Although we know that nanothermite has been found in the WTC dust, we do not know what purpose it served in the deceptive demolition of the WTC buildings. It could be that the nanothermite was used simply to drive fires in the impact zones and elevator areas – fires which would otherwise have gone out too early or not been present at all – and thereby create the deception that jet fuel-induced fires could wreak the havoc seen. Nanothermite might also have been used to produce the explosions necessary to destroy the structural integrity of the buildings.
Nanothermite, also called superthermite, is the common name for a subset of metastable intermolecular composites (MICs) characterized by a highly exothermic reaction after ignition. Nanothermites contain an oxidizer and a reducing agent that are intimately mixed on the nanometer scale. Such nano-energetics are produced for various applications including propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics.
There are various ways to make nanothermites. They can be made as solid mixtures of aluminum and metal oxides which are typically produced using techniques like dynamic vapor phase condensation and arrested reactive milling. These mixtures are much like typical thermite mixtures, but with the components introduced on a much smaller scale. Alternatively, nanothermites can be made in a liquid solution that later gels, capturing the reactive components in an intimately mixed composite which is dried before it can be ignited. These are called sol-gel nanothermites, also known more generally as energetic nanocomposites.
1. This 2004 paper from Lawrence Livermore Labs is quite clear about nanothermites being –
“explosive composites based on thermite reactions.”
It begins: “We have developed a new method of making nanostructured energetic materials, specifically explosives…using sol-gel chemistry.”
2. This online article entitled “NanoScale Chemistry Yields Better Explosives” discusses the procedure by which sol-gel nanothermites are made and gives a nice TEM image of a nanothermite. https://www.llnl.gov/str/RSimpson.html
3. This US Department of Defense journal from Spring, 2002 describes how:
“All of the military services and some DOE and academic laboratories have active R&D programs aimed at exploiting the unique properties of nanomaterials that have potential to be used in energetic formulations for advanced explosives.”
It clarifies that –
[Nanothermite properties] “include energy output that is 2x that of high explosives” and “As sol-gel materials and methodology advances, there are a number of possible application areas that are envisioned [including] high-power, high-energy composite explosives.
4. A high explosive creates a shockwave that always travels at high, supersonic velocity from the point of origin. This paper describes how –
“the reaction of the low density nanothermite composite leads to a fast propagating combustion, generating shock waves with Mach numbers up to 3.”
5. In this paper, former NIST employee Michael Zachariah discusses –
“developing an oxidizer matrix for reaction with nano-aluminum [i.e. nanothermite] for energy intensive applications involving explosives and propellants…”.
6. This article helps us understand how the military has been leveraging the potential explosive power of nanoenergetic compounds, specifically nanothermites. It describes a –
“new class of weaponry that uses energy-packed nanometals to create powerful, compact bombs.” Purdue professor Steven Son, who has become a leading expert on nanothermites, goes on to say that “Superthermites can increase the (chemical) reaction time by a thousand times…resulting in a very rapid reactive wave…used in many applications, including…explosive devices.” The article says that such nanoenergetics enable “building more lethal weapons such as cave-buster bombs that have several times the detonation force of conventional bombs.”
7. Unlike some energetic materials, nanothermites are “tunable”, meaning the “ignition sensitivity thresholds, reaction rate, and pressure generation can be tailored to have a wide range of values.” Explosives generate pressure, as do nanothermites tuned to do just that.
8. This conference paper states that –
“Nanoenergetic thermite materials release energy much faster than conventional energetic materials and have various potential military applications such as… explosives. They are likely to become the next-generation explosive materials.”
9. This paper from the US Army describes how:
“These tunable nanoenergetic materials will be useful for various applications such as high-temperature non-detonable gas generators, adaptable flares, green primers for propellants and explosives, high power/energy explosives.
10. Even Wikipedia knows that nanothermite is used for explosive applications.
Nanothermites “are generally developed for military use, propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics. Because of their highly increased reaction rate, nanosized thermitic materials are being researched by the U.S. military with the aim of developing new types of bombs that are several times more powerful than conventional explosives.”
"The greatest mystery of all is truth." - Me, 2009
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