9/11 truthers will argue that molten steel was seen dripping out of the Twin Towers prior to collapse, and that it was also found in large quantities in the debris pile after collapse. They claim that the only way to explain these observations is the usage of thermite to bring down the buildings in a controlled demolition. As I show here, this position is unjustified for many different reasons.
There's no good reason to believe that the molten material dripping out of the buildings was steel; aluminum from the airplanes is a better explanation given its low melting point and given that it glows bright orange at the temperatures that would have been present within the towers. The fact that we only see this material dripping from the location where fires are raging and where debris was present makes aluminum the much more likely explanation.
The alleged molten steel in the debris pile has never been tested to actually confirm its composition, so once again, I think molten aluminum—both from the airplanes and the buildings themselves—makes much more sense. The so-called World Trade Center meteorites that we're told contain previously molten steel, as far as I know, haven't been tested to confirm their composition. Rust on the surface proves nothing—as the everyday formation of rust stains makes clear— and the obvious presence of still-solid steel embedded within these meteorites contradicts the assertion that they're proof of non-solid steel.
Severely deformed steel beams also don't support the demolition hypothesis, because neither thermite nor conventional demolition charges attack steel in this way, whereas building fires are more than hot enough to cause steel to become highly pliable. Finally, hot surface temperatures in the debris field can't be used to infer the existence of below-ground pools of molten steel, and the allegedly motionless hot-spots actually shifted around constantly after collapse—exactly as you'd predict from fires, and not at all what you'd expect if they were static pools of molten steel.
One key piece of evidence that truthers point to to support a thermitic demolition is video of molten metal flowing out of the South Tower prior to its collapse. Here we see a stabilized video of this posted by Nathan Flach on YouTube:
Here's what Jonathan H. Cole argues about the subject in his famous video entitled "9/11 Experiments: The Great Thermate Debate":
"But there's a problem: Office and open-air jet fuel fires cannot melt steel. The National Institute of Standards and Technology said, that the maximum air temperatures was about 1800 degrees [F], or about 1000 degrees colder than what's needed to melt steel. So what could melt steel and explain all the evidence? Independent scientists began to piece that evidence together, and they suggested some type of thermitic material must have been used as part of the Tower's demolition."
Notice first the unsubstantiated assumption that what we see dripping out of the building is molten steel, specifically. Obviously no samples were taken of this dripping material to confirm its composition, so all truthers are doing is assuming that that's what it is. As the saying goes, assumption is the mother of all failures.
Given that the temperature of the fires burning within the Twin Towers were, indeed, insufficient to melt steel—which has a melting point of about 1400–1500*C—the next reasonable question to ask is: Were there any other metals present in that area that the fires could have melted? The answer is yes: aluminum, which has a melting point of 660*C.
How hot were the fires in the Twin Towers? Here's what NIST has to say about the subject:
"Normal building fires and hydrocarbon (e.g., jet fuel) fires generate temperatures up to about 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,000 degrees Fahrenheit). NIST reported maximum upper layer air temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) in the WTC towers"
"Pfft, yeah right, like I'm gonna trust those Illuminati talking points from NIST! What's next, you're gonna tell me that I should get vaccinated and brush my teeth?"
Given the unwillingness of truthers to believe any information provided by NIST, here's another source on this question: an article by Gerald Newman about the famous Cardington Office-Fire Test:
"The recorded maximum atmosphere and unprotected steel temperatures were 1213°C and 1150°C respectively."
So the fires burning within the Twin Towers would've been several hundred degrees Celcius hotter than the melting point of aluminum.
"But aha!", the truther will say, "molten aluminum is silver—not bright orange!" Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth, made this observation in a lecture of his:
"We're told by NIST that this substance must be melted aluminum from the airplane. But, melted aluminum looks like melted aluminum! It's silvery. It doesn't glow in daylight conditions."
It is correct that aluminum is silver at relatively low liquid temperatures—but heat it past a certain point and it glows bright orange. An article on 911Debunkers.Blogspot concedes this, but goes on to argue that it's bright orange only within its container; once poured, it immediately silvers. AE911Truth makes the same assertion:
"Molten aluminum appears silvery when poured in daylight conditions, even if initially heated to the yellow-white temperature range in the crucible."
