Skip to comments.BOEING RESPONDS TO FBI REPORT
Posted on 07/10/2002 9:42:12 AM PDT by JohnFiorentino
*It is worthy to note that these "spheres" were recovered from the corpses of some TWA800 victims at autopsy) ...Authors note*
(FBI report from Brookhaven National Labs, 1997) (excerpts)
This item, one of 20 similar pieces.........was approx. 5mm in diameter and charcoal colored. The item was polished and then subjected to an energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) analysis to determine its chemical composition.
Small charcoal colored particles (1 of -20 similar pieces) measuring ~5mm in diameter. On polishing the sample was orange colored and transparent.
SEM analysis indicated the material was multi-phase having a base matrix containing Al and Ti. The sample showed significant charging under the electron beam indicating that it is a very poor conductor - i.e.., not metallic. Three other distinct areas could be observed, two were similar to the matrix but contained significant amounts of Zr, the other was mostly Al with Ca, Ba and Ce.
Below is a response from the Boeing Co. re: the "spheres" alluded to in the (FBI report from Brookhaven National Labs, 1997) and just recently declassified. (note one sentence in the below transmission was a little skewed, however, that is the way it was received)
Thanks for your inquiry John.
I am unaware of anything on a Boeing commercial airplane that would use those chemicals in a matrix (or other) form. We do not use Aluminium / Titanium matrix type metals since their differing thermal expansion rates will tend to tear a part fabricated from them apart when subjected to the rapid change in temperatures that jet aircraft encounter. We use a temperature differential of +180 degree F to -70 degrees F in 20 minutes as a design criteria. The +180 was a measured skin temperature of an airplane sitting in the sun in Saudi Arabia. Also, we try to limit the amount of Titanium we put into the airplanes because it costs so much. We use it where strength and fatigue requirements make Aluminium inappropriate.
Hope this helps.
(redacted) Associate Technical Fellow Service Engineering The Boeing Company
Copyright 2002, J.E. Fiorentino - All rights reserved.
The shrapnel would be scorched by the explosive that propelled it. It need not be a particularly good structural material, it should be light enough to carry enough of it aloft in a missile, and tough enough to penetrate airplanes.
These are samples of the recently famous liquid metal: extremely tough, almost zero thermal expansion, low melting point. It can't be used in conjuction with other metals where there are temperature changes because it will tear the machine apart simply by not expanding along with the other metals.
I'm not trying to be rude here, but it absolutely isn't what anyone with any knowledge of SAM or AA missile warheads would expect. The frag from missile warheads is produced by scoring the inside of the warhead casing. The fragments are designed for a specific destructive effect and range in size from 5 x 1 inch long rods to 1.5 x 1 inch cubes depending on the warhead and missile. The warheads are made of hardened steel. They have to be heavy and strong to ensure the kenetic energy of the fragments is enough to penetrate their target. 5mm, non-metalic beads wouldn't even be useful as birdshot, nevermind missile frag.
Aluminum from the airplane, titanium from some poor guy's golf clubs.
That's no big deal. After all, they make (or made) ball bearings by dropping molten metal off a tall tower. The plane dropped for a much longer time, giving plenty of time for a "metal fog" to form droplets that solidified as spheres.
There's still the problem of how such a fog might form, but that, too, might be explained away. Titanium has very high melting/boiling point (3034/5948 degF), but if it came into contact with burning aluminum (~5700 degF).
The missing link would be an ignition source for the aluminum, though it's possible that a high-voltage electrical spark onto a jagged edge might provide the necessary heat.
Agreed. I should probably have more clearly labeled my #18 as speculation.
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