#1 Failure Mechanism - Lack of Hydrogen Absorption (Backed up by Classic Post from JONP)

  • Hello Everyone,


    The simple truth is that at this time most E-Cat replications don't produce excess heat. They usually fail, miserably. There are several exceptions, but ninety nine out of a hundred attempts typically fail to produce excess heat. And, even if excess heat is produced, it is usually small. I propose that the number one failure mechanism is the lack of hydrogen absorption into the lattice. To start off this post, I'd like to share a classic post by Andrea Rossi to the Journal of Nuclear Physics.





    We see here that the utilization of atomic hydrogen from molecular hydrogen is critical. Interestingly, after all these years, we can answer his two questions about atomic hydrogen: why and how.


    The why is simple. For molecular hydrogen (H2) to be absorbed into nickel it must be first adsorbed (notice the "d") and split apart into individual hydrogen atoms. This is the rate limiting step of the hydrogen absorption (notice the letter "b") process. When atomic hydrogen is applied to nickel, this rate limited step is skipped. Nickel exposed to a gaseous environment of individual hydrogen atoms (which typically like to recombined rapidly after being separated) absorbs hydrogen quickly. There are many papers describing this effect.


    The how is now also apparent. Andrea Rossi used spillover catalysts in the form of palladium and copper. Likely, they were in the powder form. They served as reverse spillover catalysts. Basically, these substances (ESPECIALLY PALLADIUM) are far better at splitting molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen than nickel. Molecular hydrogen would adsorb onto the surface of these catalysts, break apart into atomic hydrogen, and "spill over" (literally) onto the nickel. This would allow for faster and greater hydrogen absorption than if only nickel had been used. There are non-LENR papers on the internet describing palladium and copper powder enhancing the hydrogenation of nickel.


    To produce massive excess heat, Rossi had to hydrogenate his nickel to an adequate extent. Without spillover catalysts or special pre-processing, very little hydrogen would have been absorbed into the nickel lattice. If hydrogen doesn't make it into the lattice, then there can be no excess heat.


    But in addition to using these catalysts to maximize hydrogen absorption (which he very well could still be doing via pre-hydrogenation of his fuel) he mentions controlling the temperature. This is important, because we know that he has indicated that the reactions take place in micro-cavities (which he also calls by many other names such as micro-caves, pores, tubules, etc.) I suspect that temperature is used to create optimized nano-pockets of hydrogen gas inside of the nickel powder. The conditions and pressures in these cavities allow for the cold fusion or "LENR" reaction(s).


    Here is the process I propose he used in his earliest systems. He may still perform this during pre-hydrogenation before he places fuel in the active reactor.


    0) Pre-clean the nickel to try to remove most of the surface oxides ahead of time.
    1) Mix palladium and/or copper powder with nickel. Place the fuel in the active reactor.
    2) Vacuum and heat the reactor to remove all trapped gases.
    3) Apply hydrogen gas from a tank at high pressures and utilize the most optimized heating ramp that eventually takes him up to 700C to 800C or higher.
    4) At 700C or 800C, the atomic hydrogen spilling over from the palladium and copper would ensure a high level of hydrogen absorption.
    5) The hydrogen absorption, beyond the alpha phase, would start creating super abundant vacancies (SAV). These are intersitial sties that contain multiple hydrogen atoms that recombine to form molecular hydrogen. One paper I've read said that an SAV in nickel could hold up to six hydrogen atoms.
    6) The power is turned off and the nickel falls in temperature rapidly. This contracts the lattice and the hydrogen in the SAVs break loose and combine to form nano-hydrogen bubbles.
    7) The power is then turned back on for a thermal shock (a rapid rise in temperature). This results in pressures in the remaining SAVs and/or hydrogen bubbles increasing to very high levels as hydrogen wants to migrate out of the lattice faster than is mechanically possible. Basically, the only way for hydrogen to get out of these bubbles is to adsorb to the walls, absorb, and then migrate through the bulk, or, if the pressure exceeds the tensile strength of the nickel, rupture the wall by creating a crack. Because the hydrogen cannot escape easily, the pressure grows very high and LENR reactions start taking place.
    8) The reactor begins to self sustain for a number of hours if certain conditions are met (not too much heat is being taken away from the reactor).
    9) If the reactor does not run away to destruction (which can sometimes happen during self sustain) it will eventually cool down until the reactions end.
    10) The thermal shock process is repeated to reinvigorate the reactor.


    Most replicators are not doing anything like the above. Obviously, most of them are not using palladium powder, and most are using LiAlH4 as a hydrogen source instead of a tank. However, I do not think that prevents successful replication if other procedures are performed to maximize hydrogen absorption: removing the oxide covering of the nickel via acid etching, cleaning the nickel with ultrasound, utilizing palladium powder during pre-hydrogenation, using an atomic hydrogen source, etc. But most replicators do almost nothing before mixing the nickel and LiAlH4 to make sure hydrogen absorption is maximized. Also, I think most replicators do not adequately test heating ramps (especially heating the fuel extremely slowly from 100C to 225C to prevent the melting of the LiAlH4 so that the first decomposition phase does not coat the nickel with lithium and prevent further hydrogen absorption). If much more thought was given to hydrogenation, I think a greater number of replications would be successful.


