82) Speculations of a retired physicist
Ludwik Kowalski (July 15, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043
[P.S. On August 20 his paper became item #103 of this list]
A retired physicist (RP) sent me an essay in which he reflects on excess heat from thermonuclear reactions. He speculates that cold fusion takes place in tiny spots at which a crystal material (loaded with hydrogen) might be compressed to very high temperatures (millions K) by electromagnetic shock waves. In a letter accompanying the essay RP wrote: Enclosed is a synthesis of my studies on problems associated with development of practical nuclear fusion. It contains elements of both hot and cold research. I hope that it can bring together these two feuding camps that jointly provide the research to bring, fusion energy reactors to reality. It is too important a goal for us to waste time and energy on a Hatfield-McCoy feud among physicists.
RP does not believe that cold fusion is basically different from hot fusion. He speculates that data from cold fusion experimental reports indicate that nuclear fusion of atoms trapped in microstructures may be due to the imposition of external forces that generate compression waves. These waves compress lattice cells and heat the trapped deuterium atoms to fusion energy levels. In solid environments conditions are such that the energy released in thermonuclear fusion goes into random lattice oscillations rather than into radiation. Excess heat cannot be generated unless the Lawson criterion is satisfied. The essay elaborates on conditions under which that criterion can be satisfied in nanoparticles.
According to RP, who takes findings of cold fusion researchers seriously, it will be possible, at least in principle, to build a fusion reactor with the following properties:
a) It does not emit gamma rays and nucleons during its operation.
b) It does not produce radioactive residuals.
c) It is completely controllable and safe.
d) It is simple to build and operate.
e) It has high net power to weight ratio.
f) It can be scaled over a wide range in size and power.
A research program for achieving the goal is outlined; it refers to nanoparticles, to stabilization of electric arc with electromagnetic waves, to sonoluminescence, to plasma-acoustic shock waves and to other topics with which I am not familiar. To motivate inventors RP tells them that fusion reactors might exist on the sun surface. Referring to solar prominances he writes: Solar loops rise from the surface of the sun [flares] to altitudes of 100,000 km. It would be expected that the temperature of the loop would decrease with altitude. Some loops have been observed to have their temperatures rise from 4500 K at the base to several million K at an altitude of about 10,000 km. This phenomenon has not been satisfactory explained. RP speculates that very high temperatures observed might be due to thermonuclear reactions. Nanoparticles, such as Carbon 60 (first discovered in solar spectrum), can possibly play an essential role in generation of excess heat. They are also essential in the conceptual description of his anticipated terrestrial reactor.
After writing the above I emailed it to RP. I also asked about the date at which his paper will be posted on his web site. He said that will try to do this before August 15. The URL of the web site, and the real name of RP will be inserted into this item later. His reply also contained comments shown below; I hope they will be useful. These comments are added with his permission. The RP wrote: Your synopsis does not express central points of my paper as I would have presented them.
1. Hot fusion and cold fusion are closely related.
2. Neither approach, as now conceived, will produce a practical nuclear power device.
3. Knowledge gained from amalgamation of these two approaches suggests a new
reactor concept that satisfies the "practicality" requirements.
a. no gamma or neutron emission
b. no radioactive byproducts
c. completely controllable and safe
d. simple to build and operate using current commercial components
e. high net power to weight ratio
f. scalable in size and power
4. Explanations are proffered for natural phenomena and experimental observations
currently described as "anomalous"
5. Nanoparticles (uni-element molecules composed of 10 to 100s of atoms) that trap
hydrogen are essential to this design. These products are produced commercially.
6. A schematic drawing of a conceptual design for a nuclear fusion device is presented
and possible developmental experiments are described.
7. It would be practical for stationary, mobile, airborne and space vehicles.
8. This concept is particularly suitable for inclusion in scientific and technical courses.
9. The fundamental stabilized arc device (without nanoparticles) was built and
operated by J. Yenser of Grumman Aircraft in the late 1950s.
Note: I think that putting items in the synopsis out of context may deter some
people who are not well versed in the subject from reading the paper.
Return to the clickable list of items