The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites

What you are allowed to think and what you do think are two different things, aren't they? That's another way of saying that this forum may be NSFW, if your boss is a Republican. A liberal won't fire you for it, but they'll laugh at you in the break room and you may not get promoted. Unless you're an engineer, of course, in which your obsession with facing reality is not actually a career-disabling disability.

The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites

Postby admin » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:57 pm

The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites
by Kevin R. Ryan
July 2, 2008



"Was the steel tested for explosives or thermite residues? . . . NIST did not test for the residue of these compounds in the steel."

-- NIST Responses to FAQs, August 2006

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has had considerable difficulty determining a politically correct sequence of events for the unprecedented destruction of three World Trade Center (WTC) buildings on 9/11 (Douglas 2006, Ryan 2006, Gourley 2007). But despite a number of variations in NIST’s story, it never considered explosives or pyrotechnic materials in any of its hypotheses. This omission is at odds with several other striking facts; first, the requirement of the national standard for fire investigation (NFPA 921), which calls for testing related to thermite and other pyrotechnics, and second, the extensive experience NIST investigators have with explosive and thermite materials.

One of the most intriguing aspects of NIST’s diversionary posture has been their total lack of interest in explosive or pyrotechnic features in their explanations. Despite the substantial evidence for the use of explosives at the WTC (Jones 2006, Legge and Szamboti 2007), and the extensive expertise in explosives among NIST investigators (Ryan 2007), explosives were never considered in the NIST WTC investigation. Only after considerable criticism of this fact did NIST deign to add one small disclaimer to their final report on the towers, suggesting they found no evidence for explosives.

The extensive evidence that explosives were used at the WTC includes witness testimony (MacQueen 2006), overwhelming physical evidence (Griffin 2005, Hoffman et al 2005, Jones and Legge et al 2008) and simple common sense (Legge 2007). There is also substantial evidence that aluminothermic (thermite) materials were present at the WTC (Jones 2007), and the presence of such materials can explain the existence of intense fire where it would not otherwise have existed. Additionally, despite agreement from all parties that the assumed availability of fuel allowed for the fires in any given location of each of the WTC buildings to last only twenty minutes (NIST 2007), the fires lasted much longer and produced extreme temperatures (Jones and Farrer et al 2008).

These inexplicable fires are a reminder that the WTC buildings were not simply demolished, but were demolished in a deceptive way. That is, the buildings were brought down so as to make it look like the impact of the planes and the resulting fires might have caused their unprecedented, symmetrical destruction. Therefore, shaped charges and other typical explosive configurations were likely used, but there was more to it than that. Those committing the crimes needed to create fire where it would not have existed otherwise, and draw attention toward the part of the buildings where the planes impacted (or in the case of WTC 7, away from the building altogether).

This was most probably accomplished through the use of nano-thermites, which are high-tech energetic materials made by mixing ultra fine grain (UFG) aluminum and UFG metal oxides; usually iron oxide, molybdenum oxide or copper oxide, although other compounds can be used (Prakash 2005, Rai 2005). The mixing is accomplished by adding these reactants to a liquid solution where they form what are called “sols”, and then adding a gelling agent that captures these tiny reactive combinations in their intimately mixed state (LLNL 2000). The resulting “sol-gel” is then dried to form a porous reactive material that can be ignited in a number of ways.

The high surface area of the reactants within energetic sol-gels allows for the far higher rate of energy release than is seen in “macro” thermite mixtures, making nano-thermites “high explosives” as well as pyrotechnic materials (Tillotson et al 1999). Sol-gel nano-thermites, are often called energetic nanocomposites, metastable intermolecular composites (MICs) or superthermite (COEM 2004, Son et al 2007), and silica is often used to create the porous, structural framework (Clapsaddle et al 2004, Zhao et al 2004). Nano-thermites have also been made with RDX (Pivkina et al 2004), and with thermoplastic elastomers (Diaz et al 2003). But it is important to remember that, despite the name, nano-thermites pack a much bigger punch than typical thermite materials.

