A Short History of Hydrogen Thermal Anomalies
Jones Beene and Dr. Mark Snoswell
Copyright Chava Jan 2013
The field of LENR (low energy nuclear reactions) formerly known as Cold Fusion was demonstrated by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons in Utah in 1989. The release of excess heat energy had been seen as far back as 1909-1927 when Nobel scientist Irving Langmuir observed an excess of heat released from atomic hydrogen in a plasma. However it was Pons and Fleischmann (P&F) who captured the world’s attention when they announced the discovery of Cold Fusion at a well-attended Press Conference. This created much notoriety at the time - landing them on the cover of Time magazine. In retrospect, it was probably a premature announcement, since the effect was known to be difficult to reproduce. However perhaps their largest mistake was calling the new effect Cold Fusion -- it was not anything like classical hot fusion which people mistakenly tried to compare it with.
This new technology threatened billions of Federal funding dollars going to hot fusion projects at major Universities. Consequently, after several prestigious Universities quickly reported that they could not reproduce the effect, the “hot fusion” establishment lost no time in proclaiming that the Pons and Fleischmann results had been fully discredited. The term Cold Fusion became a dirty word in the scientific community at large - a stigma still remains attached to the term. Researchers dedicated to discovering the truth continued their work under the new name of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions – LENR. Twenty four year after P&F announcement the bulk of experiments have indicated that the effect is reproducible and that excess heat and nuclear transmutation are seen. Although still not understood, LENR has more recently been labeled as “real but difficult to replicate”.
The term Cold Fusion first appeared in the popular press when in 1956 when The New York Times reported on the Nobel Physicist, Luis Alvarez’s work on Muon-catalyzed fusion. But this was already long after the phenomenon of Cold Fusion was first discovered.
While working at General Electric the Nobel Chemist Irving Langmuir noted an excess of heat production in work he was doing on atomic hydrogen plasmas created between tungsten electrodes. This work was done between 1909 and 1927. Langmuir was a meticulous scientist and found it hard to believe his own ex- pe rimental results. Due to the influence of the Neil Bohr Langmuir was persuaded to disbelieve his own results. Although Langmuir never published his work his private letters to Bohr, discovered by Nicholas Moller are held by the Copenhagen library.
Not understanding, or wanting to understand, the process involved Bohr insisted that Langmuir’s results could not be correct since they violated conservation of energy and persuaded Langmuir that publishing them would ruin his career.
Going further back the ability of Palladium to absorb surprisingly large amounts of Hydrogen in an electrolysis cell was noted by Thomas Graham in the 19th century. It is now known that Palladium will adsorb 935 times its volume of Hydrogen at STP and the hydrogen density in the Palladium is higher than in liquid Hydrogen. It takes no energy to achieve this – and the molecular hydrogen is split into atomic hydrogen upon adsorption.
Using this knowledge the Swedish scientist J. Tandberg discovered that helium could be made from fusion of hydrogen in an electrolytic cell with palladium electrodes. He applied for a Swedish patent – which was not accepted. Deuterium was not discovered until 1932 at which time Tandberg continued his experiments using deuterium – with positive results. This is essentially the same experiment and results that P&F announced 57 years later. P&F were unaware that they were continuing the work first done by 57 years earlier by Tandberg.
Platinum crystal loaded with hydrogen
So we see a process often found in science of repeated experimental discoveries of the same phenomenon long before anyone understands what is happening. It’s not until there is a full explanation of what is happening and a series of experiments confirming the theory that a new phenomenon becomes accepted and popularized in academic circles. Right now LENR is an embarrassment for many as no one knows exactly why these repeated experiments result in the release of a lot more energy than anyone can explain.
It is now well established experimental fact that LENR's occurs under a variety of conditions in the presence of transition metal hydrides - metals like palladium or nickel, which have hydrogen or its heavy isotope, deuterium, dissolved in them.
The fundamental requirements appear to include a transition metal and a means of loading hydrogen (or deuterium) into the metal. Nickel and Palladium are particularly good at absorbing extraordinary amounts of Hydrogen. Hydrogen can be loaded from a gas at moderate temperatures or via electrolysis with the metal as the cathode.
