Thursday, June 7, 2012


I hope this discussion will continue because it is constructive, calm, empathy
laden and I can learn a lot of it. It seems both Abd and I have the rare ability to not be angry with people who have other opinions than ours. If it could be created a vaccine for thisvirtue! (BTW during my 8.5 years of journalism-writing the INFO KAPPA Newsletter I have stated that the most aggressive, trolls, Forum Monsters are not the extremists, not soccer team fans but the anti-vaccine activists- at an unbelievable intensity.
Dear Abd, I am very grateful for this opportunity. It is very difficult to discuss on our Forums about essential problems- due to the epidemics/endemics of Detailitis.
Our discussion will not lead probably to agreement but let’s try
to generate some Important Questions is more useful for the future development of the field.

I don't see that we are far from agreement, but maybe Peter sees something I don't.

Actually it is mainly about the role of reliability in Science and in Engineering. I am simply not able to believe that:
“We do not need reliability for Science.* It is desirable, that's all.
“Improvement in reliability is desirable, but not necessary.”
(Quoting you)
Please support this with examples of valuable unreliable scientific results that have generated valuable science. Or, unreliable products or processes made by engineering that are used. People need almost-certainty and safety. But please give priority to Science, I cannot find an example similar to LENR in the sciences of matter or energy- not psychology or sociology where too many things are possible.

I'm a writer, so it's my business to be effectively communicative. I'm still learning, though.

You are a good writer and this is the reason a discussion with you is both pleasant and instructive.

Yes. Until you identified the cause, it was totally mysterious. Gremlins. Bad juju. Whatever.

I hope one day you will agree that this poisoning destroys the LENR experiment- re-read please Piantelli’s patent WO 2010/058288

Electrochemical PdD experiments are *extremely* complex. With gas-loading, the complexity may be reduced, but a great deal depends on the exact structure of the particles or Pd material. And it will change with loading and deloading.

I just want to add that adapting/scaling up an electrolysis cell to an energy source is an engineering nightmare. Gas phase is kind of must, it seems Rossi and DGT are working at an active surface temperature of over 600 C.

I'll believe it in that I consider it possible. Why not? However, I don't see this as explaining the difference between the first, second, and third current excursions in SRI P13/P14, which was a sealed cell. It's not impossible, though, because the first and second excursions, showing no heat, may have cleaned off the cathode.

One of my lab colleagues/friends at the Stable Isotopes Institute was working with high vacuum 10 exp -9 to 10 exp -11 mmHg and he has convinced me that the gases adhere unbelievably strongly to the metals.
When you and other colleagues will eventually believe in my poisoning idea, I will be already busy smelling the flowers from the side of the roots- send please a good thought to my memory then

It was crucial to identify the reasons for such variability. The skeptics did not get the import of variability; they thought that it meant that the effect was down in the noise. However, that's what SRI P13/P14 showed so clearly: the effect, when it appears, is striking, not marginal. Of course, sometimes there is an effect close to the noise. But a strong, quite visible effect is one of the characteristics of a successful replication of the FPHE, not something questionable, where we look at a plot and say, "Well, see, it's a little bit above the noise there, for a few hours." Maybe. Or maybe that is just noise a little higher than usual.

Not exactly a good situation for a researcher who has to understand and solve the problem, isn’t it? However poisoning, partial or complete is uncontrollable and can explain the variability.

Ultimately, it appears, reality does play hide and seek, at the quantum level. But I don't think that's happening here. Regardless, reality is not "bad." Period. It's just reality. We make up good and bad. This is not you, but "scientists" who reject experimental data because they don't see repeatability in it are just fooling themselves. What they don't see means nothing. Saying "I don't understand this" is fine. Saying "you must have made a mistake," is the problem, unless the error can be identified. Not just guessed.

Unfortunately some aspects of reality are not good for us- cold, disasters, illness, old age- then reality is really bad sometimes. I know nature has no problems just solutions, but we have problems- the energy situation is one and any obstacle to a solution is bad.

See, my hobby is collecting proverbs, quotation aphorisms and in my opinion the most false and cruel one is one by John Ruskin:
“there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather” I have arrived to this idea when once during the terrible winter of 1959/1960 I was trying to defreeze a pipe at the top of a very high distillation column with live steam coming through a rubber hose as you could seen in the Rossi experiments Just to mention-I accomplished the task nad did not get pneumonia..
Weather can be bad, reality is sometimes hostile, Murphy is a sadistic techno god.

