Idea for a simple vibrating electrolytic cell

  • (Note: upon actual testing and later analysis this might not exactly work as intended. See "EDIT 2019-06-21" in another comment of mine further below)

    (third image from this link)

    The recent and not-so-recent claims of vibrations in the acoustic and possibly ultrasonic range being beneficial for electrolysis and anomalous LENR effects made me think whether something similar could be accomplished with a much simpler and cost-effective electrode arrangement. The solution might actually be already here in that I inadvertently already did something along these lines in past experimentation with a variation of what I'm proposing below.

    The basic idea is that two or more electrodes of sufficient rigidity and length, kept at a very close distance to each other with one end left free to oscillate and the other firmly kept in place, might be able to vibrate with the electrolytic processes occurring in the interelectrode gap and current applied.

    Depending on electrode length, material, shape and current, the vibration frequency could be tuned to resonate possibly deeply into the ultrasonic range.

    It might also be possible that even without intentional variations in the input voltage the electrodes might spontaneously reach a resonant regime, again depending on their parameters. If high current conditions will be spontaneously reached, the electrodes will tend to separate, which will lower the current and bring them back together by spring tension, and so on.

    I haven't specifically tested this yet and I don't want to ruin the steel brackets in the photo just yet (besides, they're not perfectly flat and the holes are not expected to be helpful), but I'd like to read about possible faults in the above reasoning and if there are suggestions for reasonably reliable operation or tips for better performance that could be applied beforehand.

    Other information:

    • The electrodes are intended to run with an alkaline electrolyte and to not short circuit, although small-scale arcing could possibly occur.
    • I expect that PWM DC input control would be desirable to more precisely tune the operating point.
    • The plate in the middle is intended to be a "neutral" plate, although since the entire electrode rig will be immersed in the same electrolyte I'm not confident that it will work as expected.
  • An interesting idea, I expect that you will get some kind of resonance as you hope. One of the mechanisms for this might well be the formation and subsequent escape of gas or (depending on current and voltage) steam bubbles from the gap. Not sure you need a neutral plate btw -I think it will merely confuse things by producing 2 resonant systems rather than one. What you have is akin to a tuning fork of course.

    As for electrodes, I suggest you go to a cheap hardware store and buy a couple of cheap and flimsy stainless steel knives - they might be flexible enough to give you a result.

  • My advice is to just go ahead and test your rig, you never know what can happen. I would experiment with using different metals as electrodes if I were you. You could also try to bounce the electrodes against each other in a hydroxide solution to see if you get unusually bright light ( see Simon Brink experiments). The guys of the ohmasa gas use D2O though, can get pricey.

  • Thanks CAN to talk again.. about interesting things to forget calorimetry boring things....

    It's a coincidence because currently I'm thinking around Hagelstein's concept of phonons in particular.

    Phonons are acoustic waves too.

    See here an interesting flashback :

    For my understanding phonons interact with electronic spins.

    then electronic spins could interact if lenr behavior needs radical species, this is the case.

    Now, to link with your experiment , if an electric field will align spins , acoustic waves should be perpendicular to it to do a resonance.

  • I tried checking out what is the natural frequency of the electrode assembly as shown in the opening post (which is just a provisional arrangement, although it was assembled to be potentially used as it is) by striking with a rigid object as if it was a tuning fork. Not unexpectedly the resonant portion has a complex spectrum and apparently there are three prominent base frequencies at 755 Hz, 1643 Hz and 2090 Hz. Multiples of these (harmonics) can be seen. Unfortunately the audio source is rather compressed and stops at 17 kHz, but it's enough for the purposes of this brief test.

    Of course, once immersed in the electrolyte and under operating conditions, things would be different.

    Alan Smith

    I do expect too that gas production will be a major factor in the production of any resonating sound. Ideally all parameters including those of the driving circuit would be tuned to closely match together and amplify the oscillations as much as possible, but I doubt this can be calculated exactly; it would likely need actual experimentation and trial and error.

    The neutral plate idea was driven by the fact that at 12V DC (from the same switching power supply intended for desktop computers that I have been using earlier) most of the input power simply goes into heating the electrodes rather than gas production, or so I understand.

    As for a trip to the hardware store... the main thing is that once you start with something (e.g. the stainless steel knives, although I think for this to properly work it has to be composed of sheets of regular flat shape) many other things also follow, and I wanted to avoid needless expenses.

