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"Epicatalysis" is both new and old. It may be another whisper of an upcoming paradigm-shift in our view of thermodynamics, and it can be related to anomalous thermal gain in metal hydrides. Epicatalysis can be labeled as a subset of "supra-chemistry", a controversial segment of the field where reactions purportedly can cycle back and forth, with net gain or net loss over time ... providing, of course, there is a hidden or non-obvious source of energy, even ambient heat or particularly a "dynamical" Casimir effect. The News begins here:

Bulletin of the American Physical
Society

APS March Meeting 2014

Epicatalysis: Bending the third principle of catalysis
Author: Daniel Sheehan (Dept. of Physics, U. of San Diego)

 

A standard principle of traditional catalysis - that a catalyst cannot alter the final thermodynamic equilibrium of a reaction - can fail in low-pressure, heterogeneous gas-surface reactions. Kinetic theory for this is presented, and two well-documented experimental examples are shown: surface ionized plasmas and hydrogen dissociation on refractory metals. This phenomenon should be observable over a wide range of temperatures and pressures, and for a broad spectrum of heterogeneous reactions. http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2014.MAR.A2.11

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Sheehan's Research (also published in the peer reviewed journals Physical Review E and Foundations of Physics) seems to argue that Conservation of Energy via the second law of thermodynamics is not always a law, but more like a rule of thumb – at least in selected cases. However, it is all semantics in the end – if the purported gain comes from what is arguably an external source, or a quasi-nuclear source. The Casimir force may be involved.

Epicatalysis is the name for a more general phenomenon, which has been called "supra-chemistry" or ballotechnics if extraordinary pressure is involved. Supra-chemistry goes back to the Langmuir torch and before, and is meant to suggest that inner electron orbitals are being accessed and manipulated, instead of valence electrons. An Auger cascade can follow.

catalyzed reaction image

This route for energy transmission, which is neither purely nuclear nor purely chemical - can replace or influence the claims and evidence for anomalous thermal gain – which was previously labeled as LENR or cold fusion. Instead of a process which must involve nuclear fusion, we can substitute one which looks like chemical catalysis, but may involve mass-to-energy conversion which is not fusion. The results may look like a hybrid of chemistry and stronger nuclear effects - when inner orbitals are involved.

This does not imply that there cannot be some forms of gain which involve quantum mechanical "cold" fusion, but it opens the door for another branch of non-chemical gain which does not. This alt/alt form of new energy (alternative to alternative) may involve unique mass-to-energy conversion routes which are hidden (via spin coupling and other nuclear or subnuclear mechanisms). However, there are no gammas in this form of energy release, and thus no need to invent a rationalization for why there are none.

 
Even though all forms of catalysis ostensibly imply only a change in the rate of a reaction, there have been hints of real net gain for many years. Epicatalysis can be employed to explain catalytic energy balance anomalies, as with Sheehan's work which has become easier to defend theoretically, due to a base level of repeatable evidence. Epicatalysis is probably severely limited in the gain ratio (COP) but it can open the door to more research, if it becomes accepted. There are many replicated metal hydride experiments which show COP of greater than unity but less than 2, with no indicia of fusion – too many perhaps, for all of them to be either coincidental or measurement error.

We should step back and relook at the Dennis Cravens NI-Week demo, earlier this year, in the context of Epicatalysis; and as an example of a new kind of reaction similar but more robust than Sheehan. Dr. Cravens is seeing higher power and COP, at modest temperatures, than the experiments of Dr. Sheehan. Here the News story link from Infinite Energy Magazine:

http://www.infinite-energy.com/images/pdfs/NIWeekCravens.pdf

cravens NI Week image

 

The anomalous thermal gain seen by Cravens, if not a novel QM from of nuclear energy, could be related simply to hydrogen bond asymmetry– meaning that there is an asymmetry in hydrogen catalysis using some metal combinations which is actually gainful, based on going beyond the limits of redox chemistry. That would be in the sense of allowing the chemical bond to be split with slightly less energy than it gives up on re-combination. Except, of course, there can be no violation of the general principle of Conservation of Energy.

