Unusual plasma heating phenomenon

  • Perhaps a connection to LENR experiments would be more obvious if somehow this persistent intense heating effect at the cathode as shown above could be integrated in a small sealed cell containing hydrogen. Putting aside any unusual/anomalous hydrogen interaction that could ensue, the reducing environment would make the heating easier to observe, and a low pressure would help increasing temperatures, in addition of allowing a larger electrode gap to be used. I can't help but feel that I might be reinventing the wheel/[incandescent lamp], though.


    In the example above the glowing sphere must have had a temperature > 1500 °C, by the way.

    The moment you brought up silver (Ag) I thought of the hydrated silver pellet based experiments done by Mills and Co. Maybe encapsulating water in the molten metal and shocking it from a safe distance would be interesting if not possibly explosive.

  • LeBob

    It might be difficult to incorporate water into <1mm diameter beads as in my case. These tests are of a different nature than Mills' Hydrino reaction anyway. I'm not trying to deliberately vaporize the materials explosively as in other experiments.


    Perhaps an idea instead of using a sealed hydrogen cell could be using a tubular anode and admitting a stream of hydrogen gas for instance from electrolysis. Something along these lines has been conceived by the authors of this (and related ones by Shirai et al.) paper:


    https://www.researchgate.net/p…_using_a_liquid_electrode


  • An interesting effect I noticed while experimenting with a small amount of CuNi material from a coin (which seems to shine brighter than pure Cu material of roughly the same volume), which I haven't noticed so far is that with prolonged heating a kind of "fuzz" forms, possibly composed of Fe (from steel cathode oxidation due to heat) or Ni (evaporated from the ball), and which apparently follows magnetic field lines around the heated piece.


    When the plasma heating/current stops, these particles fall back to the cathode, so the effect does not seem to be due to the slightly magnetized screwdriver. The current involved in the reaction is still in the order of 30-40 mA; anode-cathode voltage 830V, 15 kOhm ballast resistor in series with the anode.


    Photos below in sequence.


  • Perhaps an idea instead of using a sealed hydrogen cell could be using a tubular anode and admitting a stream of hydrogen gas for instance from electrolysis. Something along these lines has been conceived by the authors of this (and related ones by Shirai et al.) paper:


    https://www.researchgate.net/p…_using_a_liquid_electrode


    Preliminary quick tests after assembling a crude prototype didn't work as well as expected, but I should probably revisit the concept at a later time with a better construction. Also, in retrospect this does not seem much different in principle than a low-power atomic plasma torch employing a glow discharge than a high-current arc (so is it really worth pursuing? Unclear).


    I didn't take many photos; hopefully the concept is clear enough. In summary I used a syringe body connected via a plastic tube to the needle (in turn connected to high voltage from the DC boost converter) to enclose the cathode in a standard electrolysis rig. A light stream of hydrogen gas would be emitted by the syringe. Other circuit parameters were the same as earlier/weren't changed.




    Quick notes I took earlier:

    • Tested an improvised hydrogen admission device using: a syringe, plastic tubing, copper electrical wire, graphite electrode, K2CO3 electrolyte solution, small glass jar.
      • The syringe needle tip was flattened using sand paper
    • I could not verify any apparent extra heating beyond what was getting earlier.
    • I tried small sections of Cu, Cu75Ni25 alloy, Ni-wound Fe guitar string as target (cathode) material.
    • Applying a plasma on oxidized portions of the steel cathode would reduce the oxides to some extent.
    • The hydrogen stream at this rate apparently quenches the plasma reaction, which seems to "fizzle", with the heated piece intermittently losing incandescence
    • I tried electrolysis at 5V and 12V DC. 5V decreased the amount of disturbance from the gas flow but did not increase reaction intensity.
    • The tip of the syringe needle at times seemed hotter than in previous tests, which should be expected as a hydrogen flame would be occurring there.
    • Sometimes a small popping noise could be heard.
    • I have only used gas from the cathode (− electrode), thus hydrogen. Potentially I could have used both to obtain a small scale oxyhydrogen (HHO) welding device.
  • An interesting effect I noticed while experimenting with a small amount of CuNi material from a coin (which seems to shine brighter than pure Cu material of roughly the same volume), which I haven't noticed so far is that with prolonged heating a kind of "fuzz" forms, possibly composed of Fe (from steel cathode oxidation due to heat) or Ni (evaporated from the ball), and which apparently follows magnetic field lines around the heated piece.