    EDIT: if you meant these knives (see image below), I already have a bunch of replacement segmented blades that in principle I could use without a second thought; I didn't think about them before due to safety issues and general shape, but they definitely will be flatter and more flexible than the zinc-coated steel brackets above (the coating was to be removed in HCl bath first). I would have to dull them out before usage, I guess.


    I sometimes did that in past testing; I had the brightest results with [pencil] graphite electrodes and traces of distilled water. As soon as the solution became conductive, e.g. with an an alkaline electrolyte, it would be much less bright. A reason for the base brightness with carbon could be that it doesn't melt, but sublimates under ambient conditions.

    Somewhat interesting results were also obtained with metal electrodes and HCl solutions, which were the main drive of the last electrolytic testing round (in short, it causes the electrodes to quickly decompose/dissolve and as a consequence to easily cause electric arcs and shorter discharges through the particles formed).

    I don't plan shorting (bouncing) the electrodes for the possible test I introduced in this thread, nor using D2O (before I do I'd really need to upgrade materials, equipment, etc).


    I'm not really making deep theoretical considerations for the tests that I might plan to eventually do. I'm only curious to verify my hypothesis that some sort of resonant or acoustic effect can be achieved with a flexible, narrow-gap electrode arrangement, and that when oscillations are maximized, gas production will also increase.

    Some publications seem to support the latter; I haven't done any deep research on the subject, though.

    This could also be of interest:

  • Curbina

    I've already read it earlier, but many people on LENR-Forum might have not; thanks for that. It's related to the tests and background of the possible experiments described here, but probably most people won't appreciate the hypothetical link with LENR phenomena.

    Alan Smith

    I've often read that plating being defined as a "yellow zinc plating". Traditionally it was a zinc-chromate plating but possibly this might have changed over time due to hexavalent chromium concerns.

    In any case, I tried assembling quickly a couple such blades into a possible arrangement to be used as an electrolytic cell. I found they have to have the same orientation, otherwise they will not form a straight gap. So these are not perfectly flat either, but at least they have a consistent curvature.

    • The now somewhat dangerous electrode arrangement looks like a sort of sword.
    • Overall length: 108 mm, blade width: 18mm, blade thickness: 0.55 mm.
    • A tiny 0.1-0.2 mm gap exists between both blades, given by insulating mica sheets.
    • I'm not sure whether to add another one or two blades between them.
    • I will have to figure out a non-solder solution to properly connect them to DC power.
  • I will have to figure out a non-solder solution to properly connect them to DC power

    Swap out your steel bolts and use nylon ones instead. So long as you can keep the temperature reasonable they should be ok mechanically, and you can solder the leads to a brass washer held in place by the nylon bolts to get a solid electrical connection..

  • Alan Smith

    Unfortunately I don't have those, so I'll have to come up with something else or wait until I can make a list of stuff that I need and get everything at once (not something I'm looking forward to do).

    I don't plan directly using high electrode temperatures (or at least I don't expect high temperatures to be useful here) and make the water boil, as I'd want any cavitation bubble formed to collapse on the spot and not ascend to the surface. Actually, during magicsound's replication of the angle bracket electrodes experiments using an acidic electrolyte several months ago (where I'm assuming that vibrations were driven by the discharge events), there appeared to be an ideal temperature range where the resonating effect would be the highest. As temperatures further increased (I think over 85°C or so, or anyway close to boiling; I'd have to review the data/videos), the resonant sound disappeared.

    In earlier testing with similar experiments I previously assumed that the discharge events there were directly responsible for the noise generated, but actually I think they mostly served to cause sudden input current changes, which displaced the electrodes according the idea put forth in the opening post here, in turn causing cavitation either between or on the backside of the electrodes (or both) with a sort of water hammer effect, which would cause higher oscillations. I think this is actually the same principle according to which Ohmasa's agitator works in producing high-order harmonics to the ultrasonic range from a rather low fundamental frequency: it's not directly due to the vibrating blades, but instead their displacement moving back and forth a large mass of [incompressible] water between the blades. In the end it might be a matter of semantics however, since cavitation does occur.

    I think that in the case of my knife blade rig above since they're so flexible I might actually need a wider gap to prevent them from colliding against each other as oscillations are amplified. Not that with an alkaline electrolyte this will be a huge problem (over time I've noticed that once a hydroxide layer forms the electrodes can virtually touch each other and not short-circuit), but this will limit the amplitude and force of the oscillations (in addition of causing local damage), I would think. However this will too have to be tested; it could also be that no spontaneously oscillating conditions can be achieved this way and that I will need PWM control of the input power to do what the discharge events were achieving earlier in an acidic electrolyte.