911Debunkers links to a video showing this to substantiate their claims. In the video, a guy heats molten aluminum to 1800*F, or almost 1000*C, and while it is bright orange within its container, it instantly turns silver when he goes to pour it.
And no backyard scientific demonstration is complete without some twangy guitar music playing in the background! It makes me wanna don a leather jacket and go fight somebody at a pool hall!
Me, in tough-guy voice: "You talkin' to me, bro?"
He's like: "What? I've been sitting here for two hours and haven't said a word to anybody!"
The obvious drawback to this demonstration is that he's using a very small quantity of aluminum. This is like half a Pepsi can's worth of aluminum. It's like he found three paper clips in his desk and he's like: "Alright, time to melt these babies down and do some science!"
You can find other videos of larger quantities of molten aluminum that aren't just bright orange within their container, but remain bright orange as they're being poured. Here's a video of an aluminum manufacturing factory, posted by LA Machines on YouTube. As we can see, the molten aluminum is a very bright orange color, and we see no signs of it turning silver as it's being poured. I mean Christ, I almost had to put on a pair of sunglasses just to watch this video!
I also like the complete lack of protective clothing that they're wearing here. They're like: "Hey, you ready to go handle a massive cauldron full of bubbling-hot liquid metal?", and he's like: "Yeah, hang on, lemme just grab my sweatpants and T-shirt real quick."
"What if it splashes up on you?"
He's like: "Please, I've been doin' this for almost three weeks; I think I know what I'm doin' here."
Here's another video where a much smaller amount of molten aluminum is poured into a shredding machine—why? I have no fucking idea—and as we can see, while being poured, it retains its bright orange color.
By the way, you think pouring liquid aluminum into a shredding machine is weird? I found another video where a guy poured molten aluminum into the mouth of a dead mackerel. I wanna know what could possibly possess a person to do such a thing?
This guy's at a job interview and they're like: "So, what do you like to do in your spare time?"
And he's like (nervously): "Uhhh.....play videogames?"
They're like: "Why's this guy smell like fish?"
Richard Gage is simply mistaken when he says that molten aluminum "doesn't glow in daylight conditions." Even small quantities of molten aluminum can turn and stay bright orange while being poured. Yes, tiny amounts of bright orange aluminum might cool and silver very quickly, but larger amounts will not, analogous to how a cup of coffee will cool to room temperature much faster than a bathtub filled with coffee will.
Keep in mind that there was an abundant supply of aluminum within the Twin Towers in very close proximity to where we see this molten material dripping from, and that's the airplanes that crashed into them.
According to a post on Stack Exchange, about 70 to 80% of an aircraft's weight would come from aluminum. Excluding fuel and cargo, ModernAirliners.com tells us that the lightest variant of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers, the Boeing 767, is about 176,000 pounds. 70% of 176,000 pounds is 123,000 pounds of aluminum, which melted down, works out to about 6,206 gallons, or 78 80-gallon bathtubs worth.
Obviously not all of the aluminum would've made it inside and not all of it would collect in one area where it's heated to a liquid, but even if just 10% of it was liquefied, we're still talking 620 gallons, or 8 bathtubs worth. This is more than enough to account for what we see dripping out of the South Tower before its collapse.
For what it's worth, I don't support what we can call "the burning log hypothesis" put forth by NIST:
"Pure liquid aluminum would be expected to appear silvery. However, the molten metal was very likely mixed with large amounts of hot, partially burned, solid organic materials (e.g., furniture, carpets, partitions and computers) which can display an orange glow, much like logs burning in a fireplace. The apparent color also would have been affected by slag formation on the surface."
The reason I don't buy this as an explanation for the orange color is because the color looks to me like it's far too uniform to be caused by burning office materials; if this was the explanation, I'd expect to see a lot more patchiness and discoloration. And as we've seen, molten aluminum can glow bright orange when it's sufficiently heated.