It turns out that explosive, sol-gel nano-thermites were developed by US government scientists, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) (Tillotson et al 1998, Gash et al 2000, Gash et al 2002). These LLNL scientists reported that --

“The sol-gel process is very amenable to dip-, spin-, and spray-coating technologies to coat surfaces. We have utilized this property to dip-coat various substrates to make sol-gel Fe,O,/ Al / Viton coatings. The energetic coating dries to give a nice adherent film. Preliminary experiments indicate that films of the hybrid material are self-propagating when ignited by thermal stimulus”

(Gash et al 2002).

The amazing correlation between floors of impact and floors of apparent failure suggests that spray-on nano-thermite materials may have been applied to the steel components of the WTC buildings, underneath the upgraded fireproofing (Ryan 2008). This could have been done in such a way that very few people knew what was happening. The Port Authority’s engineering consultant Buro Happold, helping with evaluation of the fireproofing upgrades, suggested the use of “alternative materials” (NIST 2005). Such alternative materials could have been spray-on nano-thermites substituted for intumescent paint or Interchar-like fireproofing primers (NASA 2006). It seems quite possible that this kind of substitution could have been made with few people noticing.

Regardless of how thermite materials were installed in the WTC, it is strange that NIST has been so blind to any such possibility. In fact, when reading NIST’s reports on the WTC, and its periodic responses to FAQs from the public, one might get the idea that no one in the NIST organization had ever heard of nano-thermites before. But the truth is, many of the scientists and organizations involved in the NIST WTC investigation were not only well aware of nano-thermites, they actually had considerable connection to, and in some cases expertise in, this exact technology.

Here are the top ten reasons why nano-thermites, and nano-thermite coatings, should have come to mind quickly for the NIST WTC investigators.

1. NIST was working with LLNL to test and characterize these sol-gel nano-thermites, at least as early as 1999 (Tillotson et al 1999).

2. Forman Williams, the lead engineer on NIST’s advisory committee, and the most prominent engineering expert for Popular Mechanics, is an expert on the deflagration of energetic materials and the “ignition of porous energetic materials” (Margolis and Williams 1996, Telengator et al 1998, Margolis and Williams 1999). Nano-thermites are porous energetic materials. Additionally, Williams’ research partner, Stephen Margolis, has presented at conferences where nano-energetics are the focus (Gordon 1999). Some of Williams’ other colleagues at the University of California San Diego, like David J. Benson, are also experts on nano-thermite materials (Choi et al 2005, Jordan et al 2007).

3. Science Applications International (SAIC) is the DOD and Homeland Security contractor that supplied the largest contingent of non-governmental investigators to the NIST WTC investigation. SAIC has extensive links to nano-thermites, developing and judging nano-thermite research proposals for the military and other military contractors, and developing and formulating nano-thermites directly (Army 2008, DOD 2007). SAIC’s subsidiary Applied Ordnance Technology has done research on the ignition of nanothermites with lasers (Howard et al 2005).

In an interesting coincidence, SAIC was the firm that investigated the 1993 WTC bombing, boasting that -- “After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, our blast analyses produced tangible results that helped identify those responsible (SAIC 2004).” And the coincidences with this company don’t stop there, as SAIC was responsible for evaluating the WTC for terrorism risks in 1986 as well (CRHC 2008). SAIC is also linked to the late 1990s security upgrades at the WTC, the Rudy Giuliani administration, and the anthrax incidents after 9/11, through former employees Jerome Hauer and Steven Hatfill.

4. Arden Bement, the metallurgist and expert on fuels and materials who was nominated as director of NIST by President George W. Bush in October 2001, was former deputy secretary of defense, former director of DARPA’s office of materials science, and former executive at TRW.

Of course, DOD and DARPA are both leaders in the production and use of nano-thermites (Amptiac 2002, DOD 2005). And military and aerospace contractor TRW has had a long collaboration with NASA laboratories in the development of energetic materials that are components of advanced propellants, like nano-gelled explosive materials (NASA 2001). TRW Aeronautics also made fireproof composites and high performance elastomer formulations, and worked with NASA to make energetic aerogels.

