Kirk Shanahan's critique of LENR experiments

  • So, the argument here is that because CCS/ATER explains only some of the LENR corpus of results, it is obviously wrong.

    Right. That plus the fact that his theory violates many fundamental laws, and nothing remotely like what he describes has been observed in the last 180 years of electrochemistry.


    Or, as the saying goes, when you hear hoofs, think horses, not unicorns.

    But that corpus is problematic: were it indisputable and replicable mainstream science would have a very different view of LENR.

    The excess heat results, the tritium and helium are indisputable. That is to say, no one has ever disputed them. There are no published papers showing errors in the measurements of any mainstream paper, except Shanahan and Morrison, who are both crackpots in my opinion. You can read their papers and judge that for yourself. Morrison is here:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Fleischmanreplytothe.pdf


    The mainstream science rejection of cold fusion is because of academic politics and funding disputes. It is led by plasma fusion researchers who will lose their livelihood if cold fusion research is funded. It has nothing to do with scientific issues. If results similar to cold fusion were published in any other field, no mainstream scientist would dispute them, any more than they dispute thermodynamics or Faraday's laws, which together are proof that cold fusion is real.

    A more accurate approach would be to see which results CCS/ATER could apply to, look at the rest, and see whether they remain compellingly anomalous.

    They do. But, more to the point, I do not think we would be justified in throwing away the entire corpus of electrochemical heat balances and calorimetry going back to Faraday and Joule because of this one theory. I think it is extremely unlikely that Shanahan has discovered that generations of electrochemists were wrong. And if they were not wrong, how could the present generation be wrong, since as Fleischmann pointed out, he is using the techniques developed by Faraday and Joule.


    Shanahan also fails to explain why this calorimetric error occurs only with Pd-D and not Pt-D or Pd-H; and why it only happens at high loading; how it correlates with helium, tritium and x-rays, and much else. In other words, he only "explains" one of the anomalies, ignoring the others, and his explanation violates textbook physics.


    But you don't need me to explain all of this. Marwan et al. blew Shanahan out of the water years ago:


    http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MarwanJanewlookat.pdf


    Shanahan continues in the Monty Python "Black Knight" mode, not realizing that his arms and legs are amputated. It is pathetic. As I said, this is classic crackpot science.

  • My my, quite the 'debate'. If only good debating tactics were being used by the LENR crowd. I note that THH has grasped the essentials of my many arguments, thanks to him for defending against the pathological believers.

    .

    So, the argument here is that because CCS/ATER explains only some of the LENR corpus of results, it is obviously wrong.


    That is how Jed thinks. See his subsequent reply. He is no scientist. He doesn't understand confounded variables.



    In answer to a few points:


    So, I suggest that he builds a no-excess-heat electrolysis/calorimetric system and reports the results.


    As THH noted, no-excess-heat experiments prove nothing. The easiest way to see this is to realize the LENR supporter just has to say "They did something wrong." to invalidate any attempt to draw conclusions from it. But, why should *I* be the one to build this. This is a strawman argument with no value. My purpose has been explained, and it is met by what I have done. I need do no more. On the other hand, if LENR researchers want to be taken seriously, they need to participate in the give-and-take of the cyclic scientific process of reporting results, getting critiqued, responding to the critiques (a type of report), and so forth.


    More to the point, LENR researchers have built many calorimeters which cannot have the problem described by Shanahan, yet they do show excess heat.


    I just posted in this very thread an examination of a Sebeck calorimeter report issued by Dash, et al. He actually did give his calibration equation, and thus I could mathematically show a 1% CCS covered his reported excess heat results. Jed, THAT MEANS IT CAN HAPPEN THERE TOO! Of course, a scientist recognizes this, at least a non-pathological believer scientist.


    Which proves that Shanahan is wrong. He sometimes admits this and sometimes claims that Seebeck, ice calorimeters and other types can have the problem after all.


    You want to run that by me again?? Your statement makes no sense.


    (What I claim is that ANY calibrated analytical device or method that undergoes a steady state shift will require a new calibration. I note that the same Dash et al paper illustrates this perfectly when they discuss the calibration problems of the commercial instrument they first tried using.)


    The Shanahan theory has to make them indistinguishable, since it targeted to explain exactly the same data sets. If it actually applied to all data sets, that would make it impossible to falsify the theory.


