Posts by BruceInKonstanz

    Here's a link announcing a recommendation for LENR research in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill for the US National Science Foundation:


    https://www.aip.org/fyi/2020/f…tional-science-foundation


    As I understand it, the appropriations bill passed into public law on 12 Dec. 2019 (No: 116-93). This law makes no mention of LENR. However, according to the aip site, "the House and Senate appropriations committee reports on their respective spending bills convey additional direction unless the language is negated in the final statement". In this guidance, says the aip, there are four explicitly targeted research topics -- Quantum research, Neutron detection network, LHC detector upgrades, and Low-energy nuclear reactions.


    Quote

    The House report encourages NSF to “evaluate the various theories, experiments, and scientific literature surrounding the field of LENR,” which is most associated with the pursuit of cold fusion. It also directs NSF to “provide a set of recommendations as to whether future federal investment into LENR research would be prudent, and if so, a plan for how that investment would be best utilized.

    Depending on how the NSF reacts to this guidance, it could be a game-changer and mean big bucks for people who know how to write research proposals. In any case, LENR researchers with contacts in the NSF should get to work and make the experimental literature known to the appropriate people there.

    I would feel much surer of your input power measurement if you would insert some AC filtering between the electrodes and the meters. Mondaini's video, where he measures deuterium emission in plasma electrolysis, shows RF out to 500MHz. Your meters are not going to be able to integrate I or V over this bandwidth, let alone integrate I*V*cos(theta) to get power. Maybe I'm being overly cautious; in any case, a wide-band oscilloscope or a spectrum analyzer would show what the meters are really looking at. (You'll have to replace the current clamp with a VOM.)


    Three or four pi-filter sections would do it, I think, to get suppression from, say, 50Hz up to 500MHz. Here in Germany, 1 nF RFI supression capacitors with a 500V rating cost 50 euro cents; small inductors you can simply wind on plastic straws. For the pi-section closest to the meters you probably want an iron-core choke; an old transformer might do. There are lots of on-line filter design tools, e.g., http://www.wa4dsy.net/filter/filterdesign.html . At the high-frequency end of the filter, nearest the electrodes, compact construction is important.

    These plasma electrolysis experiments generated a lot of interest ten and fifteen years ago, and I wonder if there's really much new to be learnt from them, apart from transmutation effects. Five years ago I read a lot of the reports and even had a chance to talk to Jean-François FAUVARQUE and Pierre Paul CLAUZON in Avignon in 2016, who had reported successful replications of the Mizuno plasma experiments. I developed a suspicion that in many cases the experimenters were overestimating COP because they were using AC power meters, which are not likely to work reliably when there are high frequency components in the voltage/current lines, such as are inevitably produced in the arc.


    The plasma experiments would have been a lot more persuasive if they had been performed with input power measured on highly filtered DC. I actually started to build an experiment that like that shown in can's post from Dec 5th, 2019. I would have added additional high frequency filtering in the form of air-core chokes and mica capacitors, like those used in radio transmitters, both before and after the power measurement stage. Power measurement would comprise a DC ammeter and a DC voltmeter -- no AC meters -- and I would check, with a spectrum analyzer, that there were no high frequency components in either the voltage nor the current in this part of the circuit. Following this stage, I planned to generate a high frequency, high voltage pulse to drive the plasma electrolysis, using FETs with, I think, about 4ns switching times. With this setup, there would be no argument about the input power; however, I feared that a significant portion of the input power, that I would not be able to measure, might get diverted into radio emissions, and that this power leakage would vary unpredictably with the state of the plasma. This would, however, only produce an underestimate, not an overestimate, of COP.


    I gave up this project when the Russian reports about adverse medical effects of EVOs started to appear, and at ICCF22 I talked briefly with Lutz Jaitner, who also had doubts about the safety of these experiments. Jaitner said he had a suspicion that a heavy iron enclosure might offer adequate protection, but didn't want to commit himself about this. I do think everyone doing these experiments should at least look at the Russian reports and at Laitner's web page, http://www.condensed-plasmoids…xperiments.html#shielding.


    As I remember, Fauvarque and Clauzon said that they got excess heat only in a certain, hard to obtain condition of the plasma, which did not arise immediately and where it became steady and gave off a violet colored light.

    Before anyone jumps into these, I suggest looking at my comments on the thread  Summary: Who is actually doing a replication attempt? , where I note that the glass melting experiment is nothing unusual and the sulphur from oxygen may be a mistake. Doesn't mean that they're all bogus, however; the transmutations are certainly worth trying.

