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The Basics of Super-Thermite & the Destruction of the Twin Towers

May 10, 2015

“What one man can invent another can discover.”
– Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Dancing Men

The government-funded reports on the destruction of the World Trade Center claim that the towers collapsed due to progressive structural failure caused by fire, yet fail to explain the most obvious observations, such as what caused the explosive demolitions that thrust, with great force, heavy steel columns and pulverized concrete laterally?

Nor can the official explanation even begin to account for the incredible amount of energy needed to pulverize the 220 acre-size floors of concrete - and everything on them.

The government-funded studies are unable to explain what caused large amounts of molten metal to cascade from the South Tower before it collapsed...

...or what fueled the incredible hot spots that burned beneath the rubble until Christmas 2001. 

The discovery of remnants of an explosive form of super-thermite in the dust of the World Trade Center is solid evidence that state-of-the art novel energetic materials were used to destroy the Twin Towers. Having a grasp of what super-thermite is and what it can do will enable us to make sense of the unexplained observations of what happened when the towers were demolished – with thousands of people trapped inside.

The bi-layered red-gray energetic material found in the dust of the World Trade Center was a state-of-the-art nanocomposite that combined ultra-fine thermitic reactants with organic ingredients to produce the incredible heat, molten metal, and explosive effect seen when the Twin Towers were demolished. 
Source: "Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe" (2009)

The terror atrocity of September 11, 2001, is a peculiar event in modern history. One of the most peculiar aspects is that although the explosive demolition of the Twin Towers remains wholly unexplained, it also remains largely ignored by the scientific community. The negligence on the part of America's scientific institutions to examine the evidence to determine what really caused the destruction of the towers, a terror atrocity in which some 2,606 people perished, continues in spite of the fact that the government-sponsored reports openly admit that they cannot explain what was observed when the World Trade Center was destroyed. 

The discovery of a nanocomposite of super-thermite in the dust of the destroyed towers, on the other hand, does explain the unexplained observations of what happened to the Twin Towers on 9-11. The presence of such energetic nanocomposites can explain the explosions that pulverized the towers and the presence of billions of tiny balls of molten iron and other metals found in the dust.  Furthermore, super-thermite explains the extremely hot chemical reactions that burned beneath the rubble for three months after 9-11. These are three crucial observations about the demolition of the Twin Towers that the government–funded studies fail to explain yet which can be explained by the evidence of super-thermite found in the dust. 


A bluish smoke, heavily laden with toxic nanoparticles created by extremely hot chemical reactions, rose from the pile until Christmas 2001. Despite being continuously doused with firehoses, these incredibly hot "fires" burned for more than three months beneath the pile. What kind of fire burns so hot in an oxygen-starved environment?

"The color of the plume was all wrong. It was a light blue. My background is atmospheric physics, and the color of the plume tells me a lot. A light blue plume means very fine particles. Clearly, the pile was still hot and was giving off very fine particles."  
- Dr. Thomas A. Cahill, DELTA (Detection & Evaluation of Long-Range Transport of Aerosols) Group, UC Davis

On April 16, 2015, when Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth spoke at the Technical University (TU) in Delft, Holland, I noted that two of the first questions from the audience were about Judy Wood and Dimitri Khalezov, two disinformation agents who have promoted fraudulent “red herring” theories about what caused the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9-11.

The fact that these questions were raised suggests that disinformation agents had been activated in Delft to try to confuse the public about what had really happened on 9-11.

Seeing as TU Delft is a leader in the field of nanotechnology, I was disappointed that there was no discussion of the discovery of super-thermite in the dust of the World Trade Center. This crucial discovery, which effectively demolished the official version as a plausible explanation, was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in 2009 (see “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” Steven E. Jones, et al).

The hostile reaction to the discovery of super-thermite in the dust revealed that this discovery was not supposed to happen. When it did, an aggressive campaign to promote unproven and wacky theories, such as those of Judy Wood and Dimitri Khalezov, kicked into high gear to confuse the public about what the discovery of super-thermite means. At the same time, people who were involved in the public discussion of the evidence of super-thermite, such as Dr. Steven E. Jones and myself, were personally targeted and attacked. Dr. Jones and I were both slandered and attacked within a three-week period in August-September 2006 and subsequently removed from our main income-earning positions.