    I have posted several ways to test my theory. The prime way would be for a CFer to show a run that cannot be explained by CCS/ATER. Since CCS/ATER is founded in real chemistry, it will have limitations. The magic pixie dust called "LENR" has no such limitation. Your statement is incorrect.


    Fortunately, as I said, it does not apply to many calorimeters that showed excess heat, so obviously it is wrong.


    Wrong.


    Also, it cannot explain why Pd-D works and Pd-H or Pt-D does not work;


    THH already answered this point. Make sure you understand his reply.


    it cannot explain the tritium;


    As THH said, CCS/ATER is for excess heat, and it has a couple of ramifications towards other things as well. Tritium however, is generally not covered by this. However, there is minimal tritium data out there, as noted by Storms in his book, so there is less to work with in crafting a mundane explanation. However, the simplest mundane explanation comes from Fritz Will's second paper on tritium analyses, namely, contaminants. Since no one even bothers to specify the analytical protocol used (saying "LSC" is not a complete description), it is almost impossible for a critic to do more than point this out. I could formulate the CCS/ATER 'theory' because I had Storms' data, Szpak's ir video, and all the rest that I folded in.


    and it cannot explain the helium is commensurate with the heat.


    There is no 'He commensurate with heat'. I replied to Abd to show the data he cites to 'prove' this is actually to noisy to draw any conclusions from. Other He data from, say McKubre, that shows He increasing while 'LENR' is supposedly active is not valid because we can't be sure it isn't just a leak. Prove it isn't (not you specifically Jed, one or more of your 'heros') any maybe we can talk more.


    All in all, it cannot explain anything. It is a classic crackpot theory, as I said. With a crackpot theory, the fact that you cannot falsify it or even test it is considered a feature, not a bug


    It actually explains a lot, but you simply refuse to hear what it says. That's your problem, not the theory's. Non-falsifiable crackpot theory == LENR.


    when you hear hoofs, think horses, not unicorns


    Unicorns - no proof of existence. LENR - no proof of existence.


    The excess heat results, the tritium and helium are indisputable


    Nope. Very disputable, very.


    There are no published papers showing errors in the measurements of any mainstream paper, except Shanahan and Morrison


    Doesn't the fact that you name two published critics invalidate your initial statement? yes, I believe so. Therefore you should be saying: "There are published papers showing errors in the measurements." And you can follow up with: "While Morrison was reasonably well responded to, the Shanahan criticisms have been meet with obfuscation and mis-direction, and remain relevant today."



    I think it is extremely unlikely that Shanahan has discovered that generations of electrochemists were wrong.


    So do I. Did they not anticipate a CCS/ATER in the highly specialized case of water electrolysis where the electrolysis gases are not kept separated in cells with thermal loss pathways all concentrated in one spatial region? Yes. But why would they? That is only of relevance to those who run the specialized cells.


    A repeat in some points...

    Shanahan also fails to explain why this calorimetric error occurs only with Pd-D and not Pt-D or Pd-H; and why it only happens at high loading; how it correlates with helium, tritium and x-rays, and much else. In other words, he only "explains" one of the anomalies, ignoring the others, and his explanation violates textbook physics.


    Doesn't correlate with He. Not enough tritium or x-ray data to know if any correlation really exists. Also, doubtful if tritium and x-ray signals are even real.


    As I have said many times, and as THH has grasped, CCS/ATER is primarily for excess heat. It has implications in the CR-39 and He results, possibly in tritium results too. However, the other big go-to explanation is contamination and subsequent concentration of those contaminants. With those two general proposals I believe a massively large portion of CF data can be explained as mundane chemistry. Very little is left to tweak the imagination.


    Kirk has written very extensively about his detailed hypothesis in many places without AFAIK doing any experimental work to demonstrate that it is more than a theory, I find it of diminishing interest, despite the fact that he is polite and well-argued (for certain values of 'well argued') it remains just a hypothesis. His central theme is that there is no LENR, but only Kirk-energy. Well, perhaps he could devise an experiment to prove it.


    You started out reasonable but then went off the deep end. What is 'Kirk-energy'? To be clear, I postulate that there is no energy present except that put in by the experimenters. And I have devised experiments to at least test the CCS thing. They were even posted in this forum. What is you complaint here?