Also worth noting is that if you look closely at the footage, you'll see that some of this material does appear to silver on its way down—as we would expect from cooling molten aluminum.
Take a closer look at more of the details here and you see that all signs point to molten aluminum. Here's what NIST has to say about the subject:
"There is no evidence of similar molten liquid pouring out from another location in WTC 2 or from anywhere within WTC 1.
Photographs, and NIST simulations of the aircraft impact, show large piles of debris in the 80th and 81st floors of WTC 2 near the site where the glowing liquid eventually appeared. Much of this debris came from the aircraft itself and from the office furnishings that the aircraft pushed forward as it tunneled to this far end of the building. Large fires developed on these piles shortly after the aircraft impact and continued to burn in the area until the tower collapsed."
Not only is the location of the aircraft debris and office fires consistent with the molten aluminum hypothesis, but the timeline also matches up with it. AE911Truth writes on their website that:
"Seven minutes before the destruction of the South Tower, a flow of molten metal appeared."
Seven minutes before collapse is more than enough time for the fires to have melted down the aluminum.
Here's another important thing to take note of: this molten material isn't even coming off of any steel beams; it's coming out of the window! Presumably if what we were seeing was a thermitic attack against this steel column, we would end up seeing damage done to that particular steel column. Yet during and after the flowing of molten material, the steel columns on both sides of this window remain perfectly intact. This is yet another observation that counts against the thermite hypothesis.
And doesn't it strike you as just too much of a coincidence that the one location where molten material was seen dripping from is in immediate proximity to where fires are raging and where aluminum from the crashed airplanes is concentrated? What an extraordinary coincidence this would be!
And how is it that only a single thermitic reaction was captured on film? If thermite truly was used to demolish the building, wouldn't we have seen this dripping, molten material on all four sides of the towers from top to bottom? At the very least, you'd see it in more than just one location.
Jonathan Cole, in his video, shows us an image that he thinks captures several thermitic reactions taking place on several steel columns:
"I'm not sure . . . why three columns have a more intense glow, followed by six columns that don't, followed by three that do. But I do have an idea!"
Dude, those are obviously just flames peeking out from the inside of the building. This is clearly a picture of one of the floors where the airplane impacted, as the extensive damage to the exterior makes apparent. There's no reason to think that this is a picture of anything more than fire, and the fact that he presents us with a still image of these alleged thermitic reactions rather than a video is very telling.
But just think about what thermitic reactions look like—how incredibly, blindingly bright they are—and ask yourself, how could they possibly have been used to weaken these exterior columns yet not have been visible to anybody filming?
The very idea itself of using thermite to perform a controlled demolition is ridiculous. Jonathan Cole, in his video, rigs up thermite in a number of different ways to see how effectively it can cut through steel. One attempt at cutting it horizontally is frankly embarrassing, leaving the steel still standing and only partially cutting through it. (Fuckin' nailed it, bro. Building demolition completed!)
Another attempt to attack the steel bolts specifically only partially damages them, requiring Cole to hit the bolt with a heavy metal hammer several times before successfully removing it. Not exactly a demonstration worth popping the champagne over!
A third attempt, where he places thermite inside of a replicated exterior column, doesn't even fully cut through it—but to be fair, it does leave some rather impressive dents in the steel. Plus the thermite basically functions as an explosive in this one, so if they're gonna go this route, why not just use conventional demolition materials and why bother even fucking with thermite?
A point I made in my previous 9/11 video is that there's no easy way to rig up these exterior columns with any type of demolition charges. As this image of the building interior makes clear, the outermost walls of the Twin Tower offices basically were the steel columns.
So you couldn't put charges on the inside-facing part of the steel columns without people seeing them, nor could your put them on the outside or the left or right side because people would also see them. The only real option would be to cut through the drywall, cut through the steel column, place thermite charges on the inside, and then repair that section of the building to make it look normal to keep the building occupants unsuspecting.
Even if you could somehow do all of this with nobody noticing, and even if thermite could successfully and reliably cut through these steel columns, the moment that they successfully did that, the extremely bright reaction taking place would be easily visible to the people filming and watching down on the ground.
