The perpetual “is LENR even real” argument thread.

  • That is incorrect. Evaporation is measured when calibrating with a resistance heater, when there is no electrolysis. If the amount of water that is evaporated did not equal the expected amount based on the temperature, that would be obvious.

    Coming back to this. It is I think another sweeping generalisation. I did not assume this in Staker's case. I did the equilibrium partial pressure calculation - which is what you mean. It showed evaporation 10X higher than what he stated informally (private communication). The paper has no formal statement of what is expected evaporation - it is juts not mentioned. I also inferred (I think I am right) that the H2+O2+H20 vapour has to exit the cell in this case without condensation at a lower temperature and return to the vessel because the gas exit is at the top is via a capillary tube. There is however also in this design a splash-back for bubbles (as you might expect) inside the calorimeter boundary. So we hope and expect that no liquid can exit the cell (I guess an explicit check for that would be good since it would be indistinguishable from evaporation in terms of fill-up volume, but alter the heat balance). However - in this case I think Staker is right that you would need a lot of evaporation to alter the heat balance, and anyway this cannot make excess heat look worse than it is. So the lack of explicit checking here is Ok but dangerous because it makes all the experimental conditions less certain - and makes cross-checks for other things less easy.


    Also, again in this case - the relatively low electrolysis speed means that the gases in the cell have time to reach thermal equilibrium - otherwise you would get less water vapour than expected from partial pressures. It took me a while but I actually did the check using web calculators for evaporation rate!


    But I would not assume any of those things in a different experiment.


    And, I would not assume an experimenter considered them all, without this being explicitly mentioned in the write-up.


    Maybe all scientists are so good at this stuff that they always consider everything. For LENR (or any other extraordinary in replicated claims) no-one can assume that and explicit consideration of anything you rely on must be written up in the paper. And, generally, people, no matter how eminent, can make silly (or not silly) mistakes.


    (I know you will say LENR is replicated - look at it from the POV of someone on the outside of the LENR community who needs to spend maybe 10 hours or so looking at a paper to see if they can identify loopholes - and if they find them will not be inclined to do the same for many other papers, and therefore will reckon LENR is unproven).


    THH

  • Maybe all scientists are so good at this stuff that they always consider everything. For LENR (or any other extraordinary in replicated claims) no-one can assume that and explicit consideration of anything you rely on must be written up in the paper. And, generally, people, no matter how eminent, can make silly (or not silly) mistakes.

    I think that there are too many gaps in the Staker paper. It is well written, and has a very high information density but it ain't perfect insofar there are some ambiguities, Even if the thing worked perfactly as claimed (probable) it does take a few things for granted.

  • One thing that looking at Ed's and Staker's experiments shows us is how very many experiment-specific things (not obvious to a random reader, and not raised in the modern research literature or the modern papers themselves) need to be considered to prove excess heat. I accept that in the past there was a whole load of developed expertise which would include consideration of these things. But, they apply differently to every experiment - sweeping generalisations are dangerous - and to satisfy skeptics must all be explicitly considered in any given write-up that claims evidence for LENR. As a peer reviewer I would certainly (and helpfully) demand that. Scientists publishing might be annoyed by rejection until the gaps are closed - but it is the right thing to do. I myself would not be annoyed - I would see such peer review as helping me to get better results.


    In this respect closed cell electrolysis is of course intrinsically a lot easier to validate than open cell. However open cell with enough continuous instrumentation is also interesting and in some ways better because recombination can be precisely measured.


    Staker did not do this, but could have. He has an argument that it must be small which is not fully made, and his lack of explicit checking of evaporation in the fill-up rate vs electrolysis current table he constructs means that his argument for no recombination is indirect. It is also not quite right - it should be fill-up rate vs temperature and electrolysis current - though the two normally but not always correlate.

  • I think that there are too many gaps in the Staker paper. It is well written, and has a very high information density but it ain't perfect insofar there are some ambiguities, Even if the thing worked perfactly as claimed (probable) it does take a few things for granted.

    Exactly. But you must admit the experiment is quite elegant. It seems an opportunity missed to me.

  • The level of care appropriate in an electrolysis experiment claiming LENR:


    Take for example recombination - which Staker dismisses due to Fleischmann & Miles 2003 (The instrument function of Isoperibolic calorimeters).


    That cannot be done because the evidence there cannot cover some not-easily replicable unusual effect by showing that in some cases recombination does not occur. There is a plausible mechanism (catalytic at-electrode recombination). In some experiments - e.g. Stakers - H2 & O2 is highly mixed at the cathode. quoting results like this which when appraised do not cover the case at hand - and in general could never cover it - makes the paper weaker.