  • Kirk has written very extensively about his detailed hypothesis in many places without AFAIK doing any experimental work to demonstrate that it is more than a theory, I find it of diminishing interest, despite the fact that he is polite and well-argued (for certain values of 'well argued') it remains just a hypothesis. His central theme is that there is no LENR, but only Kirk-energy. Well, perhaps he could devise an experiment to prove it.


    Kirk's hypothesis applies to a significant class of old and (probably - the Austin Lubbock work) ongoing LENR experiments. It is thus of continuing interest because its explanatory power can be tested against the new as well as old results, and if there were the will to do this it could be checked in new experiments, leading either to a clearer negative (=> LENR more likely) or positive (=> LENR less likely) conclusion when arguing from excess heat.


    It becomes irrelevant if no-one claims excess heat electrolysis evidence as support for anything (like LENR) that they care about now. As long as this old data is considered relevant than CCS/ATER is also relevant. In fcat it remains relevant even if there is other undeniable evidence for LENR, because LENR is still unclear and therefore whether specific experiments give results due to LENR or spome otehr phenomena alters the total knowledge about how LENR works.


    That is why I find a dismissal of Kirk's ideas strange. Marwan et al propose various scenarios in which CCS/ATER would not be rleevant, but they don't show that these apply to many of the old or even current experimental data. We could go over their points in detail, see how they are answered by Kirk, and (always important) look at the things that the two sides of the argument do not consider to work out what is correct. I remember doing a bit of that last time, but not reaching a clear conclusion as to which experiments CCS/ATER would likely apply to. That uncertainty makes it a prime candidate as a mundane explanation for those results, given the only other proposed is LENR which is both extraordinary and not detailed.

  • You started out reasonable but then went off the deep end. What is 'Kirk-energy'? To be clear, I postulate that there is no energy present except that put in by the experimenters. And I have devised experiments to at least test the CCS thing. They were even posted in this forum. What is you complaint here


    It's not a complaint, it's an observation. You can devise all the experiments you like but if you don't actually ever perform them they are merely virtualities, and not realities. Since (I repeat) you don't ever seem to have actually done the experiments you devised they - for me at least - lack the substance you seem to think they have. There goes our Kirk, the only one marching in step, etc etc.


    Apologies if 'Kirk-energy' hit a raw patch btw, it wes mere laziness because I couldn't for a moment remember your own carefully devised acronym for it.;)

  • It's not a complaint, it's an observation. You can devise all the experiments you like but if you don't actually ever perform them they are merely virtualities, and not realities. Since (I repeat) you don't ever seem to have actually done the experiments you devised they - for me at least - lack the substance you seem to think they have. There goes our Kirk, the only one marching in step, etc etc.


    Apologies if 'Kirk-energy' hit a raw patch btw, it wes mere laziness because I couldn't for a moment remember your own carefully devised acronym for it.


    OK. I thought you were implying that I was suggesting some other kind of energy was present giving the calorimetric signals. To be clear again, there isn't, it is all a problem of noise.


    The issue is that the CF community refuses to compute their noise properly. The look at baseline fluctuation and don't do Propagation of Error Calcs. If they did, the would understand that small variations in calibration constants give *apparently* large excess heat signals, many times the baseline fluctuation. On top of that, there is clear evidence there is a systematic nature to it. This is even after the fact has been pointed out many times. Their refusal to deal with those issues is a clear sign of a pathological fixation on finding LENRs.


    And again, I fail to see why you all keep thinking I should be the one to do the experiments that prove/disprove this. *They* are the ones with the already existing data to do so. *They* are the ones with the equipment that could be modified in simple ways to test out the ideas. It would take me years at this point to reach that level. They could do it in days or hours if they had wanted to. And that was true in 2000. Upshot, there is unlikely to be a resolution to this near-term, if ever. And as I have said, I have met my needs.


    There's really not much left for me to say on this topic. From now on, I will probably withdraw from these discussions, since I think I have covered everything that can be squeezed out of the CF field. Lots of interesting chemistry, no nuclear stuff that I can see.

  • In prior messages I recall Eric commented on my ‘novel’ way of analyzing error. I wanted to comment on that because it’s a very important point, and it’s also not novel. I was taught this in junior-level PChem Lab, but didn’t really start using it heavily until I got out of school and into quality control support work as a PhD. If you haven’t had this before, I’m not surprised because I work with some PhD’s who were never taught this, and some who didn’t get it until grad school, so teaching of this is spotty at best.


