Mick West, owner of the website Metabunk, is perhaps the most influential demolition denier on the internet today.
 
In late 2018, West published the 36-minute video titled "Debunking 9/11 Microsphere Myths." According to West, he chose to take on the subject of iron microspheres in the World Trade Center (WTC) dust because it is a key point of evidence for so-called "9/11 conspiracy theorists."
 

 
As with all of his materials, West’s video has the air of being convincing but is actually replete with obfuscations and outright falsehoods. Here, we dispel these obfuscations and falsehoods one by one for the purpose of demonstrating that the iron microspheres constitute irrefutable evidence that incendiaries were used in the destruction of the three WTC towers on 9/11.

Mick West @ 3:15:

"RJ Lee . . . found some iron microspheres."

Chris Sarns:

During their toxicological study of the WTC dust, the RJ Lee Group found that up to 6% of the weight of the dust was composed of previously molten iron microspheres. The spheres were so ubiquitous that they designated them as a "Signature Component" of the WTC dust (that is, it's not even WTC dust unless it has these large quantities of previously molten iron microspheres). RJ Lee had reason to declare that the microspheres were "melted during the WTC event, producing spherical metallic particles."

* * * 

Mick West @ 4:29:

"Therefore, the argument goes, the iron spheres come from the thermite."



Mick West @ 4:39:

"And, the argument goes on, there's lots of them, therefore there must have been some kind of controlled demolition with a whole bunch of thermite proved 100%."



Chris Sarns:

This is a sarcastic, oversimplified, straw man argument, which is countered with the following points:

 
1.    There is no other explanation besides thermite for the abundance of iron microspheres in the WTC dust.
2.    The iron spheres are not the only evidence of thermite in the WTC dust. They are simply supporting evidence. Much additional evidence of extreme temperatures, unaccounted for in the WTC official story, is documented in the paper "Extremely High Temperatures During the World Trade Center Destruction."
3.    And in "Ground Zero Part 1Part 2Part 3" of 9/11: Explosive Evidence — Experts Speak Out.

* * * 

Mick West @ 4:55:

"This is a current page on Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. And they’re talking about this paper by Steven Jones . . . ."

[NOTE: See "Extremely High Temperatures During the World Trade Center Destruction" and "High-Temperature Thermitic Reactions."]

Chris Sarns:

In addition to the above-referenced paper by physicist Steven Jones, there is a 25-page peer-reviewed paper, "Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe," authored by Jones, Harrit, et al., which documents the finding of red-gray chips of nano-thermite in all four independently collected samples of the WTC 7 dust. These chips, when ignited, produce molten iron microspheres with the same chemical signature as those found in the WTC dust. There is no reason for nano-thermite to have been in the WTC dust unless it was used to melt steel as part of a controlled demolition that most likely used a combination of nano-thermite and high explosives.

* * * 

Mick West @ 6:16:

"What this group [Lawyers' Committee for 9/11 Inquiry] are doing now is filing a petition with the U.S. attorney in New York for a grand jury investigation into the events on 9/11. Here is the petition. And in the petition they make a very simple argument at one point. They say, 'The presence in the World Trade Center dust of iron microspheres formed from previously molten iron is physically impossible without the use of incendiary materials such as thermite.'"

Chris Sarns:

While there does exist the possibility of leftover iron microspheres from welding procedures during the erection of the Twin Towers, the amount would be negligible. The Lawyers' Committee's declaration was based on the unwritten assumption that "the quantities" of previously molten iron microspheres found is what they are saying would be "physically impossible" had there been no nano-thermite in the dust.

* * * 

Mick West @ 6:52:

"There's many, many ways of making of making iron microspheres. I make microspheres myself about ten different ways."

Chris Sarns:

None of West's methods of making iron microspheres are applicable to the large quantities of them found in the WTC dust.

* * * 

Mick West @ 7:05:

"So the first thing in our 9/11 debunking, 9/11 iron microspheres debunking time line is: 1665 with Robert Hooke." 

Chris Sarns:

West is referring to an experiment conducted in 1665 by British physicist Robert Hooke, who created microscopic iron spheres by striking a piece of steel with an extremely hard rock called "flint."
 
