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277) A strange outburst of messages
Ludwik Kowalski; 2/7/2006
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043
What is the essence of the CF (cold fusion) controversy? It is not the excess heat per se; it is its nuclear origin. This topic surfaced in a recent
outburst of messages that appeared on the restricted CMNS list. The first message was posted Jed Rothwell, the author of a book about cold fusion. That
book, by the way, is downloadable (as a pdf file) from the library at < www.lenr-canr.org>.
Long time ago Jed gave me permission to quote anything he posts on the CMNS list. That is why only contributions from two of us are shown below. Others
also contributed to the outburst but I am not going to ask them for permissions. On Jan 28, 2006, quoting the Desert News, newspaper at Salt Lake City,
2) Jed wrote:
. . . He [Jones] continues to do research on cold fusion, which he prefers to call metal-catalyzed fusion "to distinguish it from the claims"
of former University of Utah chemistry professors B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, "which we do not accept as verified. This is the first
time I have been pleased to see someone attack cold fusion in the press. I would not want someone who supports cold fusion to be associated with Jones'
views about 9/11. [Jones' views are described at:]
It does not surprise me that Jones reached this conclusion. The 9/11 disaster has been investigated in more depth, by more experts, than any other
disaster in history. Their findings are based on massive, irrefutable evidence grounded in basic physics and engineering. The same is true of cold
fusion, of course. Cold fusion is actually even more solid, because it has been independently reproduced in hundreds of laboratories with full
instrumentation, whereas the 9/11 building collapse only happened two times, and will never be reproduced full-scale again. It takes a special kind of
imagination to ignore the scientific method and to deny the reality of overwhelming physical evidence.
3) In another message (Feb. 4, 2006) Jed wrote:
Steve Jones has often gone on record claiming that all excess heat results in cold fusion are wrong. See, for example:
He often claims that all heat is caused by recombination. Several people, including me, have asked him how this can be true with closed cells such as
McKubre's. As far as I know he has never answered this question.
4) In another message Jed wrote (in part):
Steve Jones has often gone on record claiming that all excess heat results
in cold fusion are wrong. See, for example:
That was one example. There are many others in his papers and e-mail messages. His claims that recombination can explain McKubre's results, for example,
are elsewhere. He refers to x-ray film as "crude." There are two problems with that: It is not a bit crude. It
is completely reliable and very sensitive. It is all that most researchers can afford, as the Russians pointed out at ICCF12. Jones has campaigned
and pulled strings to prevent funding for CF, reducing researcher to shoestring budgets. Then he has the chutzpah to say the results are not good because
the budget is too small! You have to know the background. He wrote: "It is disquieting that some researchers select open electrolytic cells over
closed cells, and excessively long sampling intervals (e.g., 5-minute sampling intervals for input voltage used by Pons and Fleischmann in calculating
excess heat over a 10-minute boiling period )."
This is outrageous nonsense, but Jones has repeated it ad nauseam. He has taken one measurement out of context, ignored all the other measurements and
instruments including oscilloscopes, and ignored the implications of this particular measurement, and the fact that it was repeated 64 times in each run,
and the runs were repeated many times. A 10-minute boiling period repeated several hundred times adds up to a large number of data points. Plus later
boiling runs lasted for weeks, not 10 minutes. Fleischmann himself showed Jones the oscilloscope data at a conference, in person, while lecturing in front
of dozens of people, but Jones will never admit that or discuss it.
This is not a controversy. Jones has a right to his opinions, and I have no problem uploading his papers to LENR-CANR.org. He categorically denies that
any cold fusion experiment anywhere has ever produced excess heat. He has told me that many times, in person, and he has written it. Many other people
such as Taubes and Park agree with him. I am not accusing him of anything; I am merely reporting his opinions. He may not wish to emphasize them here,
but he has never hidden them as far as I know. I assume he is sincere. He honestly believes there is no heat, just as he honestly believes the Twin
Towers disaster was caused by explosives, not airplanes. To paraphrase Chesterton, when a man stops believing experimentally proven facts, he doesn't
then believe in nothing, he believes anything.
. . . There is no question about the origin [of excess heat]. Many cells are closed, and others are gas loaded, so recombination is ruled out. No cold
fusion cell has ever had any significant amount of chemical fuel, and no chemical ash has ever been found, so chemical heat is ruled out. Hundreds of
cells have produced tritium, x-rays, helium, and transmutations, so obviously a nuclear reaction is occurring. The only possible explanation for the
excess heat is that it comes from an aneutronic (or nearly aneutronic) nuclear reaction. Any other explanation is out of the question, absurd and
illogical. . . .
5) In another message Jed wrote:
I wrote: Jones has campaigned and pulled strings to prevent funding for CF, reducing researcher to shoestring budgets. Then he has the chutzpah
to say the results are not good because the budget is too small! I should explain what I mean, for the benefit of
people who do not closely follow the dismal & petty inside story of cold fusion politics. The views of Jones and his allies dominate the DoE 2004
where it says: "A second area of investigation is the use of state-of-the-art apparatus and techniques to search for fusion events in thin deuterated
foils. Several reviewers specifically stated that more experiments similar in nature to those that have been carried out for the past fifteen years are
unlikely to advance knowledge in this area." In plain English, this means: Stop looking at excess heat! No more calorimetry! Let us do Jones' style
experiments looking for particles, and let us pretend that Sigma 90 excess heat is marginal, or better yet it never happened."