    The big difference between modern science and the ancient Greek way of doing science is that today we test out theories. ‘Back in the day’ the idea was truth=beauty and beauty=truth, so if your theory was ‘beautiful’ it must be true. But as soon as we started testing this against reality with some degree of precision, we found out that idea didn’t work all that well, although there are some today who still insist the ‘real’ laws of nature will turn out to be beautiful once we figure them out fully.


    In any case, once we started testing things, we quickly discovered a very important fact, that you didn’t always get the same answer when you supposedly did the same test or experiment. And from that we recognized that natural variation or fluctuation exists. It is somewhat unfortunate that this became known as ‘error’, because that term implies someone messed up. But that’s not true, the correct use of the term when referring to natural variation carries no negative connotations with it. It is just a fact.


    So, when you have a fuzzy measure of a quantity, how do you tell if it has changed when you vary a control parameter in an experiment? Usually via statistics. Means (averages) comparison, standard deviation comparisons, regression analyses with correlation coefficients, etc. One part of that is figuring out how the error in measured quantities translates through a computation to the final computed ‘answer’. The method for this is known as ‘Propagation of Error’ or ‘Propagation of Uncertainty’ and it is a standard approach. See for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propagation_of_uncertainty. (I have an old book with it in also: “Statistical Treatment of Experimental Data”, Hugh D. Young, McGraw-Hill, 1962, pps 96-101. Should be many other books with it in as well.)


    Given an equation to compute an answer (say output power for example) from measured variables, one takes the partial derivative of the equation for each measured variable, squares it, multiplies it by the variance for that variable (square of the standard deviation) and then adds up all the terms for all the variables. The square root of that is the standard deviation of the computed answer. Of course, when you calculate the partials, the other variables are treated as constants in the process, which means they end up in the final expression. Now comes the tricky part. You have to determine which set of measured values to use to plug into this expression. Do you want the error (uncertainly) near the center of the data region, or the extremes, or somewhere else? I typically like to evaluate it at the point of maximum uncertainty, but other choices are equally valid.


    In relation to the CCS thing, the power out equation for a mass flow calorimeter is helpful to look at. It is: Pout = k * Cp * flow * deltaT where Cp is the heat capacity of the calorimeter fluid at constant pressure, flow is the fluid’s flowrate, k is the calibration constant, and deltaT is the temperature different between entry and exit points of the calorimeter fluid. All of the terms on the right-hand-side of the equation are experimentally determined and must be included in the propagation of error (POE) calculation to compute our best estimate of the error in the output power. If you work it out, it turns out the cal constant term is quite significant.


    The problem with all the CF papers I’ve seen so far, is they all neglect this term. Typically they don’t do the POE calc, they just look at the baseline fluctuation of the calorimeter (usually ~50-80 mW) and call that the error. Realizing that the mass flow equation above is translateable to Pout = k*Pin via the calibration process, you can easily see that a 1% error in k (what I relate to the ‘CCS’) gives a 1% error in Pout. If the input power is 20W or so, as it was in Ed Storms’ data, that’s an uncertainty of 200 mW. And since this is a standard deviation derived via random statistics assumptions, we usually multiply that by either 2 or 3 to get the ‘spread’, meaning we are talking about 400-600mW just due to natural variation in the determination of the calibration constant. And a 1% uncertainty is extremely good for these kinds of measurements. If we talk about just ‘good’, and not ‘extremely good’, somewhere in the 2-5% range is typical, meaning in our example we are up to 1.2-3W uncertainty (vs. the usual claim of 0.05-0.08W). That by itself covers the large majority of excess heat claims. If we have bigger claims, we have to examine those a little more to see if this CCS problem still applies.


    Note that this is a calculation of a supposed random error. When I actually examined the impact of calibration constant shifts on Storms’ data I also detected a systematic effect.


    In any case, this is what should be done by all competent scientists. Unfortunately as I noted above it is not taught very uniformly and many times you see ‘other’ methods being used (which are usually less reliable and accurate). So again, what I have done is not ‘novel’, it’s just more correct than what the CFers do.

  • The first Storms book includes a list of 180 national laboratories, university and corporate laboratories that published peer reviewed papers in mainstream journals with positive cold fusion results. None have retracted. There is no better way for them to "put their name on the line." This is how it is done in experimental science. So, what you are asking for was published 30 years ago. You refuse to look at it, but that does not make it go away.