Hooke established that when steel is struck with a sharp edge of flint, very tiny flakes of steel are chipped off and spontaneously ignite due to the high surface-area-to-weight ratio. This is oxidation — that is, the reaction of steel and oxygen, producing iron oxide. A thermite reaction, the opposite of oxidation, is called reduction, and it produces elemental iron from iron oxide.
 
Moreover, West does not provide any data to support his theory of tiny "chips" of steel created in the WTC destruction being so small that they self-ignited and created iron microspheres. Besides, it is not "steel" microspheres spheres that are found in the WTC dust. Rather, they are "iron" spheres—elemental iron (without the other metal alloys that are added to steel).
 

[NOTE: The smaller the chips of steel, the greater the surface-area-to-weight ratio. This is why, if the steel chips are small enough, the heat generated by oxidation cannot be dispersed and the chip will ignite and burn. However, generating sparks from steel struck by flint is not easy. It takes a sharp flint and human skill and is extremely unlikely to happen in a building collapse. As the website SurvivalTopics.com suggests, "Strike a sharp edge of the flint a glancing blow with the high carbon steel. Doing this just right takes practice."]

* * * 

Mick West @ 8:13:

"You can also do it with a regular Bic lighter."

Chris Sarns:

West explains how a Bic lighter makes iron rich spheres when the wheel scrapes against the steel alloy used as a "flint." That alloy is ferrocerium, a synthetic pyrophoric alloy (meaning it is liable to ignite spontaneously upon being exposed to air) that produces hot sparks. But the only ferrocerium at the WTC would have been in tenants' cigarette lighters—a negligible amount of ferrocerium indeed. So, again, his point is irrelevant.

* * * 

Mick West @ 9:31:

"Hooke has disproven the basic claim [that you need thermite to produce iron microspheres] made by these various 9/11 groups. You don't actually need thermite to make iron microspheres."

Chris Sarns:

This is another straw man argument. No one I know in "9/11 groups" is making such an assertion. Rather, our assertion is that the great abundance of iron microspheres in the WTC dust was only made possible with the use of thermite.

* * * 

Mick West @ 9:42:

"And [Hooke] made it with a second method, too. The second method was to throw iron [sic] filings in a flame."

Mick West @ 10:00:

"I did this myself. I used my knife, tossed filings through the candle and made some sparks. It's hard to get a lot of spheres from this, because it really didn't burn very well. But you know it did [burn at little]."

Chris Sarns:

At best, West has confirmed Hooke's finding that some of the smallest pieces of steel filings melt and turn to microspheres in a 1,400°C [2,553°F] [1] candle flame. Some steel alloys melt at 1,370°C [2,500°F]. [2]

Mick's experiment is irrelevant because the maximum fire temperature at the WTC was 1,000°C or 1,800°F (see https://www.nist.gov/topics/disaster-failure-studies/faqs-nist-wtc-towers-investigation).

[1] The outer core of the candle flame is light blue — 1,670 K (1,400°C). That is the hottest part (see https://hypertextbook.com/facts/1999/JaneFishler.shtml). 

[2] Steel, Carbon 2,500–2,800°F (1371-1540°C) (see https://www.onlinemetals.com/en/melting-points).  

* * * 

Mick West @ 10:12:

"I found a better way of doing it was to use a larger flame. So I used a small blowtorch and I tossed the iron filings into the blowtorch.”

Chris Sarns:

By "larger flame," West means "much hotter" flame. An online search for "bernzomatic butane torch temperature" reveals that a butane gas torch produces a flame temperature of 3,100°F (1,704°C). So, again, it's no surprise to us that a flame hot enough to melt steel can melt tiny pieces of iron and make iron spheres.

* * * 

Mick West @ 11:00:

"So Hooke has demonstrated a second way microspheres can form that does not involve thermite or super high flame temperatures."

Chris Sarns:

This statement is false on three counts. First, West misquotes Hooke (see quote below) by leaving out the words "and steel" after "iron." Second, West neglects to mention that the iron filings in Hooke's experiment did not melt. Third, the result of Hooke's experiment is iron oxide microspheres (from the steel), not iron microspheres.
 