It's not as powerful, and it runs the risk of an enormous waste of time. Look, it was obvious from the beginning that there *might be* enormous promise from cold fusion. But it was also obvious, within a few months, that this was not going to be easy, at least not with the FP approach. Yet people had done stuff for a long time with no clear evidence of fusion, and casting about to find a new approach was probably not so wise, either, in the sense that it was likely to be obscure itself.
The deepest error that Pons and Fleischmann made was in not disclosing how difficult it was, with the original announcement, and, if not there, with the original paper.
For those convinced that LENR was real by the P&F results, and by other confirmation, including perhaps their own, pursuing more reliable approaches did make some sense. However, if these people were convinced it was real, and especially if they had success replicating P&F, they might consider the value of carefully studying what they already were able to make happen. Some did that, perhaps. Some did not.

What else could I say other that you are right? But it is a bit late. A long series of hopes and disillusions followed, the disillusions were the continuous phase but hope remained indestructible,

Not from that example!!! The correlation there is quite weak, and, if this is a real CF experimental series, I'd suspect that the heat is close to the noise. That is, from the expectation d -> He, we'd expect half as much heat with the first as with the second, but you have only the second showing heat.
This is too short an experimental series to do more than provide an indication, and the indication here could be that one of the heat measurements is punk.
Thank you for the next examples given by you; they are the best ones possible, emphasis on ‘possible’
Real example, one of the two or three best:
Miles' work. Miles did a set of CF experiments and controls. His full series as reported by Storms involved 33 helium samples taken and analyzed blind. These were samples of the cell gases. Miles had data on heat generation from these cells before the samples were taken. Multiple samples were taken from cells, I originally though this was 33 cells. Not. A weakness, but not a disaster. (Better if all cells had been treated equally, all cells were identical, etc. There were some differences, which actually weakens the result, i.e., included in the series was some cells where something quite different was going on, and that makes the work look *less* conclusive. But I won't go into that here.)
Of the 33 cells, 12 were showing no anomalous heat, and no anomalous helium was detected. 18 showed heat, and, from them, helium was detected within an order of magnitude of the helium expected from d -> He-4. The more heat, the more helium, within experimental error. (The measurements were rough, unfortunately, only order-of-magnitude detection.)
That leaves three cells. One experienced a power failure and deloading and calorimetry error was thus suspected, the other two were a cerium-palladium alloy. They showed heat, but no helium. What happened? We don't know. Nobody followed up, the classic story of cold fusion. Mysterious results, sitting in the record, with no follow-up.
This is a strong correlation, even with those three anomalous results. Miles calculated one chance in 750,000 of this happening by chance.
You could also look at the SRI Case replication, reported in the 2004 DoE review paper. It was poorly explained. When it's fully understood (I had to read other papers to get it), it shows this same phenomenon: no heat, no helium. Varying amounts of heat, varying amounts of helium. SRI also studied the time behavior of accumulated helium, and did one experiment where they attempted to recover all the helium (that's the hard part!), finding a ratio of heat/helium quite close to the theoretical value for d -> He-4.

It could be a very different situation with say, ten times mire results of this kind.
It was largely reward-less because many researchers were not looking at the treasure they had in their hands, if they managed to occasionally see excess heat. They bought the idea that this was some kind of failure. No, it was success. It was indeed difficult to arrange a demonstration of the FPHE. However, it seems that those who persisted did find it. Indeed, it may have been most difficult for those who were lucky and found it quickly! -- because it then disappeared. I can imagine the agony. However, the gold was in investigating the conditions of appearance and disappearance.

A very complex situation, difficult to appreciate in retrospect.

And if a practical application is possible, setting Rossi et al aside, it will very likely be from theory enabled by the presence of more data from what should have been done twenty years ago. The idea that it was necessary to get reliability permeated the field, and that was an error. Reliability would very likely follow from a successful theory. Or not.

A beautiful idea, but how does this go in practice? Or not, to cite you. In the 70-ies I had lead many research and development programs and one of our slogans was ”one experiment is no experiment, one result is no result” we have always followed till we were convinced  the method, process, step, whatever is repeatable, reproducible, reliable.  We scaled up from lab to pilot plants and to industrial scale.
Make your blunders on a small scale and your profits on a great scale. And many times scale up is not a linear process
you can have surprises of any kind. It is an adventure.
I have to confess that I cannot understand exactly how a good theory can remove the reliability problem, but it is about my limited imagination here.