    Again - Staker could have (as Jed points out) eliminated recombination on basis of calculation of evaporation and fill-up rates. But he does not do this in the paper.


    Leakage cannot be eliminated except by very careful calibration. Staker says he does plenty of post-experiment calibration but does not document this. We can see that without those details leakage cannot be eliminated. Further, with those details the experiment would probably be stronger and resilient against various other challenges (We have not considered affect of bubbles, other things, on temperature sensor. Maybe there is nothing to consider. maybe not). In-experiment calibration of different types would really help to disambiguate different effects.


    That care is about respecting other people, not thinking that one (or one's close community of like-minded scientists) is better than other people. It helps everyone.


    It is also not easy to do oneself - without proper peer review. We all tend to ignore checking things that are "obvious". The LENR community I am sure has people in it who do this stuff who can provide that.

  • Jed is a skilled observer and commentator, but not an electro-chemist or experimenter in general. I agree with you about the problems of positional uncertainty, but they are of course problems that also attach to the idea of placing an additional resistor in the box. There is no perfect system, but you must admit that Ed has addressed and minimised sources of error wherever they occur, which should push them to way below the noixe level. Or do you think otherwise?

    I think it possible that his setup does this - but I don't know.


    For example:

    • How well the fan makes different TEG inside temperature constant - I have no real idea. It depends very much on the box airflow.
    • How much possible imbalance in temperature can affect overall results - depends on the relative balance of the TEG sensors and their embedding in the two sides (outer and inner). I would think this could be known from the sensor specifications.
    • Checking this would not be very difficult. i think it is a good experimental design.


    So - as with Staker - it is a missed opportunity, at least until careful checks are done. The experiment is inherently tighter than Staker's. And easier to run. But, the results are also lower as a fraction of cell heating input power (1% vs 3% - or 6% from burst). I think you have to be very careful to keep a 0.3% accuracy in this setup. But, in Ed's case, I can't at the moment see any issues other than heat distribution inaccuracy. The physical arrangement does put all the recombinator heat over one end of the box opposite from the electrolysis cell, with an unknown amount of heat distribution from the fan.


    The excess power after electrolysis is stopped data is interesting. But, to evaluate it, I'd want the excess power graph before/after the switch from electrolysis to resistive heating. I'd want the same graph for controls. I'd want to eliminate the possibility of artifact from differing heat distribution.


    I think Ed has done some of that, but not in enough detail for confidence.


    Also:

    • I'd want to see the raw data - e.g. fan power (ans how measured), electrolysis current, voltage - to make results more informative. Ed does to be fair say that his purpose is investigating FPHE, not proving that it is nuclear (or at least beyond chemical). For me, lack of that proof is a missed opportunity.
    • I'd want to see the range of data for different cathodes to get some sense of the variability.


    What are the problems in having multiple resistors in very different places (other than electrical connections breaking the calorimeter thermal boundary)? They could be thermally connected to the side plates and would get cooled by fans. Lack of balance at any time could be checked by switching power between different resistors? You could also have a resistor in a corner checked against resistors in the middle of TEG sides to get some idea of the possible errors. If there were problems you could instrument further with TCs on different sides of the box?


    One merit of these experiments is that (except possibly from fan) you do not need to worry much about EMI!

  • PS - Huxley's Law of LENR electrolysis. The tighter your experiment - the lower the achievable excess heat.


    :)


    Just to show you that I'm a skeptic. Sometimes think I should follow Miles with He/Excess heat and do "experimental error" / excess heat meta-analysis, trying to prove Huxley's Law.


    The problem with that is that the experimental error bounds are so very difficult to establish. They depends on all these factors different from the stated noise and resolution. so Huxley's Law is going to be pretty well impossible to prove.


    Sticking with one experiment, preferably showing a higher excess power out / power in ratio, and instrumenting and measuring the heck out of it is the way to go I think. Iterative critique and extra checks/instrumentation would close any holes (as long as the effect persisted).


    The thing about long-term excess power out / (heating) power in is interesting.


    Ed here (& Jed) claims it does not matter - because it is excess power / noise/resolution that matters.


    I think though that at these low excess power outputs much more care is needed to eliminate small unexpected effects. Even if an experiment passes all checks people can think of, many will say - this result is so small - there could be some error at that level we just have not considered.


    i will accept though that the more data there is, and the more a given calorimeter is characterised in different ways, the more believable lower levels of excess heat will be. So this is not a definite limitation.

  • One interesting thing.


