Most observers of the LENR/nickel hydride scene are unaware of the details of the Thermacore, Inc. runaway reaction back in 1996.
Unfortunately, this was the last effort that this company made in the field, and the main reason that they dropped LENR. The incident echoes other thermal runaways, including P&F, Mizuno, Mark Snoswell in Australia and Ahern. However, it was far more energetic than any of the prior incidents. This was to have been an powered experiment but they never had time to apply input power. This was was a follow-on to a Phase one grant from USAF (document in LENR-CANR library) and was simply intended to be an analysis the absorption reaction of a large amount of nickel powder and hydrogen at modest pressure. Instead, it was likely the most energetic single event in the history of LENR. Recently, Brian Ahern has been in contact with Nelson Gernert, the chief researcher in the new Thermacore (having gone through two changes of ownership) who was also in charge of the runaway. None of this has appeared in print before. Gernert added 2.5 pounds of nickel powder (200 mesh of Ni-200) into a 3 liter stainless steel Dewar. The Dewar weighed 300 pounds. It was a strong pressure vessel with a hemispherical volume. Thermacore evacuated the nickel under vacuum for several days before adding H2 gas at 2 atmospheres (apparently there was no potassium but this detail needs to be verified). The most amazing thing happened next. The powder immediately and spontaneously heated before external power could be added. The Dewar glowed orange (800C) and the engineers ran for cover. No external heat had been used and no radiation monitors were running. The nickel had sintered into a glob alloyed into the vessel and could not be removed. The (then) owner of Thermacore, Yale Eastman was frightened that an explosion was imminent and that someone could be killed. He forbade any further work on LENR. The incident was not published. The Dewar was no longer safe as a pressure vessel and they junked it. They did not measure it for radiation. Superficial thermal analysis - 3 liters of H2 gas at 2 atmosphere will have a heat of combustion of 74 kilojoules when combined with oxygen (but there was no oxygen in the Dewar). Heating a 300 lb Stainless vessel to 800C requires 21 megajoules. That is ostensibly 289 times the possible chemical energy! Date: Thu, 19 May 2016 10:44:35 -0400 Subject: Re: MILLS AND THERMACORE From: na...@gwu.edu To: ahern_br...@msn.com Thanks, Brian. I will try to get a complete copy. Dave On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 10:41 AM, Brian Ahern <ahern_br...@msn.com> wrote: aLL MY COPIES LACK PAGE 4.