    I've made a video of this unusual effect, but it's less visually clear than the photos posted this morning.


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    Description: a small piece of cupronickel alloy (nominally Cu75Ni25) sampled from a small coin was melted and formed into a sphere with the usual method using an atmospheric glow plasma with an 800V DC voltage, 15.3 kOhm ballast resistor, screwdriver anode (+), bottom steel plate cathode (−). In most instances the sphere was the cathode. Current was in the order of 30–40 mA.


    After a certain temperature and/or with prolonged heating, possibly after the CuNi alloy starts evaporating, particles emitted by the sphere (partially collecting on surrounding surfaces, causing them to blacken) start forming 3D structures, lining up along magnetic flux line-like features around the sphere, as if highlighting the magnetic field formed in the process.


    This effect seems specific specific to CuNi alloys. Cu alone does not do this and neither do Fe or Ni in isolation, nor a CuFe alloy attempt obtained by melting together Cu filaments and a small mild steel piece. I believe that the particles are mainly composed of Ni selectively emitted from the heated sphere, implying that over time the sphere will be mostly composed of Cu.


    EDIT: I have done a test with a hard disk magnet. The cupronickel sphere is still weakly ferromagnetic similarly to the coin it originally came from, but the small—probably highly oxidized—particles deposited around (which have a dark brown-violet color rather than black-gray like carbon or graphite) do not seem to be attracted to it to any significant extent. It could be they are too fine or too oxidized for observable magnetism to arise.

  • Quote

    I believe that the particles are mainly composed of Ni selectively emitted from the heated sphere



    Try to scrap some of the particles and dissolve them in acid. Nickel gives green colour, copper merely blue one when diluted. If your theory is correct, then the same particles should be emanated also by pure nickel sphere, but You still didn't report it despite of much higher temperature. So I guess it would merely have something to do with cuprous dioxide which is brown, whereas all oxides of nickel are black.

  • Try to scrap some of the particles and dissolve them in acid. Nickel gives green colour, copper merely blue one when diluted. If your theory is correct, then the same particles should be emanated also by pure nickel sphere, but You still didn't report it despite of much higher temperature. So I guess it would merely have something to do with cuprous dioxide which is brown, whereas all oxides of nickel are black.


    I tried this with 10% HCl. I had some difficulties obtaining a large enough quantity of material to affect significantly the color of the solution and I had to repeat the process several times. The particles were deposited on the steel cathode lightly enough that they could be scraped with a piece of printing paper.


    After placing them onto another piece of paper I could confirm weak ferromagnetism. Yesterday I put them on tissue paper and it might have held them too strongly. I think the results are inconclusive. The solution seemed slightly more on the green side than blue, but it could be from both copper and nickel chlorides.


    The particles on a piece of paper and the jar with clean 10% HCl solution:



    After putting the particles the first time (they can be seen floating) and after several times, in front of a piece of white printing paper (the same used to collect them):




    Reportedly, from Wikipedia:

  • More monologue on low-tech, ultra-low cost, probably non-LENR experimentation, although it might be possibly related to the concept and supposed behavior of electron clusters, which lately have been frequently mentioned.


    * * *


    To be completely sure of statements I've previously written, I tried again melting a piece of semi-pure nickel metal extracted from an oxidized nickel coin. Once the piece melts into a sphere under the [low] current application, it becomes easier to heat it to apparently very high temperatures. As I've written earlier, it could be because as a sphere, thermal dissipation will be occurring minimally via conduction from a very small spot at its base (if the sphere isn't actually floating).


    Furthermore, the current-induced magnetic field will also help shaping the piece like a sphere, so it might be a self-reinforcing phenomenon.


    After significantly longer heating than usual, eventually the same material ejection phenomenon and magnetic flux line alignment observed with Cu75Ni25 material could be observed to some extent too with Ni too. It's difficult to see with brief tests.


    The residues deposited look more on the dark-black side than brown as with the CuNi sphere.


    The photo below shows from left to right in order:


    • A CuNi sphere and extensive dark brown-violet deposition residues
    • A too large piece of Ni metal that I didn't manage to melt, only bring to orange incandescence
    • A Ni sphere with some black-grayish deposition residues



    The piece has to be small or composed of filaments, otherwise—at least at the power levels employed here—melting will not occur easily and a positive feedback loop as described above will not occur either (that's the assumption, at least), only heating to red-orange incandescence as in the photo below will.



