-thermite composition was Al2O3. If this researcher actually does a DSC test, perhaps you could pass on the suggestion that he does (P)XRD both before and after the DSC test, with a specific view to determining presence of alumina and iron oxide pre- and post-burning?

Originally Posted by ProfJones
That is the way science proceeds generally -- experiments and publication (as we did)
Your team wrote in the 2009 Harrit paper (oage 26): "The Gash report describes FTIR spectra which characterize this energetic material. We have performed these same tests and will report the results elsewhere." As far as I am aware, ProfJones, the FTIR results have not been published. I urge you and your collaborators to do this noa as soon as possible, ideally before any other team spends money and time on experiments that may turn out to be superfluous if you had already published your results!

Originally Posted by ProfJones
as I wrote to my new collaborator -- we must resolve to publish our findings, whatever these turn out to be.
Full agreement, ProfJones! In particular, it is generally recognized today as the ethical duty of any researcher to publish even negative or inconclusive results, as these can be as valubale as positive ones. So...
Originally Posted by ProfJones
I will say that after our paper was published, we went to another lab trying to get XRD patterns that would definitively resolve the question of whether elemental aluminum was present. But like Dr Farrer's TEM results, there was no clear pattern of ANY aluminum-bearing compound in the XRD results. These results have surprised me, not satisfied me. So we go to further experiments.
...I am surprised, and slightly dismayed, that your team has not only withheld the crucial FTIR and TEM data from public scrutiny, but also XRD results! Why, ProfJones?? Why did you publish the results from all the incompetent tests, and none from the competent tests?? You are certainly aware how that must taste to a true sceptic of your science?

ProfJones, it is high time, very high time, and extremely urgent, that you, Dr. Farrer, Niels Harrit and whoever else got to do work on your dust samples, publish ALL your data ASAP! At the very least, I ask you sincerely to call your collaborators and get from them a very clear statement if end when they are going to fully disclose the experimental data already obtained! Perhaps I might suggest that we don't wait till you all get the time to write a clean paper that would be fit for journal publication, and rather just compile the data as is, with a few annotations, perhaps similar to Dr. Millette's preliminary report? Such data "dumps" might well be hosted at the Journal of 9/11 Studies - why not ask its editors, Frank Legge and Kevin Ryan? What do you think, ProfJones?
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