Unconventional electrolysis

  • See the attached drawing (or screenshot below): lenr-forum.com/attachment/7264/



    This shows my idea for using a piezo bimorph bender to make and break the connections. The drawing assumes this bender and piezo driver that can be ordered from an Austrailan company. Prices are very reasonable, but shipping might take a while. Parts may be available sooner from a local distributor.

    BA6020 2.6 mm, 150V or ±37V, 0.5 N 60 mm x 20 mm, $AU 61

    https://www.piezodrive.com/actuators/

    PDu100b Piezo Driver

    https://www.piezodrive.com/mod…b-miniature-piezo-driver/


    Another driver that would work is this one from local distributors:

    EVAL MOD DRV2700 HV500

    https://www.digikey.com/produc…V500/296-42576-ND/5452009


    In operation, the gap would be set, then the whole thing inverted into the electrolyte. The signal generator might first be set to something simple like a 20 Hz sine wave. More complex waveforms could later be used. For instance it could be set to make rapid oscillations with a DC offset to keep the electrodes close, followed by a longer negatve pulse to clear shorts. The actuator is probably good for a few hundred Hz depending on the mass of the moving electrode and flexibility of the wire to it.

  • magicsound

    I wasn't aware about that effect. I should probably consider purchasing some suitable o-rings to try extending the duration of my tests, although according to the page I previously posted nitrile o-ring aren't suitable for strong acid environments (i.e. HCl). This means they might have to be replaced at some point, or that they could inconveniently fail during a testing session.


    A large contributor to reliability and quite possibly efficiency though (when immersing the electrodes deeper in the electrolyte) is probably also the high-temperature paint covering the outside surfaces. It seems more difficult here to determine what could be best to use.



    Paradigmnoia

    Not that I really have any business doing experimental work. You don't want to know how I'm running these experiments, if it isn't clear already from the videos and photos I posted. Still, it's certainly worth stressing the need to be careful with some materials and tests for the would-be experimenter.



    Robert Horst

    The first link to the pdf document appears to be broken ("page not found").

  • This shows my idea for using a piezo bimorph bender to make and break the connections.


    Looks good Robert. The BA6020 has both terminations at one end (thus outside of the electrolyte). But the "insulating resin coating" would have to tolerate 0.1 molar HCl at up to 100C. Worth an inquiry. The adhesive used to attach the cathode would also need to tolerate immersion, so maybe a clamp to the cathode would be better for that.


    One other issue to think about: if the electrodes are ferromagnetic, the field resulting from current pulses around the loop formed by a short might pull them together. Too much flexibility in the mounting could then cause-latch up. Or maybe mechanical oscillation. Perhaps the dynamic stiffness of the piezo would be enhanced by low reverse impedance at the driver circuit. In audio practice this is known as the amplifier damping factor.

  • For what it's worth, at some point I wondered if some sort of manually operated scissor mechanism could have improved reliability and fault recovery. The electrodes could have then been narrow but thick blocks of suitable metals that could withstand quite some wear before having to be replaced. This seemed too much of a complication for something that was originally intended to be simple, though, and it's not clear if it would still work as relatively flat electrodes do.


    EDIT 2019-01-12: better version:


    (with this though spring tension would have to be provided somehow to make the electrodes get closer together when the mechanism is lifted)


    One other issue to think about: if the electrodes are ferromagnetic, the magnetic field resulting from current pulses through them will pull them together. Too much flexibility in the mounting might cause them to latch up.


    In retrospect this could potentially be an important factor in how the electrodes operate - at least in my case - which I haven't fully considered. Oftentimes the resonating hissing sound is accompanied with relatively strong vibrations that could be felt through the table top where I set up the experiments.

  • The data files for yesterday's run are available at goo.gl/Nmg2cJ


    I tried plotting radiation data using rolling averages corresponding roughly to the same displayed values in the live dashboard (assuming 1 sample was 1 second during the live run). Current values are "raw".



    EDIT: log current scale; dashed lines are when 1ml HCl got added. Previous version with linear current scale still attached to the post.



    It appears that when CounterK (the gamma spectrometer?) was down, CounterG (the Geiger Counter) decreased in readings; this could possibly be an issue.


    Otherwise, except perhaps for a few spikes in CounterL (I think the 6Li neutron counter) towards the end there don't seem to have been clear changes overall, although Geiger readings seemed higher than the average between 00:00 and 00:45 as I thought I noticed during the experiment.



    EDIT: While it will be more interesting to see if any change will occur during a more active/optimized session than this trial run, it's possible that in absence of some sort of absorber material (or "insulation", similar to the LFH furnaces) nothing significant will be seen on this regard. I haven't tried yet as so far I've been mostly concerned with reproducing the resonating sound and other reactions reliably, but I planned to eventually add at some point loose insulating material in a jacket around the cell like clay granules (e.g. bentonite) and so on to check out if it would make any difference other than retaining more heat. Funnily enough, clay-based natural cat litter can be a cheap source for such material.

  • can Nice graphs, thanks for that. Counter K is the ROI (Region Of Interest) output from the gamma spectrometer, and was set to 490-520 keV for this test. The first section of the data was meant to be a radiation calibration sample, with the cell powered but empty. The second longer gap resulted from the software data acquisition stopping for some unknown reason. It could have been a hardware glitch or operator error. It hasn't happened before so an unknown software bug isn't likely. The correlation with a drop in the GMC (counter G) data is clear, though the third short dropout interval didn't show a similar behavior in GMC data. I'll do some testing this morning.