Also: "The current reviewers identified a number of basic science research areas that could be helpful in resolving some of the controversies in the
field, two of which were: 1) material science aspects of deuterated metals using modern characterization techniques, and 2) the study of particles
reportedly emitted from deuterated foils using state-of-the-art apparatus and methods. . . ." Translation: Heat is not controversial; it simply does
not exist. And oh by the way, if Melvin Miles asks us for funding to find it again, we will blow him away. See:
You have to read between the lines a little. It helps to know the players.
(6) Ludwik wrote: (referring only to what he underlined in Jed's message)
a) The sensitivity of an X-ray film is not as good as that of a photo-multiplier; some P.M. tubes can be used to count single photons.
b) A film can only tall us that some radiation, able to produce latent image, was present. All by itself a film does not tell us anything about the kind
of radiation. A darkness on a film exposed to beta particles, for example, is not at all distinguishable from the darkness due to X-rays, gamma rays,
visible light, neutrons, protons etc. Neither does a film provide information about the energy of particles or photons (except when filters are used).
c) There are instruments that provide more information about radiation. That is why I tend to agree that, in some cases, films are crude detectors.
d) X-ray films recording cumulative darkening should not be confused with thick nuclear emulsions, or other track detectors.
e) For many purposes X-ray films are highly appropriate. That is why a statement about them ("crude" versus "completely reliable") may
or may not be correct. I would prefer to discuss such statements in the context of information needed in particular experiments.
f) Do not forget that radioactivity was discovered by Becquerel by using crude photographic films.
g) Suppose an x-ray film, wrapped in dark paper, is applied to a Pd cathode, after it was used to generate excess heat. Suppose that darkness is observed
at some locations. That would be a strong indication that parts of the film were exposed to some kind of radiation. Dark paper is a filter and visible
light can be excluded, unless it was somehow produced inside the dark paper envelope. Very soft particles can also be ruled out. What is left? X-rays,
gamma rays, neutrons and particles able to traverse the paper.
h) Normally initial observations would be followed by repeating the experiment and by using different kinds of detectors. But such luxury does not exist
in our field. Nothing serious can be done unless experiments become reproducible.
(7) Jed replied:
You can learn a lot more from film than most people realize. Some of the Italian ENEA papers describing x-ray film findings have described the radiation
in great detail, using computer modeling, based on things like the shadow of the anode and its diffraction. The people at BARC who made the image
also used sophisticated detectors on this and other samples. And they made about 100 images of this sample over a year, which can be compared to learn more.
They took elaborate precautions to exclude the effects of light or chemistry. The Italians have also use film plus other instrument types. . . . The experiments were reproducible enough to do these studies back in 1990. . . .
8) Ludwik's message:
Jed Rothwell wrote: The only possible explanation for the excess heat is that it comes from an aneutronic (or nearly aneutronic) nuclear reaction.
Any other explanation is out of the question, absurd and illogical. Why do you exclude a possibility that the excess heat
is due to a form of energy that is not yet recognized (neither chemical not nuclear). The only convincing evidence of nuclear origin is compatible amount
of new elements and new isotopes. . . .
9) Jed asked:
Do you mean something like ZPE or the Mills hypothesis? I concede they are remote possibilities, but I think they are ruled out by the nuclear effects.
I know little about theory, but I gather Mills is generally considered impossible. . . . That would be nuclear fusion, right?
What is your point?
No, I did not mean ZPE (zero point energy) or the Mills hypothesis. I was simply saying that, by definition, nuclear energy is energy released when a
nuclear transformation takes place. A nuclear transformation is a process in which new isotopes or new isobars are created. Such isotopes and isobars, by
the way, are usually called "nuclear ash." By accepting such restricted definition one should agree that the only convincing argument for the
nuclear origin of excess heat is production of new elements or new isotopic ratios.
Why is this definition restricted? Because gamma decays are also nuclear processes. And we know that neither Z (number of protons) nor N (number of
neutrons) changes in gamma decays. Most often gamma decays follow nuclear processes in which either Z or N (or both) change, as in beta decay or alpha
decay. That is why I think that generation of excess energy of nuclear origin must produce a corresponding amount of "nuclear ash."
The confirmed evidence of that kind, as far as I know, is accumulation of 4He releasing ~23 MeV of heat per atom. It was reported by several researchers
in several countries. Such accumulation can be logically explained by the D-D fusion facilitated
by some kind of screening (lowering of the effective coulomb barrier in condensed matter). Yes, the 2D+2D --> 4He reaction is not-neutronic, not-protonic
and not-alphonic. Yes, 4He is a new isotope and its accumulation, at the rate consistent with the rate at which excess heat is generated, is a very
convincing argument. I used this reaction as an illustrative example. Other nuclear processes have been mentioned at our CMNS conferences. In my opinion the
next "official" investigation of CF should be focused on generation of 4He from 2D. That is the strongest existing argument for the nuclear
origin of excess heat.
11) Ludwik, after reading replies from several people:
It was interesting to read what others think about the 9/11/02 tragedy, or about the ongoing war, etc. But such topics are not related to the purpose
of our CMNS list. What I would prefer to hear from those who participated in this thread were comments on my statement. Let me repeat it again: If
nuclear reactions are defined as processes in which "nuclear ashes" are produced then the most convincing arguments, for the nuclear origin of
excess heat, are demonstrations showing presence of "nuclear ashes."
