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Tags wtc steel , thermite , steven jones , electron microscopy , 911 conspiracy theory

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Old 27th March 2007, 08:43 PM   #1
The Almond
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I think Steven Jones should have done his homework

Ok, before I begin, let me put up a disclaimer: I am not a materials scientist. I have worked with electron microscopes, but I am by no means an expert. It is my intention to provide this anaysis with due reference to qualified experts and respected texts on the issue.

So, I've been plugging through Steven Jones lately. Specifically, one of his favorite little speeches about thermite and how analyzing residue of the WTC steel proves that thermite was the culprit. The electron microprobe data that he ran in June 2006 starts on page 35 of the linked PDF.

The microprobe data are what are commonly known as X-ray maps. The 2006 Journal of Microscopy and Microanalysis has a particularly good article for the uninitiated and the wikipedia article on the larger technique of hyperspectral imaging is also pretty good.

To summarize, a focused beam of electrons is aimed at a sample, and the beam is addressed to several thousand contiguous points. The electrons excite X-rays whose signatures are unique to each element. An overview on energy dispersive spectroscopy can be found here. The points can then be reassembled to form an X-ray image of a particular element. Basically, you have an image wherein the pixel brightness implies the presence or absence of an element.

So who cares?

Page 40 of Jones's paper shows the X-ray image of fluorine, and Jones implies that it could not have come from structural steel.

He's wrong.

The next two articles I will list were what finally broke this for me. Iron and fluorine have overlapping peaks. Looking at the first page of the second reference, iron L alpha has an energy of 615 eV and fluorine K alpha has an energy of 676.8 eV. Notice that they do not overlap directly, but (as the first article indicates), they have a "shoulder overlap." That means that the fluorine and iron peaks are barely coincident, but it's enough to cause problems.

So who cares?

Jones states that becase the fluorine and iron are coincident, the presence of polytetrafluoroethelyne is confirmed, and thus, charges were present to ignite thermite. In truth, any time you image fluorine in an x-ray map that also contains iron, you must account for the peak overlap. In other words, there is no way to tell the difference between iron and fluorine without complex deconvolution algorithms. There is no evidence that Jones made any attempt to do such an analysis.

Tomorrow (after some much needed sleep), I'd like to present what I was able to generate using NIST developed software. In looking for a method for showing all of this stuff visually (I've got books from the local library sitting in front of me right now), I stumbled across some relatively unknown NIST software. The program DTSA should be able to generate the iron and fluorine spectra to prove my point.

For further reference, these are the books I checked out (with amazon.com links for the interested)

Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis, Goldstein et al
Electron Probe Quantitation Heinrich and Newbury, ed
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Old 27th March 2007, 08:46 PM   #2
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How does one make thermite ignite at the same time of dozens/hundreds of different beams?

How does one ensure structural failure at the exact right moment?
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Old 27th March 2007, 08:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CHF View Post
How does one make thermite ignite at the same time of dozens/hundreds of different beams?

How does one ensure structural failure at the exact right moment?
Such points of obviousness Dr. Jones cannot be bothered with. But I was more concerned with the poor, misleading scientific analysis he puts forth in spite of it.
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Old 27th March 2007, 08:53 PM   #4
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In a CNN interview (which was cut into 9/11 Mysteries), Jones claims that thermite is an explosive. As most of us know, no... it is not.

People also claim that Iron Oxide (rust) on the tower's steel is evidence for thermite reactions. Basically that means that rust on a shopping trolley means the trolley was hit with thermite?

This whole thermite thing is absurd, and I'm glad you've addressed it Almond. Nice post
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Old 27th March 2007, 09:09 PM   #5
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Since I couldn't be bothered downloading a 3MB file, when he does the chemical analysis, has he figured out his Structural Steel/Stainless Steel mistake yet?
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Old 27th March 2007, 09:16 PM   #6
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I'm sorry Almond, since you are neither a theologian or a water purification engineer, I must disregard your summary conclusions out of hand.

Please try again.
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Old 27th March 2007, 09:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
To summarize, a focused beam of electrons is aimed at a sample, and the beam is addressed to several thousand contiguous points. The electrons excite X-rays whose signatures are unique to each element. An overview on energy dispersive spectroscopy can be found here. The points can then be reassembled to form an X-ray image of a particular element. Basically, you have an image wherein the pixel brightness implies the presence or absence of an element.

