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Lignostone is a brand name for a type of high-strength compressed plywood originally developed in the Netherlands and now marketed by Röchling Composites.<ref></ref> It consists of layers of beech wood bonded together under high pressure with thermosetting synthetic resins. It was originally intended as an insulator in electrical transformers but is now also used as a lightweight, high-strength structural material, which is a good insulator of both heat and electricity, is resistant to corrosion and rot and is not damaged by hydrocarbons such as oil. It is frequently used in structural supports for pipelines and LPG tanks.


[edit] Lignostone and Russian Weapons

Apparently inspired by the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 39 verses 9-10, a message has been circulating on the internet for some time concerning the use of Lignostone for weapons manufacture by Russia. The message is generally a close variant of the following wording:
"In my research, I have found that some new Russian weapons have been produced. These weapons are manufactured using a new material known as lignostone. Prepared from compressed wood-product, this material was developed in Holland to be used as fuel. However, the Soviet weapons laboratories discovered that this unique substance, called lignostone, is as strong as steel, light, pliable, and almost invisible to radar. These unique characteristics encouraged the Russian military to utilize this material in many military vehicles and weapons. One of the characteristics of lignostone is that it burns at very high temperatures and can be readily used as an alternate fuel. The use of lignostone, and the fact that mobile Russian military units can carry large amounts of fuel (in containers 100 yards across) for their tanks and helicopters, may explain the prophecy that the defeat of this army will provide ample fuel for Israel for a period of seven years"

This passage appears to originate from an "open letter" written to Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in 1978.<ref></ref> While it has understandably been accepted as evidence by many Biblical Christians, there are a number of flaws and inaccuracies in it.

[edit] Purpose of Lignostone

Lignostone was not developed as a fuel. It is far too expensive for this purpose and also not at all easy to ignite, high temperature resistance being one of its properties. The author of the message has apparently read burns at very high temperatures where he should have read only catches fire at very high temperatures; Lignostone burns at the same temperature as any other beech wood product, but is much more difficult to set alight. This misunderstanding may be caused by the fact that Lignostone is widely used as a structural material in the fuel industry.

[edit] Properties of Lignostone

While the tensile strength of Lignostone is similar to that of mild steel it lacks hardness and density, two critical factors in the manufacture of military equipment such as armour and gun barrels. Pliability is rarely a desirable characteristic in the manufacture of military equipment. The fact that Lignostone is largely transparent to radar is an undesirable characteristic. Modern stealth aircraft and warships work by using a carefully shaped radar-reflective skin designed to reflect radar pulses away from the receiver, combined with radar-absorbent materials. Use of a radar-transparent substance such as plywood merely gives a modern radar a good view of the highly reflective metal structures inside, such as engines and weapon mounts, and would give a much larger radar return than a simple metal skin.

[edit] Russian Weapons

Virtually the entire range of Russian military equipment, including many types that were experimental or highly classified in 1978, are now available for export and have been closely examined by Western intelligence agencies. None of them contain Lignostone. Russian aircraft are made of aluminum and titanium alloys; Russian tanks are made of steel and ceramics. Russian armoured vehicles are made of steel and aluminum. It should also be noted that Western military equipment isn't made of Lignostone either; designers prefer to use far more expensive alternatives such as titanium, composite honeycomb laminates and Chobham armour. There is a reason for this.

A key point about modern weapons is that unlike the "shields and the bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears" referred to by Ezekiel, they are designed for use on battlefields where explosive and flame weapons are predominant. Therefore a huge amount of effort goes into making them as non-inflammable as possible. The idea that modern weapons could be burned as fuel is not credible. Ezekiel was writing with the knowledge of his time and probably made assumptions about the consequences of a battle which, to him, were justified. They are not justified now.

Even the large fuel containers mentioned in the passage are inaccurately described. Russia does indeed possess huge fuel containers, made of steel-reinforced rubber. These are intended for operations inside or near Russia's borders, where they can be moved forward, buried, connected by engineer-laid pipeline to the main Russian military pipeline system and used to fill conventional tanker trucks. They are not carried by mobile units and would not be used in any war in the Middle East, where a suitable military pipeline system is not available.

[edit] Conclusion

This passage is inaccurate and should not be used as evidence to support the accuracy of Biblical prophecy. It seems clear that Ezekiel was using powerful and poetic language to illustrate the scale of the Israeli victory over their attackers; a correct literal reading of this prophecy shows that it describes a huge victory with powerful enemy forces destroyed, and it is not necessary to twist facts to support an over-literal interpretation. Even variants which suggest that the Israelis could use fuel from destroyed aircraft and vehicles, explosives and propellants from ordnance or fissile material from nuclear weapons, are not credible. If a tank or aircraft is destroyed in battle, its fuel and ammunition burn. Fissile material from nuclear warheads is not suitable for use in nuclear reactors because it is enriched to about five times the appropriate level; if you fuel a reactor on bomb fuel it will become a bomb.

Do not use these arguments. If you do, fairly soon someone will ask you "Which Russian weapons are made from Lignostone?" You will not be able to name one and your credibility will be damaged.

[edit] References


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