At 03:05 AM 2/22/2011, Joshua Cude wrote:

On Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <<>> wrote:

Pons and Fleischmann made no such promise. They noted the potential, *if* this could be developed.

First of all, "has promise" normally has a built in hypothetical. "The child showed remarkable promise in the recital." That's the way the promise of CF has been voiced. It's what I meant.

It still has that kind of promise. If.

Secondly, from an interview in 1989:

Macneil / Lehrer: This is being hailed as the ideal energy source. Is that the case?

Fleischmann: Yes. There would be many advantages in using it as an energy source. Because, as was referred to in the run-in to this program, the reaction would be clean, ... the fuel supply would be plentiful, and it could ... be carried out in a very simple manner.

It was even better than he knew. He thought there were some significant neutrons. Way below what d-d fusion would produce, but enough to possibly cause some trouble when it was scaled up. No neutrons to speak of, just enough, once clearly measured in a way that was able to detect extremely low levels and still discriminate from background, to know that there is something nuclear taking place in or on the lattice.

That's an expression of promise for the field of cold fusion.

Fleischmann wrote that it would take a Manhattan-scale project. This is not an easy problem. Unlike the original Manahattan project, there is no explanatory theory, making engineering extremely difficult. And that has nothing to do with the science. It certainly has nothing to do with whether or not there is measurable excess heat, since we can measure heat in milliwatts and the experiments often generate heat in the 5 or 10 watt range, sometimes much more. Sometimes the heat generated is well in excess of all energy put in to electrolyse the deuterium. In gas-loading experiments, there is no input energy, beyond the natural heat of formation of palladium deuteride. I.e., we definitely get excess heat, over input energy, with gas-loading, but this is still small, overall, and it's difficult to scale. This is where a lot of current work has gone.

The difficulty in scaling robs those experiments of credibility. The gas loading experiments have to detect nuclear heat above considerable chemical heat, and the results are far from convincing.

No, the chemical heat behaves very differently. And the hydrogen controls show the same chemical heat, but not the extended heat. And not the helium.

If a trace amount of Pd produces a watt or so of power, why would 10 or 100 times as much not produce 10 or 100 times the power?

It does. If the conditions are the same. Lumping it all together is not the same conditions, because the surface/mass has been reduced. It's a surface effect. So if you have 7 grams of nanoparticle palladium, you get so much excess heat. If you have 700 grams, I have every reason to expect, you will get 100 times as much heat. However, that's in a volume 100 times as large. What this does to temperature depends on the nature of the container. If the 700 grams is 100 7 gram, small, containers, all with the same thermal resistance to ambient, and they are packed together, the inner ones will get substantially hotter. If I'm correct, the reaction rate increases with temperature. So it might get quite a bit hotter.

But the experiment is basically the same, and one could predict the results of the 100 7 gram containers from the results of a series of 7 gram containers individually.

 Why does it only work when the measurements are dubious.

Incorporated false assumption. Higher accuracy with CF experiments produces clearer results.

And why can't Arata pressurize a small cell with his magic powder, isolate it from all external connections, and demonstrate that the thing gives off heat indefinitely?

Why should it work indefinitely? What he shows is 3000 minutes, flat at 4 degrees C above ambient, "isolated from all external connections," except the (shut) valve to the gas line, used for initial vacuum and then deuterium input, and three thermocouples (one internal, one in a wall -- the vessel is double-walled).

Deuterium input is not continuous. It stops when the pressure levels off. The pressure rises when the deuterium loading is complete, and so pressure rise corresponds to the end of hydride formation heat. As I recall, the traces of hydride formation heat are gone, with deuterium and hydrogen, within about an hour. So there are, then, 49 more hours of level heat at 4 degrees, which, as to heat generation, means whatever the thermal resistance to ambient implies. I'd sure like to know the calibration for this ad-hoc calorimeter!

From the hydride/deuteride formation heat, and the subsequent cooling, it should be possible to estimate the thermal resistance. That would make a nice little student exercise at the Wikiversity Cold fusion educational resource.