Here is the exact Hooke quotation, as shown on the slide at the 9:44-minute mark of West's video: "And in prosecution of this Experiment, having taken the filings of iron and steel, and with the point of a knife, cast them through the flame of the candle. . . . I found a great number of small Gobules, such as the former [striking flint on steel], though there were also many of the parts had remained untouched, and rough filings of iron. So that, it seems, iron . . ."

[NOTE: This sentence is incomplete because it ends abruptly on the video screen.]
 
West also doesn't point out that a candle flame is hot enough to melt some of the smallest filings of steel but not hot enough to melt the iron filings. That is because steel melts at a lower temperature than iron. Also, the smaller the piece of steel (or iron), the faster the piece heats up, because there is less mass to heat, so the heat is not dissipated away. A candle flame has a maximum temperature of 1,400°C [2,552 °F] (see Candles.org).
 
Different steel alloys melt at different temperatures. "Steel often melts at around 1,370°C
[2,500°F]," according to the website https://noneducational/qa/meltingpoint_01.html.
 
General carbon steel has a melting point that "ranges from about 1,370°C [2,498°F] to 1,510°C [2,750°F]," per an answer given on Quora.com.
 
The website OnlineMetals.com indicates that steel's melting point is 2,500°F (1,371°C).
 
In sum, though there is nothing surprising about a candle flame hot enough to melt tiny pieces of steel — i.e., creating microspheres out of steel filings — yet the fires at the WTC did not exceed 1,000°C [1,832°F].
 
FAQ #15 of the National Institute of Standards and Technology reads: "NIST reported maximum upper layer air temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) in the WTC towers (for example, see NCSTAR 1, Figure 6-36)[.]"   

* * * 

Mick West @ 11:10:

"But we know that the spheres can only form liquid metal. How does the iron end up liquid if the temperature of the flame is so low? Well, the answer is, iron burns. Turns out the iron itself is making the heat. If you burn a piece of iron completely, it releases ten times the energy needed to melt that piece of iron." 

Mick West @ 11:32:

"So the sparks you see are iron burning, melting itself and mixing in some iron oxide to make these iron rich spheres."

Chris Sarns:

This is another patently false statement! That is not what is happening in West's experiment. His torch flame was 3,100°F (1,704°C). That temperature alone is what melted the steel.
 
To make an obvious point: Steel won't melt until it has reached its melting point. If the iron filings were small enough to self-ignite, they would have done so before they were cast through West's torch flame. 

* * * 

Mick West @ 11:39:

"When iron burns, it gets so hot it melts the adjacent iron it mixes in with the molten iron and the iron oxide and makes these tiny little spheres."

Chris Sarns:

False. West is deceptively equating the chain reaction that happens when steel wool burns to the iron spheres he created with his blowtorch that burns at 3,100°F (1,704°C).
 
Furthermore, burning steel wool does not create iron microspheres. Instead, it creates iron oxide (rust).

[NOTE: See my further references to "iron oxide (rust)" after West's 14:42-minute mark and 24:09-minute mark.]
 
All of West's experiments create iron microspheres using temperatures far above those experienced at the WTC. He has not done a single experiment using the WTC's maximum temperature of 1,800°F (1,000°C).

* * * 

Mick West @ 11:57:

"If you have a large piece of iron, only the outside of the iron is going to get hot enough to melt. . . . But if it's small enough, the entire thing is going to melt."

Chris Sarns:

This statement is incorrect. The surface of a large piece of iron is not going to get hot enough to melt, because the heat is dissipated away—absorbed by the rest of the piece of steel.

* * * 

Mick West @ 12:18: 

"How does this relate to the events of 9/11? In two ways: fire and friction. These are the two ways that Hooke's experiments showed us the spheres could have formed."

Chris Sarns:

Hooke's experiment confirmed that if you strike steel with flint, the very tiny chips will spontaneously ignite, resulting in the production of a few iron oxide spheres. But we must remember that there was no flint at the World Trade Center.
 
Hooke's second experiment demonstrated that some very tiny chips of steel will melt when exposed to a 1,400°C (2,552°F) candle fire. But the fires at the WTC were only 1,000°C (1,800°F)—too low to melt steel. See ScienceStruck.com.