It is easy to fully load these metals with Hydrogen -- both internally (absorption) and on the surface (adsorption). At STP palladium will take up 935 times it volume in Hydrogen.In a hydrogen atmosphere the surface of nickel is normally fully loaded with atomic hydrogen.
Molecular Hydrogen is broken down into atomic hydrogen spontaneously on the surface.Also required is a means of making atomic hydrogen and probably a means of making hydrogen ions.
Typically a plasma is employed to generate a range of species including atomic hydrogen (H), protons (H+), hydride (H-) and free electrons (e-). Electrochemical cells can also generate the ions.
There are a range of methods used to generate plasmas including electrical discharges and arc discharges, capacitively coupled plasmas, inductively coupled plasmas (ICP). Some plasmas are more suitable then others - ICP is preferred for creating stable volumes of plasma with high ion densities. THe most unsitable plasmas are arc and other direct electrical discharges as via positive feedback they concentrate into one intense and destructive chanel.
Finally, some sort of triggering event which could be electrical, thermal or mechano-acoustic is often required. In some cases the triggering is applied as an impulse. In other cases its just a equired precondition - such as achieving an ignition temperature.
Most current reports of LENR events also include some mix of catalytic additives and a lengthy preparation and condition period before the effects appear.
The signatures of a successful LENR event include generation of anomalous amounts (a lot more than can be explained) of excess heat; the generation of transmutation products; possibly some intermittent radiation (gamma ray) emissions or even (possibly) a rare few neutrons.
The helium produced from deuterium fuel in the original P&F reaction was reported to be in the same ratio to heat produced. This happens with hot plasma fusion and many researchers believed the effect was indeed a novel version of nuclear fusion which happens in "condensed" (non-plasma) conditions.
However, the P&F reaction produced very little gamma radiation, too few charged particles, and only occasional neutrons. In some experiments the host metal has been transmuted into other elements. The LENR phenomenon has been reported with palladium, titanium, nickel, tungsten, cobalt and their alloys, and with superconducting ceramics.
Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman
Most of the reported experimental research, aside from those of Randell Mills’ company, BlackLight Power (BLP) had been with palladium and deuterium until about 2010. The control parameters for palladium are reasonably well understood and the transmutation products are a “smoking gun,” so hundreds of successful experimental papers are available to view. The important parameters include high deuterium loading, high current density, and electrode doping and structural changes to obtain nano-features. A primary concern is the percentage of deuterium loading relative to the host. Heat appears at loading above 0.94, and it almost never appears below 0.90. When current density is raised, thermal gain responds proportionally but stability is trickier.
Cold fusion apparatus at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center San Diego
Brillouin are one of the few companies persuing the electrolysis route. By their own admission this is extreemly dificult. Their electrolysis cell is opperated at over 130 bar pressure. They also require current pulses of (they claim) 107 A/cm2 to be able to induce any excess heat. Intense and fast current pulses of this density dramatically limit circuit dimentions (to reduce loop inductance) and they also require extreemly expensive pulse capacitors which have a short lifetime (100's - 1,000s pulses). While of accademic interest such severe constraints make comercial development practially impossible.
In the first decade after P&F announcement most research was done using palladium and deuterium as these were ingredients in P&F initial work. However these are expensive elements and limited to work and it's potential to scientific and corporate research institutions – with little potential for development of affordable commercial energy technology. More recently reactions releasing significant amounts of excess heat energy have been discovered using Nickel and Hydrogen – both abundant and cheap elements. This has invigorated the LENR field with the potential for development of a new and affordable energy technology.
Thermacore were the first company to develop and demonstrate a LENR device using Nickel and Hydrogen. Their ealry patent Electrolytic Heater is now expired, but it was based on a device that ran for over a year producing significant heat.
The possible existence of fractional quantum states in the Hydrogen atom (f/H) has been debated since the advent of quantum theory in 1924, according to Ronald Bourgoin, a graduate student of the late Dr. Robert L. Carroll.