  • Looks good Robert. The BA6020 has both terminations at one end (thus outside of the electrolyte). But the "insulating resin coating" would have to tolerate 0.1 molar HCl at up to 100C. Worth an inquiry. The adhesive used to attach the cathode would also need to tolerate immersion, so maybe a clamp to the cathode would be better for that.


    One other issue to think about: if the electrodes are ferromagnetic, the field resulting from current pulses around the loop formed by a short might pull them together. Too much flexibility in the mounting could then cause-latch up. Or maybe mechanical oscillation. Perhaps the dynamic stiffness of the piezo would be enhanced by low reverse impedance at the driver circuit. In audio practice this is known as the amplifier damping factor.

    Regarding insulation, I do not know what would stand up to the acid. There may be other coatings that could be added if necessary. Another option would be to use shrink-wrap like the type used to insulate wires. It would be easy to drop some into your acid and see what happens.


    Regarding the magnetic field from the current, I think that will be negligible.

    At 10 A and 1 mm spacing, the attraction between wires is just .02 N/m. See:

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.g…base/magnetic/wirfor.html


    Converting to grams-force, that is about 2g/m or .002g/mm. The parallel portion of the electrode might be about 50 mm, so that comes to just .1 g-force. Even if the undriven actuator is not very stiff, just the weight would be enough to resist this force.

  • magicsound

    By the way, while this will be far from being perfect due to parallax errors and limited detail, I tried measuring the change in water level over time since about the time it started evaporating.


    How much liquid does the jar contain in the straight portion between the thin blue lines shown?



  • Regarding the magnetic field from the current, I think that will be negligible.

    At 10 A and 1 mm spacing, the attraction between wires is just .02 N/m.


    Yes, the force will be pretty small. However, two things complicate the analysis: the current through the two electrodes is in opposite directions, so the B-fields would oppose rather than attract. And the "wires" are ferrous. Think of it as a steel core solenoid with a single turn winding. Relative permeability of mild steel ranges from 100 to over 1000, so the force could be from 2 to over 20 N/m. I'll try a simple test to measure it.

  • magicsound

    From the video, the water level increased slightly due to HCl addition. Up to the point where I determined that evaporation began, 9 ml of HCl had been added since the start of the experiment (as reported; I don't know how accurate every 1 ml addition was measured). So it's probably pretty close.




    Thus, just taking into account evaporation I could come up with this:



    How much of this is due to entrainment (and therefore which should be subtracted), how to electrolysis (which would make results larger than calculated) it's not clear and so the graph should probably not be taken too seriously.


    Remarkably though the energy required to heat up 183 ml of water to boiling temperature is quite close to that put into the cell up to that point. But what about heat losses, electrolysis, etc? EDIT: to be fair, it could be argued that this is mainly due to the heat of formation of FeCl3, so it's probably best to not get too excited yet.

  • Here's a video of testing for magnetic attraction between the electrodes. Result: no measurable force.

    https://goo.gl/ojxU6

    One other issue to think about: if the electrodes are ferromagnetic, the field resulting from current pulses around the loop formed by a short might pull them together. Too much flexibility in the mounting could then cause-latch up.

    The difference between a solenoid and this setup is that the ferromagnetic material of the solenoid directs the B field towards the internal slug and completes the magnetic circuit. With parallel wires, if you look at a slice of one of the conductors, the B field goes out in all directions. Making the conductor ferromagntic results in the same B field pattern and does not increase the force. If the ferromagnetic material was in the gap instead, that would concentrate the magnetic field lines in the direction of the other conductor and would be almost equivalent to moving the conductors closer together. The high reluctance of the air gap dominates the magnetic circuit. In an electrical analog, it would be like putting a gold connector in the circuit, but leaving a high resistance air gap instead of touching the low resistance conductors together.


    This is also related to CAN's surprise that removing the magnetic material from the core did not change the inductance much.


    High L inductors do not just have a ferromagnetic core down the center because the magnetic field lines still need to pass through air from one end to the other. Instead,they either wrap the coils around a ring (toroid), or there is a ferromagnetic core plus a ferromagnetic housing to complete the magnetic circuit. If you think of the inductor as an electromagnet, you need a low reluctance material between the North and South poles to provide a complete low-reluctance path through and around the coil to prevent the magnetic field lines from passing through air. The solid slug in magicsound's inductor has the same problem because the ends are open. If you want high inductance, wind the coil around a stack of big steel washers or a big steel nut.

  • Robert Horst

    I took the chance to rearrange the coil around a new core which although it's still not optimal according to your explanation, it should work better as it forms an "I". I will use it for the next run (TBD when to do it). Actually a few months ago I used a similar one and it seemed to work very well for contact separation tests at a lower voltage under different conditions [1]. A disadvantage is that I will not be able to replace the core easily, but hopefully that will not be needed.



    I used a 2 Kg, mildly ferromagnetic dumbbell as core. The wire makes about 95 turns around it in 3 layers along a 115mm length and a 32mm inner core diameter. More wire specifications:

    • Conductor diameter (inner): 1.75mm
    • Wire diameter with insulation (outer): 3.35mm
    • Approximate wire length: 18 meters
      • Measured as 36 x 50cm lengths
      • This is less than I previously thought I used, by the way

    Unfortunately upon unwinding the previous coil I noticed that the wire insulation partially melted on some of the inner windings and so it is compromised. Hopefully this will still be fine. I will need to get new wire at some point. It will be probably worth getting proper magnet wire, then.



    EDIT:

    [1] At that time I found that a more compact 75-turns coil crafted similarly to the one I've used all along in these experiments (but with an air core) performed worse than the dumbbell-cored one, so I'm relatively confident that the latter should have a higher inductance.