mmckubre Verified User
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Posts by mmckubre

    In my opinion, the key barrier is putting together a relatively small cohesive team of relatively like minded researchers together, in the same physical location, rapidly setting up and performing experiments -- on a daily basis.

    Bullseye! Most of the progress I made at SRI and most of my residual knowledge (and an awful lot lost) came in the first 2-3 years of the "Fleischmann Pons era" when I had a group of 8-10 highly talented folk focussed coherently, energetically and full time and on FP experiments. With a few consultants added and active participation from our sponsor (EPRI) this group encompassed all skill types we believed necessary to do the job. This group was young (for physical scientists ... at 40 I was the second oldest), and well funded (1-2 million $US / year).

    One of the reasons I am skulking (very happily) in New Zealand is that I cannot play that role again. I am too old, lacking both energy and imagination. Oh I pick a few things up and the residual knowledge helps, but I do not have a dozen people (and an entire research institute) around to bounce ideas off, culling the weak and tuning the strong before entering the lab. But my intense frustration and the reason for three stern ICCF lectures (ICCF19-21) is that I know a half dozen people out there who together have what I believe is a sufficient collective skill set to get us easily to the next phase (which I see as a working demonstration). And, as I have said before, money is not a problem. This would take 3-5 million $US / year for 3-5 years (and I know how to budget research - I did it successfully for nearly 40 years). That amount is easy.

    So what is the problem? I have blamed "secrecy" but that is just an excuse. The real reason is ego. Some of it is an individual desire for credit. But almost all of the pushback I have had against assembling my "dream team" is from the sponsors. On one side the people with the money do not appreciate that scientists (and engineers) are not mutable ... one cannot be substituted for another. The people we need for this job with the skill sets and attitudes are precise - some unique. On the other side men or organizations with money are ego driven to be "first" . If they feel they have control (by money or NDA) of a unique individual talent they cannot (apparently) be persuaded to pool this talent for a common good.

    So we wait, hoping that one or two of you in teams of one or two will get across the goal line. It has happened before. Someone mentioned Tesla above, and Martin and Stan were a team of two. But Tesla and Fleischmann were both geniuses ... and I know Martin had an extended and very able scientific family (albeit most not believing that "cold fusion" was an idea worth their time). Please don't ask me to identify my "dream team". This would embarrass some (whether on the list or not) and make the job harder by corporate pushback. But I concur precisely with "Director's" quote above. Which reminds me - the team would need a good director - and that is not me.

    If what you state is in fact the case, way weren't the rules of the conference suspended as a courtesy in light of the high respect that is being universally afforded to Bob and his open source organization?

    Axil this is not a sensible question or concern. I have chaired or co-chaired 3 of these ICCF’s. We are an enthusiastic group. At every ICCF I have had someone come up and say “my work just must be presented”. As someone already noted to do this would be a discourtesy to someone else – equally enthusiastic – who has submitted an abstract. It is also an added burden on the organizers. In terms of “the high respect that is being universally afforded to Bob and his open source organization” respect for Bob and the MFMP has not risen to the point that normal conference rules would or should be broken. I know of only ½ dozen people interested in the field who have attained this level of respect (all but the last dead): Martin Fleischmann; John Bockris; Julian Schwinger; Giuliano Preparata, Edward Teller; Brian Josephson. We would also (probably but entirely at the Chair's discretion) allow a big money funder to talk without submission or a big wheel in government. Bob belongs to none of these groups but was treated well and sympathetically. If he has a specific complaint about events of which I am unaware, he should take it up with Nagel or Katinsky, or with Bill Collis (appointed Chairman of ICCF22).

    The treatment that Bob Greenyer received at this years ICCF is troubling. He was not permitted to present his opinions because his opinions are too extreme for the old school LENR gatekeepers to accept. These old guard still adhere to the ridiculous idea that the LENR reaction requires huge pressure and heat ala the H bomb to produce transmutation of elements.

    What on earth do you mean by this Axil? What makes you think that Bob was not permitted to present his opinions or that the old guard (presumably including me) believes that LENR reactions require high pressure? Both ideas are (from my perspective) completely wrong but I presume you are basing the on something. What?

    I won't speak for Kirk but what I'm suggesting is that change in cell conditions is difficult to rule out. To take an example, what matters is not just position of heat source, but thermal conductance between sources and sinks. In a system with liquid and bubbles that is difficult to control and so any number of single factor checks may miss something significant that relies on multiple factors (e.g. as just one example change in electrode to liquid thermal conductance and change in power emission at electrode). Also, even for your work, I'm wary of the single factor problem: where effects are ruled out because past rigorous testing has shown them not to be significant but then might re-emerge in combination with other factors. Which is why lots of checking is needed, and for those experiments less well checked than the ones you describe above Kirk's points remain in play.

