Recently I've been doing some tests (calling them experiments might be too much at this stage) that could be defined as "unconventional electrolysis"; nothing really rigorous or in any way involved, but I thought that perhaps I could open a dedicated thread instead of scattering comments about them around.
Basically, I have two small electrodes composed of the same material (mildly magnetic stainless steel of unknown composition; likely not austenitic) placed on top of each other and separated by a very small gap. In the gap a saturated aqueous electrolyte solution (of sodium carbonate in this case) is provided through an opening on the top electrode. The electrodes are therefore not immersed in water, but a thin water layer exists at their interface. A relatively large current (a few A at 3.50~4.75 V depending on conditions) is passed through the electrodes during active conditions.
My idea (however misplaced) was initially that ordinary electrolysis would occur as if the electrodes were immersed in water, with the difference of the anode oxidizing and the cathode getting reduced only at their interface, but it quickly became clear that something slightly different occurs instead. Here is a schematic representation.
Material from the anode appears to form a relatively thick non-stoichiometric oxide deposition layer on the cathode. The anode does progressively get eroded at the same time. From close-up observation at a low magnification factor this layer on the cathode appears like it could be porous, or anyhow very far from being smooth or shiny. The higher the current applied (again depending on conditions which are not necessarily controllable in my case), the coarser it becomes, and with this, tiny reflective speckles also start appearing.
I tried giving some thought on what could be occurring. I think the following processes might be taking place roughly at the same time:
- Electrolysis causes Hydrogen and Oxygen ions to be formed at both electrodes to some degree (obviously)
- Hydrogen-Oxygen recombination possibly occurs within the electrolyte to some extent due to the close proximity of both electrodes
- The higher than normal temperature involved causes a certain amount of water to vigorously evaporate
- This also provides a sort of "cushion" which to some extent prevents the electrodes from shorting out (at least in the beginning stages)
- Electrodeposition from the anode also occurs, but metal ions might be getting partially oxidized in the process
- As electrolysis and electrodeposition continue, hydrogen atoms might get incorporated or adsorbed within the mixed metal-oxide/carbonate layers formed, which can have a brittle quality
- I previously briefly reported in another thread of crackling noise occurring from the deposition layer at the cathode after a period of operation, which might be supporting this
I haven't performed any objective measurement yet, but potentially an environment containing layers of mixed oxides of Fe, Cr and Na (in addition to traces of C from the alloy) would be similar in some ways to the catalysts used in many industrial processes. Within this week I should have a Geiger counter which although it's not a very sensitive device, might allow to check out if anomalous emission, as improbable as it could be, is associated with the processes observed in these non-standard tests.
For now I am left with a few questions:
- What could be actually occurring from a chemical standpoint besides or in alternative to what I listed?
- Besides Randell Mills (who does not consider his work to be LENR) and the examples given below, are there other ones in LENR research or related with LENR where dissociated water gets catalytically recombined on purpose over suitable catalysts?
Oscillatory Behavior and Anomalous Heat Evolution in Recombination of H2 and O2 on Pd-based Catalysts by Erwin Lalik et al.
- Associated LENR-Forum thread (2015-06) where the author of the study also wrote a few interesting comments
- Abnormally high heat generation by transition metals interacting with hydrogen and oxygen molecules by Alexsander Jerzy Groszek
The strange behavior of catalysts made from Pd or Pt applied to Al2O3 by Edmund Storms (ICCF-21/2018)
- Oscillatory behavior and radiation emission observed at Al2O3-Pd/Pt recombination catalyst in a typical PdD cell, both with H2 and D2
LFH Patent Notes 1 by Alan Smith (2016-11)
- Commentary on a relevant patent application from A. J. Groszek