Additionally, Bement was a professor at Purdue and MIT. Purdue has a thriving program for nano-thermites (Son 2008). And interestingly, at MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology, we find Martin Z. Bazant, son of notable “conspiracy debunker” Zdenek P. Bazant (MIT 2008), who does research on granular flows, and the electrochemical interactions of silicon. Zdenek P. Bazant is interested in nanocomposites as well (Northwestern 2008), and how they relate to naval warfare (ONR 2008). MIT was represented at nano-energetics conferences as early as 1998 (Gordon 1998).

Bement was also a director at both Battelle and the Lord Corporation. Battelle (where the anthrax was made) is an organization of “experts in fundamental technologies from the five National Laboratories we manage or co-manage for the US DOE.” Battelle advertises their specialization in nanocomposite coatings (Battelle 2008). The Lord Corporation also makes high-tech coatings for military applications (Lord 2008). In 1999, Lord Corp was working with the Army and NASA on “advanced polymer composites, advanced metals, and multifunctional materials” (Army 1999).

5. Hratch Semerjian, long-time director of NIST’s chemical division, was promoted to acting director of NIST in November 2004, and took over the WTC investigation until the completion of the report on the towers. Semerjian is closely linked to former NIST employee Michael Zachariah, perhaps the world’s most prominent expert on nano-thermites (Zachariah 2008). In fact, Semerjian and Zachariah co-authored ten papers that focus on nano-particles made of silica, ceramics and refractory particles. Zachariah was a major player in the Defense University Research Initiative on Nanotechnology (DURINT), a groundbreaking research effort for nano-thermites.

6. NIST has a long-standing partnership with NASA for the development of new nano-thermites and other nano-technological materials. In fact, Michael Zachariah coordinates this partnership (CNMM 2008).

7. In 2003, two years before the NIST WTC report was issued, the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) and NIST signed a memorandum of understanding to develop nano-technologies like nano-thermites (NIST 2003). Together, NIST and UMCP have done much work on nano-thermites (NM2 2008).

8. NIST has their own Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST 2008). Additionally, NIST’s Reactive Flows Group did research on nanostructured materials and high temperature reactions in the mid-nineties (NRFG 1996).

9. Richard Gann, who did the final editing of the NIST WTC report, managed a project called “Next-Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program”, both before and after 9/11. Andrzej Miziolek, another of the world’s leading experts on nano-thermites (Amptiac 2002), is the author of “Defense Applications of Nanomaterials”, and also worked on Richard Gann’s fire suppression project (Gann 2002). Gann’s project was sponsored by DOD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), an organization that sponsored a number of LLNL’s nano-thermite projects (Simpson 2002, Gash et al 2003).

10. As part of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer, NIST partners with the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head (NSWC-IH) on Chemical Science and Technology (FLCTT 2008).

11. NSWC-IH is probably the most prominent US center for nano-thermite technology (NSWC 2008). In 1999, Jan Puszynski, a scientist working for the DURINT program, helped NSWC-IH design a pilot plant to produce nano-size aluminum powder. It was reported that “At that time, this was [the] only reliable source of aluminum nanopowders in the United States” (SDSMT 2001), however, private companies like Argonide and Technanogy were also known to have such capabilities.

Among an interesting group of contractors that NSWC-IH hired in 1999 were SAIC, Applied Ordnance, Battelle, Booz Allen Hamilton, Mantech, Titan, Pacific Scientific Energetic (see below), and R Stresau Laboratories for “demolition materials” (NSWC 2000).

A tragic coincidence left William Caswell, an employee of NSWC-IH, dead on the plane said to have hit the Pentagon (Flight 77). He had for many years worked on “deep-black” projects at NSWC-IH (Leaf 2007).

The presence of Pacific Scientific Energetics (PSE) in this list of 1999 NSWC-IH contractors is interesting because PSE was the parent company of Special Devices, Inc (SDI). SDI specializes in explosives for defense, aerospace and mining applications, and was acquired in 1998 by John Lehman, 9/11 Commissioner, member of the Project for a New American Century, and former Secretary of the Navy (SDI 2008). Lehman divested in 2001.