    That is correct. Kirk’s “semi-mechanism” (I call it semi because it is generic not specific as to physical cause) is conceivable (and therefore must be guarded against) and has applied to some calorimeters (I will give an example below).

    What it is not correct is:

    a. It was unanticipated by early researchers until Kirk “discovered” it

    b. It applies to all forms of calorimetry

    c. It can explain all excess heat results (as has been claimed – in person if not in writing).

    Ed Storms abandoned the specific form of calorimetry that was used by many early explorers (including all three “famous” negatives). Calorimetry in which heat flow is measured from the difference in temperature across the outer wall of an electrochemical cell with undefined and uncontrolled thermal resistance and no “isothermal wraps”, can be compromised by this form of error – I believe fatally. What Ed discovered was that the controlling thermal barrier is not one but two: the glass (pyrex) wall; the hydrodynamic boundary layer of electrolyte. The first may be considered fixed. The second, in series, is subject to change with changes in electrolysis bubble pattern, natural convection, imposed stirring, temperature, electrolyte viscosity, deposition of crud on the wall, surface tension, etc.

    The early “famous” replication by Lewis et al at Caltech was subject to this error form and that may have been the reason why they needed to re-calibrate their calorimeter every day (by pre-supposing that excess power = 0). Here the issue is not so much moving heat source as moving heat leak pathway, which physically makes much more sense. But an analysis of how much their calibration constant needed to be changed each day, in terms of this hypothesis, would be a useful exercise for this community and may be a way for Kirk to redeem and test his hypothesis. My guess is that Lewis would share his data. Harwell and MIT were also subject to this (Storms) error form.

    So the effect is not non-existent - it is even relevant - to some. But however this exercise turns out, it will not bear significantly on any of the results that SRI reported, or Fleischmann and Pons (and there are many more results out there to which I would extend this exclusion). We and they were well aware of this issue; appropriate precautions were taken, and elaborated in early talks and papers.

    I am surprised that there is so much angst and uncertainty about this issue. This was highly discussed and heavily worked out in “the early days”. I can't speak for anyone else but I expect it is true for others as well. The phenomenon that Kirk proposes was well anticipated (and better understood) by the design team for our first mass flow calorimeter (up to 1992) and improved in both design and understanding afterwards. Our calorimeters were designed to operate on first principles (first law). Where systematic errors could conceivably occur the calorimeter was designed to be conservative - anticipated errors leading to under-measurement of heat. Some of you will remember me discussing this seemingly endlessly in 1989-1992.

    We obviated the precise issue that Kirk speaks about as follows:

    1. The electrochemical cell was enclosed (at pressure) in a metal heat integrator (“isothermal wrap” in THH's words).

    2. Nothing left the cell except wires and a gas pipe for initial H2or D2gas charging.

    3. A complimentary Joule heater was intimately wound into the metal heat integrator axially symmetric to the electrochemical cell.

    4. The calorimetry fluid submerged and completely enveloped the integrator bathing externally all surfaces and picking up heat from wherever sourced (BTW there are 7 conspicuous heat sources in FPHE calorimeters, not just 2):

    a. The anode (I * V anode)

    b. The electrolyte (I2 * R electrolyte)

    c. The cathode (I * V cathode)

    d. Any excess power

    e. The recombiner (I * [V cell-V thermoneutral])

    f. The complimentary Joule heater that kept the sum of input power constant (I2 * R heater)

    g. The wires (I2 * R wire). Note that since V was measured at the calorimeter boundary only the wires inside the calorimeter contribute to this term, and it is fully measured

    5. The thermal efficiency of our early design was ~98%, later improved to 99.3%.

    6. Only the missing 0.7 to 2% (that is lost primarily by thermal conduction to the ambient down wires and the pipe) needs to be “calibrated”.

    7. Calibration of the first law parameters (I, V, ∂m, ∂t) were performed independently of the calorimeter.

    8. At constant input power the presence of excess heat can be inferred qualitatively by a rise in temperature of the outgoing fluid (normally water). Our largest excess power levels were ~300% in input power. Our largest statistical significance (Excess power / measurement uncertainty) is 90 sigma.