Cravens chose a mix of carbon and metal catalyst. Sheehan chose tungsten and rhenium as two metals which interact with hydrogen in an anomalous "competing" way. But many years ago, Yoshiaki Arata and Yue Chang Zhang showed stronger gain with only hydrogen pressure (no other energy input) when the reactant was "palladium black" which is basically a nanopowder. Arata was of the opinion that the reaction and gain was nuclear, but he could not prove that.

http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/ArataYdevelopmena.pdf

The Arata-type of metal powder (in later experiments it is supported by zirconia) could be a significant improvement for one or both of the two competing surfaces of Sheehan, due to surface chemistry - but is there an intrinsic advantage to Tungsten or Rhenium? It is coincidental that "Langmuir's torch" used tungsten and hydrogen? Why did Arata's work languish even after several independent replications?

There are no good answers for the "official neglect" of this field of inquiry but a few experiments continue. The next step beyond epicatalysis and towards a stronger thermal anomaly is what has been called pychno hydrogen, or dense hydrogen. Other names are fractional hydrogen (f/H), hydrinos, IRH (inverted Rydberg hydrogen), DDL (deep Dirac level) and so on. Many researchers have seen this hydrogen densification effect, some experiments with thermal gain and some without.

The difference between  normal  hydrogen  and the  hydrogen  isomer  which  appears  to  be "shrunken" or

 
densified, is far tighter "redundant" ground state electron orbitals, compared to the normal ground state. This isomer would be the logical progression to increased power levels, especially if UV was present. This ultraviolet light emission fits into the overall theory of Randell Mills at Blacklight Power. If there is to be robust net gain from any kind of chemical asymmetry, it seems likely that a shuttling of dense-hydrogen reactions, or in addition to, atomic and molecular asymmetry, is likely to be involved.dummy-image

Absorption/adsorption of hydrogen is usually exothermic - and degassing is usually endothermic. The thermal balance of the two is normally zero. In hydrogen storage technologies, heat is usually added in order to release hydrogen. However, this is not always the case and hydrogen can be stored as a hydride, which is a chemical bond (chemisorption) or it can be stored as physical diffusion into pores, or both – and with drastically different thermodynamic profiles. The "pore storage" can invoke the dynamical Casimir effect. There is evidence that this can be exothermic.

The Dynamical Casimir Effect has been in the Science News many times in recent years and will be the subject of a future commentary. Most recently in Phys. Rev. Lett. (113, 093602 – Published 27 August 2014 Felicetti, Sanz, et al) we find: "Dynamical Casimir Effect Entangles Artificial Atoms". Quantum entanglement sets the stage for cycling of hydrogen in and out of a metal proton conductor, with a small net gain on each cycle even if limited to the Lamb Shift. Obviously there is not much detailed information in print on this subject, as it has the potential to violate the Second Law and few professors want to be labeled as that far removed from mainstream thinking. There are patents on autothermic cycling, which indicates that inventors are aware of the possibility

When hydrogen can be released autothermically, there is no added heat for release - and instead an endotherm on degassing, the system could purportedly be engineered as an asymmetric energy imbalance, involving DCE, the dynamical Casimir effect. Epicatalysis could be related to in another way. In terms of adsorption and surface plasmonics, a catalyst which naturally formed into Casimir-sized surface pitting would seem to be the ideal way for that atom to benefit optimally from Casimir virtual photon acceleration – especially if the metal matrix itself is composed of Sheehan's "competing metals".

It would be ironic if Professor Moddel's patented technology, using Casimir dynamics - which was generally been deemed to be a commercial failure (although some small effect was seen):

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875389212024959

was simply not carried out in an optimum way. Using too much hydrogen pressure is one way to ruin the effect and achieving precision at nanometers is not, easy.

In conclusion, interesting ways to engineer this new kind of energy device as a hybrid have been proposed, including borrowing elements from the work of Sheehan, Moddel, Cravens or Arata - or any combination. The Casimir geometry as seen in Forster resonant transfer is very specific at 2-12 nanometers, and full recognition of that requirement may have been missing. For instance, at this fine level of precision, buckyballs (C60) are just a bit too small to experience a full Casimir effect but some forms of CNT (nanotubes) can be within range.

The devil is in the details... that has been an apt idiom for many hydrogen technologies.


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