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.
April 29, 2010 at 9:46 AM
I said ‘eventually’ because it is exactly what happens. Of course
you know that in English ‘eventually’ means ‘after some time’.We know
exactly why and how to make H after the injection of H2 and know
exactly how difficult is to use this radical before H2 recombination.
This is one of the most important parts of our know how. When we use
terms, in this field, we know exactly what we say. We not just made
models and calculations, but we made apparatuses which are working from 2
years now. What we are working on is no more an ‘experimental set’, as
you wrongly wrote,it is an apparatus which heats up a factory and of
which we are organizing the industrialization. I understand you get fun,
we don’t: we work on this in a factory totally dedicated to this, and
we are pretty good at, as you soon will see. In our team there are
Nuclear Physics University professors, with experience from CERN of
Geneva, INFN, etc., etc.
Your lecturing and sarcastic tone does not qualify you a lot, but we know, you get fun…
About the second question, yes, the paper has been peer-reviewed.
Get fun, ‘MR BROWN’, and let your sun smile for ever.
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.
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.