    9. We tested our assertion that heat was measured equally independent of its source position two ways:

    a. Finite element calculation (this is a complex matter not handled by two term algebra) which modeled the entire calorimeter up to its isothermal boundary: submerged in a water bath held at constant temperature ±0.003°C; in a room held constant to ±1°C

    b. Experimentally testing the influence of current to the cell and the complimentary Joule heater over a wide range in blank cells (H2O, Pt or poorly loaded Pd cathodes, early before initiation of the FPHE)

    10. The calorimeters were proven to be heat-source position-independent already by 1991 when I stopped worrying about this effect for our calorimeters. The fact that long long long hours of calorimetry were performed (>100,000), covering wide variations of cell and heater power, with calorimetric registration of zero excess heat sadly but conveniently reinforces our conviction that the Shanahan hypothesis that heat excess can be incorrectly measured (always positively?) by the displacement of heat sources – plays no significant role in our calorimeters.

    11. This last conclusion, equally rigorously supported by their designers and authors, applies to the two other modes of calorimetry with which I am closely familiar: F&P’s partially mirrored dewar design; the heat flow calorimetry of Violante and Energetics (using heat integrating plates).

    There are more insidious potential error sources possible particularly in electrochemical calorimetry. Ed discovered one in simple isoperobolic calorimetry for which the thermal barrier was the (pyrex) cell wall (changing wall hydraulics). Others exist and we should always be alert and open to suggestion. On the other side I suggest that the suggestors pay close attention to the literature, make quantitative calculation modeling the physical processes that drive the putative mechanism, and do not make global claims of “it is all wrong because…”.

    It is not that I claim that Kirk’s suggested semi-mechanism has never applied to LENR calorimetry. The effect he describes did play a role in the NRL / Coolescence Seebeck calorimeters when the recombiner is more or less well coupled to the predominant heat-flow path. But this was recognized by them. It is not that his “discovery” is never significant, or never could be. It is that the mechanism is well known, was historically anticipated, and is irrelevant to most of the calorimeters with which I am familiar. Even if he could show one case quantitatively, it would not affect the whole of our understanding.

    Here endeth the lesson. I will answer only relevant technical questions for clarification (and then probably slowly).

    I am an equivalently trained chemist with research experience is several relevant areas to the 'cold fusion' arena. Fleischmann's pedigree is not substantially different or better than mine. His publication record is better, because he went the academic route, while I went the industrial one. That usually means he would get at least 10X the publications that I do. However, that does not guarantee the correctness of said publications. Furthermore, if you'd ever read what I write, you'd understand that my view is that the whole field of CF pre-2002 was caught by an unrecognized systematic error. The failure came when they ignored my discovery and proceeded as if I was wrong.

    I am irregular on this site but this quote I could not pass unscathed. Martin Fleischmann was one of the top 2 or 3 modern physical electrochemists - the best experimentalist I have worked with. Kirk comparing himself stretches credulity; I certainly would not compare myself to Martin. Perhaps we can cut through the chest beating and allow this group to evaluate your claims? Kirk please cite one paper where you were lead (sole or first author) that displays your skills as you would like us to see them. You claim equivalence - OK show us why. Perhaps you might also explain your "equivalent training". Martin was trained (in part) by two of the greatest men I ever knew: John Bockris and (Sir) Graham Hills at Imperial College (then the finest school of electrochemistry in the English speaking world). This was where and when modern physical electrochemistry was created (along with Frumkin in Russia). Where did you train, with whom and what did you study?

    You claim that "they" (presumably including me) ignored your "discovery" and proceeded as if you were wrong. As I understand your claim, your hypothesis "explains" all FPHE results - irrespective of calorimeter specifics or method. This extravagance is the reason I largely ignore it. But OK, after you have sent and we have examined your citation (above), please explain in the simplest possible way, quantitatively, how your "unrecognized systematic error" produces error in closed cell, >99% thermal efficient, mass flow calorimetry of the sort my group performed. If error is present and unrecognized I would like to know but I have seen nothing at all in your writings that would account for such error.

    I am not inviting open discussion. This thread is not useful (to me) and my discussions with you in the past have been rapidly non-convergent. Cite us your paper. Then explain your "discovery" in the context I asked. As a group we can evaluate both. I do not propose to comment further on this unless your response includes technical error in your description / analysis of SRI mass flow calorimetry; I am not encouraging this.

    This is a major piece Alan. Thanks for this. Ken's work needs to be remembered. He believed that EVO's were not only relevant but responsible for LENR. Where there are plasmas and voltage spikes there are EVO's. You are right - he could be grumpy. But he was always understated. I knew him for >35 years and never knew him to be wrong about anything he stated with certainty.