By Craig McKee
The theory is untenable. It defies science and common sense.
No wonder mainstream television (the Smithsonian Channel, owned by CBS) has happily offered it as an explanation for how the Twin Towers could come down without the use of explosives on 9/11. But this theory comes with a twist – it rejects both the official story and the notion that 9/11 was an inside job.
The theory, posited by chemist Frank Greening and metallurgist Christian Simensen in the “Twin Towers” episode of Conspiracy: The Missing Evidence, is that fires from ignited jet fuel melted the aluminum airplanes and that the resulting molten aluminum came into contact with water from the buildings’ sprinkler systems. This, according to the theory, set off massive explosions that ultimately brought both skyscrapers down.
“It was just a matter of time before the whole thing blew up — and down come the towers,” Greening says in the program.
We’ll get into why this theory is absurd and the above statement is false in a moment. But what is noteworthy about the position taken by Greening and Simensen is that it concedes that the final report about the towers’ destruction released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2005 is “fatally flawed.”
This is what the 9/11 Truth Movement has been saying since the report came out.
But the twist gives those who can’t buy the NIST report an opportunity to avoid questioning the very premise of 9/11 – that it was a Muslim terror attack on the United States. Essentially, it is saying, ‘Hey, you have problems with NIST? Not to worry; you can conclude it’s a worthless report while remaining all comfy in the belief that planes and jet fuel brought the buildings down anyway.’
This is the one thing that is clever about the Greening/Simensen theory – how it attempts to rationalize the impossibility of the official story with an explanation that avoids the notion that explosives were planted in the buildings.
Where the cleverness runs out is with the theory itself.
Greening and Simensen say that the presence of the plane wreckage in the towers was something that NIST should have considered.
“That’s a huge omission in their work,” Greening declares. “I feel that until those tests are repeated, with an aircraft included in the office, their results are essentially meaningless.”
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth founder Richard Gage, who was interviewed for the show, says in an interview I did with him for an AE911Truth article that the aluminum/water explosion hypothesis is impossible: “This hypothesis utterly fails to explain any of the forensic, eyewitness, or video evidence from that day.”
Gage explains that this evidence includes:
- Symmetrical explosions moving down the face of the towers at near free-fall acceleration
- Lateral ejections from all facades — from massive explosions hurling four-ton structural steel sections laterally at 60 mph, landing 600 feet away
- Unignited nano-thermite incendiaries found in the World Trade Center dust
- Billions of previously molten iron microspheres also found in the dust
- Near free-fall acceleration of the buildings
- 90,000 tons of concrete pulverized into a fine powder – in mid-air
- Missing stack of 110 “pancaked” floors
“These features point to controlled demolition,” Gage contends, adding that if the explosions hypothesized by Greening and Simensen had taken place, the destruction would be asymmetrical and could not totally destroy the building.
“We saw the shattering of almost every structural element, one from another. A couple of aluminum/water explosions, even if the right conditions existed, could only account for a couple of explosions at or below the point of jet plane impacts.”
Further, Gage rejects Greening’s claim that once the destruction began, the weight of the upper section would crush the part below the impact points.
“Even if there were an aluminum/water explosion that dismembered all of the columns, it would still have required an intact block of massive weight to be there to overcome those columns and drive the rest of the building down,” Gage says. “But that upper 15-floor block, above the point of jet impacts, is completely destroyed in a telescoping collapse in the first four seconds before there is any downward movement.”
OTHER SCIENTISTS WEIGH IN
According to physicist and professor emeritus Steven Jones, the molten metal pouring from the South Tower, as seen in videos 10 minutes prior to its collapse, is not aluminum, as Greening and Simensen claim. Molten aluminum would not have looked anything like the bright yellow liquid that was observed flowing down that tower’s side, Jones maintains.
“When it is molten, aluminum has only a very faint glow, which can be seen in a darkened room, but in daylight the appearance is silvery,” he points out.
Jones also challenges the Greening/Simensen argument that aluminum and water could have even produced an explosion as well as Greening’s contention that crushed concrete, gypsum, and aluminum oxide would have been catalysts.
“Where are the experiments?” Jones asks. “We performed experiments pouring molten aluminum onto crushed drywall (gypsum) mixed with water, and we saw no reactions whatsoever. If aluminum reacts explosively with water, then where are the experiments to show this?”
Retired chemistry professor Niels Harrit says, “Very specific conditions are required for any explosion of the kind described by Greening and Simensen to take place. And those conditions were not present in the towers.”