    I need to post a caution to anyone trying to replicate the Mondaini experiments. After some simple chemical testing, it appears to me that in his oxygen to sulphur experiment (Video 3), Mondaini jumped to some unwarranted conclusions. What is almost certainly happening is this:


    by electrolysis


    Cu + 2H20 → Cu++ + 2OH- + H2 (the evolved gas at the cathode)


    then


    2 Cu(OH)2 + 2 K2CO3 +H2O → Cu2(OH)2CO3 + 4 KOH + CO2


    Wikipedia shows Cu2(OH)2CO3 as a light blue precipitate like that which forms on the copper anode in my experiment. I don't see any gas evolved at the anode, so I imagine the CO2 is simply dissolving in the alkaline solution. In acidic solution nearly all of the precipitate dissolves; what remains looks like copper oxides.


    Mondaini may be just talking off the top of his head about visible sulfite and sulfate; from his laboratory analyses we don't know the absolute mass of the sulphur found, so it may in fact be very small. I was not able to precipitate any BaSO4 from the electrolyte after neutralizing to pH 6, and sulfite test strips were negative. The barium chloride test should be pretty unequivocal. I will try sending some electrolyte and precipitate to a laboratory, but I'm not very hopeful. If there is sulphur, it's very little, or it's not present as SO4--.


    I just hope I'm not playing Cal Tech trying to replicate Fleischmann & Pons.

    Thanks for the links. I didn't know these are aircraft frequencies. Obviously these are things that would have be be checked. Mondaini says he is an electronics technician, so I presume he knows what he is doing. I would try moving the wires around, inserting small inductances here and there, etc., to see if that changes the strength of the 327MHz line (to exclude resonances in the setup). If not, and if varying the sparking current gives a concomitant variation in the strength of the 327MHz line, wouldn't that be pretty convincing evidence for deuterium in the arc? It'll be a while before I can do this myself, however.

    I'm glad to see that there's some interest in these experiments. I came back from ICCF22 thinking that someone should put together a book of simple transmutation experiments for high school chemistry teachers. That could change some things!


    I should mention that Mondaini speaks little English and I, little Italian, but when I interviewed him on evening at ICCF22 some other Italians at the table evidently knew his experiments, even corrected my vague recollections of them, and added some comments about them; one graciously served as interpreter. I don't think a fraud would have been accepted at that table.


    It's been three years since I did the CuSO4/SO3 replication. What I remember is that I used demineralized water (VDE 0510 => < 50uS conductivity) from the drugstore, KCO3 from Caelo & Loretz GmbH (Germany) containing 100 ppm SO4 (max.). SO3 isn't mentioned in the analysis on the container. A German teaspoon of KCO3 weighs 2g; so that gives <0.2 mg of SO4 which is in the solution from the start. I also used 1.5mm copper wire from the hardware store. Electrical wire is made with what's called electrolytic copper, both for ductility (as Mondaini mentions) but also for low resistance, since impurities rapidly raise the resistance of copper -- so the wire is an unlikely source of SO4.


    I used a regulated analog DC power supply, running 12V and maybe 1A. The electrolyte solution turned light blue, then got increasingly dark, and there was also some precipitate that formed as flakey stuff on the anode, just as in the video. The solution remained completely clear; the color was certainly what I remember from my school age experiments with copper sulfate for copper plating; and there was no gel formation that I noticed.


    I'll have to get someone to sell me some BaCl2 and HNO3 and try the chemical tests. Unfortunately, German apothecaries think anyone buying "chemicals" is doing it to build bombs. I don't have a mass spectrometer, but neither does the high school chemistry teacher. When I was in high school, the chemistry teacher would have said with overarching confidence that the BaCl2 test is going to fail. Well, let's see. Is there anything else in the mix that could give a false positive? Are there better tests for sulfate and sulfite?


    As for the 327 MHz in Mondaini's radio spectrum: If the 327MHz line is good enough evidence of deuterium for radio astronomers, it should be good enough for the chemistry teacher. If there is no deuterium at all in the solution, where can the signal come from? (The galactic signal, unamplified, is much to weak for Mondaini's spectrum analyzer, I'm sure.) There has to be newly created deuterium, doesn't there? I'm hesitant to do this experiment, as I mentioned, for fear of "strange radiation", but I welcome thoughts and advice.


