A.G. Parkhomov—Study of processes using a pulsed plasma electrolysis unit

  • For what it's worth, by using a quick-n-dirty sparker circuit simulation from circuitJS, at different simulation time step times I get the following peak discharge currents:


    Time step size (ns)Peak current (A)
    3.31383
    10.0636
    100.076


    This is done through Options > Other Options > Time Step Size (s)



    Although real-life conditions will be far from those of this idealized simulation, I think this shows in practice that sampling potentially very short signals like spark discharges with a high-bandwidth oscilloscope is important.

  • For what it's worth, inspired by the report of this thread I've made some rudimentary tests with a vaguely similar-looking setup with steel electrodes at 800V DC (using a low-power DC boost converter), with the thin/pointy anode barely above the cathode plane, the latter of which previously wetted with a potassium hydroxide solution of low molarity (I don't recall the exact value, but it was probably < 1M).


    It's rather difficult with such relatively low voltages to produce sparks with dry electrodes even with a quite narrow gap (which I couldn't precisely adjust), but once there's an electrolyte film it seems much easier. In my case the film quickly evaporated—meaning that the sparks didn't get abundantly produced for a very long time—but I thought that perhaps a jar filled with water isn't really necessary if such film could be renewed (preferably in a closed container).




    In theory if the capacitors completely discharged-charged after each spark, they would release about 1.6J of energy during each event, so about 20 times less energy than what was theoretically available in Parkhomov's experiments as reported. I don't think they completely discharged in my case but I haven't tested this specifically.


    I do not expect my device to last very long under this sort of testing as the electrolytic capacitors aren't meant for heavy duty usage and the DC boost circuit might not be entirely protected from what essentially are short-circuits. In the background in the photo above a larger transformer I plan to eventually use for a more heavy duty HV power supply can be seen, but I haven't decided anything yet about it.

  • Recently I thought that perhaps a more continuously operating variation of Parkhomov's cell could be accomplished by having the anode itself dripping electrolyte solution (and possibly other impurities) one droplet at a time. When the droplet closes the circuit with the rest of the electrolyte connected to the cathode, an explosion should occur and the electrolyte droplet should vaporize. With a further very simple modification it might also be possible to keep the electrolyte level fixed at least for a period of time.



    I already have the materials, but following further tests made after the previous video one of the capacitors of the DC boost converter I have been using so far failed, so now it's only providing half its nominal maximum voltage (400V). This might still be enough at least to visually observe a reaction but I don't expect it to last very long under the planned operating conditions.


    The photo attached in this comment shows a slight variation of the rig shown in the previously posted video, which I haven't tried yet in actual action. Without the syringe plunger in place, relatively large tap water droplets drop at a rate of about 1.5/s. In theory when actually operating the needle shouldn't get damaged to any significant extent; in practice I'm not sure.


    I found that a somewhat similar system has already been conceived by a Russian group and dubbed "Drop Spark Discharge" (DSD), e.g.:

    and so on, with other papers authored by Yagov et al. who pioneered the technique, although they do not measure excess energy, transmutation, or other anomalous effects related to LENR, but use it as a somewhat unconventional atomic emission source.

  • I found the time to test the above concept—this was just a feasibility test (as usual) and no measurements have been performed.



    Description

    Potassium carbonate electrolyte solution (K2CO3) close to saturation is slowly dripping from a stainless steel syringe hollow needle held at about +390V with a low-power DC boost converter (anode). When electrolyte droplets make contact with the steel cathode held at ground potential, a small explosion occurs and the droplets vaporize. Occasionally they just appear to bounce on the cathode.



    The process goes on spontaneously, but sometimes I assisted it by manually varying pressure on the syringe plunger.


    Higher voltages would likely be beneficial in the process and make the droplets vaporize more efficiently. Alternatively, a better conducting electrolyte solution, perhaps with conductive solid impurities, would also work towards this goal. At the end of this short test the needle did not appear to show signs of wear.



    Initially I tried making a video with tap water only and no significant reaction was observed. After a few tries with increasing electrolyte concentration the reaction appeared to work properly, but by then the walls of the jar already had been sprayed by electrolyte and so the video is not as good as it should have been.

  • Eventually I repeated the same test as done earlier, but with the aqueous K2CO3 solution close to saturation (exact molarity unknown) now containing significant amounts of graphite powder, scraped with a steel blade from a relatively pure graphite rod (i.e. not a pencil graphite core).



    Relatively large, black droplets form at the tip of the thin anode held at +390V, closing the circuit as they make contact with the flat steel cathode held at ground voltage.



    Yesterday I did a similar test (video here) but with lower amounts of graphite and it performed worse. So, increasing the conductivity and lowering the breakdown voltage of the solution will indeed improve the reaction without the need for very high voltages. Alternatively or in conjuction, improving the electrical contact of the needle with the impure electrolyte ball forming at the tip and/or lowering its electrical impedance should also help.


    Properly micronized graphite powder could improve the reaction and I am considering getting some here: https://www.graphite-shop.com/…phite-14my-994my-995.html or preferably elsewhere if they have good prices without the need for getting a few kilograms at a time.


    The hollow needle still appeared intact and sharp after today's and yesterday's tests. At these power levels, a thick-walled, small inner diameter (~0.5 mm or less) copper capillary tube could work better.

  • A further test made today with the same setup was connecting the cathode to the half-functioning (due to missing/failed filter capacitor) negative output of the DC boost converter instead of ground potential. As the boost converter still gives short pulses there, this gives a very unstable -390V peak voltage that cannot be sustained under any significant load but that still appears to improve the observed reaction from the bursting electrolyte drops, again comprising graphite particles and K2CO3 solution. In this way, the inter-electrode voltage difference repeatedly varied between about 400V and 800V.


    Low ambient lighting conditions were employed in this test.



    Ideally, with at least one liquid metal electrode and a dry atmosphere, the same reaction type could be obtained at relatively low voltages, similar to how BLP do in their latest experiments/reactors. However this requires expensive equipment that I don't have and don't plan purchasing. In order to vaporize the aqueous electrolyte-graphite droplets into a plasma in my case (i.e. pass significant peak currents through them), I need higher voltages in my tests. At low voltage, no electrical breakdown occurs and I only get electrolysis.


    It would not be too complicated to get a few diodes and large film capacitors, assemble a voltage multiplier and obtaining 1.0-1.2 kV DC from the wall plug for serious spark discharges, but the experiment would then become rather dangerous to operate. So it is probably better for me at this time to first improve other aspects to make it work more efficiently. However, as long as no meaningful measurements are being taken, in the end this remains only an interesting light show.