    A nuance here is we don't want to just create a solid chunk of nickel hydride. If nickel hydride could produce LENR, it could be purchased from several chemical suppliers. Instead, we want nickel that has absorbed hydrogen and concentrated the gas into small, specific areas (SAVs and hydrogen bubbles) so it cannot easily escape and can grow to high pressure during thermal shocking. Once this takes place, the application of EM stimulation (perhaps square wave AC at 400 volts tuned to the resonance frequency of the resistor coil to produce powerful spikes) can probably increase the duration of self sustain mode. Too many thermal shocks can probably damage the lattice and destroy the bubbles or make them grow until they are not the optimum size.


    My thinking is that Rossi realized that needing to "re-invigorate" his nickel every few hours eventually damaged the lattice after thousands of cycles. So he decided to start applying EM stimulation. This might allow the LENR reaction to take place for days are weeks between reinvigorations. The downside is that technically, these reactors would not be in self sustain mode. But the input power during these periods could be very low and the COP could be very high.


    Basically, the E-Cat only has one BIG secret with a few smaller ones.


    First, the big secret, nickel is VERY challenging to hydrogenate so you need to use special processes. If you are using LiAlH4, you need to pre-hydrogenate the nickel.


    Second, if you don't want to eventually wear out the lattice, you need to apply EM stimulation. To maximize this, you need to hit a resonance frequency.


    Third, if you want to produce even higher levels of COP, you can add a source of lithium.


    What makes Rossi's technology "work" isn't a whole bunch of secrets. It is experience. Rossi learned all the techniques required to maximize the absorption of hydrogen for each brand of nickel powder he utilized. This took time and effort. Each brand, type, and batch of nickel powder probably requires a different length or number of pre-hydrogenation steps. And if the nickel is old or has been exposed to atmosphere, it may require even more work. For us to make working E-Cat replications, we need to be willing to do the tedious, challenging, and repetitive work it takes to maximize hydrogen absorption and the production of hydrogen bubbles. Once we have achieved that, everything will be easy.


    Now, for one last thought.


    There has been a lot of talk about CRACKS in LENR. Ed Storms has focused on cracks as the NAE for LENR reactions. I did not save the reference, but the other night I came across a reference that if the pressure of a hydrogen bubble grows too great, cracks can form FROM THE INSIDE OUT. Could it be that cracks don't have to form on the outside of a sample (like in palladium deuterium electrolytic experiments) but on the inside of hydrogen bubbles?


    This could make sense, because during thermal shocking the smallest of cracks could form that might be optimum for LENR. After thousands of cycles the cracks could then grow too large and no longer be optimum for LENR. Eventually they would rupture and the reactions would stop.



  • We see here that the utilization of atomic hydrogen from molecular hydrogen is critical. Interestingly, after all these years, we can answer his two questions about atomic hydrogen: why and how.


    http://phys.org/news/2012-12-h…-catalytic-chemistry.html


    As mentioned in the article, a laser is not needed, a microwave can be used instead. I beleive that Rossi uses a microwave to sinter the nickel powder to produce 1 to 100 micro particles from the 5 micron feedstock. This microwave method also dissociates the hydrogen. Rossi might use nickel nanopowder to dissociate the hydrogen because no palladium or copper is seen in the Lugano fuel samples.

  • Hydrogen Inclusions - a general 'problem' in many metals.


    Good find! The tendency of hydrogen to permeate the metal lattice and then form voids of varying morphology is a well known problem in the chemical and oil industry, and consequently much work has been done to study the phenomenon, particularly in the various grades of pipeline steel exposed to 'sour gas' which often contains high percentages of H2S, CH4 as well as H2, often at high temperature.


    The following paper contains information and many micro-photographs of the destructive effect of hydrogen in various grades of pipeline steel. Similar effects are also seen in copper and other metals. While not directly connected with the hydrogenation of powdered nickel, they do show what a sneaky wotsits H and H2 can be.

    http://www.gruppofrattura.it/o…/paper/viewFile/8451/4895

  • Reading what Mr. SS. is suggesting in his comment above and what Mr. Daggett is trying to do is what we advocate here :thumbup: . It would be great if the results of the test were online in real time. We need to break down each variable, and this is the way to do it. We need a whole suite of hydrogen tests to be described. Each test needs to knock off a variable. Since they have worked with this configuration before they may know something different that is promising to look for. I would also like to see a plasma type reactor tested. While H is important it may be the signal that activates the matrix.

  • My understanding was that Li and perhaps LAH were the secret catalyzer(s) that Rossi was mentioning in the early days. Possibly Rossi realized that Li also acted as fuel later on.



    Anyway, my view is that all those ideas should be tested; unfortunately, the only open experimenters are MFMP and they are only able to do one iteration every several months. What we need is multiple iterations in a week, or even in the same day. That's how I believe Rossi and me356 supposedly did it.



    I'm glad this thread hasn't been contaminated by snarky anti-Rossi comments, I hope the mods can keep replication threads clean in that way.