    Another experiment for doubting chemistry teachers is a variant of the famous John Bockris experiment, in which he claimed to have shown (I think) that 3C + O -> Fe. Using pencil leads in air, I have produced magnetic powder, but I've since learnt that pencil leads often contain considerable amounts of iron oxide, which can get reduced in an electrical arc. I have some graphite electrodes on order from China that claim to be 99.99% pure graphite; if anyone knows how believable this claim is, please comment. A simpler and safer classroom demonstration of transmutation is hard to imagine.

    For those of us replicators without large budgets or adequate laboratories:


    At ICCF22 I had a chance to speak with Renzo Mondaini, who posted some simple but interesting experiments a few years ago on YouTube. Talking to a few other participants, I was surprised to find that these videos aren't well known at all, except perhaps in Italy. Mondaini calls his experiments "electrolytic cold fusion", which they may or may not be. The transmutation results seem convincing, however.


    A particularly impressive demonstration is this synthesis of sulfur, which he claims happens via O + O -> S, on



    I've done this in my kitchen. I'm not enough of a chemist to vouch for the results, but when I described them to Lutz Jaitner, he thought the blue solution that one gets in a few minutes could very well be copper sulfate. Quite a lot of sulfur must be produced, and it's mysterious where the binding energy might come from. All the same, for me it's worked every time. There are simple chemical tests for sulfate, which I mean to carry out at the next opportunity.


    An even more fascinating result is shown in the video below at 28 minutes, one that ties in with the RF measurement at 327MHz reported by Mitchell R. Schwartz at ICCF22.



    I asked Mondaini for details about this experiment, and he told me that to confirm the measurement shown in the video, he purchased a small amount of highly purified H20 (no D2O) and repeated the sparking electrolysis, getting the same spectrum as is shown in this video. Unlike Schwartz, he said he did not need a special antenna; a piece of wire about 20cm long was sufficient. No radio astronomers came knocking, fortunately. With a USB radio dongle and a computer program for software defined radio, it should be possible for nearly anyone to see the 327MHz line appear. The USB dongles cost around US$30 and can be usde from 100kHz to 1.7MHz; the receiver programs typically include spectrum analyzers. I'm sure the radio astronomers in your neighborhood would be thankful for the grounded double Faraday cage that Schwartz recommends.


    WARNING: Lutz Jaitner has warned me that the experiments with underwater sparking could produce EVOs or something similar, echoing the warnings we heard from the Russian groups. I have decided not to try to replicate any of these until I have reliable information about effective shielding against the "strange radiation".


    The experiment at 9 minuntes, in which the glass jar breaks and melts, is probably nothing remarkable. As it softens and melts, the dissolved metal ions in bottle glass make it conductive, so I have read.

    @ THHn: Of course, it's important that the spreadsheets are understandable and that the logic of the experiment is clear. It's great that you and others are now asking questions that nasty reviewers may ask when the paper is finally submitted, but why not just ask specific questions the way reviewers will ask: What is the measured vs. assumed resistance of the shunt? (Personally, I'd be embarrassed to ask; Mizuno is an experienced electro-chemist). Has Mizuno tried putting vanes in the calorimeter to reduce turbulence? Has he tried exchanging the positions of the reactors in the calorimeter? Has he looked at the input to the heaters with a wide-band spectrum analyzer to see if AC energy is sneaking past the power meters? The list of possible error mechanisms is nearly infinite, however, and Mizuno's time is limited. Remember, too, that journals have length limits. They're not going to publish discussions on the elimination of conceivable but silly or improbable error mechanisms. No single experiment proves anything conclusively anyway, and it's foolish to think that's what it must do. To me, as a complete outsider, the experiment looks quite plausible, even if there may be slip-ups and peculiarities in the data here and there. The way you sometimes argue, you would have quashed the early development of transistors, as Jed has pointed out.

    Excuse me for butting into a discussion where I don't really belong (I'm not an experimental physicist), but maybe some others are wrinkling their foreheads in similar ways. As I remember from my college courses in physics and chemistry, you can't really do any kind of error bounds characterizing until you know what kind of variances you have in the raw data; only then can you define 1-sigma or 2-sigma bounds on the measured quantities. Normal (Gaussian) distributions in measured data are simply an ad hoc assumption until you actually identify them in the data. To characterize a distribution meaningfully, you need lots of independent data points of the measured parameter while all others (mains voltage, input power, environment temperature, gas pressure, loading history) are kept constant, to eliminate causal dependencies. I.e., you have to isolate the genuinely independent Gaussian (or whatever) noise sources. In such a complex experiment, this would be a lot a data, but any serious characterization of the error bounds would require this, which would be a big study in itself; anything else is just an algebraic exercise chock full of simplifying assumptions -- all of which could be wrong -- that doesn't really reveal much more than Jed's eyeballing. Or am I missing something?