* * * 

Mick West @ 12:32:

"First of all, in the fire, very small pieces of iron, flakes of rusty iron or damaged iron, will burn in the fire and they'll make microspheres."



Chris Sarns:

That is false. It still takes temperatures hot enough to melt iron to melt the iron chips to which West refers. There is no change in the melting point of iron/steel until the particles are less than 50 nano-meters. A nano-meter is 1 billionth of a meter.
 
Looking up "melting-point depression," I found this explanation: "The melting temperature of a bulk material is not dependent on its size. However, as the dimensions of a material decrease towards the atomic scale, the melting temperature scales with the material dimensions. The decrease in melting temperature can be on the order of tens to hundreds of degrees for metals with nanometer dimensions" (see Melting-point depression — Wikipedia).

* * * 

Mick West @ 12:43:

"Secondly, from friction or impacts like iron or steel [that] hits concrete very, very hard or very, very fast, which it would do during the collapse [of the WTC towers], then you'll get lots of sparks coming off, and these sparks will create iron microspheres."

Chris Sarns:

West slips in this bold assertion without any source to prove it. He provides no proof that steel hitting concrete can create iron microspheres. The aggregate in concrete is not as hard as flint. Furthermore, the spheres created by striking steel with flint are iron oxide, not iron.

* * * 

Mick West @ 13:02: 

"If you have some iron that fails under tension, then what happens is the shock wave of the snapping of the iron propagates through the iron and blows off the surface of iron flakes. Perhaps it's kind of rusty or painted. You're going to blow off the surface and all these little flakes of rusty iron, which would then compost on the fire."

Chris Sarns:

Are the chips in the tension experiment [that is being shown as West speaks] igniting? No. They are not small enough to ignite. One would have to heat the steel chips—and the iron in the paint or in anything else, such as printer ink—to their melting point to get microspheres. But, again, the fires in the WTC were not that hot.

* * * 

Mick West @ 14:24:

"So they did, on the JREF, debunk the claim."

Chris Sarns:

This is mere opinion on West's part. He offers no substantiating facts, no specifics.

* * * 

Mick West @ 14:42:

"Dave Thomas in 2011 made a video of how to make iron rich microspheres, not with thermite but with a lighter and steel wool. He did a very simple experiment . . . [unintelligible] . . . Hooke's experiment with the iron filings."

Chris Sarns:

Again, when iron "burns," it is, by definition, oxidizing. So, the result of Hooke's experiments and Dave Thomas' experiment was iron oxide (rust), not elemental iron, which is what the RJ Lee Group found in the WTC dust.

* * * 

Mick West @ 16:41:

"It showed that the fire could make iron rich microspheres without high fire temperatures. Just a Bic lighter."

Chris Sarns:

It is false to say that the fire could make iron rich microspheres without high fire temperatures. Actually, "[t]he temperature of a Bic lighter can reach nearly 1,977 degrees Celsius or 3,590.6 degrees Fahrenheit," according to Reference.com.
 
However, steel wool can be ignited with a match burning at a temperature as low as 600°C to 800°C (see TCForensic.com).
 
"If you can light steel wool with a match, why can't you light a nail? Or a cast-iron pot? It's a question of surface area versus volume. The burning process, which is just rapid oxidation of the metal, has to bring nearby iron to its ignition temperature fast enough to sustain a chain reaction. Thick pieces of iron conduct heat away far too fast for the surface to ever reach the ignition point.
 
"But in very thin strands, there's nowhere for the heat to go, and a burning patch can race along the length of wire, converting a whole steel-wool pad into iron oxide rust in less than a minute"
(see Popsci.com).

[NOTE: The above quote refers to "iron oxide (rust)" and not to iron rich spheres.]

 
Furthermore, there was little if any steel wool in the Twin Towers and Building 7, so this point is also irrelevant.
 
Thomas has now conceded that point: "You have pointed out some problems with the steel wool demo (not spherical, and probably iron oxide) which are probably relevant. That's why I have moved on. . ." (see InternationalSkeptics.com).
 