With this in mind, it is worthwhile to reiterate that nano-thermite materials were very likely used in the deceptive demolition of the WTC buildings, but most certainly played only a part in the plan. However, other high-tech explosives were available to those who had access to nano-thermite materials at the time. Like SDI, several other organizations with links to military, space and intelligence programs (e.g. In-Q-Tel, Orbital Science) have access to many types of high-tech explosives to cut high-strength bolts and produce pyrotechnic events (Goldstein 2006). These organizations also have connections to those who could have accessed the buildings, like WTC tenant Marsh & McLennan and former NASA administrator and Securacom director, James Abrahamson.

In any case, it is important for those seeking the truth about 9/11 to consider what organizations and people had access to the technologies that were used to accomplish the deceptive demolition of the WTC buildings. It is also important to recognize the links between those who had access to the technologies, those who had access to the buildings, and those who produced the clearly false official reports.

To that end we should note that NIST had considerable connections to nano-thermites, both before and during the WTC investigation. It is therefore inexplicable why NIST did not consider such materials as an explanation for the fires that burned on 9/11, and long afterward at Ground Zero. This fact would not be inexplicable, of course, if those managing the NIST investigation knew to not look, or test, for such materials.


Amptiac (2002), Amptiac Quarterly Volume 6, No 1, Special Issue: A Look Inside Nanotechnology,

Army (1999), Summaries of US Army budget activities, FY 1999 ... 1/vol1.pdf

Army (2008), US Army SBIR 08.2 Proposal Submision Instructions

Battelle (2008), Corporate website for Nanomaterials / Nanotechnology, ?Nav_Area=Solution&Nav_SectionID=1&Nav_CatID=1_NanomaterialsNanotechnology

Jordan, JL, Foley JR, Dick, RD, Ferranti L, Thadhani NN, McDowell DL, Austin RA, Benson DJ (2007), Equation of State of Aluminum-Iron Oxide-Epoxy Composite, Air Force Research Lab Eglin AFB FL Munitions Directorate

Chartek (now International Paint) is the maker of Interchar, and they work with NASA

Choi HJ, Austin R, Allen JK, McDowell DL, Mistree F, Benson DJ (2005), An Approach for Robust Design of Reactive Power Metal Mixtures Based on Non-deterministic Micro-scale Shock Simulation, Journal of Computer-Aided Materials Design, Volume 12, Number 1 / January, 2005

Clapsaddle BJ, Gash AE, Plantier KB, Pantoya ML, Satcher Jr. JH, Simpson RL (2004), Synthesis and Characterization of Mixed Metal Oxide Nanocomposite Energetic Materials, LLNL Report UCRL-PROC-204118
CNMM (2008), NIST/NASA Center for Nano Manufacturing and Metrology

CNST (2008), NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology website

COEM (2004), Advanced Energetic Materials, Committee on Advanced Energetic Materials and Manufacturing Technologies, National Research Council, The National Academies Press, online book available at --

CRHC (1986), Cooperative Research History Commons, Context of '(Mid-1986): Report Rates Vulnerability of Public Areas of WTC to Terrorist Attack as ‘Very High’' ... saicreport

Diaz E, Brousseau P, Ampleman G, Prudhomme RE (2003), Polymer Nanocomposites from Energetic Thermoplastic Elastomers and Alexâ, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 28, No.4

DOD (2005), US Defense Nanotechnology Research and Development Programs, Department of Defense Director, Defense Research and Engineering, Executive Summary, May 2005,

DOD (2007), US Department of Defense, Annual Report on Cooperative Agreements and Other Transactions Entered into during Fiscal Year 2006 Under 10 USC 2371 ... 070129.pdf

Douglas, Eric (2006), The NIST WTC Investigation--How Real Was The Simulation?: A review of NIST NCSTAR 1, J 9/11 Studies, December 2006 ... gation.pdf

FLCTT (2008), Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer website

Gann RG (1997), Next-Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP): A Status Report, Halon Options Technical Working Conference, 6-8 May 1997 ... 301116.pdf

Gann RG (2002), FY2001 Annual Report Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program (NGP), NIST Technical Note 1445, Building and Fire Research Laboratory

Gash AE, Simpson RL, Tillotson TM, et al (2000), Making Nanostructured Pyrotechnics in a Beaker, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) UCRL-JC-137593, accessed online16 February 2008,