    Anyway, who cares? If the COP is reproducibly 1.5 +/- 0.25, roughly, then there's something unexpected going on that needs serious, well-funded investigation -- let alone COP = 10 +/- 5. There are much more important matters than the error bounds -- like the plating of the nickel mesh.

    To put the current state of LENR research in perspective, a useful analogy to the NAE problem might be the development of commercially useful transistors. LENR research is about at the stage of semiconductor physics in the 1930s. Strange variations in resistance in germanium crystals had been observed at that time, but they were seldom reproducible and there was no theoretical apparatus that would account for them. Unlike calorimetry, of course, measuring electrical current leaves little room for controversy, and some theoretical speculations did suggest a solid state valve could be made. It was a time of unbounded technological optimism, and a few researchers persevered. Schockley actually thought he had created what we now call a field-effect transistor, when he in fact his first transistors were bipolar devices. Producing the earliest transistors was more haute cuisine than chemistry, and according to the Wikipedia article, the first commercially sold transistors appeared in France in the early 1950s. It wasn't until methods were developed for producing incredibly pure germanium and silicon and for doping them in controllable ways that the transistor became a believable alternative to the thermionic valve, and that a coherent quantum-physical theory of its operation became accepted. I believe the theory came AFTER the devices; the solid-state physics of the 1940s more or less predicted nothing but impossibility. That's probably what we should expect with LENR -- a long period of culinary art with gradual development of theory.

    Forgive me for being a Jonny-one-note, but isn't Rossi using the same lame 50MHz oscilloscope that I saw in another demonstration? If so, is it not possible that his power supply is simply pumping in a lot of energy in at some high frequency that won't show up here? That would certainly be the simplest explanation for the dissipation of the power-supply (plus high-frequency power amplifier). For someone of his ambitions, a 400 MHz scope shouldn't be out of range, and would be a lot more convincing, to me at least.

    @JonnyFive + Longview: Have you tried a non-porous insulator, e.g., acetate sheet? I can't see why the porous structure would make a difference if static discharge is involved. Some sort of reaction with O2, N2, CO2? What happens if you try to discharge the paper by folding a piece of, say, Al-foil around it and press for a moment?

    I'm just now catching up on the E cat QX from Nov. 2017. This demonstration looks pretty hoaky to me. Rossi's black box is evidently drawing enough power to account for all of the measured "LENR" power. If the black box is sending high voltage pulses of, say, 2ns width to the reactor, who would notice? The oscilloscope has only 50 MHz bandwidth. The plasma most likely presents a complex and frequency dependent impedance, but it might present significant resistance at just these high frequencies, so as to be able to absorb 71W from the black box. When it sees a predominantly resistive load in the comparison test, the black box could stop producing such pulses. With the instrumentation shown, Rossi may not even know how his black box really behaves. I want to see (filtered!) AC power in to the black box minus its measured dissipation compared to power out from the reactor; anything else can easily be a hat trick.

    The emphasis in the report seems to be on careful measurement of output power, but the input power measurement is far from trivial. From Fig. 6 in the report it's evident that the input power calculation depends on accurate measurements of voltage, current and -- especially -- phase over a bandwidth of at least 200 MHz. It's not just the bandwidth of the measuring instruments that matters; there are potential problems with impedance matching, reflections and reactance in the measurement wires and in the heater. Just a little kink in a wire can make such measurements look much different.


    I don't doubt that SRI and Godes know what they're doing, but people with experience in this area are going to be pretty skeptical of such measurements, and if I were a Brillouin investor, I wouldn't trust the measurements without much more well documented validation. It appears that calibration of input power was done using Q pulse signals having spectral distributions much different from those supposedly producing LENR, and the load will almost certainly absorb varying amounts of power at various frequencies. ("[C]alibration runs used Q pulse parameters that were known not to produce LENR heat (low voltage pulses) but impart the same power to the core as parameters expected to show LENR heat (high voltage pulses)".) Thus, this procedure doesn't exclude the possibility that the LENR-producing input power measurement using high voltage pulses (thus, narrow width and higher power density in the high frequencies) is too low -- maybe even by 60%. Godes must know all this; he's an electrical engineer. You'd think these objections would have been addressed more explicitly in the report.