    No skeptic has ever shown an error in any of these papers. You have not even read them, so obviously you cannot point to an error. The only way to disprove a widely replicated experimental finding is to show an error in all of the replications.


    JedRothwell


    First, as you say, this was 30 years ago, and I have not read all or even most of these 180 independent institutions output of (presumably) more than 180 research papers.


    But, I have read the papers that you and others have recommended as presenting the most compelling data, and they do not seem strong to me.


    You and I will disagree on that judgement. But here is why your summary above does not prove your point or even make it likely.


    True, there were many positive reports. Also many negative reports. And room for doubt on all. I respectfully suggest that if there were no such room for doubt any institute with positive results would continue refining them, obtaining better results, until no-one could dispute the evidence and they would receive accolades.


    The problem I find, reading your comment here, is that you have no room for a reality which is, as Godel showed formal systems in which the Peano axioms can be encoded are, full of stuff which is neither proven nor disproven,


    The fact that flaws in a historic experiment cannot be identified is not sufficient for it to be correct.


    Most scientists will consider the possibility of one or more unknown (to the experimenters) systematic errors, in addition to the always expected individual errors. They therefore will not conclude with you that these historic results indicate positive proof of anything. They would (as did the DoE panel) conclude that there was enough evidence for further research, since the anomalies look more than isolated errors and systematic error has not been identified. I'd agree. But not that this proves LENR or even makes it the most likely solution to the anomalies.


    Shanahan has as you know looked at some of this data and convincingly (in some cases, based on private data given to him by the experimenters) shown a possible systematic error. No-one has shown that work wrong. Shanahan has been criticised twice and replied to both criticisms with substantial work. I've read Marwan et al and Shanahan's white paper reply. Shanahan's points are dismissed, in some cases with incorrect arguments, not considered. Therefore i cannot tell from the published work what is the possible extent of his systematic error. Nor could anyone else doing a thorough LS in this area. it has not been examined properly.


    So: what credibility does the lack of refutation (other than Shanahan's disputed hypothesis) add to the work? You imply (though do not explicitly say) that published papers which are not refuted after a long period must be true, or at least must be worth further investigation.


    That is wrong on two counts:

    (1) Not all wrong things that are published are refuted. Only if the published ideas are significant and affect others will much effort be put into confirming or refuting them. That is not true of this work.

    (2) Experimental results need interpretation. For the LENR papers that is not clear: LENR has no predictive theory that could be refuted or confirmed. The strongest that can be said is that the paper results indicate some anomaly. In science anomalies are crucial, they can lead to entirely new understanding. But, they can also be irrelevant and of no interest. Most anomalies are the latter.


    It is clearly the judgement of most scientists that the LENR results you refer to do not form the tip of an iceberg whose exploration would lead to valuable new understanding. That may be right or wrong, but I can't see it is obviously wrong.

  • THHuxleynew

    " I results you refer to do not form the tip of an iceberg……"

    Why has only Shanahan been mentioned by name and not the many scientists whose work he attacks


    Shanahan might be the tip of an iceberg of understanding but its hard to see it for the fog he generates.


    Here is vintage Shanahan alleging that Mizuno siphons water like petrol


    In my first job assignment after getting my degree, I heard a story over the lunch table about a guy who worked there. He had bought a fancy new 'high mile per gallon' car and he was constantly bragging about it. annoyed some folks. So they started sneaking out to the parking lot and adding gas to his tank. He ended up with one of those '100 mpg carburetor cars'. Then they started to siphon back the gas they had added. He quit bragging. Do you think something similar might have happened with Mizuno? Prove it if you don't (or do!).









  • THH:

    Most scientists will consider the possibility of one or more unknown (to the experimenters) systematic errors, in addition to the always expected individual errors. They therefore will not conclude with you that these historic results indicate positive proof of anything.


    THHuxleynew : For sombody that never read Lipinski/Stringham/Mizuno/Proton21 etc. papers you know way to much to believe you any word...


  • @Bocjin


    Maybe you judge serious written work by off-hand comments posted on blogs. I don't. Nor should you. Critique Shanahan's work, not his personality.


    It is just such a lack of serious response that reflects badly on those working in the LENR field. (The Marwan paper was defensive, dismissive, and far from addressing Shanahan's critique).