Gash AE, Simpson RL, Satcher JH (2002), Energetic Nanocomposites with Sol-gel Chemistry: Synthesis, Safety, and Characterization, LLNL UCRL-JC-146739,

Gash A, Barbee T, Simpson R, Satcher J,.Walton C (2003), Environmentally Benign Stab, Detonators, LLNL Report UCRL-TR-201628

Goldstein S (2006), Exploding into Space: Explosive Ordnance for Space Systems, Crosslink – The Aerospace Corporation ... 06/02.html

Gordon (1998), Gordon Research Conference on Energetic Materials, June 1998 ... am=enermat

Gordon (1999), Gordon Research Conference on Energetic Materials, July 1999 ... am=enermat

Gourley J (2007), Appeal Filed with NIST, Pursuant to Earlier Request for Correction, J 9/11 Studies, December 2007 ... eyEtAl.pdf

Griffin, DR (2005), The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True,

Howard SL; Morris JB; Beyer RA; Hamlin SJ; Martin J; Burke GC; Doris T; Laser initiation thresholds of a green aluminum/molybdenum- trioxide metastable intermolecular composite and other pyrotechnics, Proceedings of SPIE,

Jones SE, Farrer J, Jenkins GS, Legge F, et al (2008) Extremely High Temperatures During the World Trade Center Destruction, J 9/11 Studies, ... hTemp2.pdf

Jones SE, Legge FM, Ryan KR, (2008) Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction, The Open Civil Engineering Journal, Volume 2 Issue 1 ... TOCIEJ.SGM

Jones SE (2006), Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Completely Collapse?, J 9/11 Studies, September 2006 ... ndeed_Did_ the_WTC_Buildings_Completely_Collapse_Jones_Thermite_World_Trade_Center.pdf

Jones S E, (2007), Revisiting 9/11/2001--Applying the Scientific Method, J 9/11 Studies, ... Method.pdf

Leaf (2007), The Leaf, White Oak Laboratory Alumni Assoc, Inc, Summer 2007, p 5

Legge F (2007), The Twin Towers and Common Sense, J 9/11 Studies, February 2007, ... kLegge.pdf

Legge F, and Szamboti, T (2007), 9/11 and the Twin Towers: Sudden Collapse Initiation was Impossible, J 9/11 Studies, December 2007 ( ... ssible.pdf)

LLNL (2000), Science and Technology Review, October 2000, Nanoscale Chemistry Yields Better Explosives

Lord (2008), Lord Corporation website, Coatings ... abid/3283/ Default.aspx

MacQueen G (2006), 118 Witnesses: The Firefighter's Testimony to Explosions in the Twin Towers, J 9/11 Studies, August 2006 ... Center.pdf

Margolis SB, Williams FA (1996), Effect of gas-phase thermal expansion on stability of deflagrations in porous energetic materials. International Journal of Multiphase Flow 22, 69-91

Margolis SB, Williams FA (1999), Structure and Stability of Deflagrations in Porous Energetic Materials, Sandia Report SAND99-8458, Sandia National Laboratories

MIT (2008), Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies website,
Dr. Bazant has also been mentioned with regard to the development of “particles comprising a 'smart gel' that responds to a change in its environment”.

NASA (2001), Glenn Research Center website page on gelled nano-energetics ... _brief.pdf .
See also brief description at the following link. ... wski1.html

NASA (2006), Fire-Resistant Reinforcement Makes Steel Structures Sturdier, NASA website Scientific and Technical Information, Spinoffs 2006

NIST (2003), Announcement of NIST Memorandum of Understanding with the Univeristy of Maryland, NIST website ... anomou.htm

NIST (2005), WTC Report, NCSTAR 1-6A, Passive Fire Protection, p 25

NIST (2007), NCST Advisory Committee Meeting, December 18, 2007, Final Meeting Minutes, ... 121807.pdf

NM2 (2008), NIST and UMCP, Co-Laboratory for Nanoparticle Based Manufacturing & Metrology

Northwestern (2008), Civil Engineering Department website resume for Zdenek P. Bazant, "During the last few years, Bazant focused attention on the scaling of thin metallic films and nanocomposites on approach to nanoscale." ... resume.pdf