    If the excess heat results are all - or even mostly - correct - it is clearly possible to get significant LENR excess heat from cathodes. Given we now understand more how to prepare them - are the experiments now achieving better performance in excess W/cm^2 than earlier experiments? Or worse? Or the same? It would be an interesting comparison. Is there any correlation between type of experiment and excess heat?


    Although proving Huxley's Law (which may of course not be true) is probably impossible, a detailed look at how excess heat measured in various ways, compares across types of experiment and time would be of some value in understanding the whole set of information.


    For precision I'd restrict it to electrolysis experiments where the different types are well understood and there is a lot of data. E.g do open cell experiments show higher excess heat than closed cell ones?


    THH

  • Although proving Huxley's Law (which may of course not be true)

    Huxley’s wish, at most.


    I have a question for Storms :


    In my original professional field calorimetry is generally used only for nutritional and or livestock raising purposes.


    The classic bomb calorimeter is used to determine the content of chemical energy in a feedstock, and it implies burning the sample with an electric resistance of known energy expenditure and seeing which temperature rise it causes in a known volume of water.


    My question for Storms is: do you think that an LENR experiment could be designed that could use a bomb calorimeter to reveal excess energy?


    Only asking because the local university does bomb calorimetry as routine.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • A bomb calorimeter would not work because this is used to measure a one-time event. LENR produces continuous energy that sometimes needs to be triggered.

  • THH, notice in my paper that energy is produced when D2 is present and the energy goes away when the D is removed. Does this have no meaning to you? Does this not demonstrate that the calorimeter is actually measuring excess energy?


    As for the Staker paper, his type of calorimeter may look good to the unskilled but this type has been found to have hidden errors. I do not have the time or patience to do a critique. I have discovered that such critiques are a waste of time, as the present discussion has demonstrated. If a person wants to avoid the kind of discussion we are presently experiencing, he needs to actually address the known errors using a proper design.


    I have done this. So why is my work not used to prove that LENR is real? I have provided a series of papers based on a proper design that produces values that are consistent with other measurements. For example, I used the method to measure the enthalpy of formation as a function of H/Pd ratio. The values agree with other measurements done by other people, thereby demonstrating that the calorimeter and method are accurate. No one else has done this kind of test, yet you keep using their proposed errors to reject the LENR. Why?

  • I have done this. So why is my work not used to prove that LENR is real?

    I think the problem is that only people with certain psychological structure insist in LENR being impossible, so work like yours that is proof of it being real are not worth their focus because it ruins their narrative.


    Others like me, that have taken the time to see the evidence without a negative preconceived bias, and have been able to coclude the effect is real and could possibly be useful, want to help it get developped.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • want to help it get developped

    But we often jump the gun, wanting to put it to use even before we understand it well enough, because we are impatient. I think that completes the previous post.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • Bottom line: LENR is a complex scientific field that is left in the hands of a hominid species with a complex psychological behavior to resolve. That explains a lot of what we see.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • Bottom line: LENR is a complex scientific field that is left in the hands of a hominid species with a complex psychological behavior to resolve. That explains a lot of what we see.

    You have nailed the problem. We are seeing psychological behavior rather than scientific understanding. The people who are skilled and logical are employed in other fields because the skeptics made a study of LENR unsustainable. Unfortunately, psychological behavior is not changed by facts and logical discussion. Only death allows progress to be made, as has been noted in other fields.

  • THH, notice in my paper that energy is produced when D2 is present and the energy goes away when the D is removed. Does this have no meaning to you? Does this not demonstrate that the calorimeter is actually measuring excess energy?

    The excess energy is computed as (output power measured - in input power) integrated.


    Output power measured is determined by using calibration, and noting the power out for given known resistive power in.


    Then - in the active experiment, you note (the same) power in and see 1% more power out. That is your excess power and it continues forever so if the power measurements are accurate that is nuclear reactions.


    However, it could be that some other difference in the system between D and not D is causing the output measurement to seem higher. In fact you can check this relatively easily. I have suggested a number of ways. But, in absence of that testing, the excess power you measure with D vs not D could be a different heat distribution with D vs not D. It could also be genuine LENR excess power.


    I have done this. So why is my work not used to prove that LENR is real? I have provided a series of papers based on a proper design that produces values that are consistent with other measurements. For example, I used the method to measure the enthalpy of formation as a function of H/Pd ratio. The values agree with other measurements done by other people, thereby demonstrating that the calorimeter and method are accurate. No one else has done this kind of test, yet you keep using their proposed errors to reject the LENR. Why?