West surely knows about Thomas' concession but he keeps using the steel wool "experiment" falsehood anyway.

* * * 

Mick West @ 17:28:

"A bit later Dave Thomas did some more experiments. He took some steel beams and put them in a burn barrel and burned them. He got some iron microspheres, which isn't very surprising. . . [unintelligible]. Whenever there's steel around there's going to be a whole bunch of microspheres from a variety of methods."

Chris Sarns:

This is false. Thomas' burn barrel experiment was not scientific. The iron spheres could have been from something else in the burn barrel or were already present in the barrel.
 
Thomas has also conceded that there may have been pre-existing iron spheres in his burn barrel  "experiment": "I still think that the spheres I found were most likely from the burned paint, but acknowledge there is some possibility they may have been pre-existing" (see InternationalSkeptics.com).
 
Additionally, we don't know how hot the fire got. For his experiment to have been relevant to the World Trade Center, Thomas would have to get some of the paint primer used on the steel framework at the WTC and heat it to the maximum temperature of the WTC fires (1,800°F) in a clean, controlled environment.

* * * 


Mick West @ 19:31: 

"The towers' central columns were actually welded together . . . and this created a constant stream of thousands, tens of thousands, millions, even billions of tiny iron microspheres. And some of those, a goodly portion of those, would have ended up, during construction, stuck underneath the walls, in the concrete, behind the walls. And they would have been trapped there, safe from the elements so they wouldn't rust for decades until the building finally collapsed and they were released as part of the microspheres that were found in the World Trade Center dust. Not all of them, but probably part of them."

Chris Sarns:

The amount of iron microspheres from arc welding would be negligible. 

* * * 

Mick West @ 20:40:

"I used a used hand warmer, tossed that through a flame, and the iron filings that are in a hand warmer ignited and made these iron rich microspheres."

Chris Sarns:

West's butane gas torch flame temperature is 3,100°F (1,704°C) — more than hot enough to melt steel.   

* * * 

Mick West @ 20:51:

"You can also make iron microspheres with thermite. . . . Thermite is aluminum powder and iron oxide powder mixed together. When it burns it makes aluminum oxide and molten iron. And it does make lots of microspheres—and quite nice ones, too. But it makes a lot of white spheres and what I call "eyeball microspheres," which are white aluminum oxide with a small iron sphere inside. If you look at the equations of combustion of iron oxide and aluminum, the end result is twice as much aluminum oxide by volume as [there] is iron, about equal parts by weight but twice as much by volume. So you get twice as much aluminum oxide as you do iron. And some of this is going to form these eyeball microspheres, which are very, very distinctive, and there's lots of them. And this was something that I don't . . . [unintelligible] reported seeing in the World Trade Center dust, and you would kind of expect it if thermite had been used, at least this type of aluminum oxide thermite."

Chris Sarns:

I will refer to a quote by Steven Jones.
 

"We performed numerous experiments setting off thermite (iron oxide + aluminum powder) and we captured and examined spheres produced in these reactions. We then examined these spheres with stereo-optical and electron microscopes. I personally looked at many, many of these spheres—and frankly I do not recall seeing any 'eyeball microspheres,' which are white aluminum oxide with a small iron sphere inside.
 
"So, I must ask, has Mick West done experiments with thermite as we have done, and personally examined the spheres produced? If so, can we see his data? If not, what is his source for his statement above? What is the approximate percentage of 'eyeball microspheres' among the iron-rich spheres which are seen abundantly in thermite residues, based on actual observational data? Is Mick West relying on mere logic, or actual experiments and observations?"


Furthermore, the Harrit et al. thermite paper clearly shows nano-particles of iron and aluminum that are consistent in size (the iron particles are smaller than the aluminum particles) and that are intimately mixed with one another on the red side of the red/gray chips. This extremely sophisticated nanotechnology can only be manufactured in one of the very high-tech laboratories in the arms industry sector. It was originally developed just prior to 2001 by Lawrence Livermore Lab and Los Alamos Lab.

