Skip to comments.Navy Chemist May Have Rediscovered 'Cold Fusion'
Posted on 03/25/2009 5:17:10 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Twenty years ago this week, a pair of previously unknown scientists stunned the world by announcing they'd done the impossible by achieving nuclear fusion in a lab flask at room temperature.
Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons quickly became celebrities as the news media hailed them for discovering a cheap source of nearly limitless power. But it all fell apart as other scientists couldn't duplicate their results, and the pair later admitted they'd made mistakes in the experiments.
Now a U.S. Navy researcher, speaking on the anniversary of and in the same city where they made their announcement, thinks Fleischmann and Pons may have been right.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
25 March 2009On Monday, scientists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Salt Lake City announced a series of experimental results that they argue confirms controversial cold fusion claims.
Chief among the findings was new evidence presented by U.S. Navy researchers of high-energy neutrons in a now-standard cold fusion experimental setupelectrodes connected to a power source, immersed in a solution containing both palladium and heavy water. If confirmed, the result would add support to the idea that reactions like the nuclear fire that lights up the sun might somehow be tamed for the tabletop. But even cold fusions proponents admit that they have no clear explanation why their nuclear infernos are so weak as to be scarcely noticeable in a beaker.
The newest experiment, conducted by researchers at the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, in San Diego, required running current through the apparatus for two to three weeks. Beneath the palladium- and deuterium-coated cathode was a piece of plasticCR-39, the stuff that eyeglasses are typically made from. Physicists use CR-39 as a simple nuclear particle detector.
After the experiment, the group analyzed the CR-39 and found microscopic blossoms of triple tracks. Such tracks happen when a high-energy neutron has struck a carbon atom in the plastic, causing the atom to decay into three helium nuclei (alpha particles). The alpha particles dont travel more than a few microns, though, before they plow into other atoms in the CR-39. The result is a distinctive three-leaf clover that, to physicists, points to the by-product of a nuclear reaction.
Taking all the data together, we have compelling evidence that nuclear reactions [are happening in the experiment], says physicist Pamela Mosier-Boss of the Navy group.
Reached by e-mail, Frank Close, a particle physicist at Oxford University, says hes still skeptical. There are many sources of neutrons in the natural environment, including...cosmic-ray sources, he says. He adds that some of the earliest cold fusion experiments in 1989 confused cosmic-ray signals for cold fusion evidence.
In fact, 20 years to the day before Mondays press briefing, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann of the University of Utah announced the very first cold fusion experiment. Their apparatus, they said, was somehow producing 1.75 watts more heat than the electric power they sent in. Their results, however, were not reliably reproducible. Experimental errors couldnt be ruled out. And, like present-day proponents, Pons and Fleischmann couldnt explain how or why nuclear physics fit anywhere into what they were observing. So for most of the scientific community, cold fusion was largely discredited and discarded before the 1990s had even begun.
Yet as the ACS panelists stressed on Monday, scores of scientists followed up on Pons and Fleischmanns experiments despite the crackpot label that soon dogged cold fusion research. Along the way, cold fusion was rebranded as low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENR. And, the panelists said, although rarely reported in the mass media, hundreds of LENR experiments over the past two decades have been published in peer-reviewed science journals.
According to Edmund Storms, retired nuclear scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory and author of The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (World Scientific, 2007), experiments confirming Pons and Fleischmanns finding of excess heat have now been published in 150 different papers in journals and conference proceedings around the world. The reported excess heat, he says, ranges from milliwatts up to 180 watts.
Steve Krivit, editor of the online LENR newsletter New Energy Times, says experiments have dominated the field to date. In contrast, LENR theory is lacking. The primary problem, the same one that has marginalized LENR for two decades, is that before two positively charged hydrogen nuclei can move close enough to each other to fuse into helium, they first must overcome their nearly overwhelming electric repulsion. The only known and widely accepted way to do that is based on what stars and multibillion-dollar hot fusion reactors do: squeeze the nuclei into as small a space as possible and kick the temperature up to tens of millions of degrees.
Some people have accused the [LENR] field of wishful thinking, and its unfortunate, because the experimental evidence is, in my opinion after eight years, unambiguous, says Krivit, who is also coeditor of the Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Sourcebook (Oxford University Press, 2008).
Ludwik Kowalski, formerly a physics professor at New Jerseys Montclair State University, now retired, says that throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, he was as skeptical as anyone about cold fusion. But in 2007, he conducted his own CR-39 experiment, as described in an earlier paper by the U.S. Navy group.