The only real way to salvage the thermite hypothesis would be to say that only the interior columns were rigged up. If that was the case, though, how could this molten material dripping out of the window have made it all the way from the center of the building in the elevator shafts where the core columns are located to eventually flow out of this window? Wouldn't it all just drip down the elevator shafts?
And again, it strikes me as far too coincidental that the only location we see this molten material dripping from is right where the fires are raging and right where the aluminum from the airplane is concentrated. It is not reasonable to invoke such a grand conspiracy to explain something that has a much simpler explanation.
We also need to make the distinction here between: Is it possible, and is probable or necessary? Setting aside the logistical difficulties of remaining undetected and upholding complete secrecy, technically it is possible that the interior columns were rigged up with thermite charges that supplemented the damage caused by the airplane impacts and fires, ultimately initiating the collapse of the buildings. This is a possibility.
Here is the more important question, however: To explain the collapse of the buildings, is it necessary to invoke thermite? I think the answer is plainly no: the damage caused by the impacts, the removal of fireproofing caused by the explosions, and the weakening of structural components via heat caused by fires is enough to explain the initiation of collapse.
Look at this gif posted by "trevor" on Metabunk showing the moment that collapse begins, and please try to seriously tell yourself that this doesn't look exactly like a structural failure and that thermite was needed to cause this. I just don't see it. I can't think of a way to positively disprove the notion that deep inside the building, hidden from the prying eyes of cameras pointed at the Towers, thermite was used to cut the core columns and help initiate collapse. I just don't think it's necessary or reasonable to go this route given that the collapses began at the exact locations where the airplane and fire damage was most concentrated—exactly as you'd predict from a structural failure.
It's like saying, "Yes, this person's head did appear to explode from the shotgun blast, but I think at the exact moment that the shotgun was fired, an explosive inside his head was remotely detonated and that was the real cause of his head exploding—or at the very least, it supplemented the shotgun blast." It's like, ok, maybe that's technically possible, but why bother even entertaining such an extravagant hypothesis for something that's much more easily and reasonably explained?
And I have to call your attention to the fact that different pieces of evidence used by truthers to support their position contradict each other starkly. In a previous video, I pointed out how the lateral ejection of heavy debris couldn't possibly have been caused by a thermitic demolition which functioned by non-explosively melting the core columns. The sounds of explosions that truthers point to heard prior to collapse also would not support a quiet, thermitic melting of core columns.
When they point to the rapid collapse time of the towers—asserting that they only could've collapsed this rapidly if the material below was systematically demolished to make sure it wasn't in the way—this, too, couldn't possibly have been accomplished by thermitic melting, because thermite simply can't cut beams in the instantaneous manner necessary to sever dozens of steel columns at the exact same millisecond.
The point is that truthers don't seem to either notice or care that the arguments and pieces of evidence that they use to support their views contradict themselves. "Heavy debris was laterally ejected by explosions"; "thermite was used to non-explosively demolish the building". "Explosions were heard which is proof of a demolition"; "non-explosive thermite was used to quietly bring down the building." What they are describing here is Schrodinger's demolition, simultaneously loud and silent, simultaneously explosive and non-explosive. We can talk about whether the Twin Towers were demolished, but let's at least try to do so without contradicting ourselves every four sentences.
The other key area we'll focus on in this video is the claim that large quantities of molten steel were found in the debris pile of the towers—and given its high melting point, this proves that thermite must have been used to bring them down. Support for this claim comes in four main forms: eyewitness testimony, photographs, temperature measurements, and the collection of debris that allegedly contains previously molten steel.
Let's begin with the eyewitness testimony. Probably the most famous account is this one of several New York firefighters describing what they saw down there:
"You get down below and you see, molten steel, molten steel running down the channel rails, like you're in a foundry. Like lava."
When I first saw this video, I was actually very surprised to learn that Robert DeNiro moonlights as a firefighter!