* * * 

Mick West @ 22:29:

"You can see where it's all burnt there's a white patina—a speckled white patina. And if you look at that closer up, you see that white patina is kind of a white powder. And that white powder is actually aluminum oxide. And if you look at it even closer, you'll see it's a collection of aluminum oxide microspheres embedded in this kind of slab of aluminum oxide and iron. And there's also a whole bunch of iron rich microspheres mixed in there. But it's more the white aluminum. We get this patina around any cut that we do with thermite. This is very distinctive. You see it in the cuts that were made on 9/11 truth videos—the exact same patina. And this was something that was not reported to be seen on the World Trade Center. Where things have failed, where beams and columns have failed, they look like they've been ripped apart. They don't look like they've been burnt apart, and they don't have this patina of aluminum oxide and iron microspheres near the cut, which doesn't even look like a burned cut."

Chris Sarns: 

The columns shown on the video have been cleaned, so there is no dirt or dust on this museum piece. And the top part on the right does look like it has been cut, possibly with thermite.

west govop bent 768

I see white patina on this column from WTC 7.

west govop patina 768

* * * 

Mick West @ 23:47:

"This is my wheelbarrow. It's a steel wheelbarrow that's been painted red. And this is the World Trade Center steel . . . and you can see there's [a] very similar paint job."

Mick West @ 24:09:

"Now, when I hit my steel wheelbarrow with the ax, the back of the ax, then these little chips of paint came off. That's what they look like [see photo of paint chips at the 24:20-minute mark of the video]. And they're red, which is the paint on one side, and on the other side they're gray, which is rust and steel. You can see a bit of rust there, but I think the gray is actually the iron itself, iron or steel. And when you burn it, this coating tends to burn off, but it's very, very thin, so it burns in a way that the steel wool will burn. [This? has? a?] . . . [unintelligible] . . . very low volume-to-surface ratio."

Chris Sarns:

In West's other experiments he is using temperatures hotter than 3,000°F to create spheres, so that's what he means by "burn." It takes temperatures much hotter than the fires at the WTC to melt steel or iron. Furthermore, burning steel wool produces iron oxide (rust), not iron microspheres, as noted above and as admitted by Dave Thomas.

* * * 

Mick West @ 24:52:

"And if you burn it by touching it through a flame, you get these little iron rich microspheres."

Chris Sarns:

Again, it must be emphasized that West was using a butane torch, which burns at 3,100°F (1,704°C). A butane torch burns hot enough to melt steel, so, unsurprisingly, it can create iron microspheres. Office fires cannot burn that hot.

* * * 

Mick West @ 24:58:

"And we know they're iron rich because they're attracted to a magnet and they're shiny. So you expect to find both these type of paint chips from the snapping of all the steel as it collapsed and [was] bending. And you expect to find iron microspheres that have fallen from burning paint chips."

Chris Sarns:

The fact that the spheres are attracted to a magnet does not prove that they are elemental iron ("iron rich"). All steel materials are attracted by a magnet and when they melt they will still be attracted by a magnet. The "iron rich" spheres found in the WTC dust by RJ Lee are "elemental iron" — not steel.

* * * 

Mick West @ 25:23:

"There was [sic] also a lot of microspheres that were formed during clean-up. There was a huge amount of clean-up, obviously. That's because of all this twisted metal laying in a pile, and they had to cut a lot before that could get it out, because it was all jangled together and sometimes still attached to the original structure near the bottom, So they cut it with a couple of methods. One was an oxy-acetylene torch, where they cut it by heating it with oxy-acetylene, and then they use a kind of high pressure oxygen to kind of burn through the steel itself. That creates this huge shower of iron rich microspheres."

Mick West @ 26:02:

"Another way is using these thermitic lances, which use [unintelligible] inside this long tube, and they pipe oxygen through it, and that creates a very, very hot flame coming out the other side—basically almost like a plasma coming out the other side. And that will pretty much eat through anything. And you can see the thing being used here. The cut on the right cut through one of the core columns. So there would have been a huge amount of iron microspheres that were on site from the clean-up. Of course this wouldn't affect dust that was in distant locations, but you have to ask, Where was the sample taken? Was it an area in which clean-up had been done?"