Dr. Carroll first described "inverse quantum states" in his 1976 book, The Eternity Equasion, and wrote a paper with that title in 1990, suggesting they would one day prove extremely important. Bourgoin showed the general wave equation predicts exactly 137 f/H states (Inverse Quantum States of Hydrogen).
Later, Dr. Randell Mills, the founder of BlackLight Power Inc., performed experiments showing the release of energy from hydrogen transitioning to a f/H state and had developed his own theory claiming there are 137 inverse principal quantum levels of Hydrogen.
A plasma reactor at BlackLight Power
Although the nickel-hydrogen discovery was predicted by Dr Carroll and Ronald Bourgoin it was later attributed to Randell Mills 6 months after P&F. Mills has a theory suggesting a non-nuclear source for the thermal gain. Several European researchers, including Piantelli and Focardi (Large excess heat production in Ni-H systems) are given credit for this discovery in Italy.
Sergio Focardi, Physicist Randell Mills of BlackLight Power has been burdened by an unlikely theory in which electron orbital mechanics and redundant ground-states become the actual energy source. Not without its merits Mills's Classical Quantum Mechanical theory has not been recieved well and has to date, failed to gain acceptance.
Randell Mills, BlackLight Power
Mills may be correct on many points but the Italian scientists may be closer to theoretical accuracy yet they did not come first. The major early patent (Electrolytic Heater), now expired, was held by a New Jersey company – Thermacore, which worked with Mills early on.
It's not clear why the Thermacore invention, which worked, was not developed further. It may be tied to corporate politics as they were involved with Mills in the early days... subsequently BlackLight power has failed to deliver on any of their many development announcments, prefering to persue pure research and publication in accademic journals.
If we discount Muon catalyzed fusion then there are three main groups of theories. Giving them meaningful names they are:
Hydride ion Capture.
Piantelli is the author of type theory aver which he as obtained a number of patents. In this theory a Hydride ion (H- = a proton with two electrons) is captured by a metal where it masquerades as an outer shell electron. This is plausible as a Hydride ion is not much bigger than an electron. Having been captures the Hydride ion slowly exchanges with successive inner shell electrons until it is close to the nucleus. Finally it collapses to a Neutron plus an electron and the neutron is captured by the nucleus. This final fusion of the proton and one electron in the Hydride to form a neutron and the capture of this slow neutron in the nucleus are the events that release energy.
Carroll & Bourgoin, Mills – fractional hydrogen. As Carroll and Bourgoin and then later Mills have shown there are 137 energy levels below what was classically considered the 0th energy level for Hydrogen. At each successively lower energy level the electron falls closer to the proton. A lot of energy is released as heat when the electron transitions to a lower f/H state.
It should be noted that the Rydberg equation predicts the Kinetic Energy levels of an electron in a Hydrogen attom. In the Bohm model it is the kinetic energy of the electron orbiting the proton that is represented. The ground level is -13.6eV
The potantial energy of a distantly separated proton and electron is exactly twice the maximum kinetic energy and the opposite sign +27.2eV = 2 X -13.6eV.
Although Randell Mills theory accepts the fractional hydrogen (f/H) energy levels he proposes that photonic energy is transfered to catalyst at multiples of +27.2eV - even when this does not match any f/H energy level. The f/H energy levels are all multiples of 27.2eV however there is no level that has -27.2eV which the emission line Mills sees most often in his experiments. Complications in explaining how everything works together has contributed to wide critcism of Mills theories -- although the large body of his spectroscopy experimental results is impressive.
The Widom-Larsen Ultra-Low-Momentum Neutron Catalyzed Theory (WLT) of LENRs proposed by Alan Widom and Lewis Larson. Robert Godes of Brillouin Energy is also a supporter of this theory with some variations. Trapped within a metal matrix the electron and proton in a hydrogen atom fuse to form an ultra-slow neutron and a neutrino. These ultra-slow momentum neutrons do not escape the immediate vicinity of the cavity and are difficult to detect. The ultra-slow neutrons yield what WLT refers to as neutron catalyzed nuclear reactions. As Dennis Bushnell explains: “the neutrons set up isotope cascades which result in beta decay, heat and transmutations.” For example, helium-3 and helium-4 can be produced yielding large quantities of heat.