Harrit challenges the notion that all the aluminum from the planes would have become molten: “It is ridiculous to envision that a major part of the airliner aluminum would not burn in the blast after total fragmentation during impact and fuel combustion.”
Moreover, he contends, “It is not the aluminum/water which explodes in such a scenario. It is hydrogen — conceived from this reaction — mixed with oxygen. To get a big explosion, you would need a large volume of gas created. That is, not only should the aluminum assemble in a great number of pools, the hydrogen/oxygen should as well be contained in more-or-less airtight spaces.”
Harrit also says there could not have been sufficient water for a reaction with molten aluminum, because the buildings’ sprinkler systems were not functioning on the floors near the plane impacts.
“There was no water pressure at these floors,” he argues. “They then bring into the argument the drinking water from the water coolers found in the offices . . . . Come on, be serious.” (Greening did cite contributions made by water bottles, Coke machines, and kitchenettes.)
Engineer Ken Jenkins, a co-founder of the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance, says a sequence of explosions would have been required for the destruction that video cameras captured.
“Successful building demolitions require high degrees of precision in the relative timings of the many separate explosions,” Jenkins points out. “The sequence must be timed within fractions of a second throughout the building. We observe this precision timing in a number of the videos of the explosive ejections in the towers.”
LOWER EXPLOSIONS EXPLAINED?
Not only do Greening and Simensen claim that they have succeeded in explaining how the towers came down, but they also assert that the aluminum/water explosion hypothesis accounts for the more than 100 reports from first responders of explosions in the lower part of the towers. Yet in their interview, the two scientists don’t even try to explain how multiple explosions in the lower parts of the building — including in the lobby and sub-basements — could have been caused by molten aluminum and water.
The program concludes by contending that, based on the aluminum/water explosion hypothesis, there must also have been exploded droplets of aluminum oxide in the World Trade Center aftermath. But then the producers backpedal, noting that nothing can be proven, since the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has denied access to materials removed from the site.
Jones states that traces of aluminum were indeed found in the World Trade Center dust, which is to be expected when thermitic reactions take place.
“Thermitic reactions produce aluminum oxide, usually as a whitish powder — not droplets — per my observations after my numerous experiments with thermite,” Jones explains.
A HOSTILE TONE
“More troubling than the insupportable claims of this lame hypothesis, though,” says Gage, “is the ongoing pattern of deception” employed by numerous mainstream film producers who have interviewed him over the years. At least 95 percent of the evidence he shares with them gets omitted from the end product.
“The Smithsonian used only one small section of the broad swatch of damning information I provided — the evidence for explosions — and they used it to set up their aluminum/water explosion hypothesis. This was completely unethical. It’s all manipulation. It would seem they are purposely deceiving their audience.”
The one-sided slant of the program is readily apparent throughout its voice-over. The narrator describes the evidence presented by AE911Truth — and the 9/11 Truth Movement’s use of that evidence — as “the outlandish claims of the theorists” and “fanatical rumors” by those with “an obsession for online conspiracy sites.” In a half-hearted jab at the official story, the narrator asserts that the failure of the NIST report to explain the collapses provided “fertile ground for conspiracy theories.”
In the voice-over, we hear an unrelenting attack on truth-seekers, which includes this pot shot: “For many of those directly affected by the disaster, claims of government involvement are deeply offensive.” To prove that point, the producers air portions of their interview with firefighter Bobby McGuire, who lost his nephew in the disaster. In these clips, McGuire sides with the official theory, ridicules evidence for controlled demolition, and calls those who question the party line “conspiracy theorists” who are “out there.”
The narrator then throws another low blow at Gage, accusing him of “attempting to gain mainstream acceptability with a combination of science and conjecture.”
After watching the “Twin Towers” show online, Gage observed that, despite what the producers want the public to believe, the evidence of controlled demolition involves only science and no conjecture.
That bias is most blatant and egregious when the narrator, referring to Greening’s interest in figuring out what happened on 9/11, implies that the chemist came to a conclusion before beginning his scientific analysis: “For [Greening] . . . the question of government conspiracy was never an option.”
The voice-over piles on still more praise for the Greening/Simensen hypothesis — heralding it as the breakthrough discovery that “would change our understanding of the disaster forever.” And it compliments Greening’s computer model, which he says supports the so-called pancake theory, for having “dispelled the conspiracists ideas about controlled demolition.”
How did it do that? We’re never told.
Gage asks only that “everyone take a serious look at the forensic evidence and at the eyewitness and video testimony that has been thoroughly documented by AE911Truth and other truth-seekers — and then come to their own conclusions.
“We don’t have conspiracy theories,” Gage says. “We have solid, scientific evidence.”