Chris Sarns:

There was no mechanism for distributing any microspheres from the clean-up to inaccessible places in the Deutsche Bank Building (formerly called the Bankers Trust Plaza and soon to be the new 5 World Trade Center; see Deutsche Bank Building — Wikipedia). The only mechanism that could force microspheres into inaccessible places was the dust clouds that were created by the collapses of the three towers.

I'll quote from the RJ Lee Group report, "Signature Assessment 130 Liberty Street Property 2004":

(1) Page 4 (PDF page 5)

"The pressure differential was caused by the onrush of the WTC Dust cloud that was created by the collapse of the WTC Towers with a low pressure inside Building components and high pressure outside. A huge pressure difference was created that caused large quantities of dust laden air to move through unplanned pathways. Individual components or devices with internal spaces effectively acted like a vacuum cleaner pulling the dust into them with great force."

(2) Page 5 (PDF page 6)

"The investigations proved that the Building is pervasively contaminated with WTC Dust, unique to the WTC Event."

(3) Page 6 (PDF page 7)

"As a result of microscopic and chemical analysis of the components of the WTC Dust, it was determined that the average level of contaminants were present in direct proportion to one another throughout the Building."

Based on RJ Lee's analysis, we conclude that West's suggestion that iron microspheres from the Ground Zero clean-up contaminated the dust inside the Deutsche Bank Building is fanciful.

* * * 

Mick West @ 26:48:

"And this actually was an important factor in one very famous area of sampling which was 130 Liberty Street. 130 Liberty Street is the Deutsche Bank Building, which was studied by RJ Lee, who we mentioned earlier. And he has this one table where he lists Fe spheres, which is iron spheres, at 5.87%. It's not very clear what this means, because the table is described as statistical P-values. And it's not very clear exactly what it means. It says mean of composition, which makes you think the dust was 5.87% iron microspheres."

Chris Sarns:

But it is perfectly clear that the different elements in the dust found in the Deutsche Bank Building are being compared to background (normal) percentages. It says so in RJ Lee's table.

* * * 

Mick West @ 27:33:

"That doesn't make any sense, because there have been a large number of other studies. And on average these other studies found about 1% iron. And that 1% is all of the iron, not just the iron spheres, the microspheres—it's the total amount of iron, which would be all the iron dust and flakes and shavings and things like that."

[NOTE: The iron content in the RJ Lee Group analysis is by weight, not by volume. The discrepancy between the RJ Lee figure of 6% and the USGS figure of 1% is likely because the former is by weight. Mick West does not back up his claim that there would be a significant amount of iron flakes and shavings, etc.]

Chris Sarns:

West isn't qualified to second-guess the RJ Lee Group. Let's look at this description of what the consulting firm does: "With more than 30 years in the business of testing materials, RJ Lee had the needed expertise in industrial forensics, in determining the severity of an environmental hazard, and of health risks."

RJ Lee is clear that "the microspheres were formed during the event" — not before, not after, but "during." There is no legitimate reason to doubt the findings of the RJ Lee Group's analysis. [Emphasis added.]

* * * 

Mick West @ 27:58:

"But another thing is, if you look at actual photos of the dust, there really isn't that many iron microspheres. The sphere you see on the left there is a glass sphere. And if you look at all the photographs of the dust, you're not seeing 5% iron."

Chris Sarns:

The photographs show the different particles, but they are not intended to establish the percentages of each substance.

* * * 

Mick West @ 28:17:

"You're not seeing 5% spheres even. Spheres are actually relatively rare. So this 5.87% number is rather dubious. Certainly RJ Lee did find iron rich microspheres and he did actually suggest that they could be used as one component of the signature of the dust because they were relatively common. So there were quite a few."

Chris Sarns:

West is trying to challenge the documented percentage of iron rich spheres found by the RJ Lee Group. However, he is not qualified to analyze the expertise and findings of the RJ Lee Group.

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Mick West @ 28:41:

"What might they have been finding, then, besides the small amount of spheres that other people have found? Well, the site of their testing was 130 Liberty Street, and this is what the building looked like if you look on the left. There was a huge gash because a piece of World Trade Center 2 fell against the building and gouged out a huge chunk of it, causing a lot of damage, probably creating a few spheres in the process."