You can find many other similar quotes like this, and while a good case can be made that some of the people being quoted are having their words twisted, the large number of such similar testimonies makes clear that very hot molten metal was, indeed, present within the debris pile. Truthers claim the only explanation for this is thermite, because building fires simply couldn't be hot enough to melt steel.
There's a big problem with this position, however: the truthers and eyewitnesses are once again simply assuming that the molten material they're seeing is steel. It's not like the rescue workers and firemen down there took samples of this molten metal and sent it off to the lab to ascertain its chemical composition; to my knowledge, no such testing was performed. Now I don't think it's unreasonable for people's minds to jump to "molten steel" given that so much steel was present in the wreckage—and I also think when people see bright orange liquid metal, based on what we've seen in the movies and so forth, their mind just sort of defaults to "molten steel"—not molten aluminum, not molten copper, but steel.
As I already pointed out, each airplane that struck the towers contained about 80 bathtubs worth of potentially-molten aluminum, and the fires were hot enough to melt this aluminum far past its melting point.
Not only that, but the buildings themselves contained an enormous amount of aluminum. As we read on 911myths.com,
"By far the largest source of aluminum at the WTC was the exterior cladding on WTC 1 & 2. In quantitative terms it may be estimated that 2,000,000 kg of anodized 0.09" aluminum sheet was used, in the form of 43,600 panels, to cover the facade of each Twin Tower."
2 million kilograms is equivalent to 2,781 bathtubs or 10 backyard swimming pools filled with molten aluminum. This is more than enough material to account for all of these eyewitness testimonies, and if the temperatures reached in a building fire are several hundred degrees Celsius hotter than the melting point of aluminum—hot enough to turn it a bright orange color—why would we need to invoke a nefarious conspiracy to explain what is very easily explained by the conditions and materials present in the debris pile?
Now you might try to argue that there's more than just eyewitness testimony; physical evidence proves that steel itself became molten on 9/11. The so-called "meteorites" found in the debris are without a doubt the strongest piece of tangible evidence to support the molten steel hypothesis. Keep in mind, however, that "strongest" is a relative term here.
There's a famous clip of one of these meteorites that's commonly passed around in the truther community:
"Narrator: One of the more unusual artifacts to emerge from the rubble is this rock-like object that has come to be known as the meteorite.
Bart: This is fused element of steel, molten steel, and concrete, and all of these things all fused by the heat into one single element."
It really does sound convincing at first, but there's reason to be skeptical. Number one, I've been unable to find any lab test results conclusively proving that this thing does, indeed, contain previously-molten steel.
Architects & Engineers For 9/11 Truth, on their website, do state that:
". . . there is abundant proof of the molten metal, which subsequent tests reveal to be iron, in the debris piles."
But when I go to click on the source for this claim—which I expected to be actual lab test results—all I get is a link to the YouTube channel homepage of AE911Truth. I tried to reach out to the founder of that organization, and one of the authors of that article, architect Richard Gage, asking for evidence that such testing has been performed. I e-mailed him, I Tweeted him, I called him and left him a message, and I heard absolutely nothing back. Perhaps he's too busy designing a building in which he can hide from people asking him to support his claims with evidence?
I also tried to get in touch with somebody on the contact page of their website, asking for a source for this claim, and all I got back was Chris Sarns saying "I will see to it that the link is changed to the proper one." Yeah right, dude, I'm sure you're getting right on that. In fact, I'm actually worried that this guy's gonna try so hard to find a source for this claim that he over-exerts himself!
"Chris, please, you need to get some sleep!"
"Not now! I am on a mission to track down a source for this claim and I will not rest until the assertion is corroborated."
You might say, "Oh, well the guy said it right there in that documentary: this 'meteorite' contains steel that was previously melted." Yeah, the thing is, I don't know what he's basing this claim off of. For one, the guy making this claim is Bart Voorsanger, who's an architect. He's not a metallurgist, he's not trained to perform compositional analyses of this sort, so where is he getting this information from? Perhaps there are lab test results that I've never heard of and that are very difficult to find online, but I reached out to Bart, as well, and heard absolutely nothing back on this point.