(a) Do you people agree that accumulation of helium at the rate of one atom per ~23 MeV of excess heat is our best argument so far? Accumulation of
4He was reported many times, by many people, in many labs. (b) "Excess heat without nuclear ashes" would be a clear indication that something
else (not nuclear reactions) is responsible for excess heat. Do you agree?
You wrote: Do you people agree that accumulation of helium at the rate of one atom per ~23 MeV of excess heat is our best argument so far?
Accumulation of 4He was reported many times, by many people, in many labs. I quibble with this. Measuring helium is difficult, and only a few
researchers have the equipment needed to do a convincing job. The "best argument" is a somewhat nebulous concept, and partly a matter of taste.
You might argue that tritium or x-rays are the best proof that cold fusion is nuclear. (Or, at least, that it must have a nuclear component.) Some cold
fusion reactions do not produce measurable amounts of tritium. But because tritium is radioactive, it is much easier to detect than helium, and because
it sometimes appears in massive quantities no one can deny it is there.
I expect that all cold fusion reactions produce helium, but that is impossible to confirm, because measuring helium is difficult and because many
experimental setups preclude the possibility of measuring it. In other words, I vote for evidence which is strong and convincing, rather than always
present. Evidently, cold fusion is complicated and the reaction products vary -- sometimes it makes tritium, and sometimes it does not. When tritium
is present and you record something like the autoradiograph from BARC, I would say that is the best proof. See:
2) You wrote "Excess heat without nuclear ashes would be a clear indication that something else (not nuclear reactions) is responsible for
excess heat. Do you agree? How can you be sure there are no nuclear ashes? It is easy to confirm there is no commensurate chemical ash is easy,
because it would have to be present in macroscopic amounts. But trying to prove there is not 1 ppm of extra helium sounds like an exercise in futility.
Cold fusion might be a nuclear effect plus something else. Perhaps the tritium is only a side effect of Mills' shrinking atoms, or what-have-you. But
whatever else it may be, it also affects the nucleus, and transmutes elements. We can be absolutely sure it is not a chemical reaction, or recombination,
or a mistake. That is decisively ruled out. At present that is all we can be sure of. If a theory emerges that can be experimentally tested and proved,
then we will know what sort of nuclear effect cold fusion is. Until then we must live with a degree of uncertainty.
You wrote: Measuring helium is difficult, and only a few researchers have the equipment needed to do a convincing job. The "best argument"
is a somewhat nebulous concept, and partly a matter of taste. You might argue that tritium or x-rays are the best proof that cold fusion is nuclear. (Or, at
least, that it must have a nuclear component.) Some cold fusion reactions do not produce measurable amounts of tritium. But because tritium is radioactive,
it is much easier to detect than helium, and because it sometimes appears in massive quantities no one can deny it is there.
Tritium, 3H, is a nuclear ash and Jed is correct that it is easier to measure, even in very small amounts, than 4He. I am aware of several reports on
generation of 4He at the rate close to one atom per 23 MeV of excess heat. But I was not aware of similar reports about 3H. On the contrary, several people
emphasized that the rates of accumulation of 3H are always many orders of magnitude smaller that what would be consistent with the D(d,p)3H reaction
producing excess heat. Here is a numerical illustration.
The Q of the D(d,p)3H reaction is about 4 MeV. But only 50% of D+D fusion events generates 3H. So on the average we expect 2 MeV of excess heat per fusion.
Suppose that 1,000,000 fusion events take place in each second. The corresponding rate of generation of excess heat would be 2,000,000 MeV per second.
Knowing that 1 MeV is the same as 1.6*10^-13 J we translate this into 0.32 micro-watts. Suppose the excess heat is generated at the rate that is one million
times larger (0.32 watts). That would produce 3H at the rate of 10^12 atoms per second. If the experiment lasts about 3 hours (10000 seconds) then the number
of 3H atoms produced would be N=10^16. For that amount of nuclear ash the activity would be 17.8 billion beta particles per second. Jed is correct, "
tritium is radioactive, it is much easier to detect than helium." But, as far as I know, those who reported reproducible excess heat never observed
such levels of 3H radioactivity. That is why I still think that the best argument for the nuclear origin of excess heat is accumulation of helium at the
You also wrote . . . How can you be sure there are no nuclear ashes? It is easy to confirm there is no commensurate chemical ash is easy, because it
would have to be present in macroscopic amounts. But trying to prove there is not 1 ppm of extra helium sounds like an exercise in futility. But is it not true that accumulation of 4He, at expected rates, has been reported by several CMNS researchers?
We should not confuse two very different kinds of claims: (a) Nuclear signatures -- tritium, neutrons, protons, alpha particles, gamma rays, and (above
all) abnormal isotopic ratios -- have been reported by CMNS researchers. (b) CMNS researchers presented evidence for nuclear origin of excess heat.
You wrote: But is it not true that accumulation of 4He, at expected rates, has been reported by several CMNS researchers? Not that many,
but some have been convincing. The ones I recall include Miles, Bush, McKubre (especially with the Case cell), and several researchers at ENEA Frascati.
Some researchers have reported helium-4, but they have not tried to correlate it with heat. I think Chein (1992) is an example.
You also wrote: We should not confuse two very different kinds of claims: (a) Nuclear signatures -- tritium, neutrons, protons, alpha particles,
gamma rays, and (above all) abnormal isotopic ratios -- have been reported by CMNS researchers. (b) CMNS researchers presented evidence for nuclear
origin of excess heat.