So who cares?
Actually I care a lot. Not cause it is Jones or 911, but I love learning how scientist know stuff. Sure Professor Poo bar can point at a piece of pottery and tell me the complete history of the thing..... Big deal I wanna know all the super clever stuff behind how he figured it out. How he can date it to the nearest Friday, or that it obviously a beer holder or whatever........Thats the stuff that make science interesting
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Old 27th March 2007, 10:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by The Almond View Post
Ok, before I begin, let me put up a disclaimer: I am not a materials scientist.
Look, shouldn't we leave it to the investigation to determine exactly what was used to ignite the thermite?
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Old 27th March 2007, 10:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by scooby View Post
Look, shouldn't we leave it to the investigation to determine exactly what was used to ignite the thermite?
If one doesn't believe in things like the scientific method, sure. If one is merely trying to inject ridiculous, unsubstantiated, politically motivated claims with easily debunked scientific language so that the uninitiated layman may actually fall for it... why bother with experiments, testing, falsifiability, science and truth.

Then again, this whole interest in finding out what's right sort of compels me to ignore what Jones wishes, wants, or likes- and instead makes me think the evidence is more important...

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Old 27th March 2007, 10:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by scooby View Post
Look, shouldn't we leave it to the investigation to determine exactly what was used to ignite the thermite?
What thermite?

(would it be wholly inappropriate to add the word "moron" here? Just asking questions.)
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Old 27th March 2007, 10:43 PM   #11
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I'm thinking an investigation needs to be done to determine exactly how 327 invisible purple unicorns were able to slip into the WTC towers 1, 2, and 7 unnoticed and unchallenged only in order to ultimately demolish the building as part of the plot.

Clearly you can see the hoof markings and horn scrapings.

How invisible purple unicorns can exist and perform these impossible tasks- well, we'll leave that up to someone else to actually do all the work. For now, it's settled!

Impeach the Goblin King!
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Old 28th March 2007, 01:36 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by The Almond View Post
Jones states that becase the fluorine and iron are coincident, the presence of polytetrafluoroethelyne is confirmed, and thus, charges were present to ignite thermite. In truth, any time you image fluorine in an x-ray map that also contains iron, you must account for the peak overlap. In other words, there is no way to tell the difference between iron and fluorine without complex deconvolution algorithms. There is no evidence that Jones made any attempt to do such an analysis.
I would be cautious about this. I haven't personally driven an X-ray spectroscopy system, but I've worked closely for the last 20 years with people who do. Most modern EDAX (Energy Dispersive Analysis of X-Rays) systems have the deconvolution software built into the control program, and the whole system will be set up to run it automatically and convert directly into relative peak intensities. It would be so implicit a part of the workings of the machine that one wouldn't even be expected to mention it in a paper. I would expect that whoever did the analysis for Jones did the deconvolution properly, because if they didn't understand the machine well enough to do it, they wouldn't be able to operate it at all.

What I would question here is not Jones's observation of fluorine, but his conjectures on its origin. For example, is the water in NY fluoridated? If the steel has been buried in a rubble pile that was then played on continuously by fire hoses for weeks in order to put out the underground fires, then there's a perfectly innocent source of fluorine. PTFE is hardly a rare chemical, so there are numerous environmental sources of fluorine that might have been present. The same is true for all the other chemicals Jones finds in his sample, so his conclusion that thermite was present is simply - as has been said many times before by many debunkers - the logical error of affirming the consequent.

Dave
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Old 28th March 2007, 01:56 AM   #13
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Almond, that is truly the most baffling post I have ever read on these forums.

I must learn stuff like this; anyone know any good books on the subject?


Sorry for the derail.
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Old 28th March 2007, 02:00 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by scooby View Post
Look, shouldn't we leave it to the investigation to determine exactly what was used to ignite the thermite?
good idea scoob. go survey the expert opinions of those that investigated the WTC collapses, and ask what was used to ignite the thermite. they'll tell that you're asking a loaded question, and then tell you that you're an idiot. i don't mean to sound harsh, just, well, that's the way it's going to be.

if you want to leave it to investigators, WHY do you ignore EVERY OTHER SCIENTIST that investigated the collapses of WTC 1 and 2? i know why. because they all disagree with jones. you only want to "leave it to investigators" here because the one "investigator" in question supports your theories.

if you really wanted to "leave it to investigators", you'd reject jones, as every other scientist involved in the WTC collapse investigation has rejected jones-- even the author of the fema report that is commonly cited as "evidence" of thermite. yes, even he thinks the thermite hypothesis is crap.
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Old 28th March 2007, 06:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
I would be cautious about this. I haven't personally driven an X-ray spectroscopy system, but I've worked closely for the last 20 years with people who do. Most modern EDAX (Energy Dispersive Analysis of X-Rays) systems have the deconvolution software built into the control program, and the whole system will be set up to run it automatically and convert directly into relative peak intensities.
While it is true that EDS software does often come with the capacity to deconvolve peaks, you require standards to do so. It's not simply a matter of applying a formula to the peaks.

Furthermore, while it is possible to deconvolve individual spectra, X-Ray maps are made up from thousands of individual spectra, and processing on that level is not inherent to the system. The X-Ray maps Jones shows are what are known as Region of Interest maps. The software defines a window of energies and simply counts all incidents in the window. Jones shows his scale bars on the right, and those are raw, uncorrected peak intensities acquired through ROI integration.

Originally Posted by Goldstein et al, Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis, page 400 and 401
In the case of EDS, however, poorer energy resolution often leads to characteristic peak overlap situations, particularly at lower energies. A further complication is that in EDS analysis the counts used for the sample and standard are those contained in a region of interest (ROI) selected for each element [...]

With peak deconvolution, the measured spectrum (after background removal) is viewed as the sum of weighted spectra of the two individual spectra each containing the pure elemental peaks 1 and 2. A multiple linear least squares fit is then used to determine the weighting factors that give the best match to the measured spectra. If the weighting factors are expressed as fractions of pure peaks, then those fractions are, in fact, the k ratios needed for the quantitative analysis programs. The trick with this method is to know the exact shape of the pure peaks because they do not always follow a well-defined mathematical function such as a Gaussian. Instead it is usually necessary to work with measured reference spectra determined on the spectrometer actually used for the measurements, hoping that there is no variation in spectral shape and/or position due to count rate or chemical bonding effects.
Quote:
It would be so implicit a part of the workings of the machine that one wouldn't even be expected to mention it in a paper. I would expect that whoever did the analysis for Jones did the deconvolution properly, because if they didn't understand the machine well enough to do it, they wouldn't be able to operate it at all.
I have seen no mention of software that is capable of automatically deconvolving peaks with any accuracy. It simply can't deconvolve peaks automatically without the requisite standards, and the ability to deconvolve the thousands of individual spectra to produce a standard k-ratio map is not available on any current software systems.

I think it is perfectly within reason to believe that Jones was working with a qualitative system. That is, he was looking for a yes or no answer. He makes no mention of a standardization process, no mention of any form of deconvolution, and no mention of the pixel by pixel processing necessary to accurately determine the presence of an overlapping element.
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Old 28th March 2007, 06:32 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Coritani View Post
Almond, that is truly the most baffling post I have ever read on these forums.

I must learn stuff like this; anyone know any good books on the subject?


Sorry for the derail.
The book that really helped me was Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis by Goldstein, Newbury, Joy, Lyman, Echlin, Lifshin, Sawyer and Michael. I got it at our local library, so I guess it's a pretty common text. It really starts at square one, and the authors don't go crazy with the math (at least not compared to the engineering texts I'm used to).

Originally Posted by scooby
Look, shouldn't we leave it to the investigation to determine exactly what was used to ignite the thermite?
Jones is the investigator, he claimed that fluorine was indicative of the ignition source for thermite. That's his claim, and I've shown how it is not conclusive.
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Old 28th March 2007, 06:57 AM   #17
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This post is great.

I'm fairly certain if my house was hit by a tornado right now, Stephen Jones could find evidence that thermite did it.
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Old 28th March 2007, 07:01 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by scooby View Post
Look, shouldn't we leave it to the investigation to determine exactly what was used to ignite the thermite?
No, first we should find out if there is any reason to suspect that thermite was used.

If the answer is yes, then we should find out if there is evidence that thermite was used.

If the answer is yes, then we might study how it was used.

Hans
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Old 28th March 2007, 07:08 AM   #19
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The funniest thing is that he used evidence of pancaking and said it was a molten pool. Heh!

debunking911.com/jones.htm
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Old 28th March 2007, 05:00 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by FactCheck View Post
The funniest thing is that he used evidence of pancaking and said it was a molten pool. Heh!

debunking911.com/jones.htm
Complete with unmelted rebar inside it, lol.
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Old 28th March 2007, 08:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
What I would question here is not Jones's observation of fluorine, but his conjectures on its origin. For example, is the water in NY fluoridated? If the steel has been buried in a rubble pile that was then played on continuously by fire hoses for weeks in order to put out the underground fires, then there's a perfectly innocent source of fluorine. PTFE is hardly a rare chemical, so there are numerous environmental sources of fluorine that might have been present. The same is true for all the other chemicals Jones finds in his sample, so his conclusion that thermite was present is simply - as has been said many times before by many debunkers - the logical error of affirming the consequent.
Dave
PTFE? Isn't that Teflon? Used in cookware, electronics and lots of other stuff?

As for the fluoridation of NYC water, here's a New York Times article from January 2003 about a temporary shutdown of fluoridation equipment as part of repairs to the water system which says:

Quote:
Since 1965, New York City has added fluoride to the water supply at a concentration of approximately one part per million.
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