  • My recent Glowstick protocol has included pre-treatment of the Ni powder: vacuum (~6Pa) at ~200°C for many hours, followed by pre-loading in H2 at 10 bar or higher at ~150°C for hours or days. I believe Phonon (Dave Dagget) are also using this technique.


    Evaluation of the Ni morphology by SEM imaging is a high priority now. Anyone in the Bay Area that can help with this would really be appreciated.

  • Anyway, my view is that all those ideas should be tested; unfortunately, the only open experimenters are MFMP


    Not at all. All the experimental work that we do at LFH is published on our website. Our only problem with speed and frequency is that we have a lab-staff of one. :(


    On a more general note I believe that Rossi has experimented with both palladium and copper co-catalysts.

  • Not at all. All the experimental work that we do at LFH is published on our website. Our only problem with speed and frequency is that we have a lab-staff of one. :(


    On a more general note I believe that Rossi has experimented with both palladium and copper co-catalysts.


    Sometime in the past, Rossi has discarded those additives as we have seen from the assay of the Lugano fuel sample.

  • The cleaning of nickel in vacuum and work with hygroscopic and reactive hydrides is difficult for amateurs and IMO the research is already somewhere else: in discharge activation of nickel surface in me356 / Quark-X style.
    Usage of plasma discharge has many advantages over other ways of Ni surface cleaning/hydrogenation:

    • the traces of oxygen are continuously removed by its activation and reaction with excess of hydrogen
    • the impacting ions clean and erode surface of nickel continuously, thus revealing microcracks and crystal grain boundaries
    • the accelerated electrons reduce the surface of nickel from oxides continuously, even at the presence of traces of oxygen and humidity common in amateur conditions. It may even recycle the LiAlH4 in situ.
    • the ions (protons) implanted with high voltage would forcefully and continuously saturate the surface of nickel with hydrogen, the oversaturation of lattice can be easily reached here
    • the electric field intensity can be modulated with HF corona to a much higher voltage than just by using AC current for heater
    • the system can be still combined with Li vapors (Li+D corona is most reliable cold fusion system) and/or with LiAlH4, which would provide the hydrogen atmosphere at higher temperatures
    • the HV/HF voltage sources are cheap components and sold ready made or DIY at many chinese e-shop sites (1, 2)
    • the plasma discharge is fancy and with bit of experience it enables to monitor hydrogen pressure and its reactions with substrate visually
    • the AC/DC ratio and voltage/HF frequency used represent another wide system of variables, which would enable to tune up reaction conditions precisely and finely
    • it was actually the only Ni-H system repeatedly replicated by amateur (QuarkX/me356). Parkhomov didn't succeed with his later replications.
  • Parkhomov reported problems with replication of his iconic experiment a way earlier. The problem is, the Lithium based system is just an integrator of experimental errors and impurities due to its extreme reactivity. The lithium burns even in contact with pure nitrogen, so that the argon must be used as an inert gas. In amateur conditions it's difficult to maintain perfectly inert atmosphere, especially at high temperatures. Once some oxygen or humidity enters the reactor by accident, then it converts portion of hydride into lithium oxide or hydroxide, which is extremely corrosive and it will react with surface of nickel under formation of nickelates and nickel-lithium oxides, thus blocking the nickel surface for LENR reaction.


    From similar reason I'm also rather skeptical to LiH experiments planned with Phonon Energy. The LiAlH4 has an advantage at least, that the aluminum (formed with decomposition of LiAlH4) is more reactive than lithium, thus serving as a getter for traces of oxygen. The aluminum oxide formed during it is relatively acidic and it has an ability to capture the basic lithium oxide and hydroxide, thus blocking the formation of nickelates. The excess of LiAlH4 therefore serves both as getter for oxygen, both hydroxides, thus helping to maintain the surface of nickel clean. Another problem may arise with the fact, that LiH is relatively stable and it melts without decomposition, thus covering the surface of nickel for hydrogenation up to high temperatures (800 °C), when it finally starts to decompose. Until this temperature will be reached, then the system will also lack the metallic lithium catalyst.

  • LENR Calendar,


    Quote

    My understanding was that Li and perhaps LAH were the secret catalyzer(s) that Rossi was mentioning in the early days. Possibly Rossi realized that Li also acted as fuel later on.


    Anyway, my view is that all those ideas should be tested; unfortunately, the only open experimenters are MFMP and they are only able to do one iteration every several months. What we need is multiple iterations in a week, or even in the same day. That's how I believe Rossi and me356 supposedly did it.


    I'm glad this thread hasn't been contaminated by snarky anti-Rossi comments, I hope the mods can keep replication threads clean in that way.


    Rossi's earliest secret catalyzer was palladium and copper powder and reverse spillover catalysts. This was during his earliest phase of testing with Focardi. Then at some point, he switched over to various forms of lithium. However, he could still be using palladium or copper in the pre-hydrogenation phase before the powder is ready to go into the active reactors.


    I totally agree we need continual on going testing. Rossi was able to learn how to master hydrogenation of nickel and we can do the same.