Christopher Bollyn and Dr. Steven E. Jones discussing the evidence of thermite in the destruction of the World Trade Center, a few months before we were both attacked and slandered.

The fact that super-thermite is not well understood by most people makes it easy for disinformation agents to create confusion. Super-thermite is, after all, something that has only been developed since the 1990s, which means that there is very little public awareness of what it is. The purpose of this article is to provide some basic information, taken from the growing body of scientific literature on the subject, to help explain what super-thermite is and to give the reader a better grasp of how it was used to destroy the Twin Towers on 9-11.


First, let me address some of the disinformation. During my recent tour in the United States I was able to peruse Judy Wood's book, Where Did the Towers Go? Evidence of Directed Free-energy Technology on 9/11. Ms Wood's book presents a very flawed and incomplete discussion of thermite and does not even begin to discuss the incredible properties of nano-thermite, a novel energetic material that was discovered in the dust of the World Trade Center. Furthermore, her book contains an obvious falsehood when she states that the destruction of the Twin Towers was a "cold" event. This statement, made in the introduction of the book and repeated in its conclusion, is demonstrably false.

The idea that the demolition of the Twin Towers was a "cold" event is preposterous and easily disproven by the evidence. Large amounts of molten metal, for example, presumed to be iron at about 1,538 degrees C (2,800 F), were seen cascading from the South Tower minutes before it “collapsed” in what certainly appeared to be a highly-energetic and explosive demolition. The demolition of the Twin Towers evidently involved a process in which billions of tiny microscopic molten droplets of a variety of metals were created, including iron, lead, and molybdenum.

Tiny balls of molten iron and lead are signature characteristics of the dust from the destruction of the Twin Towers. 
Source: USGS survey of the WTC dust

Tiny spheres of molten molybdenum were also found in the dust. Given the fact that molybdenum has an extremely high melting point (2,623 C or 4,753 F) it is impossible to imagine how a tiny drop of molybdenum was created, according to the official explanation of events. If, however, a thermitic material containing molybdenum trioxide, one of the most highly energetic forms of super-thermite, was used in the demolition, many molybdenum spheroids like this one would have been produced.
"Extremely High Temperatures during the World Trade Center Destruction," 2008

Knowing that the smallest molten droplets (i.e. ultra-fine or nano-size particles) of metal found in the dust (and the smoke) were created in chemical processes that reached temperatures hotter than the boiling point of the metal involved, Wood’s statement that the demolition of the Twin Towers was “cold” is shown to be utterly false, leaving her theory without a leg to stand on. In the face of solid scientific evidence that the demolitions were in fact extremely hot events, why would Ms Wood even venture to make the absurd claim that the destruction of the Twin Towers was a "cold" event?

Well, my friends, this is how disinformation works. The purpose of disinformation is to confuse the public by mixing good information with bad. This leaves it for the individual reader to determine for themselves what is true and verifiable, and what is not. When one realizes, therefore, that Judy Wood's "theory" that 9-11 was a "cold" event is based on a blatant lie that is easily disproven then her whole theory collapses. It's that simple – it's a fraud – a red herring that is designed to confuse the public about what really happened on 9-11.

Likewise, the nuclear theory being pushed by Dimitri Khazelov and others is just as ludicrous. Last year, for example, Gordon Duff of Veterans Today claimed that a blast from a nuclear device buried deep beneath the bedrock of Manhattan had been funneled up through the core section of the North Tower and that this blast caused the huge communications mast atop the tower to be vaporized.

I promptly responded to Mr. Duff, in an article entitled "Gordon Duff: 9-11 Disinfo Toad," in which I explained that this statement cannot be true given the fact that a large section of the mast is on display in the Newseum in Washington, D.C. As they say, lies have short legs.