    Shanahan claims: "these results could have mundane causes because of A, here one possible mechanism: B,C,D.


    Marwan et al then mischaracterise A entirely (saying it is random not systematic, and ignoring the content of it). They then claim that aspects of B,C,D are impossible in some hypothetical cases. They also claim that A is irrelevant in some hypothetical cases. Since they do not do a proper analysis of which of the most trusted LENR results might be explained by Shanahan's mechanism, which could not, these arguments do not answer his point but leave the question hanging. In normal cases, since these are historic results, new definitive results could be published now with care explicitly to rule out Shanahan's ideas. But, given his dismissive approach, that seems unlikely. Perhaps the whole argument is irrelevant: but Abd says some guys are still doing this stuff, and there work would be significantly strengthened if they took critiques seriously.


    I reckon some of the Marwan et al criticisms apply in some cases, but I cannot from what is now published work out which, and which still stand as potentially explained by Shanahan's ideas. He has two ideas, an obvious point about calibration errors, and a specific hypothesised mechanism that could cause such errors relating to temperature changes from recombination at the electrode (ATER). This place I'd expect to be sympathetic with novel ideas: but I've not noticed it much with Shanahan's work.

  • "It is just such a lack of serious response"


    Shanahan's comments about Mizuno siphoning petrol reflect badly on himself.. not on LENR



    His responses to me about simple formulas on this forum

    demonstrate that his personal bias far outweighs his competency

  • But, I have read the papers that you and others have recommended as presenting the most compelling data, and they do not seem strong to me.


    You and I will disagree on that judgement.

    Your disagreement is not with me. You disagree with Fleischmann, Pons, Bockris, Storms, McKubre and all of the other professional electrochemists I know. As I recall, you and I have only discussed one aspect of these papers in detail. At Abd's blog, you said that you think F&P's boil-off results may be caused by entrainment (unboiled water leaving the cell). This is wrong. It is ruled out by the design of the Dewar test tube and the tests performed during and after the experiment, such as measuring the salts left in the Dewar. F&P were well aware that this might be a problem, so they took steps to prevent it and to confirm it did not happen. I repeatedly listed those steps. You ignored what I wrote, and you ignored what F&P wrote. You repeatedly asserted that entrainment might be a problem. You show no evidence whatever for this. That is pathological skepticism.


    See:


    http://coldfusioncommunity.net/morrison-fleischmann-debate/


    I have not looked closely at your other doubts but I believe they also have no merit.


    Your statements about Shanahan are wrong. His statements are borderline crazy, such as when he asserts that a hot object is "not a heater" or that 2 kg object that remains palpably hot for a week is "not being heated." If you think these statements have merit, tell us what they mean. This is crackpot nonsense. It is like saying "a 2 kg brick weighs nothing." Look carefully and you will see that his other statements are equally daft. All are easily disproved by the experiments or by middle-school physics textbooks.

  • Most scientists will consider the possibility of one or more unknown (to the experimenters) systematic errors,

    They can "consider" this until the cows come home. That isn't science. They have to actually find an error and publish a paper showing that it happened. They have not done this. Only two of them even tried: Morrison and Shanahan. I suggest you read their papers and see whether they succeeded or not.


    This objection -- that there may be undiscovered errors -- violates the scientific method and common senses. It applies equally well to every experiment in the history of modern science. There might be an undiscovered error in Newton's prism experiments showing that white light includes the entire spectrum.


    Here is what Melich and I wrote about this:


    Undiscovered error hypothesis


    Some skeptics claim that there might be a yet-undiscovered error in the experiments. See the comment by Beaudette about this, above, “if the measurements are incorrect, then an avid pursuit of the ‘science’ must in due course explicitly and particularly reveal that incorrectness.”


    More to the point, the claim that there might be an undiscovered error is not falsifiable, and it applies to every experiment ever performed. There might be an undiscovered error in experiments confirming Newton’s or Boyle’s laws, but these experiments have been done so many times that the likelihood they are wrong is vanishingly small. Furthermore, skeptics have had 20 years to expose an experimental artifact, but they have failed to do so. A reasonable time limit to find errors must be set, or results from decades or centuries ago will remain in limbo, forever disputed, and progress will ground to a halt. The calorimeters used by cold fusion researchers were developed in the late 18th and early 19th century. A skeptic who asserts that scientists cannot measure multiple watts of heat with confidence is, in effect, rejecting most textbook chemistry and physics from the last 130 years.