Flat at 3000 minutes is pretty close to "indefinitely." When I first read this work, I thought that the minutes were hours, and I was pretty excited, as you can imagine! How long will the thing go on? I don't know. Arata doesn't say, and I can tell you this, Arata doesn't give a fig about what you or anyone else thinks. He's been called the Grand Old Man of Japanese physics, he's very old, and very certain of himself.

What I have heard is that, though, eventually the heat declines. And the material, when examined, shows major morphological changes.

I should ask Storms about this. He's working with gas-loading.

Quite simply, that an effect is commercializable -- or not -- could affect decisions about research funding, for sure, but it has nothing to do with whether it is real or not. Agree?

Disagree. If an effect is not real, it is not commercializable. If it is real, it may be. If nuclear reactions in cold fusion experiments are producing measurable heat, it would be daft to think that it is not commercializable.

Real effects may not be commercializable. And you are daft. The Japanese did not invest millions upon millions of dollars in various cold fusion projects without some idea that the effect was real, and they did not abandon it because they came to think it wasn't real. They abandoned it because they realized that they had no clue as to what it would take to make commercial power. The techniques known were not commercializable. Still aren't.

Rossi might be commercializable, if that demonstration wasn't faked. But, then, again, this isn't necessarily cold fusion. Might be LENR, might be hydrinos, might be gremlins, for all I know.

You're not contradicting me. Muon-catalyzed fusion started (experimentally) with neutrons, cold fusion started experimentally with excess energy. And if you start with excess energy, there's no need to find a way to get excess energy. Ergo, it holds promise, if the results are real.

There was "excess energy" with muon-catalyzed fusion, as well. The only problem was the energy involved in making muons. That energy wasn't consumed in the reaction, it was "muon-catalyzed fusion." That is, the fusion produced energy, the normal fusion energy. Problem was making the catalyst, and the catalyst, unfortunately, wasn't stable. It was lost for other reasons than being consumed by the reaction. Hot fusion also produces excess energy. I think you might be sloppy about what excess energy means.

To run a device with practical breakeven, something like 200% excess energy is needed. 5% excess energy in electrolytic CF experiments is easy to detect, I think Fleischmann was routinely running below 1% accuracy. So there is a long way between what can be detected and measured, and what would be needed for some kind of commercialization.

On the other hand, if heat is the desired product, any excess energy is useful. I.e., if you could cheaply make a device with 50% excess energy, you could simply run it as an electric heater, and it would give you 150% of the heating expected from the power input. The problem then becomes the cost of the device, does it amortize?

Whether it was called "fusion" or "unknown nuclear reaction" is not relevant to the point, but since you raise it, we should at least get it right.

In J. Electroanal. Chem. 261 (1989) 301, "fusion" is in the title (although they later claimed they had intended to follow the title with a question mark), and fusion reactions are explicitly postulated.

Well, that's interesting. The question mark claim is plausible, first of all because the *question* of fusion is asked immediately, and not answered immediately, and because the actual conclusion of the paper -- where they were reporting neutrons, later known to be artifact, and thus had reason to believe that indeed they might be seeing some classical fusion -- was

"The most surprising feature of our results however, is that reactions (v) and (vi) are only a small part of the overall reaction scheme and that the bulk of the energy release is due to an hitherto unknown nuclear process or
processes (presumably again due to deuterons).

Once it was known that their neutron results were bogus, "only a small part" becomes "no part."

"v" and "vi" were d-d fusion to tritium/proton and He-3/neutron, respectively, classically the vastly predominating reactions for d-d fusion.

In other words, Pons and Fleischman do not call the main reaction "fusion." They do call it a "hithero unknown nuclear process."

Now, Joshua, where did you get this information that they intended there to be a question mark in the title? They *ask* about fusion reactions, but they do not conclude that fusion reactions are taking place *in bulk.* Since they thought they were seeing neutrons, they did think they had some (very small) level of fusion. The center of their claim, without the neutrons, then becomes "unknown nuclear process."

Thank you for helping me to get this clear.

Here's Pons in the same Macneil/Lehrer interview:

"[Deuterium atoms] are then forced into the lattice ... they are compressed to the point and are retained close enough to each other for a long enough time that atomic fusion occurs."