    So: I am not dismissing your work on quantifying excess heat. I think it is very valuable. One of the things I learnt a very long time ago as a PhD student researching a topic I did not know much about, and later, when looking myself at new topics, is that each paper is part of an overall pitcure. When you read papers the well-written ones all seem wonderful and convincing. But when you compare them and ask what each one means in the context of the others you find out which are more and less relevant to the questions you want to answer, and which are substantive, which are just summarising what is obvious (having read all of the literature).


    That process of critical appraisal which I am sure you know well means that it is not possible to judge any one paper in a new field without detailed comparison with others, and getting beneath the surface to what it really means.


    To answer your question - which, to me, is a very interesting one, I need to appraise what you say about the theory and empirical data on LENR, and compare that with others. I would be inclined to stick with electrolysis data D/Pd. There is a lot of this. There is also H/Pd data - some of which shows no excess heat, some of which shows (I think?) excess heat. Since D/Pd is often compared to H/Pd i think I'd nbeed to include H/Pd and D/Pd. There are many other situations - I would not consider them in order to have a manageable number of variables.


    Then: from papers like yours, and Staker's, I get three things:


    (1) Parametric information (what excess heat varies with). Invaluable from my POV, but difficult to interpret

    (2) Overall excess heat information. Which as you can see it takes me a long time to evaluate. With Staker's data the omitted information in the paper is problematic. In your case the omitted information in the paper could easily be added.

    (3) Theoretical ideas. The relevant issue here is to what extent the (uniquely - or distinctly from other different theoretical ideas) are suppotted by given parametric relationships. that can lead some theories to be shown less likely or some more likely.


    Since the theory is in all cases speculative I think, for me to appraise these papers, I need to be clear about exactly what are the possible mechanisms for (1) and (2) in each experiment. For example, in your case, if (2) comes from heat distribution differences then maybe (1) comes from that as well and what is observed does not much help understanding the problem. You understand, I am not saying this is the case: but with many of these results it is difficult to be sure.


    Anyway, having clarity over which of these results are clearly without doubt LENR, I would then look at the corresponding good parametric information and try to make sense of it - in particular comparing it between different experiments.


    This is a big job, because even limited as I say there are a lot of LENR electrolysis papers. Alas although reviews from others can guide such appraisal they do not help me much in this case. I cannot determine which parametric data is really relevant to LENR without being reasonably sure for each case how likely are those results to be real LENR, or how likely something else. From my experience this depends on a lot of details that take a long time to determine, and often are not written up which means you try to determine them indirectly, or by contacting authors, etc.


    I realise that is a rather long-winded answer to your question but it shows why to do the critical appraisal I'd like of parametric data, I want multiple papers, and I want to be able to evaluate how confident I am in each case that the parametric relationships shown come from LENR rather than some non-LENR error mechanism.


    THH

  • I think the problem is that only people with certain psychological structure insist in LENR being impossible, so work like yours that is proof of it being real are not worth their focus because it ruins their narrative.


    Others like me, that have taken the time to see the evidence without a negative preconceived bias, and have been able to coclude the effect is real and could possibly be useful, want to help it get developed.

    Curbina.


    May I respectfully suggest that that view of LENR research is very unhelpful to its ever being accepted as real science. It (your view) is typical of what believers say about pseudo-science.


    You suppose that if something cannot be proven true - therefore it is considered impossible. That is untrue. There are many current theories in physics which are not proven true, none (or almost none) are strictly impossible. But some have much better evidential support than others so are more accepted. That can and does change over time. To make it change towards your theory being considered more likely and eventually accepted as "true" you need evidence. Where the evidence is negative "this is an anomaly that could not be anything else" your evidence needs to convince skeptical people who think anomalies are mostly some mistake made by the experimenter, or equipment not working, or whatever. That is where LENR is and to change things you need good experiments with clear results that survive critique from skeptics and can be replicated.


    At least, when critiques can quite easily be answered from different protocols, a few extra measurements, whatever, it is surely worth doing that?


    THH

  • You have nailed the problem. We are seeing psychological behavior rather than scientific understanding. The people who are skilled and logical are employed in other fields because the skeptics made a study of LENR unsustainable. Unfortunately, psychological behavior is not changed by facts and logical discussion. Only death allows progress to be made, as has been noted in other fields.

    Yes. That is unfortunately true. When a field is considered unfruitful it is difficult to get skilled new people to devote their career to it.


    However that DOES change. And it will in the end change if the evidence merits it. LENR is now in better shape as a possible research field due to the google work. Although that was negative in terms of finding LENR (which - BTW - I still do not understand given we have these positive experiments - why does team google not think them positive) it was definitely positive in terms of detoxifying and raising interest in the field.


    Fashions in research, as in everything else, are not totally rational, and ever-changing.


    THH

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