    Another problem is that the so-formed Ni spheres after cooling to ambient temperature form a poorly electrically conductive outer oxide shell that makes it difficult to restart the reaction, whereas the cupronickel ones always conduct electricity adequately enough to repeat it. Possibly this is where an inert or reducing atmosphere will help making the effect more reliable.


    * * *


    I also tried to take some rough 12V DC input current measurements into the DC boost converter (which should be partially filtered with a 35V 470 uF capacitor. Peak readings with the clamp meter were in the 2.20-2.35A range either with or without bright glowing effect, possibly more on the high side when the treated material glowed bright, but in general no substantial difference was clearly observed.


    Current draw seems strongly dependent on anode gap distance from the sphere/piece in either case. The brightness of the reaction does not appear to be significantly affected in the 1.70–2.30A range.


    An oscilloscope might be needed to tell for sure if there's a significant difference in input power in both cases.


    * * *


    Lastly, a schematic drawing of the supposed primary effect observed. I haven't been able to confirm this yet, but it's possible that the current flow might be slightly lifting the formed sphere from the cathode plate.


    The ferromagnetic particles ejected or evaporated from the sphere would tend to deposit and form structures along the magnetic flux lines on the right drawing.


  • The visuals capture perfectly what I visualized when i saw this first. Current/feilds kinda molding and shaping the melting metal perfectly to flow into a sphere.

  • LeBob

    Therefore, I was wondering if this isn't a more general process arising when a flow of charges (i.e. a current) is provided and the charges are free or semi-free to arrange themselves in their preferred configuration. So-called exotic vacuum objects (EVO) could be the result of the same mechanism; my guess is that it most of the time they are not observed as electrons on their own are not ordinarily in a "visible state" and they generally flow too quickly or too constrained from one point to another.


    A few more related considerations (which might not necessarily be correct):

    • The molten metal ball here is at the cathode and should have an excess of negative charges (electrons);
    • Sometimes conduction electrons in metals are considered as a low-temperature, high-density plasma (for example see Kasagi 2016 here);
    • Current flow is restricted by the relatively high electrical resistance of the glow plasma channel.

    The strict conditions often claimed to be required to form electron clusters here might be fulfilled in alternative (analogue?) ways. As for whether similar super properties are also manifested though, that's debatable.


    (by the way: please do not quote the entire post just to reply to a single portion)

  • I found interesting how this tiny piece of aluminium foil shrank into a small sphere in the same process hypothesized earlier. I think it becomes mostly aluminium oxide in the process as despite further heating to quite high temperatures it will still remain solid.The initial levitation, even though the material is not magnetic, should be the combined effect of the applied electric field and lightness of the foil, although it could be simply the current flow, or perhaps even both.


    In either case, this could hint that the previously formed spheres might actually be lifted from the cathode or have a substantial portion of their weight temporarily decreased under the current flow.



    The above animation from a video I posted here at about 2:23: https://youtu.be/VDg6O8odguQ


    Description: a few quick tests with aluminium foil using 830V voltage from a low-power +/- 390V DC boost converter (purchased from Amazon), 15 kOhm ballast power resistor (in series with the anode), bottom steel plate cathode (−), screwdriver anode (+).


    At [00:00] I start testing with a small aluminium foil of irregular shape (I deliberately tried to clump it into a ball rather than using a flat piece directly). It takes a while but after some time something apparently changes in the treated material and it starts glowing brightly, probably significantly above 1000 °C. As it remains solid, I believe the glowing portion is composed of aluminium oxide (Al2O3). After the process starts it becomes easier to make the foil glow again, even after allowing it to cool to ambient temperature.


    At [02:23] I perform a second test with a smaller Al foil. It can be seen to initially get attracted to the anode screwdriver probably due to the effect of the applied electric field. After a brief period of applying a glow plasma discharge, more intense heating begins, but it does not seem as bright as with the larger piece. This time it got shaped more like a ball like with other metals that do not readily form surface oxides.


    In both cases affecting anode gap distance affects also the brightness of the reaction, probably due to the varying current (larger gap = higher plasma resistance). With other tested metals (Cu, Ni, Fe and some of their alloys) this seems less apparent but it requires more testing to confirm.