What we need to understand is that the real purpose of disinformation is to muddy the water and confuse people about what the evidence truly does show:  that the Twin Towers were destroyed and pulverized with extremely powerful and sophisticated forms of super-thermite. In order to understand how that was done, we need to understand the basics of what super-thermite is and what it can do.


Super-thermite refers to a nanocomposite material in which ultra-fine components of a form of thermite are combined on an almost molecular level. So, what is thermite?

A description of thermite is provided by

A thermite reaction (sometimes called a “Goldschmidt reaction”) refers to a very exothermic [heat producing] process occurring between a metal oxide and a more active pure metal. The more reactive metal reduces the metal oxide, oxidizing itself and releasing a substantial amount of energy during the reaction.

Generally, thermite is made by mixing iron oxide [rust] and aluminum powder and igniting it at very high temperatures (a few thousand degrees). The reaction releases so much energy, molten iron metal is produced as one of the products.

So, a thermite reaction creates incredible heat and produces the pure molten metal from the metal oxide. The aluminum, on the other hand, becomes aluminum oxide, a white smoke that disappears in the wind. A great deal of white smoke was observed coming from the Twin Towers before and during the collapses. The government report (FEMA/BPAT) provides the exact times that bursts of white smoke appeared and notes that these bursts always preceded an increase in the flow of molten metal falling from the South Tower. This observation is precisely what one would expect to see from a thermitic reaction going on inside the tower.

When these same thermitic reactants are combined using particles of the ultra-fine or nano-size (smaller than one-tenth of a micron in diameter) the resulting “nanothermites exhibit vastly differing characteristics compared to their well-known micron scale relatives and through the use of various preparatory chemical techniques can be tailored to have a wide spectra of chemical and energetic properties,” according to a 2010 paper entitled “Nanoscale Aluminum – Metal Oxide (Thermite) Reactions for Application in Energetic Materials.” 

As the paper explains:

Thermite-type reactions on the nanoscale have been called many names including nanothermites, metastable intermolecular composites (MICs), or superthermites. The phrase “nanothermites” comes from the particle sizes used in these energetic mixtures, in contrast to the more familiar thermite type reaction in which the particle sizes are in the order of microns.

The term “metastable intermolecular composites” comes from the fact that the mixtures of metal oxide and aluminum are stable up to their ignition temperature, at which point self-propagating high-temperature synthesis (SHS) occurs and the thermodynamic products of a metal and aluminum oxide are produced.

Finally, the term “superthermite” comes from the fact that thermites composed of nano-sized materials exhibit very different combustion characteristics when compared to those mixed with micron-sized precursors. Superior combustion velocities, and explosive behavior compared to the usual observed deflagration often characterize thermites made with nanoscale precursors.


The Jones paper of 2009, which documented the discovery of super-thermite in the dust of the destroyed World Trade Center, concluded: “…the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material."

This thermitic material had been made by combining the components, which have been reduced to nano-size (or ultra-fine) particle sizes, and arranging them so that the reactant particles were placed next to each other on a scale just short of molecular. This means that the reaction is much faster and more powerful than when the reactants are combined on the granular level, for example with particle sizes similar to sand.

The 2010 paper on nanoscale aluminum found that nanothermites made from copper oxide (CuO) and aluminum (Al) reached the highest combustion velocities known for a mixture of metal oxide and aluminum. Using aluminum-coated copper nano-rods, a thermite with the highest combustion velocity of 2,400 meters/second was created. This is about 7 times the speed of sound (340 m/s), which means that material detonates like an explosive.

“The high combustion velocity is in the range of explosive velocities, so the CuO/Al thermite may have application as a primary explosive,” the authors concluded. A sol-gel (aerogel) made from iron oxide and aluminum (Fe2O3/Al) had a combustion velocity of 895 m/s, more than twice the speed of sound, according to the same paper.