I got the same result they got, exactly, Kowalski says, noting that the CR-39 tracks he saw traced the outline of the cathode wire and were highly suggestive of nuclear activity. Now I think there are serious indications that there is something behind this.
Blasted squids at it again.
Whenever I hear of coldfusion I think of the movie IQ.
Pons and company are in Italy working for Musubitsi Heavy Industries, last I heard..
I’ve been wondering why, instead of all this money and effort going into worthless wind and solar energy, research wasn’t going into cold fusion. I’m not a science person, but as long as they were trying for the impossible, why not go for something that you could at least do something with if it ever got figured out.
This isn't really true. Simple quantum tunneling is capable of performing the same feat at low energy. The probability of a large number of reactions is low, but a few nuclei will fuse even in a glass of water from time to time (the rate being so low as to make the process impractical for any purpose). There are known ways to manipulate this process, such as replacing the electrons in deuterium with muons (decreasing the radius of the "electron" cloud and thus allowing the atoms to get closer before coulomb repulsion kicks in, so the probability of the tunneling events are higher because of the higher cross section).
There are any number of ways this could still be a nuclear process (not saying it is, just that it is silly to say it CAN'T be) and not violate any of the known laws of physics. This article is also wrong in the above statement because there are various other well-known ways to achieve fusion (for example, the Farnsworth Fusor); they just aren't practical for generating power.
Take it to the bank. If someone was to find a way to generate an infinite amount of energy from the air, with no pollution, no heat release, and no carbon footprint, the liberals would still find a way to demonize it and have the government prevent us from using it. They hate the way we live in the modern world. They want us all to go back to the Garden of Eden, with no modern technology at all (for us - NOT for them).
There are any number of ways this could still be a nuclear process (not saying it is, just that it is silly to say it CAN'T be) and not violate any of the known laws of physics. This article is also wrong in the above statement because there are various other well-known ways to achieve fusion (for example, the Farnsworth Fusor); they just aren't practical for generating power.”
Dammm and there goes my Mr Fusion to Back Order again for the next century,, Why the Lack of interest in the Breeding Reactors.
Because they actually work cheaply, reliably, and safely.
Stranglets in the night...Exchanging glances...We were leptons at first sight...
Things turned out so right...for stranglets in the night!
I guess something well engineered that works well would scare the hell out of the Communists we have in charge here.
Alpha decay is possible due to quantum tunneling, not nuclear fusion at room temperature.
Try this on for size.
Correct! Our energy problems are amost entirely contrived. We have among the largest reserves of coal, oil, and uranium. We also have the technology to use all of them safely and efficiently.
“Correct! Our energy problems are amost entirely contrived. We have among the largest reserves of coal, oil, and uranium. We also have the technology to use all of them safely and efficiently”
Bingo! Caused by Envirofascists.
Yes, that also involves tunneling.
not nuclear fusion at room temperature.
You are mistaken; nuclear fusion does indeed occur at room temperature, just at a very low rate (if you were assuming a zero probability because of the "semiclassical method" in the article to which you linked, bear in mind that it approaches zero only at higher scales, but never actually reaches zero, and is very much non-zero at quantum scales).
Those who denounced Pons and Fleischmann regarding their cold fusion (now known as LENR) are starting to realize they have egg on their face. It is increasingly clear that despite having made mistakes (which is true in all experiments) that their apparatus DID manage to fuse nuclei. No one yet has been able to explain why or how they managed to get such a remarkable result, but is clear that many similar experiments are fusing nuclei.
Excess energy DOES appear to be released. Fusion actually APPEARS to be occurring. Efficient use of this energy requires that experiment and theoreticians uncover the mechanism and principles underlying the process, and to increase the number of reactions many orders of magnitude. One of the runs of Pons and Fleischmann seemed close to the magnitude needed, but it has not yet been able to be replicated. The current experiments are using very closely controlled parameters for good reason, and they have not strayed into whatever perfect error that P&F quite possibly made. I wont be surprised if Pons and Fleischmann eventually get a Nobel Prize for their widely derided work.
I remind everyone that it has been common in the history of science that well known phenomena have not been properly explained by the theoreticians for hundreds of years.
I agree, liberals always seem to want something that doesn’t effect them in any negative way. Wind mills, they look bad and kill birds. Hydroelectric creates unatural lakes that change the enviroment. Solar panels cost too much. They just are never happy.
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