So, although they later become less committed to any particular reactions, DD fusion was definitely on their minds and their lips in the early days.

or on Pons' mind. That explanation was primitive and not carefully considered for publication. Everyone was thinking of d-d fusion, though, and the d-d fusion assumption dominated most discussion. The description of Pons in the interview might even be correct, as long as we don't assume that the fusion that occurs is simply that between two deuterons.

Basically, Pons, in the interview you quoted, does not explicitly describe d-d fusion, he describes a bulk process involving multiple deuterons. But was he thinking of d-d fusion. I'd say, probably. Who wouldn't?

For what it's worth, for the elements involved, only an increase in the atomic numbers releases energy, and loosely speaking, that can be called fusion.

Well, an increase in mass number without an increase in atomic number can only happen with the absorption of a neutron, and that is generally not called fusion, though, from my point of view, it is a fusion of the element with neutronium, same difference. I use "fusion" to refer to the relationship of fuel and product, it does not specify mechanism. So if the fuel is deuterium and the product is helium, it matters not if the process itself is simple or much more complex.

I think you believe that nothing new has been discovered since 1989 in this field.

I believe nothing new was discovered *in 1989* in this field.

Something new was found, an appearance of excess heat. Cause still unknown, unless it's fusion. Mechanism still unknown.

There are simply no definitive experiments in this field. There are various different types of experiment, but all of them end up unconvincing and controversial. It's not unusual for a new field to suffer from difficulty in reproducibility, but I can't think of another example (esp. in modern science) of a 20-year old field in which not a single experiment can be relied upon to give an expected result.

I've described such an experiment. I think you have a strange idea of "single experiment." There are plenty of known chaotic phenomena where individual results from individual trials are totally unpredictable. In this case, for an electrolytic experiment, controlling the exact surface conditions is astonishingly difficult.

What you have done is to narrow the definition of "experiment" to something which excludes the function of correlation analysis (which is much more common in fields with very complex phenomena under study, such as living things, medicine, etc.)

That's not true at all. First of all, in 1989, nobody knew what the ash was. If there is a reaction producing energy, there must be an ash, something left. Preparata predicted that the ash would be found to be helium, from his own theories (about which I know little). Fleischmann reported helium, but the report was not solid. Bush and Lagowski reported helium, but the level was low and the experimental series not adequate to be so convincing. Then Miles ran his series and found helium correlated, very clearly and strongly, with excess heat. Huizenga recognized the importance of this in the second edition of "Cold fusion, scientific fiasco of the century." But Huizenga expect that "like many other results in cold fusion," it would not be confirmed. He believed that, he wrote, because there were no gamma rays. If there is d-d fusion to helium, if somehow the natural branching is changed, there would still be gamma rays, for very strong reasons.

The helium-heat results were reported in the early days, as you say, so do not represent progress over the 20 years. The Miles results from 1993 have still not been confirmed in peer-reviewed literature. One of the more active groups (Gozzi) bowed out in 1998 with the final salvo admitting that the helium results were not definitive, and that *was* in peer-reviewed literature.

That's a pucky, being repeated over and over by you. Repeated and confirmed in peer-reviewed literature. Gozzi by himself may not be definitive. My, Cude, you're good. You know stuff that most skeptics don't even dream of.

Having looked, you are drastically misrepresenting Gozzi's conclusions. He's being standard-conservative, and his "not definitive" refers to this:

The results show an overall picture with its own
internal consistency: 4He is produced at the surface of
the wires, but only the innermost wires in the bundle
are active (see the discussion about the spots on X-ray
film) and it is not found inside Pd. On the other hand,
the low levels of 4He do not give the necessary confidence
to state definitely that we are dealing with the
fusion of deuterons to give 4He.

Joshua, you are distorting what Gozzi wrote, to create your desired impression. That's tantamount to lying. He's referring to the accuracy of his helium measurements. He's sure that helium is being produced, but to assert "fusion of deuterons to give 4He" he has to have a better estimate of the Q value than his measurements allow. I.e., his results could not definitively choose deuterium fusion over other nuclear reactions. You present this as if it were almost the exact opposite of the real conclusions of Gozzi.

That's disgusting. and that's enough. I'm not taking this further. I have not read the remainder of the post, I'm deleting it unanswered. If any part of it is important, it can be repeated by someone.

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