(With Rossi, if that's real, the investigation will follow and theory will be developed based on that. Rossi, in a sense, got lucky -- if this is real -- though he "got lucky" from what he says was a thousand variations he tried. Essentially, he explored the parameter space, trying lots of combinations. It can work. In fact, I'm suggesting something like that, only with systematic exploration, with special focus on answering extant experimental questions.)

With Rossi if real, a great question arises: what has he changed in LENR? What new dimension he has added to LENR? I think BTW that he has gone outside the parameter space. LENR+ has added new unexpected parameters to those of LENR. (It is a pity that I am not inerrant, we will have to wait if this is true or completely false.

Yes. "Wicked problem." Peter, you caught the disease, you looked at cold fusion with an eye that only saw value in high COP (which is very different from reliability, by the way, 10% excess power, reliably, would be spectacular *for the science*), and you compared a few thousands of what you called "sick cathodes" with heat less than 30% with "many thousands" of "dead cathodes\". 30% of input power, with the FPHE, is actually way above noise, more than adequate for systematic study. Pons and Fleischmann, as I recall, had a "dead cathode" rate of 5/6. The practical implication of this is that one must run many cathodes, and, from what I'm seeing (Letts is graciously allowing me to watch his work-in-progress), a "dead cathode" can become "live" by continued electrolysis, sometimes. So it's not the cathode that is dead, but the patience of the researcher.

Mea culpa, I have understood Cold Fusion as a future energy source not as a system for new scientific discoveries. However with 5 dead cathodes vs. 1 working one, it is difficult to be either.
Experimentally speaking some cathodes are hibernating and then suddenly without any visible cause or logical/correlational explanation start to work. Mystery!

The point is that one out of six is actually fine, not terribly difficult, except for one thing: it can take months to run one of these experiments. So, if one is serious, one must run many cells in parallel, which is exactly what Pons and Fleischmann did in their later work. I've been suggesting expanding this, by making cells smaller and cheaper, the limit is the smallest cell for which heat can be measured with reasonable separation from noise. NASA is apparently exploring cells-on-a-chip, with many cells built on a substrate perhaps using techniques common in electronics. I assume that with the connections through the substrate, individual cells can be run together with the others, or separately, all being immersed in the same electrolyte (if this is electrolytic, or in the same gas if this is gas-loading.)

OK, in the heroic period of the research you can work with many cells in parallel, try to understand why some work and why the others re inert, but later attention has to be focused on the active cells.
It is difficult to deny that we still are in the prehistory of LENR.

If research can identify markers of the reaction other than heat and helium, it could be *extremely* useful. For example, suppose that active PdD produces a characteristic sound. (This is reported by SPAWAR, by the way). It might then be possible to monitor instantaneous reaction levels, even more quickly than through calorimetry. Monitoring IR emission could do this as well. I've wondered about visible light. There should be some, if palladium is being melted, as appears in some SEM images of cathodes. (Etc.)
This kind of research would vastly speed up engineering the effect, even without a sound theory.

I am absolutely enchanted with the idea of “singing cathodes” and will ask my active experimentalist friend to test the idea.

*Without needing any new approach to be invented.* Of course, if more reliable methods of triggering LENR are found, great. I expect the same kind of work can be done with NiH, for example.
It seems NiH (transition metal hydrogen systems) are somewhat simpler and more practical than electrochemical cells.

(I think reliability in Science, engineering, business, marriage, musical interpretation is, grosso modo, the same overall. Statistical reliability in engineering, production is about a small proportion of under-quality pieces. A minimum is say 98.5% good items.)

Depends on the nature of the application. However, reliability of an effect is not necessary in science, it is simply one more characteristic that is measured, by accumulating experience and quantifying it. X out of 100 cells tested following Protocol Y were found to exhibit anomalous heat above 5% of input power. Then we look for associations present with X and not with not-X, or vice-versa. We try variations, etc. And we also run the *same* series again.
There difficulty is that electrolytic cold fusion is extremely sensitive to seemingly trivial variations in the material. This is one reason why I think the most productive work will be with electro-deposited palladium, because it may, particularly with thin layers, be easier to control that deposit. But there are still many ways to mess it up, apparently. An advantage of deposited techniques: generally cheap.