Sol-gel chemistry involves the reactions of chemicals in solution to produce nanometer-size particles called sols. These sols are linked together to form a three-dimensional solid network or skeleton called a gel, with the remaining solution residing in the open pores of the gel. The solution can then be supercritically extracted to produce aerogels (highly porous, lightweight solids) or evaporated to create xerogels (denser porous solids).
Source:  "Nanoscale Chemistry Yields Better Explosives," Science and Technology Review, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, October 2000


A 1995 paper on the “Oxidation Behavior of Aluminum Nanopowders” (Aumann, et al.) found that a thermitic compound of aluminum and molybdenum trioxide powder mixtures with average particle sizes of 20-50 nanometers (nm) could react1,000 times faster than conventional powdered thermite.

As the Jones’ paper notes: “Commercially available thermite behaves as an incendiary when ignited, but when the ingredients are ultra-fine grain (UFG) and are intimately mixed, this “nano-thermite” reacts very rapidly, even explosively, and is sometimes referred to as “super-thermite”.


The thermitic material discovered in the dust of the World Trade Center was bi-layered and included an organic layer, which produced the gas-generating characteristic of an explosive. The Jones’ paper found that “the carbon content of the red material indicates that an organic substance is present. This would be expected for super-thermite formulations in order to produce high gas pressures upon ignition and thus make them explosive.”

The explosive nature of the material found by Jones in the dust of the World Trade Center was observed when the bi-layered chip was heated to its ignition temperature of about 430 C:  “The first WTC red/gray chip so tested was approximately 1 mm x 1 mm. After a few seconds of heating, the high-speed ejection of a hot particle was observed under the hand of the person holding the torch.”

The high-speed ejection of a hot particle was caused by the organic component of the nanocomposite. This is precisely the explosive effect that one would expect to see with such “organic functionalized” nanocomposite energetic materials, as a paper from 2004 explains:

Phenomenological burn observations indicate that the organic functionalized Fe/Si mixed oxide nanocomposites burn very rapidly and violently, essentially to completion, with the generation of significant amounts of gas... The still image of the energetic nanocomposite without organic functionalization exhibits rapid ignition and emission of light and heat. The still image of the energetic nanocomposite with organic functionalization also exhibits these characteristics, but it also exhibits hot particle ejection due to the production of gas upon ignition. This reaction is very exothermic and results in the production of very high temperatures, intense light, and pressure from the generation of the gaseous byproducts resulting from the decomposition of the organic moieties.
- Source: “Synthesis and Characterization of Mixed Metal Oxide Nanocomposite Energetic Materials,” Clapsaddle, et al, 2004


An early paper from the Advanced Materials and Processes Technology Information Analysis Center (AMPTIAC Quarterly, Spring 2002) of the U.S. Department of Defense explains the capabilities of super-thermites made from a variety of metal oxides:

Overall though, certain key MIC characteristics are very attractive and quite promising for practical applications. These include energy output that is 2x that of typical high explosives, the ability to tune the reactive power (10 KW/cc to 10 GW/cc), tunable reaction front velocities of 0.1-1,500 meters/sec., and reaction zone temperature exceeding 3,000 K.

One current promising nanocomposite being pursued by the researchers and LLNL involves the use of Fe2O3 which is generated using the sol-gel method. The reason that Fe2O3 is chosen is because its thermite reaction with UFG aluminum is very exothermic (with only CuO and MoO3 yielding greater energy of reaction)… One important characteristic of MICs is the fact that the rate of energy release can be tailored by varying the size of the components. Three specific MIC formulations have received considerable attention to date: Al/MoO3, Al/Teflon, and Al/CuO…

The thermite composed of aluminum and molybdenum trioxide is noteworthy because of the tiny spheroid of molybdenum that was found in the dust of the destroyed World Trade Center. The molybdenum spheroid also contained “significant concentrations of aluminum, oxygen, and calcium,” which indicates that it may very well have been the product of a thermitic reaction involving aluminum and molybdenum trioxide.

Given the fact that molybdenum has an extremely high melting point (2,623 C or 4,753 F) it is very hard to imagine how a tiny drop of molybdenum could have been created according to the official explanation of the conflagration of the Twin Towers. The use of a form of thermite containing molybdenum trioxide, however, one of the most highly energetic thermites, could explain how the spheroid was formed.