This strikes me as a false distinction, or one that serves no purpose. There is no telling which type of evidence will be more valuable to a theoretician,
and there is no telling which is actually "better" or "the primary origin of the nuclear events." Perhaps there is no primary origin,
and many different reactions produce heat. Suppose someday a theoretician looks at the tritium and the heavy-element transmutations in Iwamura's cells,
and suddenly this theoretician sees how these two apparently disparate products fit together in one picture, and how a single underlying reaction produces
tritium in one situation and Mo in another. Extreme or "outlier" effects are sometimes more useful to establish a theory than more common effects.
Helium may be produced by every CF reaction, whereas Mo production only occurs in special circumstances, but the Mo may still tell us something that helium
Furthermore, even if helium does always occur, the Mo transmutation may not be a "side effect" in any sense. Yes, perhaps it is a side-effect
caused by particles from the primary helium-generating reaction. Then again, perhaps it is the primary CF reaction in this case, and no helium is involved.
We do not know yet. Iwamura is not able to measure helium, as far as I know. Tritium is also impossible to judge at this stage. It may be that reactions
on some areas of the cathode produce tritium but not helium. Perhaps both of these reactions also produce heat (at different rates). Both are nuclear
signatures, and for all we know both may be the nuclear origin of excess heat. In other words, this question may be like asking: "In a pile of burning
tarpaper and firewood that produces black and white smoke, you have two different combustion reactions occurring, with different products. Which of these
two reactions is producing the excess heat? Which points to the origin of combustion?"
There is one nuclear signature which probably is ether secondary or completely unrelated to cold fusion: neutrons. Ed Storms and others have speculated
that the neutrons observed in CF experiments may be produced by very low level conventional reactions such as fracto-fusion. I think Ed believes Taleyarkhan's
sonofusion effect is also probably a form of plasma fusion with no connection to CF. Perhaps the neutrons from Ti reported by Jones et al. are also caused by
low level hot fusion, and cannot help us discover the origin of heat producing CF reactions. See:
In other words, it isn't that CF reactions produce anomalously low levels of neutrons; actually they produce no neutrons all, and a few neutrons have been
caused by coincidental hot fusion. This seems intuitively likely to me. I have never understood why neutron production would be reduced by 11 orders of
magnitude but not 12 or 15 or 20 orders. Why would there be just enough neutrons left to detect in some cases? If the cold fusion reaction can combine
deuterium without emitting a neutron, why would it fail to do that once in 1E11 cases, and suddenly "revert" to a hot fusion path? (Of course
the notion of "reverting" is silly. It refers to the fact that people discovered hot fusion first. It is not as if the cold fusion reaction learn
how to generate itself in 1989, and from time to time it forgets that it is not hot fusion.) Given all the attention paid to neutrons in the early days of
the research, it would be ironic if this turned out to be the case.
. . . I guess I know what XX has on mind. But I am not sure. He is certainly correct that all ideas are worth exploring. I would like to hear from people
who did study generation of 4He associated with excess heat. Do they agree with the suggestion than the most convincing argument in favor of "nuclear
origin of excess heat" is generation of 4He at the rate of several MeV per atom? It does not have to be exactly 23.67 MeV, considering the difficulties
mentioned by YY. The curves I have seen did have large error bars. But they displayed many experimental data points. The trends were compatible with the
expected Q value of the pure D+D-->4He. Is this still a correct observation? I would also like to know if the accumulation rate of 3H (tritium) has ever
been reported as compatible with at least one mW of excess heat. If the rate of tritium generation is compatible (even within one order of magnitude) with
the rate of producing excess heat then Jed is correct that production of 3H should be a more convincing argument (for the nuclear origin of excess heat)
than accumulation of 4He. Small quantities of 3H are certainly much easier to measure than comparable quantities of 4He.
This [adjective non-chemical] makes no sense to me. Obviously, cold fusion is a nuclear effect! It changes the nucleus. It produces tritium,
helium and heavy element transmutations. That makes a nuclear by definition. Perhaps it is a combination of fission and fusion, but it definitely is nuclear,
as anyone can see. Why try to hide that fact by changing the name? Calling in "non-chemical" is a kind of euphemism. A euphemism is a substitute
word intended to cover up some embarrassing or awkward reality. . . .
Once again I want to emphasize that the two issues: (a) nuclear origin of excess heat and (b) cold fusion is a nuclear effect,
should not be confused. In this thread I am focusing on (a), not on (b). What is our best evidence that at least one kind of excess heat has nuclear origin?
For the time being I still think that it is the D+D-->4He fusion (at the rate of several MeV per 4He atom). But I want to hear from those who performed
D+D-->4He experiments. Why don't they defend their reports on this list? Neither Jed (?) nor myself have experience with that kind of work. My position
is based on several reports, not just one.
The best evidence is that the heat exceeds the limits of chemistry by many orders of magnitude. When Fleischmann and Pons saw this they knew they were
seeing a nuclear reaction, not a chemical reaction. Even though we do not know the exact nature of the nuclear reaction, we can be certain it is nuclear.
I am, of course, assuming that only three sources of heat exist: (1) Mechanical, (2). Chemical and (3) Nuclear.
I do not understand what you mean by, "at least one kind of excess heat." I assume there is only one kind of excess heat, and it must be nuclear.
Perhaps there are some varieties or different paths of nuclear reactions, but as I said in my analogy to combustion, they are fundamentally the same.
Not only does the heat prove beyond doubt that cold fusion is a nuclear effect, it is also, as Fleischmann says, the "principal signature of the
reaction." That is to say it is the most prominent, the easiest to detect, and the most certain proof that the reaction is nuclear. As a general rule,
if you do not detect heat, you cannot be sure a cold fusion reaction is occurring. You should confirm the heat before you begin to look for helium and other
nuclear products. Otherwise you may be fishing in a dry hole. The only exceptions to this rule so far has been the Claytor and Iwamura experiments. The
signatures in these experiments are tritium and transmutations, respectively, but I assume the reactions also produce excess heat. However, the heat it too
small to be detected, and their instruments preclude calorimetry in any case.
That explains our disagreement. Nature, however, is more complex. Two days ago ZZ promised to contribute to this thread. I am probably not the only
person interested in what he is going to say about the nuclear origin of excess heat. Contributions from other experienced researchers will probably also
be appreciated by many on this list.
I hesitate to ask, but what other sources are there? Energy comes in several different forms, such as heat and electricity, but as far as I know it
only originates from these three sources. "Chemical" is shorthand for anything that affects only electrons and molecules, not the nucleus.
"Nuclear" would include fission, fusion and falling into a black hole I suppose.
Heat can be produced by slowing down electric charges, by moving magnets or electromagnets, by annihilating antimatter, etc. Even sound can produce
heat in a wall, usually very little. Radio waves also produce small amount of heat, even in our bodies (but much more in a frankfurter placed in microwave
ovens). The E=m*c^2 is not limited to nuclear reactions. Other forms of energy will probably be invented to explain things to be discovered. Energy is
not a simple concept. I was thinking about this recently, but not in the context of CMNS.
Ludwik (not posted):
A well known CMNS researcher, who commented on this thread, summarized difficulties associated with helium work. That researcher thinks that although
accumulation of 4He is a strong argument (for the nuclear origin of excess heat), the accumulation of 3He, resulting from the decay of 3H, in the
Arata/Zhang experiment, is even more convincing. I already wrote about Arata's experiment in item #23. But I do not recall that the amount of 3He detected
was said to be consistent with the amount of the excess heat produced. Perhaps this was reported in a paper that I have not seen. The Arata and Zhang 1999
report on 4He, entitled Anomalous production of gaseous 4He at the inside of DS-cathode during D2O-electrolysis is downloadable
from the library at <www.lenr-canr.org>.
My conviction that the accumulation of 4He is the most convincing argument (in favor of the nuclear origin of excess heat) was based, mostly, on experimental
results summarized by P. Hagelstein et al. in a 2004. Their report entitled "New Physical Effects in Metal Deuterides," can
be downloaded from the library at <www.lenr-canr.org>. The report was written for scientists selected by the DOE to investigate the CMNS field. To my
taste, experiments performed by several teams of scientists, from different labs, are more convincing than experiments performed in one laboratory.
Ludwik: (blue is from Jed, green is him quoting me, black is from me now.)
On Feb. 11, 2006, at 3:03 PM, Jed Rothwell wrote:
>Ludwik Kowalski writes:
>> Heat can be produced by slowing down electric charges . . .
>That falls in the "chemical" category. (That is awkward.
>Perhaps I should call it "electron level reaction.")
I was thinking about radiation, such as light or X rays, that can then be absorbed producing heat.
>> . . . by moving magnets or electromagnets
> Mechanical movement changes electrons.
I was thinking about a copper tube being heated when a magnet is falling down inside of it. An identical nonmagnetic cylinder (same shape and size)
does not generate heat. unless there is also some mechanical friction.
>>by annihilating antimatter, etc.
>I forgot about that antimatter. It is nuclear; it affect the nucleus. It annihilates the nucleus.
I was thinking about annihilation of an electron and a positron only. No nuclei are involved.
>>Even sound can produce heat in a wall, usually very little.
>Sound is mechanical. It is motion that does not involve changing molecules or
> electron states. (Intense sound can break molecules, but that's another story.)
Yes, sound is a mechanical motion. The energy moves along the direction of propagation but individual molecules oscillate about equilibrium positions,
for example, inside a wall.
>>The E=m*c^2 is not limited to nuclear reactions.
> Right. Every energy release, including mechanical energy, involves
> a mass-energy conversion. When you wind up a spring the mass
> increases by a tiny amount, much too small to detect.
>Other forms of energy will probably be invented to explain things to be discovered.
> I was listing sources of energy, not forms. The form of energy released by CF is heat.
> We already know that. Perhaps RF and other forms are also released.
OK, I should have said "other forms of energy convertible to heat"
Jed, I think we now understand each other. I am glad that X shared his personal preference. I did fetch the 2004 review paper he mentioned (Hagelstein et al.).
In reading it I see that generation of 4He was presented (to the DOE) as the most convincing argument for the nuclear origin of excess heat. Arata and Zhang
experiment on "massive" production of 3He, resulting from 3H, is not mentioned in that paper. Do you know where I can learn what the word
"massive" stands for? Does it mean at least one 3H for each MeV of excess heat? I hope so. That would indeed be a very convincing argument. The
half-life of 3H is about 12 years. Only a very small fraction of that ash would be turned into 3He during a time interval shorter than one year. I am sure
that the authors took this fact under consideration.
As far as 4He is concerned, I find Figure 6 on page 8 (in Hagelstein et al.) to be extremely powerful. It shows that 4He is accumulated at the rate of one
atom per 31 +/- 13 MeV of excess heat. The uncertainty of 13 MeV probably corresponds to difficulties mentioned by Mike. The expected value, 23.67 MeV is
inside of the error bar. I suspect that my opinion about "the most convincing argument" was solidified when I read the 2004 review for the first
time. A subsequent conversation with Russ George also played an important role. He showed me that the measured relative concentration of 4He exceeded what
is normally found in the atmosphere. I am surprised that he decided not to participate in this discussion. What I say, and what you say, is much less
important than what the authors of reports say. They know all the details and difficulties; we do not.
P.S. (replying to ZY)
If experimentally observed excess heat has nuclear origin then nuclear ashes of some kind must be generated, in the corresponding amounts. Where are the
ashes? This question has been asked as early as 1989, as illustrated in Peter's 1992 report. The 2004 answer to that question can be found in the report
to which ZX referred earlier today. As stated above, that answer seems to be production of 4He -- in some excess heat setups. Is this still a
correct answer? Do we already have something more convincing today? That is what I am trying to find out.
P.P.S. (not posted):
I just read the 2004 report (Hagelstein et al.) again. Reality of excess heat, in setups similar to those of Fleischmann and Pond, is discussed first,
its origin is discussed in the following section. The title of that section is Helium and Excess Heat. About 20 references to original reports
are given. Here is the ending of that section; it is a comment on the experimentally determined rate of 4He accumulation, approximately one atom per 24 MeV
of excess heat.
. . . This value remains the most accurately determined in this field (in the sense that contributions from both the gas stream and the metal are
included), but it suffers from the criticisms that the numbers of samples were few, and the largest value of 4He measured was less than 50% of that in air.
We note that 4He has been produced numerous times in excess heat experiments at levels above that of the concentration in air. One example is shown in
Figure 6. This plot illustrates the real-time correlation between excess heat and the growth of 4He concentration in a metal-sealed, helium leak-tight
vessel. . . . Because of the importance of this result, it is discussed further in
The report shows that accumulation of 4He was viewed (in 2004) as the most convincing argument for the nuclear origin of excess heat. Is there any reason
to abandon that position today? I am not aware of any recent experimental results that would be more convincing.
Steven Krivit commented on what I wrote. That was yesterday. This morning I asked for permission to quote him here. In what follows I will show what
he wrote (in blue) and comment on it (in black). I will continue replacing some names with X, Y, Z, etc. because I did not ask for permission to show names
of those who decided to contribute to the thread.
Ludwik, [X] tried to make a point. I want to emphasize it. Charles wrote a
whole book about this: It's called Excess Heat. His point was twofold: (1) Huizenga, Close and
Taubes wrote books all about cold fusion, yet they paid no attention to excess heat. (2) As Martin [Fleischmann] says,
"excess heat is the principal signature of cold fusion."
If you are pre-disposed to the idea that fusion evidence must conform to what nuclear physicists expect, you will have a long, frustrating and unsatisfying
road ahead of you in your earnest quest to become comfortable with the idea of low energy nuclear reactions.
I think that scientists should always try to understand new facts in terms of what is already known. Then they should explore other alternatives. Fleischmann
and Pond did try to explain the unknown in terms of known when they hypothesized nuclear origin of excess heat. The accumulation of 4He, in commensurate
amount, is a confirmation of their hypothesis.
If you, however, consider that excess heat has been measured by experts, with precision instrumentation, by people who are of sound
mind, then you have your answer as to what is the best evidence for cold fusion. . . .
Yes, non-specialists, and many specialists, usually have no choice but to rely on the reputation of recognized experts.
Will this perspective be satisfactory to people who choose to dismiss calorimetry? No. You will note that in Charles' book, a reporter
asks Nathan Lewis of Caltech, "Should reporters disregard calorimetry?" Lewis' response was "Absolutely." . . .
How can anybody dismiss calorimetry? It is one a recognized branches of physical science. Joule used to discover important facts about
natural phenomena. What Lewis responded makes sense only if one replaces the word calorimetry with claims for excess heat based on
calorimetric measurements. Personally, I am not dismissing anything in this thread; I am taking reality of excess heat for granted. I do not know why
several people, like Steven, ignored my question (about nuclear origin of excess heat) and replied as if I were questioning reality of excess heat in this
I will take the bold step to say that such a question is no different than the catholic church fathers being asked by the public if they
should avoid looking through Galileo's telescope to see the rumored imperfections on the surface of the moon. The telescope was *the* tool for this
investigation. Not only that, but only the best telescope, with lenses made by the best, state-of-the art methods was capable of providing an accurate view.
Honestly, when should any good scientist indiscriminately discard data?
Lewis' comment was from 1989, by the way. When I attempted to interview him in 2004, he declined, writing, "I've been out of that area for a decade or
so," Lewis said. "Consequently, I have no basis for commenting on anything that has happened in that period of time sciencewise." I consider his 2004 response to be quite honest and respectful.
Now consider Karabut's attitude: "The problems of the skeptics are their problems. I measured excess heat, nuclear products and penetration radiation
(X-ray emission) with 100 % reproducibility." (Karabut is a specialist in Heat Physics, Nuclear Rocket Engines, and Nuclear Material Science at the
LUCH Association at Podolsk, Russia, November 12, 2003).
Karabut's paper had profound effect on me; my renewed interest in CMNS was triggered by his paper. That was more than three years ago. And now I know
that many of his findings (in cooperation with Kutcherov and Savvatimova) were known to cold fusion researchers as early as 1992. What puzzles me is that no
other cold fusion researchers tried to replicate his experiments independently. Nearly every CMNS phenomenon (see item #13 on this website) was demonstrated
with a setup which was clearly described and which was not too difficult to replicate. Findings of Podolsk scientists, however, are not at all mentioned in
the 2004 report written for the DOE. Should I assume that this is an indication that findings of Karabut et al. were not confirmed by cold fusion researchers
in other laboratories? If they were confirmed then Russian experiments would probably be more convincing. How can a flow calorimeter be wrong when excess heat
is generated at the rate of 10 watts? It was shown to be roughly compatible with the rate at nuclear ashes (not 4He) were accumulated.
. . . Consider the words of Italian physicist Antonella De Ninno: "I believe that cold fusion is like the finger pointing the moon,
only silly people look at the finger, wise people look at the moon. This phenomenon sheds a new light on the physics of condensed matter and can really be
the gate for a new revolution in physics. Don't believe that physics is just the challenge in measuring with higher accuracy what is already known."
Several people made interesting contributions to this thread today. What follows is my post; it was reaction to what they wrote. In particular, Steven
Krivit asked: "... So who really knows all or even part of the origin/mechanism/theory? . . . "
As I wrote to Brian, trying to construct a theory makes things more complicated than necessary. In this thread we address experimental facts, such as generation
of excess heat and production of 4He. Are the facts qualitatively consistent with each other? That is our topic. I think they are. They were shown to be
consistent, more or less, and that was a giant step toward better understanding of CMNS. In this thread I would like to hear comments on reliability of facts,
especially from "old-timers" who made significant contributions. Y already outlined great experimental difficulties. But I viewed this as an
explanation of why the Q value, expected to be 23.7 MeV, could not be determined better than 31 +/- 13 MeV. His comment about the highly abnormal 3He/4He
isotopic ratio (factor of 40,000) is also very important.
Is there any reason to believe that unacceptable experimental errors were made by measuring either the amount of excess heat or the amount of 4He produced
at the same time? There are about 20 references to relevant publications in section 3 of the 2004 report presented to the DOE. I note that at least one 4He
atom per several MeV of excess heat has been reported by more that one team of researchers. That is why I still think that the 4He ash is the best indicator
of the nuclear origin of excess heat (in Fleischmann-Pond kind of experiments). Those who disagree probably think that more convincing evidence exists (and
has also been confirmed by several researchers). Please share your information. But some might be convinced that no experimental evidence is consistent with
the nuclear origin of excess heat. It would be interesting to hear from them as well.
I suggest that a separate thread is devoted to the topic "chemically activated nuclear transmutations." And another thread on "where is an
accepted CMNS theory." No progress can be made when we chaotically jump from one topic to another. Yes, Iwamura's findings are extremely important but,
as far as I know, they can not be used to argue that excess heat has nuclear origin. And having an accepted theory would be highly desirable and extremely
You wrote: That is why I still think that the 4He ash is the best indicator of the nuclear origin of excess heat (in
Fleischmann-Pons kind of experiments). That depends on how you define "best," and as far as I know there is only one kind of experiment.
I do not know what other kind you have in mind. Many methods of producing metal hydrides have been used to demonstrate that Fleischmann-Pons effect: that is,
excess heat, helium, tritium, transmutations, etc.
You also wrote Yes, Iwamura's findings are extremely important but, as far as I know, they can not be used to argue that excess
heat has nuclear origin.
Iwamura's present experiments cannot be used to argue this, because he does not try to measure heat. (It is not possible with this apparatus.) However,
in his earlier experiments he performed calorimetry and he also looked for host metal transmutations, and he always observed both. Therefore his evidence is
as definitive as helium. As far as anyone knows, all cold fusion reactions produce helium, and they all transmute the host metal. I do not think anyone has
ever looked for both helium and heat and not found both together; and by the same token I do not think anyone has ever looked for host metal transmutation
and heat, and not found both together.
Many people have observed heat without trying to look for helium or transmutations. These tests do not prove anything either way. Neutrons and tritium do
not always accompany heat. But as far as I know helium and host metal transmutations always do. Perhaps the ratios vary. I do not think there is enough data
to determine this.
I wrote: Iwamura's present experiments cannot be used to argue this, because he does not try to measure heat. (It is not
possible with this apparatus.) I mean that strictly speaking, taken in isolation, these particular experiments do not prove that the heat and
heavy-element transmutations have the same origin. As a practical matter, based on common sense and Occam's razor, it is obvious that they do have the same
origin. It would be absurd to argue that although metal hydride systems produce a thousand times more heat than any chemical system does with no chemical
ash, and they also produce transmutations, these two phenomena are unrelated. They cannot be a coincidence! You might as well argue that daylight and the
sun have no causal connection.
If you are curious to know the roots of this debate . . . Ludwik, in the grand tradition of the Cartesian French philosophers, is trying to establish a
logical or theoretical connection between helium and/or transmutation and the heat. I am content with Hume's empirical definition of causality, perhaps
because I come from a long line of English inventors and statisticians, and to us there is no other kind. Strictly speaking, you can never be certain that
you truly understand a logical causal connection, and strictly speaking -- purely from a philosophy-of-science viewpoint -- the only reason we know for sure
the sun will come up every day in the East is that it has always done so in the past. (This sounds facetious but it is not.) We assume that Newton's first
law ensures that the earth will not spontaneously reverse spin or stop, because nobody has ever seen the first law violated. Repeated observations are all
we have to go on. There is no deeper proof. As Newton himself put it: "I have not as yet been able to discover the reason for these properties of
gravity from phenomena, and I do not feign hypotheses. For whatever is not deduced from the phenomena must be called a hypothesis; and hypotheses, whether
metaphysical or physical, or based on occult qualities, or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. In this philosophy particular propositions
are inferred from the phenomena, and afterwards rendered general by induction." - Principia Mathematica.
(This is usually translated "I make no hypotheses.") Perhaps string theory or ZPE or something like that will eventually "explains"
momentum, but that will only be theory, and theory might always be wrong. Empirical proof is the only kind that exists in reality, and you can never be
100% certain of it any more than you can have a 100% pure sample of iron.
Regarding the relationship between excess energy and helium production, polyneutron theory gives various ratios depending on the
Consider for example oxygen-18 in the electrolyte as a fuel. Let (18O) represent a nucleus of oxygen-18, and let (An) represent
a polyneutron containing A neutrons. Successive polyneutron reactions are:
(18O) + (An) ---> (16O) + ((A+2)n) (neutron transfer)
(18O) + ((A+2)n) ---> (16O)+((A+4)n) (neutron transfer)
((A+4)n) ---> (An)+(4He) (double beta decay + alpha decay).
The polyneutron acts as a catalyst for transmutation. Its contributions to excess energy cancel out. The overall reaction is
2(18O) ---> 2(16O)+(4He) + 5.5 MeV
and the energy per helium atom is 5.5 MeV.
Other possible sequences:
Many electrolytes contain lithium. For lithium-7 as the fuel the polyneutron reactions are:
(7Li) + (An) ---> (4He) + (1H) + ((A+2)n)
(7Li) + ((A+2)n) ---> (4He) + (1H) + ((A+4)n)
((A+4)n) ---> (An)+(4He).
The overall reaction is
2(7Li) ---> 2(1H)+3(4He) + 8.0 MeV
and the energy per helium atom is 2.7 MeV. When lithium-6 is the fuel the polyneutron reactions are:
(6Li)+(An) ---> (4He)+(1H)+((A+1)n)
(6Li)+((A+1)n) ---> (4He)+(1H)+((A+2)n)
(6Li)+((A+2)n) ---> (4He)+(1H)+((A+3)n)
(6Li)+((A+3)n) ---> (4He)+(1H)+((A+4)n)
((A+4)n) ---> (An)+(4He).
The overall reaction is
4(6Li) ---> 4(1H)+5(4He) + 15.1 MeV
and the energy per helium atom is 3.0 MeV. Deuterium fuel generates more energy per helium atom.
(2H)+(An) ---> (1H)+((A+1)n)
(2H)+((A+1)n) ---> (1H)+((A+2)n)
(2H)+((A+2)n) ---> (1H)+((A+3)n)
(2H)+((A+3)n) ---> (1H)+((A+4)n)
((A+4)n) ---> (An)+(4He).
The overall reaction is
4(2H) ---> 4(1H)+(4He) + 21.0 MeV
and the energy per helium atom is 21.0 MeV. In a light water electrolyte containing lithium (and a trace of deuterium) all of these
reactions are expected. The overall release of energy in the electrolyte will probably be in the neighborhood of 4 MeV per helium
atom. On the other hand in a system employing heavy water electrolyte and in which deuterium is concentrated in a palladium cathode,
reactions in the cathode can lead to 21 MeV per helium atom, comparable with that for deuterium fusion. (Here I have neglected energy
contributions from transmutation of the cathode material, which are probably small.)
Ludwik (not posted):
I think that this long thread is over. And I hope that theoretical predictions, as from XXX above, will be discussed in future threads.
What are the main experimental CMNS issues?
In my opinion they are:(a) Is excess heat real? Some say that experimental errors are responsible for excess heat. Most often that heat
is generated at the rate of about 1 W or less. (b) Is the rate of generation of excess heat commensurate with the rate of producing nuclear ashes? Some
say that these two processes are not commensurate. (c) What evidence do we have that a chemical process can trigger a nuclear process? This issue
is not limited to nuclear reactions responsible for excess heat. Some say that this is not possible because the energy scales are very different (millions
of eV versus several eV). (d) How to explain unexpected, but experimentally observed, nuclear processes? No accepted theory emerged from the CMNS
field, so far. (e) What to do to overcome administrative discrimination of CMNS by our scientific establishment? The establishment consists of (but
is not limited to): fund granting agencies, editors of peer-reviewed journals, and administrators of national laboratories. Each of these five issues deserves a
Bill Collis (quoting with permission):
I appreciate XXX' skepticism. I appreciate YYY honesty. It's people like these who keep us in the real world. We need dissent. We need constant
reexamination of our cherished dogmas and beliefs. We need an open mind. The heresies of the early 90s such as light hydrogen anomalies and
transmutations have steadily become acceptable. Who knows what the future will bring? So much for the philosophy. Let's get down to specifics. . . .
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