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Last updated: August 15, 2015

What is Thermite?
Posted: August 7th, 2015
Iron (III) oxide, rust, and aluminum powder make up thermite.
Thermite. Photo:

Some efforts to explain what happened on September 11, 2001 include a misguided theory about an explosive called thermite or nanothermite. You can find the word thermite used by numerous people giving interviews on their interpretation of what happened on 9/11, however a closer look at the characteristics of thermite reactions make it easy to see why thermite was not the cause of the destruction to the World Trade Center towers.

Before it can be said what caused the damage, it first must be observed what was the damage? The damage was that something destroyed two 110-story concrete and steel skyscrapers and turned them and everything inside of them to dust. Nothing but dust fell to the ground and all over the city that morning.

Thermite reaction. Photo:

What is thermite?

Thermite reaction chemical equation
Thermite reaction equation of Iron(III) oxide reacting with aluminum powder.
Iron (III) oxide combines with aluminum powder and reacts to form Aluminum oxide and molten iron in a thermite reaction.

Thermite is a combination between iron oxide (rust in powder form) and finely ground aluminum. When these 2 elements are mixed together they have a reddish color from the iron oxide and the combined compound is called thermite. When thermite is ignited it creates a very hot exothermic chemical reaction that releases a lot of heat, and the thermite is destroyed in fire and the new products that are formed in the fire are molten iron and aluminum oxide.

The particles that make up thermite are already as small as a finely ground cooking spice so nano-thermite is a redundant concept. No one who has ever mentioned nano-thermite has explained what the difference is between a regular thermite reaction and a nanothermite reaction or referred to a known demonstration of the difference. Thermite is not a high level chemistry concept. It may be taught in an introductory chemistry textbook.

Thermite reactions are known for being such a hot reaction that iron is formed. The iron that is formed in a thermite reaction is in a molten state until it cools down.

What Kind of Ions Are in Thermite?
Iron Iron element symbol is a metal so it loses electrons to form positive ions. Iron can form 2 types of positive ions with different ionic charges. It can lose 2 electrons to form an Iron (II) positive ion or it can lose 3 electrons to form an Iron (III) positive ion. The Iron element symbol in thermite is Iron(III). The Roman numeral 3 does not refer to the number of Iron element symbol ions but to the positive charge of the ion.

Unlike, the element Iron element symbol, oxygen* Diatomic oxygen atomand aluminum Aluminum atom only form one type of ion. Oxygen Diatomic oxygen atom always gains 2 electrons to form anOxide ion negative ion. Aluminum Aluminum atom always loses 3 electrons to form a Aluminum ion with a positive charge of 3. positive ion.

A chemical compound is electrically neutral meaning it has a net ionic charge of zero. One of the reactants in thermite is iron (III) oxide. The formula for iron (III) oxide is written as Iron (III) oxide chemical formula. The 2 subscript on iron refers to the number of iron atoms to be multiplied by a positive 3 charge and the 3 subscript on oxide refers to the number of oxide ions to be multiplied by a negative 2 charge that will equal zero when they are added together.

2 iron ions multiplied by (3+ ionic charge) = 6
3 oxide ions multiplied by a (2- ionic charge )= - 6

6+ - 6 = 0 = electrically neutral compound

Aluminum oxide slag and iron
A sample of aluminum oxide slag and iron metal similar to what would be formed after a thermite reaction cooled off.

While thermite itself is a powdery substance, it does not explode to form a powdery substance. The fact that thermite reactions do not make dust is another way that we know thermite was not used in the 9/11 attacks. What is formed by a thermite reaction is molten iron and aluminum oxide slag which appears to be a pile of mis-shapen metal or rock.

The thermite theory in regards to the cause of the World Trade Center Towers destruction is as purely wrong and unscientific as the theory about the world trade centers being destroyed by the airplanes that punctured them. One of the engineers who constructed the world trade center towers said the effect of an airplane flying into one of the towers would have been like sticking a pencil through the mesh netting of a screen door, it would not have made the entire screen come apart. While thermite is a thermal reaction involving heat, and the planes hitting towers was a kinetic reaction involving force, it was neither kinetic nor thermal reactions that caused the World Trade Center towers to fall.

3 Reasons We Know Thermite Was not Used on 9/11
There was no fiery exothermic reaction covering every inch of the towers in flames which would be required of a thermite reaction. Secondly, there was no mountainous pile of molten iron and aluminum oxide slag, the end products of a thermite reaction, that the towers would have been converted to if the iron in the buildings had been destroyed by thermite. Thirdly, while thermite itself is a powder which we will explain in more detail below, the end products of the thermite reaction are not a powder- they are solids, molten iron and aluminum oxide slag are created in a thermite reaction.

The actual type of energy used to destroy the World Trade Center towers on 9/11 was easy to conceal from the public because people do not think about invisible energy waves like x-rays or radio waves. While everyone uses a cell phone very few people have any understanding of what makes the cell phone work. We do not see x-rays, AM/FM radio waves or cell phone radio waves and therefore unless we work with invisible, electronic, energy wave technology we rarely give it a thought.

It is believed that some type of directed energy wave interference was involved in the destruction of the towers causing the bonding forces of the molecules of concrete and steel to repel each other and turn to dust.

When people are programmed by popular, unifying repetition they will uncritically accept language such as "The airplanes caused the towers to collapse." However the word collapse is not correct to describe what happened to the towers on 9/11. Collapse suggests kinetic energy like a wrecking ball or as the official story goes the force of the airplanes caused the damage. Observably, the towers did more than collapse; they disintegrated. If they had collapsed there would be an enormous pile of steel and concrete rubble in their footprint but all that fell was dust. A more correct statement would be: "A form of directed energy caused the towers and virtually everything inside of them to disintegrate and turn to dust."

Iron metal chunk
Clumps of iron metal like this would have been formed if thermite had been used in the 9/11 attack.

Had the weapon used in the attack been some type of thermal (heat) or kinetic energy, it would have caused even more damage to New York City because the towers would have caused a huge seismic impact. The impact would have demolished surrounding buildings, and flooded lower Manhattan with the Hudson river by breaking the dike surrounding the foundation of the World Trade Center buildings that was 70 feet below the water table in the bedrock of Manhattan island.

If the towers had fallen from thermite based reactions there would have been a huge fire all over the towers and metal spraying out from the fire and enormous clumps of iron and aluminum oxide on the ground after the fire cooled. More evidence that the towers turned to dust before it hit the ground were the miracle survivors of Stairwell B. About a dozen people, some firefighters, on approximately a 4th floor stairwell when the buildings began to fall believed they were going to be crushed by 106 stories of concrete and steel but they survived. When the dust had settled enough for them to open their eyes, they saw sky above them.

The effect of the weapon used on September 11th, 2001 was a science experiment conducted on a grand scale. In this science experiment the only safety precautions that were taken were planning a cover up. This experiment was intended to kill and cause immense damage in a unique way.

As a result of being targeted by some form of directed energy weapon, the towers and everything inside of them turned to dust before they hit the ground. It was as if the towers were zapped by a wizard in a work of fantasy, except this was real life, and it was the epitome of technology being used for an evil purpose, mainly to gain power.

by Andrea Boggs


*Oxygen is 1 of 7 diatomic molecules on the periodic table that exist as 2 atoms in its uncombined form.



Zumdahl, S. (2004) Introductory Chemistry: A Foundation.


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