    As a practical matter, there is no possibility that techniques such as calorimetry, x-ray film autoradiography or mass spectroscopy are fundamentally flawed. It must be emphasized that although cold fusion results are surprising, the techniques are conventional and instruments are used within their design specifications. Cold fusion does not require heroic measurement techniques. Heat and tritium are not usually measured close to the limits of detection, although they have been in some cases, and helium and transmutations have been.


    It has been argued that even though the instruments work, the researchers may be making mistakes and using the instrument incorrectly. No doubt some of them are, but most are experienced scientists at major labs. The effect has been confirmed at 180 major laboratories [Storms, Table 1]. If an experiment could be as widely replicated as this could be mistaken, the experimental method itself would not work.

  • Jed,


    You repeat here what you have previously said, and I understand your view. I don't follow it.


    As far as the F&P evidence against entrainment goes, salt measurement does not do the job since there can be condensation within the cell. In any case (whether this or no) the paper we refer to does not, to my satisfaction, show that the necessary checking is done for the specific results considered since F&P did many of these experiments and it is not clear that they checked everything every time. Normally specific results would be recounted with details of all the specific checks, but that paper conflates a specific example with general statements of typical lab practice, making general rather than specific points, so we cannot tell. Assumptions can be made and lead to errors, which is why explicit checking is important.


    As far as Shahahan's work goes your arguments against his rationality on this issue specifically relate to informal comments here where he does not now in any case support what you say he said. So worse case he made a mistake now corrected. That is why I asked that anyone wishing to comment seriously look at his work and comment on that.


    It is entirely proper for you to have the considered view you have. It is also proper for you to prefer the published views of Marwan et al over the published and also (white paper) formally written but unpublished views of Shanahan. My comment here is that while I'm not an electrochemist I can compare the arguments stated on both sides, and based on that Shanahan's points still have merit. You may personally have more expertise, or you may personally rate the expertise in this area of Marwan et al higher than that of Shanahan. However the powerful evidence for me against this is that Marwan et al mischaracterise Shanahan's key argument in a way that they could not do were they competent and understanding it fully. Frustratingly, that lack of good refutation of Shanahan in no way proves Shanahan's speculation correct.


    While your view is thus proper, it is not inescapable, and I view Shanahan's objections in this area is very possibly relevant, and I also consider my view proper.


    I suspect that given our history on this site I should be called a pathological skeptic according to your use of the word. You often state things with more certainty than me, and sometimes, as above, say that those less certain than you on specific tpics such as the one here are pathological skeptics. However, I don't see my skepticism in this matter as irrational or not incorporating contrary evidence.


    We have stated these things before which is why I'm trying not to repeat old arguments.

  • I suspect that given our history on this site I should be called a pathological skeptic according to your use of the word.


    @THH: You have forgotten to mention the agenda! Thus your statement is wrong. You act as expected and thus the content of yout posts is only slightly above MY's.


    This thread is about Wendelstein, a nice and extremely expensive testbed for plasmaphysicists, because we all know that kinetic fusion is bare nonsense. But the technology (magnetic confinement) gained, might be used for Mills-like LENR too. So not all money is spoiled.

  • As far as the F&P evidence against entrainment goes, salt measurement does not do the job since there can be condensation within the cell.

    Yes, there is condensation in the cell. You can see it. But that does not change the heat balance. Condensation is exothermic, so the heat lost to boiling is added back into the cell by condensation. You can test this by measuring the heat of vaporization in a cell with some condensation. It does not change from the textbook value. The null experiments by F&P all had condensation and they all produced the textbook value.


    In a closed boiling cell with 100% condensation, the heat balance from vaporization is always zero. There is no heat lost to vaporization, because no vapor escapes.


    You are wrong about the salts, and you ignore the fact that they did several other tests to ensure there was no entrainment. It would make no difference whether they did each of these tests every time: once every 10 tests would be fine. Note that they ran hundreds of cells, 16 at a time. They also tested closed boiling cells where the heat of vaporization plays no role (as I just said), and these cells also showed excess heat.