A 2001 paper from Los Alamos National Laboratory on “Reaction Propagation Physics of Al/MoO3 Nanocomposite Thermites” explains: “Although the reactants and products of pure Al/MoO3 materials are both solids, intermediates or products may be gaseous before they condense as they cool.”

If the tiny spheroid of molybdenum found in the dust was the product of a thermitic reaction of Al/MoO3, the reaction that created it must have reached the boiling point of molybdenum, about 4,639 C or ​8,382 F. The dust of the demolished towers also contains large amounts of ultra-fine spheres of iron and lead. Because these spheres must have been created by reactions hotter than the boiling points of these metals (2,862 C for iron and 1,750 C for lead), we have some idea of how hot the demolition of the towers must have been.

Tons of molten metal poured off the 81st floor of the South Tower for several minutes before it collapsed at 9:59 a.m. on 9-11. The official version has no explanation for this observation.

The incredibly hot temperatures produced by thermitic reactions are most likely what created the molten metal, presumed to be iron, that was seen falling from the 81st (or 82nd) floor of the South Tower for about 10 minutes before the tower collapsed. The reaction that produced the molten metal generated extremely intense heat, which would have created intolerable conditions for the people who were trapped in the tower above that floor. The incredible heat was literally roasting the people who were trapped above the crash zones, which is why so many people chose to jump.

The molten metal that fell from the east corner of the South Tower created one of the hotspots that persisted beneath the pile, although there were several others. I was told that molten iron was found under the core sections of the towers, by the elevator shafts - in the molten state - weeks after 9-11, when the debris removal process reached the bedrock of Manhattan. Some people point to photographs showing melted granite as proof of nuclear bombs, but it should be remembered that granite melts at about 1,215-1,260 C, about half the temperature of a basic thermitic reaction involving iron oxide and aluminum.

The intense hotspots that burned beneath the rubble also created ultra-fine particles that were found in large quantities in the blue smoke that rose from the pile. In order for these very small particles to have been produced the hotspots must have been hotter than the boiling point of the element, as Dr. Thomas Cahill of the DELTA Group told me at U.C. Davis in 2006. The boiling points of the metal aerosols found in the smoke are indeed hotter than the melting temperature of granite so we should expect to find melted granite where these hotspots met the bedrock of Manhattan. 

These are some of the basic points about super-thermite that should help explain the unexplained observations seen during and after the demolition of the Twin Towers.  While these novel energetic materials were not well understood by the public in 2001, they will certainly be discussed more in the future, particularly as their role in the destruction of the Twin Towers becomes understood by more people in the scientific community.

Sources and Recommended Reading:

"Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe," Steven E. Jones, et al, The Open Chemical Physics Journal, February 2009

"Extremely High Temperatures during the World Trade Center Destruction," Steven E. Jones, et al, Journal of 9-11 Studies, February 2008

"Military Reloads with Nanotech," John Gartner,, January 21, 2005

"Nanoenergetics:  An Emerging Technology Area of National Importance," Dr. Andrzej Miziolek, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, AMPTIAC Newsletter, Spring 2002 

"Nanoscale Aluminum - Metal Oxide (Thermite) Reactions for Application in Energetic Materials," Davin Piercey and Thomas Klapötke, Central European Journal of Energetic Materials, 2010 

"Nanoscale Chemistry Yields Better Explosives," Randy Simpson, Science and Technology ReviewLawrence Livermore National Laboratory, October 2000

"Novel Energetic Materials,", accessed May 10, 2015

"Reaction Propagation Physics of Al/MoO3 Nanocomposite Thermites," Steven F. Son, et al, Los Alamos National Laboratory, November 2001

"Synthesis and Characterization of Mixed Metal Oxide Nanocomposite Energetic Materials," B.J. Clapsaddle, et al, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, May 12, 2004

"The Explosive Nature of Nanothermite,", June 19, 2011

"Thermite,", accessed May 10, 2015  

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