NRFG (1996), NIST’s Reactive Flows Group website, Selected Technical Reports

NSWC (2000),, Year 2000 Government Contracts - Defense Department ... ter-in.asp ?spg=73&yr=00

NSWC (2008), Webpage for Naval Surface Warfare Center – Indian Head

ONR (2008), Scaling of Energy Absorption in Composites to Enhance Survivability, Office of Naval Research, ONR grant N00014-02-1-0622, Bazant Z, Northwestern University, ... tTRDoc.pdf

Hoffman J, Paul D, Star C (2005), 9/11 Guilt: The Proof is in Your Hands, documentary film available at,

Pivkina A, Ulyanova P, Frolov Y (2004), Nanomaterials for Heterogeneous Combustion, Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics, 29, No. 1

Prakash A, McCromick A., Zachariah MR (2004), Aero-Sol-Gel Synthesis of Nanoporous Iron-Oxide Particles: A Potential Oxidizer for Nanoenergetic Materials,
Chem. Mater., 16(8):1466-1471

Prakash, A, McCormick AV, Zachariah MR (2005), Synthesis and Reactivity of a Super-Reactive Metastable Intermolecular Composite Formulation of Al/KMnO4, Adv Mater 2005, 17, No. 7 April 4 ... _KMnO4.pdf

Rai A, Zhou L, Prakash A, McCormick A, Zachariah MR (2005), Understanding and Tuning the Reactivity of Nano-Energetic Materials, Mat Res Soc Sym Proc, 2006, Vol 896, pages 99-110

Ryan K (2006), What is 9/11 Truth? - The First Steps, J 9/11 Studies, August 2006 ... _Ryan5.pdf

Ryan K (2007), Looking for Truth in Credentials: The Peculiar WTC “Experts”, Global Research, March 13, 2007 ... cleId=5071

Ryan K (2008), Another Amazing Coincidence Related to the WTC,,

SAIC (2004), Science Applications International Corporation, Annual Report 2004

SDMST (2001), South Dakota School of Mines and Technology website, Research Experience for Teachers, Current Projects 2001

SDI (2008), Special Devices Incorporated website, History

Simpson RL (2002), Safe and Environmentally Acceptable Sol-Gel-Derived Pyrophoric Pyrotechnics, SERDP Pollution Prevention PP-1276

Son SF, Yetter R, Yang V (2007), Introduction: Nanoscale Composite Energetic Materials, Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 23, No. 4, July–August 2007

Son (2008), Steven Son energetic materials webpage at Purdue University ... de0001.htm

Tillotson TM, Simpson RL, Hrubesh LW (1999), Nanostructure High Explosives Using Sol-gel Chemistry, 98-ERD-048, LLNL Laboratory Directed Research and Development, Annual Report FY1999 (p 8-11 or 181 of 255)

Tillotson, TM, Hrubesh, Simpson RL Lee RS, Swansiger RW, Simpson LR (1998), Sol-Gel Processing of Energetic Materials, J. Non-Crystalline Solids, 225, 358

Telengator AM, Margolis SB, Williams FA (1998), Ignition Analysis of a Porous Energetic Material --II. Ignition at a Closed Heated End, Sandia National Laboratory, Sandia Report SAND98-8655, November 1998

University of Idaho Magazine, Fall 2002, p 15

Zahcariah (2008), Faculty webpage for Michael Zachariah ... ariah.html
Zhao L, Clapsaddle BJ, Satcher Jr. JH, Schaefer DW, Shea KJ, (2004), Integrated Chemical Systems: the Simultaneous Formation of Hybrid Nanocomposites of Iron Oxide and Organo Silsesquioxanes, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCRL-JRNL-207355
Site Admin
Posts: 30799
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites

Postby admin » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:01 am

Why the NIST Report on the World Trade Center Towers is False
by Kevin Ryan
Foreign Policy Journal
Sep 7, 2013



The official account of the Twin Towers’ destruction was produced by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and released in September of 2005. Unfortunately, NIST’s report provided only a hypothesis of the events leading up to the initiation of the collapses, or the “collapse initiation sequence.” NIST did not attempt to explain how, once the collapses initiated, the upper sections of these 110-story skyscrapers would continue falling downward through the path of greatest resistance, instead simply asserting that, once each building was destabilized, “global collapse ensued.” However, we can examine the general features of NIST’s collapse initiation sequence for both Twin Towers to see if it is consistent with known facts, or is at least self-consistent.