    Unless you have a scientific reason to believe there was entrainment, you should stop beating that dead horse. You have not given a single reason other than "maybe" "I suppose" "we can imagine" or "some scientists think they may eventually find a reason." Oh, and "condensation in a cell changes the heat of vaporization." No, it doesn't. Try it.


    As far as Shahahan's work goes your arguments against his rationality on this issue specifically relate to informal comments here where he does not now in any case support what you say he said.

    I quoted him. He still supports what he himself said, that a hot object is "not a heater." He said it here, he said it elsewhere, again and again, in the past and recently. He means it. Lately he has been saying that a small object that remains palpably hot for a week "is not being heated." Those are his words, not mine. This is crackpot blather, and so is the rest of what he says, although it is not as obvious. For example, he dreams up an effect that does not exist, but which if it did exist would produce random values, both positive and negative, and then he claims it is only positive. That's crackpot too.

  • Jed,


    It may help to look closely at the strands of argument here:


    Quote
    THH: As far as the F&P evidence against entrainment goes, salt measurement does not do the job since there can be condensation within the cell.


    Jed: Yes, there is condensation in the cell. You can see it. But that does not change the heat balance.


    I agree with Jed, he makes a number of true statements, but his point does not address mine. My point was that measuring salt balance does not determine the amount of entrainment, because entrained liquid can be either condensed (no salt) or non-evaporated (with salt). Condensation does not change the heat balance. But entrainment, in an open cell as we discussed here, does. Jed trying to argue that F&P can know there is no entrainment (and therefore no resulting change in heat balance) by measuring salt content. This is false.



    Jed: Condensation is exothermic, so the heat lost to boiling is added back into the cell by condensation. You can test this by measuring the heat of vaporization in a cell with some condensation. It does not change from the textbook value. The null experiments by F&P all had condensation and they all produced the textbook value.


    The problem is that such results can be over-generalised. They only apply when conditions remain the same. The entrainment issue applies to unusual boil-off conditions. By definition the control, which does not have such extreme boil-off, will have different conditions, in a way likely to alter this result.


    Jed: In a closed boiling cell with 100% condensation, the heat balance from vaporization is always zero. There is no heat lost to vaporization, because no vapor escapes.


    I agree - but this is not relevant to the matter at hand which is discussion of F&P open cells in boil-off phase.


    Jed: You are wrong about the salts,

    I don't believe you have shown that?


    Jed: and you ignore the fact that they did several other tests to ensure there was no entrainment.

    No - I point out that it is not possible to know which tests are done on which experiments, and note the danger of over-generalising results. That is addressing this fact, not ignoring it.


    Jed: It would make no difference whether they did each of these tests every time: once every 10 tests would be fine. Note that they ran hundreds of cells, 16 at a time.

    Only if the one in 10 included the (1 in 10 - I'm not sure?) cells that showed this special boil-off. We don't know this.


    Jed: They also tested closed boiling cells where the heat of vaporization plays no role (as I just said), and these cells also showed excess heat.

    That would be a different paper, with results and conditions we would need to look at afresh. Shanahan's affect might be relevant here, or something else. Or perhaps this other sustem would be solid evidence. We would need to consider it. Either way, it does not change the arguments here relating to F&P open cell results.


    Jed: Unless you have a scientific reason to believe there was entrainment, you should stop beating that dead horse. You have not given a single reason other than "maybe" "I suppose" "we can imagine" or "some scientists think they may eventually find a reason."

    That is where we disagree about the nature of skepticism. F&P posit some new effect (LENR) to explain anomalous results. It is they who must show there is no plausible mundane explanation - as they try to do - not others who must prove such an explanation.


    Jed: Oh, and "condensation in a cell changes the heat of vaporization." No, it doesn't. Try it.

    Condensation in the cell, as above, can affect open cell experiments by allowing entrainment not discovered from salt balance check. For closed cells we have other issues, and specifically, unless the calorimetry calibration is known independent of cell temperature distribution, ATER/CCS. But it does not help to mix up different cases - open and closed. We are discussing F&P's open cell results. I'm not going to address directly here the question of whether condensation in the cell can ever affect the heat balance (by indirect means), it is not what I'm arguing now. Given more space we could however consider it. I've never stated or implied that condensation changes the heat of vaporisation.


    Regards, THH


    PS - I don't make these arguments often here, since I feel they are perhaps known by those interested in them, and strongly disliked by others. So I will not continue this argument unless new facts are added to make it worthwhile.