The illustration shows the key feature of this theory. On the surface of a metal protons (shown in red) can form small patches of shared quantum behaviour. In this state the individual proton waves actually form a singal collective and behave as a heavy proton. This can also happen with electrons - particularly in the shared electrons in graphene sheets (and also CNT's, graphite and diamond).
In these surface collective states the electric pottntials can be large enough to overcome the weak force and a heavy proton and heavy electron can combine to form an ultra low momentum neutron and a neutrino (ULMN). The ULMN do not leave the local environment and are extreemly dificult to detect. The ULMN's are absorbed by surounding atoms to set up, as Dennis Bushnell explains: “isotope cascades which result in beta decay, heat and transmutations.”
A realistic compromise.
It appears reasonable that some combination of the preceding theories may be occurring. The Hydride capture and WL theories both involve the fusion an electron and proton to form a neutron and neutrino at some stage. It is possible that an electron could transverse the f/H energy states to arrive at an extremely high density proton-electron pair that could be ripe for collapse to a ultra-slow neutron.
The heat from LENR in many experiments far exceeds the amount of heat that can be produced by chemical fuel. In some cases, cold fusion devices with electrodes weighing less than a gram have produced the thermal energy of kilograms of gasoline. In the early 1990s Thermacore was able to run a nickel-hydride reaction for DARPA with anomalous thermal gain in the tens of watts level for over one year. Amazingly, funding for the project was nevertheless dropped as a result of political intervention. In general the advancement of the field has paralleled many other fields in its slow and fitful progress under the peer reviewed academic system. It has taken 22 years to go from extremely difficult to replicate experiments to reliable production of anomalous excess heat in the 10's of watts level.
However the past few years have seen a return to the public frenzy caused by the initial P&F announcements. First Nadrea Rossi and then Defkalion have mode announcements of heat outputs in the KW's range. Regrettably, just like P&F initial announcement there have been no successful replications. Unlike P&F Andrea Rossi and Defkalion are outside the mainstream scientific community. Andrea Rossi even has a checkered past of failed energy ventures and has been widely labeled a fraud.
On a positive note the Italian researcher Franesco Celani demonstrated a simple and small device that over two separate week long demonstrations was measured (in conjunction with National instruments) to produce approximately 10W of anomalous excess heat. As an academic and working openly Celani has almost single handedly restored critical confidence that the advances in this field are accelerating and are close to comercial reality.
Celani's device exhibited at NIweek.
Francesco Celani, Physicist
The key early findings of cold fusion (mostly Pd-D) have been replicated at over 180 laboratories worldwide in thousands of experimental runs. (See Storms, The Science Of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction, Table 2).
Here are some introductory papers for the general reader:
Storms, E, A Student’s Guide to Cold Fusion. 2003, LENR-CANR.org. Revised April 2012 and What is believed about cold fusion? 2009, LENR-CANR.org.
Nagel, D.J., Scientific Overview of ICCF15. Infinite Energy, 2009(88): p. 21. Rothwell, J., Cold Fusion and the Future. 2004: LENR-CANR.org. Chapter 1 of this book is a list of Frequently Asked Questions written by Rothwell and Mallove.
Randell Mills has dozens of successful experiments and peer most of his theory in publications at:
http://www.BlackLightpower.com/theory-2/theory/ Here are some important reviews of the Pd-D field:
U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report on cold fusion: Technology Forecast: Worldwide Research on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Increasing and Gaining Acceptance DIA-08-0911-003, 13 November 2009
McKubre, M. Cold Fusion (LENR) One Perspective on the State of the Science. Proceedings 15th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (Part 1). 2009.
Hagelstein, P, New Physical Effects in Metal Deuteride in Eleventh International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2004. Marseille. This paper references 130 other papers.
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