The seven steps of NIST’s collapse initiation sequence that are common to both Twin Towers are as follows:[1]

1. A number of columns were severed by aircraft impact.

2. Loads were redistributed to the remaining columns.

3. Fireproofing was “widely dislodged”.

4. Columns and floor assemblies were softened by high temperatures.

5. Softened floor assemblies began to sag.

6. Sagging floors pulled the exterior columns inward, causing columns to buckle.

7. Instability spread around the exterior of the building.

The first two steps of this sequence are not surprising. With regard to step one, we can accept that approximately 15% of the columns were severed in each building by aircraft impact. This is quite low compared to original design claims reported in the mid-1960s by the Engineering News-Record that said the towers could lose more than 25% of their columns without having any problems. As for the second step, NIST says the loads actually decreased on some columns and increased slightly for others. Again, there is no problem here considering similar design claims that the exterior columns could withstand 2,000% increases in live load.[2]

With step three, we get to the core of NIST’s collapse initiation argument. The report states that “The WTC towers likely would not have collapsed under the combined effects of aircraft impact damage and the extensive, multi-floor fires if the thermal insulation had not been widely dislodged or had been only minimally dislodged by aircraft impact.” Considering that NIST depends so heavily on the concept of extensive fireproofing loss, you would think it would have spent a great deal of its time investigating this effect and communicating the details. That was not the case, however.

NIST’s only test for fireproofing loss, never included in the draft reports, involved shooting a total of fifteen rounds from a shotgun at non-representative samples in a plywood box. Flat steel plates were used instead of column samples and no floor deck samples were tested at all. After criticism of the lack of testing provided in its draft report, NIST inserted the results into a 12-page appendix to the final report.[3]

These shotgun tests actually disproved NIST’s findings. One reason is that there is no evidence that a Boeing 767 could transform into any number of shotgun blasts. Nearly 100,000 blasts would be needed based on NIST’s own damage estimates, and these would have to be directed in a very symmetrical fashion to strip the columns and floors from all sides. It is much more likely that the aircraft debris was a distribution of sizes from very large chunks to a few smaller ones, and that it was directed asymmetrically along the path of the impacting airliner. Moreover, there is no indication that fireproofing could have been stripped from beneath the aluminum cladding on the exterior columns, but in subsequent steps of its explanation, NIST depends on this.

NIST’s shotgun tests indicated that 1 MJ of energy was needed per square meter of surface area to shear the fireproofing off. For the areas in question―more than 6,000 square meters of column, floor deck and floor joist surface―the extra energy needed would be several times more than the entire amount of kinetic energy available to begin with. [4]

The problems with NIST’s explanation continue in step four, where high temperatures were said to have softened the columns and floors. NIST did tests for this as well, but then abandoned the results. The first test, which examined paint deformation on steel samples chosen specifically from the fire zones, showed that less than 2% of the samples had seen temperatures above 250 °C. Another test gave the one-sided result that no samples saw temperatures above 600 °C. The obvious problem was that steel does not soften or lose significant strength at the low temperatures indicated, yet NIST’s story depends on the softening or weakening of vast quantities of structural steel.

Fire resistance tests for the steel components used in the Twin Towers were performed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) at the time of construction, and the results verified conformance to the New York City code requirements for multiple hours of fire resistance at the temperatures expected in a building fire.[5] On 9/11, according to NIST, the fires in the failure zones did not actually last very long. NIST’s estimates indicate that the fires in the failure zones of the towers lasted for only about 45 minutes in each case, much less than the 3 or 4 hours of fire resistance required by the NYC code. [6]

As for step five, UL performed additional tests as part of the NIST investigation in order to establish the fire resistance of models of the WTC floor assemblies. The results were that the floor assembly models not only didn’t collapse, invalidating the longstanding “Pancake Theory,” but the floors barely sagged―only about 3 inches―despite the use of double the known floor load and two hours of fire exposure.[7] NIST then added this 3-inch of sag result to its computer model, and by way of an unknown transformation, it suddenly became 42-inches of extreme sagging.[8] This appears to have been a direct falsification of test results.