    EDIT 2019-06-19: I think in the end I might go on with something along the lines of what is shown in the photo below, using what I already have and without other modifications. The appendages will work as terminals isolated from each other. It's not ideal (and also makes assembly somewhat trickier) but it won't suffer from possible temperature issues either, on the other hand. The jar shown is stated to have a 212 ml capacity, but I might use another one since it's not tall enough to use the full length of the knife blades without complicating things further.

    EDIT 2019-06-20 #1: even better and neater solution using small angle brackets that I happened to have around. The jar has a 235 ml capacity and is taller than the other one. The effective inter-electrode gap width near the tip is estimated to be about 0.5 mm, but it changes depending on how well the electrodes are assembled together. It will also change dynamically during operating conditions.

    EDIT 2019-06-20 #2: In the end I put 3 blades as shown in the opening post instead of 2 as above. It should be almost ready to run; I'll probably test it tomorrow.

    EDIT 2019-06-20 #3: I couldn't resist testing the electrodes. Unfortunately they did not work as expected. I couldn't get a high enough current to pass through them, and after a while the electrolyte began creeping to the top of the blade arrangement, causing hot spots there (but not complete short circuit). No special resonant acoustic or radio noise was noticed, although at some point some sort of high-pitched disturbance started appearing through the AM radio tuned on an empty station, of probably external origin although it was present at all frequencies. I did not record that.

    I used about 1.45g KOH in 210ml tap water (in two batches of about 0.73g), which should correspond roughly to a 0.12M KOH solution (for a pH of 13.1 according to Wolfram Alpha), already more than I felt comfortable using in that standard soda glass jar.

    Perhaps I should try removing the middle knife blade next time. The first photo below shows a "burn spot" and a rather oxidized anode, the other the progression of electrolyte color, which became stained faster than I expected.

    It could be of interest (albeit probably obvious for those skilled in the art) that the anode was initially black-green, but turned brown after adding more KOH.

    EDIT 2019-06-20 #4: I made a couple photos showing the surface of the electrodes

    The anode knife was oxidized on both sides, the cathode knife more or less clean on both sides (the rusting is from the electrolyte), while the neutral plate seems slightly oxidized on one side and black on the other. This should be all expected (although in retrospect it is somewhat surprising that despite them being so close together normal electrolytic processes still manage to occur). What was not expected is that the inner surfaces ended up getting affected by electrolysis all the way to the top due to water creeping up along the surface as previously mentioned. This makes the arrangement somewhat unreliable.

    EDIT 2019-06-21: putting aside the bugs encountered, there might have been a fundamental oversight with the idea as presented. In order for two conductors (here, the electrodes) to repel from each other they need strong opposite current flows. However, during electrolysis the current flow across the active electrode surface is parallel, which means that the portion where the electrodes will repel from each other will be limited or non-existent.

    This might better explain how with the earlier spark discharge version with an acidic electrolyte and low water level worked. During a discharge event electrolysis stops and current flow concentrates through the discharge point. If this occurs away from the electrode pivot point, it will have a greater mechanical advantage for displacing the electrodes and possibly cause water cavitation from their sudden motion.

    In conclusion, the electrode arrangement will probably need to be redesigned for this to work as initially intended.

    (unless the above hypothesis is also wrong)

  • After yesterday's experimental failure, I tried removing the neutral electrode, leaving only the two main ones installed. I then also added more mica sheets to cover most of the inner gap leaving about 2.5cm on the long side of the knife blades from the tip.

    The electrolyte is again 0.12M KOH in about 210ml water, used from the previous test (although some water evaporated so its concentration must have increased), now allowing a current of about 12.0-12.5A to pass through the electrodes at roughly 12V DC (actual voltage not monitored).

    As mentioned earlier, the experiment was intended to produce an acoustic resonance from the freely oscillating electrodes, but I still could not hear any. Instead, I found that broadband radio noise would be easily emitted and even present on the FM radio band up to the 108 MHz range, which I checked with two different portable radios, so it seems to be a real effect. The radio noise appears to be emitted mainly from the anode and radiates well through other metallic components of the cell. In fact, it is best heard by putting the radio antenna in contact with them. The cross bars holding the electrodes together are not in electrical contact with them.

    I'm not sure if I should interpret this radio noise as the plates vibrating at this high frequency, but it would be remarkable if on a micro/nano-scale they really do. Is it not really "resonant" however.