I think it's quite possible that Bart is just sort of spitballing here: He sees this rocky material that contains a bunch of previously melted substances, and basically just assumes that it's comprised of the building's primary components: steel, concrete, etc. What is more likely: that the greatest conspiracy of all time was masterfully pulled off, or that this one guy misspoke? And this isn't exactly the most rigorous scientific demonstration I've ever seen; this guy is basically just giving us a show-and-tell presentation.
Other images of World Trade Center meteorites are used by truthers to support the molten steel hypothesis. Here's one that we see in a paper written by Steven E. Jones, where he says that:
"The abundance of iron (as opposed to aluminum) in this material is indicated by the reddish rust observed."
See, it doesn't make sense to say that the cause of this reddish color is necessarily the meteorite containing previously-melted steel. You ever heard of rust stains before? These things will form in porcelain sinks, on concrete balconies, on brick walls—and their formation has absolutely nothing to do with the heating of steel to 1500*C.
All it takes is a bit of water running over rusted material to spread it around to other surfaces—no melting necessary—and given the large quantities of water that would've been present in the buildings and that would've been used during firefighting efforts, it's no wonder that rust stains would develop. The reddish rust on the surface of this meteorite is no more proof that the underlying composition is iron than the rust stains in this photograph are proof that the underlying concrete is actually made of steel.
And there's another important detail about these meteorites that's literally sticking out at us: Still-solid steel. You don't even have to look closely at this picture; it's extremely obvious that chunks of rebar and other steel materials are embedded within this meteorite in a still-solid form. If the steel itself became molten, it wouldn't retain it's solid shape; it would just turn into a puddle. So the very evidence they're using to support their hypothesis actually flatly contradicts it.
Here's another meteorite image featured on 911conspiracy.wordpress where we see the same thing: many pieces of solid steel are sticking out from the meteorite, and thus, this can't be used to support the idea that steel became molten.
"Hey, this thing that contains a bunch of steel that never became molten is proof that steel became molten!"—it's absurd on its face.
Now you might argue that perhaps some of the meteorite is melted steel, whereas other chunks remain solid. Maybe it's possible, but if temperatures are indeed hot enough to create a large pool of molten steel, I don't see how other chunks of steel that fall in this pool wouldn't quickly become molten themselves. On top of that, until you can provide actual test results proving not just that there's rust on the surface of these meteorites, but that the actual interior contains steel that was hot enough to melt, you simply can't use eyeball observations of these things to support that position.
Another piece of physical evidence used to support the thermite hypothesis are severely deformed steel beams found in the wreckage. As they write on AE911Truth:
"Iron workers at the site pointed out that huge columns were bent into horseshoe shapes - without the flanges showing any cracks or buckling. They cited, 'It takes thousands of degrees to bend steel like this'."
And here are a couple images of such bent steel that they link to:
There is no reason whatsoever to invoke thermite or other demolition materials to explain the deforming of steel building components. A BBC article reported on research conducted by Sergei Dudarev into the question of why steel fails when heated, and at what temperatures this occurs. As they write,
"'Steels melt at about 1,510C, but lose strength at much lower temperatures,' explained Dr Sergei Dudarev . . . He said blacksmiths had exploited this property for hundreds of years - it allows iron to become pliable at temperatures much lower than its melting point.
The peak in this pliability is at 911.5C, but begins at much lower temperatures, at around 500C - a temperature often reached during building fires."
Recall that temperatures in building fires can reach 1000 to 1100*C—and sometimes even higher. The peak in steel's pliability is at 912*C—and it begins at around 500*C—so the discovery of warped and bent steel beams in the debris pile shouldn't strike us as surprising and doesn't require any extraordinary explanation.
The sequence of events that would cause this to happen are about as easy to understand as anything: fires burning in the debris pile would heat steel beams to the point of pliability, and the weight of building materials above these heated beams would cause them to bend. Before collapse you also would've had steel components where fires are burning heated to the point of pliability and subsequently sagging, perhaps being bent even further during the collapse.