Step six says that sagging floors pulled exterior columns inward. To support this, NIST evaluated nine different scenarios within its computer model, with just one of those producing any inward bowing. To do this, NIST had to take a computer mock-up of a 9-story high by 9-column wide section of steel wall and perform manipulations that had no relevance to the events at the World Trade Center. NIST removed the virtual steel from its web of support by “disconnection,” stripped off all the fireproofing, exposed it to twice the known fire time (i.e. 90 minutes), and then applied an unspecified, utterly miraculous inward pull.[9] It is difficult to understand how an inward pull force could be applied to columns that have been disconnected from the floors. It is the floors that are supposed to have applied the inward force on the columns.

NIST’s final collapse initiation step states that, after all of these unscientific manipulations, “instability spread” around the entire building. Since the buildings came down uniformly into their footprints, and did so in approximately 10 seconds, there was precious little time for instability spread. If we allot half a second to accomplish this, the instability would have had to move at nearly twice the speed of sound. That is, of course, not realistic.

After providing a false collapse initiation sequence, NIST left us to ponder the idea that “global collapse ensued.” With this statement, NIST avoided analyzing the actual collapse dynamics, perhaps because they knew the observed phenomena violated everything we know about physics and the performance of steel skyscrapers, unless the use of explosives is allowed for consideration.

This article was originally published at and has been republished by Foreign Policy Journal with permission from the author.


[1] See NIST NCSTAR1, Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, Principal Findings, 175 ( and, in more detail, NCSTAR 1-6, Probable Collapse Sequences, p 299 to 309 ( 6.pdf)

[2] For the original design claims, see “Structures Can Be Beautiful, World’s Tallest Buildings Pose Esthetic and Structural Challenge to John Skilling,” and “How Columns Will Be Designed for 110-Story Buildings,” Engineering News-Record, April 2, 1964. The exact comments were that “live loads on these [perimeter] columns can be increased more than 2000% before failure occurs” and “one could cut away all the first-story columns on one side of the building, and part way from the corners of the perpendicular sides, and the building could still withstand design live loads and a 100-mph wind force from any direction.”

[3] See NIST NCSTAR 1-6A, Appendix C,

[4] NIST gave 2,500 MJ as the kinetic energy provided by the aircraft impacting the north tower. Professor Tomasz Wierzbicki from MIT, in a report called Aircraft Impact Damage, calculated that all of this energy was consumed in damaging the aircraft and the building, with no energy remaining.

[5] See Kevin Ryan, Propping Up the War on Terror: Lies About the WTC by NIST and Underwriters Laboratories, in David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott, eds., 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Northampton, Mass.: Interlink Books, Fall 2006).

[6] In NCSTAR 1-6, section 9.4.3 (p 322) and section 10.9.4 (p 338), NIST says “The fires in WTC 2 reached the east side of the building more quickly, within 10 to 20 minutes, than the 50 to 60 minutes it took the fires in WTC 1 to reach the south side.” In both cases, this would leave approximately 45 minutes of fire time in the failure zone.

[7] In NCSTAR 1-6, it says “…four standard fire resistance tests (ASTM E119) of the floor truss assemblies with twice the floor load that was on the WTC floors.” Chapter 10, p 332, Finding 17.

[8] The extent of the floor deck sagging after the unrealistic time of two hours can be seen in NCSTAR 1-6 Figure 3-11 (p 49). The 3-inch result is visible there or, based on the 45-minute duration of fires in the failure zones, it can be seen in the graph of Figure 3-15 (p 52). The unsupported computer result of 42-inches of sagging is noted in the same report, Chapter 9, Figure 9-6 (p 297).

[9] NIST’s Case 8, the “DBARE” result, was finally successful at causing inward bowing of a highly manipulated computer mock-up. It is described in NCSTAR 1-6, Chapter 4, tables 41-14 and 4-15 and pages 111 to 115.
Site Admin
Posts: 30799
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Return to Another View on 9/11

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests