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309) What is NAE?


Ludwik Kowalski; 10/1/2006
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043



1) Yesterday I posted a message (shown in green below) at a restricted list for CMNS researchers. It was about NAE (Nuclear Active Environment), the concept often used by Ed Storms. I hope my message will generate some discussion. Those who are not familiar with the concept of NAE should refer to two Ed’s papers:

a) “A Student’s Guide to Cold Fusion” at:

http://www.lenr-canr.org/

b) and “The Nature of the Nuclear Active Environment Required for Nuclear Energy Reactions” at:

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

Here is the concluding part of the Storms’second paper:

“Once the NAE is accepted as being of a small size and made from a complex alloy of various elements, perhaps including palladium, methods required for replicating the effect can be suggested. The most obvious method is to use techniques developed by the microelectronic industry, which can deposit controlled amounts of material onto very small regions. Such methods would allow the particle size to be controlled as well as having the ability to apply known amounts of various elements. Once the range of variables affecting the NAE is understood, a large amount of active material could be easily made. In addition, a correct model for explaining the unique nuclear reactions could be developed based on such knowledge. In the absence of this approach, present efforts are handicapped by having to create the NAE using random processes, which is a very inefficient method. The Iwamura et al. [54] study shows what can be accomplished when suitable tools are applied to the problem.”

Here NAE is described in terms of physical parameters: small size, made from a complex alloy, etc. But in other messages NAE is described in terms of what is expected to do. Which one is the definition and which one is the consequence of that definition?

2) Ludwik wrote:
“I am again thinking about Ed's concept of NAE (nuclear active environment). We do not know what NAE is; it is something to be identified in the future. Therefore, I think, that the concept of NAE cannot be used to validate known experimental facts or situations. In science we proceed from what is already known to what is not known. The opposite approach seems to be unscientific; perhaps it should be categorized as philosophical or mathematical. Why mathematical? Because mathematicians begin with propositions and proceed to examine consequences resulting from them. Scientists, on the other hand, begin with experimental facts and proceed toward explanations.

Ed assumes that CMNS phenomena will become demonstrable on demand when NAE is identified in terms of its physical parameters. For the time being he identifies it in terms of desirable effects. But how do we know that such effects will take place? He postulates that. A mathematician should have no trouble with postulating. He would say that a starting point of a derivation is an axiom (or an already proven theorem); it does not have to be validated (or justified again). A physical scientist, on the other hand, is expected to begin with reproducible experimental facts and to proceed toward deeper understandings.

Yes, science and mathematics benefited greatly from clever thinkers who were frequently changing hats -- from the pointed hat of a mathematician to the pipe hat of a scientist, and vice versa. But that should not prevent us from distinguishing two kinds of thinkers. It should also not prevent us from asking questions about NAE. Why do we need that concept at this stage? For the time being, as far as I can see, NAE is used only as an explanation of failures to produce a convincing reproducible-on-demand demo. Does it validate claims based on not-always-reproducible experiments? Does it help us to make CMNS more acceptable to mainstream scientists? I do not think so.”


3) Replying to the above Ed Storms wrote:
“Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why the concept of NAE is so hard to accept. The concept only acknowledges that the LENR reactions do not occur in ordinary materials, but only in special regions. We need to call these regions something if we wish to communicate about the differences between these regions. The NAE is a description used to distinguish one region from another. We say one region of a material is smooth and another is rough as a means to make a distinction. The idea of NAE is no different. One region can initiate a nuclear reaction and another region can not. What is so difficult to understand about this a pproach? In addition, it is obvious if we were able to make more of this special environment, we would be able to initiate more nuclear activity.”

This generated an interesting discussion. The message posted by X reminded us about theoretical physicists who sometimes wear one hat and sometimes the other. A specific illustration was given. But not too many theoreticians are like Fermi who was equally productive under each hat. Most theoretical physicists rely on reported experimental results. Likewise, most experimental physicists rely on conclusions reached through complex theoretical derivations performed by mathematically inclined colleagues.

Ludwik’s reply:
a) Regions should be distinguished in terms of physical parameters, not in terms of desirable effects. That was my main point.

b) The last sentence is an example of circular reasoning. First we define NAE in terms of desirable effects and then we say, “it is obvious” that such effects will take place in NAE.

c) Will the concept of NAE help us to make CMNS more acceptable to mainstream scientists? I do not think so.


4) Ed’s reply:
a) “[You wrote:] Regions should be distinguished in terms of physical parameters, not
in terms of desirable effects. That was my main point.”
Since when? A region can be beautiful, soft, or bright. A person can be desirable, intelligent, handsome. All are terms used to distinguish one region or person from another. No physical parameters are involved. In order to discuss anything, we need words to distinguish one idea from another. NAE distinguishes those regions that do not allow nuclear reactions to be initiated from regions where such reactions are possible. Only later will the characteristics be defined. It is like the word "tree" which distinguished an item from a flower, for example, without say what kind of tree or what kind of flower. You are making this much too complicated.

b) “[You also wrote:]
The last sentence is an example of circular reasoning. First we define NAE in terms of desirable effects and then we say, “it is obvious” that such effects will take place in NAE.” I don't think you will understand what I'm saying if you don't read what I wrote. You are not quoting my statement accurately. The analogy to what I said about NAE is, if you have more money, you can buy more things. This is a very simple statement requiring no additional interpretation

c) “[You also wrote: ]
Will the concept of NAE help us to make CMNS more acceptable to mainstream scientists? I do not think so.” If the concept helps those of us who understand the concept make progress in defining the NAE, then the field will advance and it will be accepted.”

5) Ludwik’s reply:
Circular reasoning is the practice of assuming something, in order to prove the very thing that you assumed. Why do I think that your message about NAE (see below) is an example of circular reasoning? You wrote:

> The concept [NAE] only acknowledges that the LENR reactions
> do not occur in ordinary materials, but only in special regions.

In other words, you are defining NAE as an environment in which LENR reactions occur. Then you wrote:

> . . . it is obvious if we were able to make more of this special
> environment, we would be able to initiate more nuclear activity.


Yes, it is obvious because NAE was defined as an environment supporting nuclear reactions. To remove circularity of reasoning one would have to define NAE differently. One possibility, for example, would be to say that NAE consists of regions in which average distances between atoms are shorter that 100 F. Or it can be defined in terms of local temperature higher than 10^6 K, etc. That what I had in mind by "physical parameters."

It is possible that you already defined NAE in terms of physical parameters but I am not aware of this. In that case ability to generate CMNS reactions would no longer be 'by definition," it would be a logical consequence of a definition. And your statement above would no longer be an example of circular reasoning. In that case, however, one has to explain why such environment should produce such and such consequences. That is what theoretical physicists do.

6) A comment from Y:
NAE is defined by Y as a region of space in which a chain reaction of some kind can propagate, from atom to atom. He argues that a region containing BEC (Bose Einstein Condensate) should have the ability to sustain a chain reaction. (By the way, I am not quoting what X and Y wrote because I do not want to waste time on asking for permissions. Ed, on the other hand, and several other researchers, gave me blank permissions to be quote what they post on CMNS list. I really appreciate this.)

7) Ed’s reply to Y:
“Well, Y, I see you understand the need to accept the concept of NAE. Once a NAE is acknowledged, we can talk about what it is made of and what mechanisms operate in its unique structure, mechanisms not possible anywhere else. This restriction immediately forces theory to take a different approach. For example, some theories assume the basic requirement of the NAE is a large D/Pd ratio. Unfortunately, nuclear activity is observed when the D/Pd ratio is low. Some assume high voltage gradients are necessary. Unfortunately, nuclear activity is seen in the absence of applied voltage. Quantum effects are proposed to cause charge shielding when the lattice is perfect. Unfortunately, the lattice is never perfect anywhere. Each assumed ideal condition is shot down by nature. I suggest theoreticians must start thinking in new directions. I also suggest, hydrino formation is the only mechanism not in conflict with observation. We have the irony of one outlawed idea being an explanation for another outlawed idea.”

8) Ludwik’s comment:
In reading Ed’s reply to Y I see that he also believes that NAE must be defined by models (to which I referred to as material parameters) and not by desirable effects. This opens the path toward noncircular arguments about validity of each model. Desirable effects of NAE must now be explained; they are no longer “obvious” by definition. I hope that readers of Ed’s anticipated book will have no reason to think that circular reasoning is allowed by CMNS researchers.

9) Storms’ comment:
Several additional researchers contributed to this thread. One of them also thinks that defining NAE in terms of desirable effects amounts to “tautology.” In a subsequent message Storms wrote: “For a long time, people assumed the nuclear reactions were occurring throughout the sample. Then attention was focused on the surface of a cathode because this is where the D/Pd ratio is greatest. Theories were based on the properties of PdD as if nothing unique was required. The NAE concept focuses attention on the need to explore some very unique property of matter.” In his first reply (see above) Ed wrote: that the concept NAE “only acknowledges that the LENR reactions do not occur in ordinary materials, but only in special regions.” In another message a comparison was made with bacterial colonies which grow in favorable spots, and not uniformly.

10) Ludwik’s comment:
Discussion between Z and Ed was interesting. How do we know about bacterial colonies? By observing them through microscopes. Such observations are highly reproducible. And how does Ed know that CMNS reactions cluster in small regions? Is it an experimental fact or is it a theoretical postulate?

a) Suppose it is an experimental fact. In that case the validation criterion is replicability. One must refer to specific reactions and to conditions under which they are clustered. Unfortunately, we still do not have reproducible demonstrations of CMNS reactions.

b) Suppose we say that the existence of NAE is a theoretical statement (which is not a guess). Then the statement must be validated theoretically in terms of what is already known. In that case NAE becomes a model-dependent concept.

Is it not true that scientific concepts are either experimental or theoretical? If so then how should NAE be characterized? I think that Ed would agree that existence of NAE is only a useful educated guess, at this time. Such guesses often contribute to progress in science and technology.

11) Another Storm’s comment:
The next day, replying to Z, Storms wrote: "The idea of NAE is very simple - apparently too simple for it to be easily understood. You are reading too much into the idea and making it too complicated. The NAE describes a solid material in which conditions permit a CF reaction to take place. The idea acknowledges the obvious, that the CF reactions are very selective about where they occur. The idea allows people to discuss the difference between ordinary dead material and the special active material. It also encourages focus on finding this unique material rather than trying to explain the effect by QM actions in ordinary material. I do not know what the NAE looks like or what elements it contains, No one knows this yet. The challenge is to determine just what is required of this environment. I propose hydrinos are involved, but so far, there is no proof for this assumption. You are free to propose anything your imagination can support. The whole point is getting people to think about a special
condition."

12) Next day Ludwik wrote:
Saying "it describes" is very different from saying "it is." If we do not know what “it is” then how can we know what "it describes?" That is what bothers me when I think about NAE. The concept seems to be very unusual, unless it is recognized as an educated guess.

P.S. (not posted):
Ed wrote
“the NAE describes a solid material In that sense NAE can be said to be a theory. Theories describe things; things do not describe other things. Why am I focusing on philosophy? Because I am looking for clarity about NAE.

We already have too many unusual things in CMNS; why do we need this one? To improve the status of CMNS in the eyes of mainstream scientists we should emphasize that our methods of validation do not differ from those they use in difficult situations. What we need is at least one reproducible-on-demand demo of a new nuclear effect. That is why I am happy that Storms and Dash plan to produce a convincing demo based on what students of John Dash did at ICCF10. I hope that collaboration will go further than what we did in Colorado. Replicating Paris1 was relatively easy, convincing ourselves that excess heat was not due to a chemical, or other non-nuclear, effect seems to be much harder. Why do we need the concept of NAE to guide us? What we need is a theory.

13) Ludwik wrote (also not posted):
In my opinion educated guesses are likely to be much more productive than random jumping in different directions. In that sense the NAE concept might be very useful. But what is really needed, as often emphasized by Storms, is a theory that has been recognized as successful. A theory becomes successful when it is able to predict a set of conditions under which at least one CMNS reaction, for example, emission of unexplained alpha particles, is experimentally reproducible. Theoreticians create and manipulate conceptual models, experimentalists deal with physical reality. What will be available first, a successful CMNS model or a truly reproducible CMNS experiment? Both might happen at about the same time. I am thinking about Fisher’s model based on polyneutrons and about Oriani’s and Lipson’s experiments with CR-39 detectors. I do not remember what motivated Lipson but Oriani told me that his CR-39 experiments were undertaken to test Fisher’s theory (see item #191 at this website).

14) Z was William Collis; today he gave permission to quote this message:

a) Edmund Storms <storms2@ix.netcom.com> wrote: “We know that the nuclear reactions are difficult to initiate and when they occur, the nuclear products are found in only isolated locations.” Agreed.

b) [He also wrote] “We know that clusters of deuterons are involved in the transmutation reactions and probably in heat production as well.” Not sure. This is an aspect of some models but perhaps it is not an observation.

c) [He also wrote] “We know that significant gamma radiation is not produced.” Agreed. Few gammas, neutrons nor apparent radioactivity.

d) [He also wrote] I propose that for energy to be lost after a nuclear reaction, at least two products must be formed, one of which may be a gamma. The only way this requirement can be avoided is for the energy to be communicated directly to the lattice.” Agreed. We also know that Cold Fusion can take place in liquid, gas or solid surface phases which would rule out any lattice bulk mediated effect. Unfortunately there has been little demonstration that the lattice is capable of suppressing gamma radiation. Until such a demonstration occurs we should consider any model that relies on it as unverified conjecture.

e) [He also wrote] “We know energetic particles are emitted, which is in conflict with energy being coupled to the lattice.” Energetic particles are quite rare, so I would not class them as a primary observation. If a near surface excited nucleus could transfer energy towards the lattice bulk, we would expect momentum conservation to create an energetic particle directed away from the bulk.

f) [He also wrote] . “I propose that nature resists the concentration of energy. Therefore, for clusters to form or for sufficient energy to be localized to initiate a nuclear reaction, the process must be exothermic.” Probably.

g) [He also wrote] “Formation of hydrino's is exothermic. A fully collapsed atom would appear to have very little nuclear charge. Therefore, it might fuse with another element. This idea was suggested by Mills years ago. In addition, hydrinos can form clusters, which is an exothermic process. When these clusters fuse with another nucleus, a logical assumption results. This assumption is that the electrons are spit out of the reaction with high energy, which is the process whereby energy is communicated to the lattice. The faux beta would not be detected outside of the apparatus. However, the weak X-rays have been detected.”

Agreed as far as the synthesis of hypothetical hydrinos and their clusters are concerned - no easily detectable X-rays. However I suspect that the rate of fusion in mini molecules will be such that copious hard radiation would be emitted. Using Koonin's formula (See NATURE VOL 339 NO. 6227 PP 690-691, 29 JUNE 1989), a mini PD or D2 molecule a tenth of normal size will have a lifetime of only 10**11 and 10**9 Seconds respectively. As we don't see gammas or neutrons corresponding to these expected fusion rates, that's evidence they don't exist.

I'll concede the above rates are similar to measured excess powers. But I would expect excess power to continue for a time scale appropriate for the lifetime of the mini-molecules - which might be a long time after the experiment is switched off. Heat after death does not last decades!

h) [He also wrote] “So, by simply assuming hydrinos exist, a model for formation of
clusters, fusion of clusters, and the transfer of energy is provided.”
Agreed, apart from the above.

i) [He also wrote] “In addition the difficult and localized process occurs because hydrinos can be produced only where certain catalyst atoms are present in the sample. The obvious test, which most other models lack, is to discover which atoms act as catalysts under CF conditions and put them in a sample. I suggest the CaO used in the Iwamura method is such a material. If so, the process occurring in the Iwamura sandwich becomes obvious.” It doesn't seem obvious to me. Would you agree that any deuterons fuse with Iwamura's 133Cs one at a time! If so, the expected first reactions could be:-

2H +133Cs(100.%)-> 1n (beta-)+134Ba(2.42%) +5.942 MeV
2H +133Cs(100.%)-> 1H (100.%)+134Cs(beta-) +4.667 MeV
2H +133Cs(100.%)-> 4He(100.%)+131Xe(21.2%) +11.050 MeV

Once again, I ask, "Why don't we see neutrons?". I ask the same question also if you assume that multiple deuterons all fuse simultaneously (Takahashi's model). The trouble with all these models is that the deuteron is a very blunt instrument for creating non-radioactive transmutations. Most deuterium reactions are just too energetic. In theory, a deuteron can fuse exothermically with every naturally existing isotope! But it doesn't. This might mean that the basic mechanism is NOT deuterium / protium fusion. Maybe in a further message, we can enumerate other key observations which need explaining.

15) Ed wrote (about the last point above, at the end of a much longer message):
. . . This is a good point that has troubled me as well. We don't know the rules that control such reactions. Apparently, the reactions only favor stable products, with a few exceptions. Nevertheless, I expect once this idea is accepted, someone will find a way to explain how only stable isotopes are produced. It seem intuitive obvious to me that the reaction would want to go to the lowest energy state, hence only a stable product would be favored.

16) Ludwik wrote:
In rereading Storms’ paper:

<http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEthenatureo.pdf>

I see a very important statement; it appears in the introduction. “We will start by making the assumption that most claims for low energy fusion and transmutation are correct. Support for this assumption is readily available in the literature[3-5].” Yes, we can make this assumption, and point to corresponding references. But that does not automatically validate the assumption. At this stage each experimental claim is still questionable, as far as I know. That is why I think that NAE is an educated guess. It amounts to the following:

a) Highly qualified researchers reported experimental facts which seem to conflict with generally accepted theories. However, for unknown reason, experiments are not always reproducible.

b) The reason for irreproducibility is absence of understanding. How can one argue with this? Essential factors determining output of experiments remain unknown.

c) Ed seems to believe that new nuclear reactions will become reproducible on demand in a special kind of environment -- NAE. Here is how he writes about this in the same introduction. “The challenge of this paper is to learn about the environment in which these nuclear reactions occur by assuming that the environment has universal characteristics common to all methods found to produce the effect.”

d) The educated guess about universal set of preconditions might be confirmed in the future. Another possibility is that different nuclear reactions will require different sets of preconditions. For example, an environment that makes production of He possible might be very different from an environment in which alpha particles, or neutrons, are emitted.

17) Peter Gluck wrote:
Very good synthesis of the situation, I think. However, the global history of the experimental results show that the problem of reproducibility is or can be an essential information. Why CMNS does NOT work is as important as why it works, when it works. Very few (0.1%) of the experiments give excellent results, some tens of percents of them give very mediocre results and a lot of them give immeasurably low results. (As heat excess). . . .

18) Ed Storms wrote:
. . . I agree, neutron production results from a different environment than heat-helium production. Nevertheless, I do not believe nature has many mechanisms at its disposal. Otherwise, these effects would have been seen more often and in many different types of environments.

19) Ludwik wrote:
Earlier in this thread I wrote: (a) Regions should be distinguished in terms of physical parameters, not in terms of desirable effects. That was my main point. (b) The last sentence is an example of circular reasoning. First we define NAE in terms of desirable effects and then we say, “it is obvious” that such effects will take place in NAE.

I was responding to Ed who wrote
: “Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why the concept of NAE is so hard to accept. The concept only acknowledges that the LENR reactions do not occur in ordinary materials, but only in special regions. We need to call these regions something if we wish to communicate about the differences between these regions. The NAE is a description used to distinguish one region from
another. We say one region of a material is smooth and another is rough as a means to make a distinction. The idea of NAE is no different. One region can initiate a nuclear reaction and another region can not. What is so difficult to understand about this approach? In addition, it is obvious if we were able to make more of this special environment, we would be able to initiate more nuclear activity.”

What triggered my message was the word "obvious" in the last sentence. The concept is not at all difficult to accept. Ed's educated guess about a special region, named NAE, is reasonable. But the word "obvious" makes sense only if NAE is defined as the cause of CMNS phenomena. Suppose, as Ed wrote many times, that NAE is defined as a region containing X, Y and Z ingredients, or conditions. Then things become much less obvious. First, the ingredients and conditions must be identified, then one must show, either theoretically or experimentally, that CMNS phenomena become reproducible when X, Y, Z are present. Why should this be obvious to us at this stage? It was only the word "obvious" that turned a reasonable guess into tautology. I am sorry for not making this sufficiently clear. Let us hope that things will become obvious in not too distant future.

20) Ed Storms wrote:
What is obvious is that CF needs a special environment. I do not need to define what that special environment is to make this statement. For example, I can say it is obvious that an embryo needs a special environment to grow into a functioning human baby. I do not need to define what that environment needs to be. Of course, if I intend to grow a baby from an embryo, I need to know the details. Even without this knowledge, I can call the special environment the uterus without any argument. Why can't I call the special environment needed for CF a NAE without argument?

21) Ludwik (not posted):
Yes, processes we know need support. Saying this is like saying that every real effect has a cause. But scientific community has not yet recognized reality of a single CMNS process. In other words, it does not agree that the embrio exists. We are still trying to built a reproducibal-on-demand demo. That is why many might think that speculationg about NAE is premature. They have right to ask for at least one reliably reproducible demo before accepting speculations about CMNS phenomena. They are likely to say that what is obvious for an embrio is not necessary obvious for CMNS phenomena. Offering a single reproducible demo seems to be a better step toward recognition than offering educated guesses. But, as expected by Ed, educated guesses might help us to select a path toward a potential success.

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