    To be really certain that the noise does come from the electrodes, a 12V battery will have to be tried as the DC power source instead of the Corsair HX520 standard ATX power supply intended for usage with desktop computers used here.

    I've made a video of the effect:

    The post was edited 1 time, last by can: Updated test description, from the video uploaded on Youtube ().

  • Alan Smith

    Contrarily to earlier testing with an acidic electrolyte, where I deliberately tried to cause spark discharges, the latest electrode arrangement does not use a coil, so I think in general sparks are not very likely to occur here. In some instances I've seen arcing occurring in the interelectrode gap above the immersed portion, but they were rare events and would for the most part occur when deliberately operating the electrodes outside of the water (a convenient way to dry them up).

    Indeed the relatively high current coupled with any vibration produced should create a changing magnetic field with measurable effects. In addition to the radio noise (which, since it can be heard at 108 MHz, it might possibly extend to the GHz range—it would be interesting to analyze the signal with an oscilloscope) I've been wondering about possible electromagnetic induction effects.

    Subjectively speaking (I've not been measuring temperatures), the jar in these latest tests appeared to heat up rather quickly—from memory more than I recall the small 28 ml ones would do with much higher currents—although since I was applying 150W to the electrodes it should be probably expected. The electrodes did not heat up significantly however, again subjectively speaking. Anyway, if anything I might have invented a novel microwave water heater.

    It's worth noting that the knife blades are made of moderately ferromagnetic steel—just checked with a magnet.

  • It's worth noting that the knife blades are made of moderately ferromagnetic steel—just checked with a magnet.

    If you have a grinding wheel you can test a blade. Carbon steel produces white-ish sparks that sort of explode into smaller sparks when touched gently against the wheel. Alloy steels incorporating vanadium, molybdenum, manganese etc. tend to produce less exciting dull red sparks.

  • Alan Smith

    I have a Dremel, but can only test that next week. In any case, these were cheap no-brand utility knife refills. They were covered from the factory with some kind of oil presumably to prevent oxidation. An initial period of electrolysis yesterday without the KOH electrolyte almost immediately made them turn dark, then rusty brown (I started with just tap water, then added about 1.45g KOH in two batches). So I imagine they're made of the cheapest steel suitable for their intended use.

  • I think the coil used in our earlier tests is a functional part of the resonance phenomenon. Because water has a rather high dielectric constant (~80), the immersed electrodes have substantial capacitance. Thus a series resonant LC circuit is formed with the coil. The waveform shown in my test here clearly shows resonant response to a conduction impulse.

  • magicsound

    For what it's worth, compared to the previous electrolysis-spark discharge experiments this one easily overwhelms my AM/FM radio at a close distance at 12 amperes continuous. In previous experiments I could only very rarely get the discharges to produce some electromagnetic noise spilling onto its FM range, but here it seemingly easily occurs. So my guess is that whatever effect was previously achieved, here it could be even stronger even if it's not resonant (yet).

    The main difference from earlier testing besides the main mode of operation (just electrolysis vs electrolysis and spark discharges) is that here I deliberately arranged the electrodes so that they can more or less freely oscillate, whereas previously I didn't fully realize that this could have possibly been a large reason why an acoustic resonance was present, and I assumed it was mostly due to the direct noise produced by the discharges.

    A smaller air coil than the bulky one I used previously would likely be beneficial here, but I haven't attempted any circuit tuning and I wanted to prevent discharges from occurring at all this time.

  • I have been studying "exclusion zone water" and the whole Brown's Gas subject, and the following is the test I would like to do if I had the money or the space, which I don't.

    Take a beaker of distilled water (just to have a standard quality that's used every time) and place a pulsating magnetic field of at least 8 hertz around it - or if that's not possible stick permanent magnets around it. Then stir it vigorously for several seconds, creating a vortex and at least some cavitation bubbles with the nafion paddle. For example, you might stick the paddle to the end of a drill bit. Over and over again vortex the water, lift the paddle out, let most the water drip off, dry the paddle, and repeat the process. After doing this many times, a form of water very similar to exclusion zone water will be in the bulk water and not only on the surfaces. If you want to increase this effect even further, shine an infrared light into the water while keeping the temperature above freezing but generally low. I'd say something like 40-45C would be good.

    Then drop two electrodes into the water that have already been cleaned and conditioned to remove all crud that normally turns water brown.

    My prediction is that bubble production will begin at a lower input power and be far more vigorous than with a control container of water that had not been treated. But the majority of the gas produced will not be hydrogen or oxygen but a form of water gas carrying EVOs.