I remember the volcano eruption of optimism when Stan Szpak has invented the method. It definitely gives improvements, however not spectacular ones. The liquid phase being saturated with air, the newly formed surfaces are also poisoned from the start..

It becomes possible with experience. One of the big concerns about CF is that occasionally, heat production has been enormous, cf. Pons and Fleischmann's cell meltdown. However, if cell performance becomes reliable, within a few percent, say, such an outlier becomes quite unlikely. That meltdown cell was bulk palladium, a 1 cm cube. It would be interesting if someone, taking appropriate precautions, were to run that again. The worry: that the meltdown was at the low end of what might happen.... but it's unlikely.

We still cannot explain those events- the cubic cathode, Mizuno’s unquenchable 100 grams cathode, Piantelli’s molten rod, cathode 64 of Energetics- on a causal or rational basis.

Yes. However, Science makes Engineering more efficient.

Let’s discuss engineering later, please! We will indeed learn something from Defkalion and Rossi about engineering.
We have to explore Science and Reliability first.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. ", the cubic cathode, Mizuno’s unquenchable 100 grams cathode, Piantelli’s molten rod, cathode 64 of Energetics- on a causal or rational basis"

    Interesting stuff, very similar reactions at different labs, it should trigger contemplative thought, even a rampant skeptics curiosity should be aroused by such amazing (coincidences?)

    I wonder, do Defkalion and Rossi even realize how incredibly significant their work may turn out to be? They might be entirely caught up in the fascinating cutting edge R&D work, that they have a kind of tunnel vision, limiting their perceptions involving the huge impact this will have on the Planet.

    In the past major breakthroughs of this scope, immediately lead to other discoveries, a ripple effect exploiting the new science. Any new and interesting anomalies found by Defkalion and Rossis R&D may be kept confidential to maximize their positions in the field. Not that I know that any such anomalies have been found, as research begins in earnest, such new discoveries become more likely. How interesting and exciting it will be if an accepted physics based model cannot be derived, perhaps a new branch of Physics will be born.

    1. Dear Nixter,
      if and when LENR will enter times of discoveries and certainties, it will be very interesting to find out if those
      miraculous events and LENR+ i.e. practical and advantageous
      heat generation are related and how.
      It also will be something ideal if LENR theory (understanding) will eventually become realistic and verifiable.

    2. Works. No explain. You explain.
      English no good.
      1. Make more *Take 2 copper disks* Here
      2. Have 2 Cu sheet 5 cm X 05 cm.
      3. Make 4 X 14 = 56 dents even one sheet.
      4. Use
      and *The Ni powder, most pure and finest grade, is handled in dry box under inert atmosphere.
      It is mixed with 5% by weight carbon powder, subjected to 500 C and degassed with a vacuum pump to prepare the surface and clean out any oxygen/oxides clinging to it.
      The surface is cooled. The chamber is pressurized with hydrogen to 2000 psi and heated to 200 C after the gas line is closed.
      When the pressure reaches stability the chamber is cooled.
      This process is repeated five times to fully load the Ni. * but add equal Mg powder before
      5. Jewel tool in dry box to seal make 56 separate other sheet.
      6. Encase inside heavy Cu case with pressure in and out for steam.
      7. Initiate Nichrome wind heated.
      8. Start RFG pulses control.
      9. Brake DC electro magnet voltage.
      10. Work good. Long time. Safe. Chan friend Dave in Hi will build for you cheap.
      Chung Te

    3. Thank you, very interesting! If it works well (efficiency, duration, constancy?)you will need a strategy and capital for optimization, development, scale-up, commercialization).
      I wish you success!

      PS Do you have more quantitative data, good measurement as energy in/energy out?

  3. Hi,

    I was looking for reference to P13/P14 SRI experiements, in order to have credible references in an open letter.

    Do you know wher I could find that report, and maybe a description, a discussion, a publisged version, of that experiments...

    the idea is to have clear and credible references to assert the reality of LENR, as known since long.

    best regards.

    1. Dear Alain, can you be a bit more precise? It is about some
      McKubre paper I guess. I can ask Mike about details if necessary.

    2. I don't have much data, but finally I've found what seems to be the good one.

      it seems a good job from my view, but I'm interested to know any critic, good or bad, with arguments on all sides...

  4. This is very good information.i think it's useful advice. really nice blog. keep it up!!!

    - reliability centered maintenance

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