Just to give you an idea of what building fires alone could accomplish, here's an image taken after the Cardington office fire test showing steel beams that are heavily deformed and sagging.
It's also worth considering the folly of using thermite or other demolition materials to explain the bending of steel, because this is not at all the effect that these materials would have on steel beams. Truthers argue that thermite was used to slice through the steel beams and cause collapse—not that it was used to slowly heat them until they became highly pliable. And conventional demolition explosives also don't bring down buildings by bending the steel columns, so it's nonsensical to even use such steel to support the demolition hypothesis.
Truthers will also point to photographic evidence that they say plainly shows inexplicably hot or even molten steel. Here are some examples from that Steven Jones paper:
"The top photo . . . may show the glow of hot metal in the rubble; the second photo clearly does so."
The first photo just looks like somebody's using a blowtorch or a searchlight during clean-up; or maybe they had a fire-breather come and entertain them during their clean-up efforts? There's someone buried in the rubble next to them like: "Help me! Please!", and they're like "Hey! Keep it down over there! We're trying to watch the show." And then he dies. End of joke.
The second photo pretty clearly does show glowing-hot metal in the debris. Let's assume that it's a piece of steel. My question is: So what? The temperature of building fires is more than sufficient to cause steel to glow red or bright orange.
The Precision Machined Products Association presents us with a chart showing the different colors that steel will glow based upon what temperature it's heated to. As we can see, at about 650*C, it starts to glow red. At around 800 to 900*C, it starts to glow orange, and once you reach 1100*C, it glows an even brighter orange color.
"Aha! But it doesn't appear to glow bright yellow at those temperatures, like we see in the picture, so how do you explain that!?"
Ok, perhaps in certain pockets, temperatures in the debris pile reached as high as around 1300*C? The Cardington Test saw peaks over 1200*C, so when we're dealing with fires raging for weeks in confined spaces, surpassing 1300*C doesn't seem outside of the realm of possibility.
On top of that, I managed to track down the original image in a publication by The LiRo Group, and notice that it's much darker than the one Steven Jones presents us with. Either he or somebody else intentionally increased the brightness of this image to make it appear like the steel was heated to a higher temperature than it actually was. That is just downright deception.
This next one is probably the most famous picture of molten material from the debris pile, presented in an AE911 Truth article. Not only does it show metal glowing bright orange-yellow, but it even appears to show molten metal dripping off of this chunk as it's lifted into the air!
Although there are some questions about the authenticity of this image, we're just going to assume that it's authentic. Without invoking thermite, how can we explain not just glowing-hot steel, but glowing-hot steel that's dripping molten metal? I think it's pretty simple, actually: steel could've been heated to a bright orange color by the fires yet remained solid, whereas aluminum could've been melted by the fires and heated to the point of becoming bright orange.
We need to be careful about how we think about these things. Even if we saw unmistakably steel girders glowing bright orange from the fires, seeing bright orange molten metal dripping off of this steel girder doesn't necessarily mean that the molten material is comprised of steel.
Just think about what the debris pile would've looked like and consisted of. It's not like everything after collapse would be neatly partitioned, like "Over here, in this area, we have the steel, and over there, in that area, we have the aluminum." No, all of these different building components would be mixed together and intermingling.
So if you have an area where fires are burning hot enough to melt aluminum and cause it to glow orange, you would also have fires hot enough to not melt steel but nonetheless cause it to glow bright orange. And because these different building materials would be in such close proximity to one another, and because they'd be basically the same color from the heat, it could produce the very convincing illusion that the steel itself had become molten, when in reality, the only molten metal present in the debris pile is aluminum. So you could pick up an orange-hot steel beam that's lodged in an area where there's also a pool of orange-hot molten aluminum, and it would appear to drip molten steel when really it would drip molten aluminum.
This strikes me as a perfectly sensible explanation for the allegedly witnessed and photographed molten steel girders—and if you disagree, please explain to me which part of this explanation doesn't work.