    In comments made in earlier videos I reported to have been unable to reliably initiate this reaction with aluminium foil, but I have since replaced one of the failing capacitors of my DC boost converter, so either a higher voltage or voltage stability might have helped. Alternatively, there might be a critical foil size or shape which I got lucky to hit here. On this regard I believe that spherically symmetrical shapes (as much as possible) will help initiate the reaction.

    • Official Post

    Simple surface tension is a powerful factor in the formation of a sphere, and since once you go above 500C Al2O3 becomes increasingly conductive I suspect that you have created a form of Nernst lamp. Good work BTW, and proof that good scientific investigations can sometimes be conducted without a million dollar budget.

  • Alan Smith

    Unfortunately I am not equipped to compare the effect of external heating alone against that of current application at a relatively high voltage, but I guess the effects of surface tension in the sphere-forming process cannot be ruled out a priori.


    At this stage depending on the material this could indeed be [also] a sort of Nernst lamp, although typical temperatures of such lamps seem to be greatly exceeded, even if the current and overall power involved are small (the amount of material affected is admittedly tiny, however). I will have at some point to use a conductive base cathode that will not react with aluminium at high temperatures to rule out a sort of thermite reaction.



    This was again with a 15 kOhm resistor in series with the anode and 830V anode–cathode (open circuit voltage).

  • For what it's worth, I tried measuring with a not-so-great multimeter the voltage across the electrodes to once again confirm their polarity. The black (COM) terminal was connected to the steel plate electrode, while the red (V) terminal was connected to the screwdriver electrode. The voltage measured was +783V. This should confirm that the steel plate and the heated piece on top of it are indeed the cathode.



    Which electrode usually heats up more in an electrical discharge? In an arc discharge (e.g. in welding) various sources seem to point out that it's the anode. For instance, in these slides on page 16 it's mentioned that the anode carries about 60% of the heat goes into the anode, which is the reason why the consumable rod in DC arc welding process is usually the anode.


    On the other hand I seem to see this intense heating effect only if the piece is the cathode. I can get a piece to incandescence with the opposite polarity, but not to higher levels. So my guess is that different processes might be at play.


    I've made a quick test with a small copper piece previously melted into sphere (copper is easier to re-heat with this method), although probably the difference is not extremely clear with uncontrolled photo parameters; the gap distance was also different although it didn't seem to affect the process observably. The photos show among other things a different glow plasma appearance depending on polarity.


    Left: plate anode; right: plate cathode.



    Note that there is a smaller unheated sphere to the left of the plasma.



    EDIT: before this edit I accidentally swapped the anode/cathode names but to be clear, I can confirm again that the sphere heats more if it's the cathode/negative electrode.

  • Eventually I made a test with a small crumpled piece of white printing paper, again obtaining bright warm light (at times rather intense) from the "ashes", which I suspect are mainly composed of CaO (after decomposition from CaCO3) and TiO2 which are usually employed as paper fillers and white pigments. The possible presence of these oxides was the main reason for using this material, not having readily available other sources around. Again with bottom steel plate cathode, screwdriver anode, 800V voltage, 15 kOhm ballast resistor.



    There's the chance I might be seeing some sort of candoluminescence effect, where materials heated by a flame (usually oxy-hydrogen) seem to emit more light than their apparent blackbody temperature. A related effect is called in more general terms radical-excited luminescence and could be more applicable to these glow plasma-heating tests I've been doing in the atmosphere.


    I found a somewhat dated but extensive review on the subject here, but it's paywalled: https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-2313(74)90001-5


    Quote

    Abstract: The literature on the emission of solids heated in flames or excited by gases containing free radicals or excited molecules is reviewed. Many different emission processes can occur, including selective thermal radiation, candoluminescence, surface chemiluminescence, adsorboluminescence, and chemisorptive luminescence. These effects occur in a wide variety of materials, including BN, various oxides (MgO, ZnO, Y2O3, etc.), many impurity-activated phosphors (CaO:Bi, ZnS: Cu, Zn2SiO4:Mn, etc.), and organic compounds. Emission may be excited by a number of radicals, including H, O, OH, N, CO and CH. In a flame, the catalytic activity of the solid surface for radical recombination or de-excitation influences both the excitation of luminescence and the temperature of the solid (and hence the incandescence). An outstanding example of high-temperature candoluminescence is the Welsbach mantle (ThO2 : Ce).


    Many refractory (high-melting point) oxides seem to have candoluminescent properties. CaO is known for its historical use as limelight. Oxides like MgO or ZrO2 (producing zirconia light) can be used too.