Mick West @ 29:08:

"The building was coated with dust, which is dust from the World Trade Center, not local dust. This photograph on the left was taken two days after 9/11. There was a lot of dust there, but this was not sampled at that time by RJ Lee. Now if you look on the right, in 2002, when the samples were actually taken, a large amount of the structure of the building has been removed. To remove those parts of the building, you had to cut a lot of steel. You had to cut a lot of steel and probably do a little welding of some temporary structures. So by the time 2002 rolled around and he actually did the sampling, six months later, the site would have been contaminated. So there would have been spheres in the original dust, we know that for sure. And there would probably be a few extra spheres from cutting locally done."

Chris Sarns:

This is a false argument by West. The dust was sampled in many places throughout the building, including places where dust does not normally go, as noted above. When the samples were analyzed, the composition of them was found to be same in all locations. This fact precludes the possibility of any change in the samples by "contamination" of iron spheres created during the clean-up. See the RJ Lee report, "Signature Assessment 130 Liberty Street Property 2004":

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Mick West @ 30:04, closing in on his conclusion:

"Well, what is debunked? [Answer:] The conclusion that the iron microspheres could not have come from the fire."

Chris Sarns:

This is not true. West has only shown that temperatures hot enough to melt steel will melt steel. Candles burn at about 2,552°F (1,400°C). This is more than 700°F hotter than did the fires at the WTC, according to NIST. And West's blowtorch burns at 3,100°F (1,704°C). So the 1,800°F WTC fires could not have been the source of any of the iron microspheres.

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Mick West @ 30:11:

"Also debunked is that these spheres, the presence of these iron microspheres, that there was thermite."

Chris Sarns:

Not so. West has used very clever sophistry to mislead the viewer into thinking that some of the iron microspheres at the WTC were created by temperatures lower than the fires in the towers. This is not possible. Iron and steel melt at temperatures far above those reached in the WTC fires.

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Mick West @ 32:01:

"Mr. Lobdill was talking about the USGS survey that categorized the various World Trade Center dust particles. In that survey, they found four, just four, iron rich particles."

Chris Sarns:

Those are four categories, not four particles. West just said the word "categorized" but mystifyingly did not relate that word to the four categories of iron particles — including two categories of spheres.

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Mick West @ 32:12:

"Of these four particles, only two of them were spheres."

Mick West @ 32:16:

"And of these two, only one of them had the chemical composition that he describes."

Chris Sarns:

How could it be that West thinks the USGS found only two iron spheres in all its dust samples?

West continues his pseudo-scientific analysis of the spheres, which he is not the least bit qualified to do. Then he repeats one of his favorite false claims: "The iron itself, the combustion of the iron in the form of tiny sparks is what's actually creating the heat source for a lot of the potential iron microspheres."

Here again, West is as full of misdirection as he was the first time he said this. The tiny sparks that are created by striking steel with a piece of flint have nothing to do with the WTC's destruction.

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Mick West @ 34:27:

So, yes, there's a chemical reaction, but it's just the combustion of iron."

Chris Sarns:

Here, West shows a video of someone striking flint against steel. Then he repeats his list of ways that iron microspheres could have been created before, during, and after the WTC building collapses — all of which are incorrect, as I have pointed out above.

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Mick West @ 35:20:

"So, in conclusion, the evidence of iron microspheres for nano-thermite has been debunked."

Chris Sarns:

Even if he were right about other ways to create iron microspheres, which he is not, that still would not rule out the possibility that most of the iron microspheres were created by thermite. Thus, even West's conclusion, like the rest of his analysis, is fatally flawed.


General Information

Iron

Iron, out of the ground, melts at around 1,510°C (2,750°F). Steel often melts at around 1,370°C (2,500°F). https://education.jlab.org/qa/meltingpoint_01.html

Flint and Steel

What Causes the Sparks? http://survivaltopics.com/flint-and-steel-what-causes-the-sparks

Iron Nanoparticles

Melting Point: 1,535°C . . . Average Particle Size: 100-250 nm https://www.americanelements.com/iron-nanoparticles-7439-89-6

There is no change in the melting point of iron until the particles are smaller than 100 nanometers (nm) [billionths of a meter].

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