The final piece of evidence used to support the truther position are temperature measurements that we're told are indicative of molten steel, and thus only could have been produced by thermite. Here's what Richard Gage says in that lecture of his:
"Here is Building 7, at A & B, and here is the North Tower and the South Tower. These hot spots are 1340 to 1370 degrees [Farhenheit]! These are the temperatures of the hottest office fires. There was no fire on the surface of Ground Zero after the collapses! What are we measuring here? We're measuring the molten metal that was seen by these first responders 4, 5, 6 stories down below in the basements, that was surely at least twice or three times these temperatures."
First I have to point out that Gage, and truthers generally, tend to go with very low estimates of how hot office fires get. Recall that the Cardington Office Test recorded temperatures in excess of 1200 degrees Celsius—which works out to about 2200*F—almost a thousand degrees higher than Gage says office fires are capable of reaching.
His interpretation of these measurements is that because they're taken from the surface, they're indicative of much hotter underground temperatures. Important to note, however, is that I've seen no clear and systematic method of recording surface temperatures and using this data to arrive at reliable, precise estimates of the below-ground temperatures. So how, exactly, does Gage infer such a thing?
It's not like there's a clear guideline that says "For every 2 meters below the surface in the debris pile, temperatures will be 10% hotter than those at the surface." From what I can tell, there's no way to use only surface temperatures to extrapolate in this way and determine at what depth the source of this heat exists, and at what temperature these sources are hovering at. So this is pure speculation on Gage's part and nothing more.
And notice that Gage asserts that the source of these high surface temperatures is molten steel that's located 4, 5, or even 6 stories below in the basements! Think about how incomprehensibly hot something would have to be to be able to heat the surface of the debris pile 4–6 stories above to over 700 degrees Celsius! This strikes me as an outlandish explanation. Much more reasonable, in my view, is the explanation that fires burning near—but not at—the surface are the cause of these high surface temperatures.
Truthers will also point to the static, non-shifting nature of these hotspots as proof that they're not caused by fires, but instead, by pools of molten steel. Here's what AE911Truth writes in that article of theirs:
"The EarthData thermal images also show that the 'hot spots' remained at the same locations. The phenomenon did not 'move' across the site, like one would expect from fire as it consumes the fuel available in any one location."
Curiously, they don't compare any thermal images to substantiate this claim—and when you actually look at the thermal images over time, you find that exactly the opposite of what they argue is the case. An ETI-Ministries.org paper provides some EarthData thermal images of Ground Zero from September 16th, 18th, and 23rd. Compare these images and the unfixed nature of these hotspots becomes apparent.
For example, here I've highlighted one particular hotspot from September 16th, tethered to the corner of a nearby building as a reference point. Just two days later, on September 18th, the hotspot has basically disappeared from this location. We also see the converse of this, where locations that previously did not have hotspots end up having hotspots several days later. Here's an example of such a hotspot on September 18th that simply didn't exist in this location on September 16th. You can perform similar analyses of this sort for virtually any area of Ground Zero and you will find the exact same pattern.
So truthers actually have this completely backwards: the hotspots did not remain at the same locations, and they did move across the site—exactly as one would expect from fire, and exactly as you would not expect if the source of these hotspots were static pools of molten steel. Once again, we find that the very evidence they're using to support their position actually flatly refutes it.
So as we've seen, when truthers claim that molten steel dripped out of the Twin Towers and was subsequently found in the debris pile, they are simply mistaken.
No tests were ever performed to confirm the presence of molten steel, and the physical evidence they point to—namely, the "meteorites"—actually refute their position given that they contain chunks of still-solid steel. Heat from the fires would've been more than enough to cause steel beams to become highly pliable, and invoking thermite or other demolition materials here isn't just unnecessary, but nonsensical given the effects they would've actually had on steel beams.
The allegedly static pockets of heat in the debris field were actually in constant motion, as you'd predict from fires, and there's no solid basis for using surface temperatures to infer the existence of molten steel in the basements.
Building fires are capable of reaching temperatures high enough to not just melt aluminum, but cause it to glow bright orange—and given the abundance of aluminum in the airplanes as well as the towers themselves, there is no good reason to use this molten material as proof that thermite was used to bring down the Twin Towers.