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infinite energy

New Energy Research Laboratory Device and Process Testing Update
Published in IE Issue #36, March/April 2001
by Eugene Mallove

"Hot" Cathode Emerges    
A platinum cathode in a heavy water electrolysis system has once again been made to produce excess energy (see discussion in report on ICCF-8, IE No. 32, p. 28). Dr. Edmund Storms reported to us recently from his Santa Fe, New Mexico laboratory that a platinum cathode was caused to make excess energy on purpose by applying a special surface coating. Three samples have been made to work at excess power levels up to 400 mW. The nature of the "active region" on the new cathode is still not understood, but it clearly is not consistent with previous experience and theories in the cold fusion field, Storms says. In private discussions with NERL, Storms said he believes the method is very reproducible and can be made to produce higher levels of excess power than he is obtaining at this time. At the moment, the power ratio is very modest. Input power to the electrolysis ranged from 10 to 25 watts when excess heat was present. Excess power is apparently proportional to current.

If this turns out to be a viable, reproducible cathode methodology, it would be expected to offer great benefits to the cold fusion field. We'll keep readers posted on what develops from this new direction.

Miley Thin Film Cathodes
Dr. Storms began testing the thin film cathodes that were prepared by Prof. George Miley's group at the University of Illinois. So far he has found no evidence of excess heat, but to be fair, the batch of cathodes seems to embody a basic problem: cracking of the thin metallic films on the glass or quartz substrate. "It is very clear to me that the films are breaking up and becoming detached from the substrate during electrolysis," Storms wrote upon viewing SEM photos provided by the Miley group. No excess power was produced over a wide current density range. In Dr. Storms' opinion, the behavior of the as-received Miley cathodes indicates that loading causes damage, which leads to de-loading, especially in the region near the anode wire. These samples all show the same basic behavior, hence they need to be replaced by samples which do not show this effect before any more studies are done.

Dr. Storms will have time to test some new samples on the road to laying to rest the influence of cracking, as found in the first batch of thin-film cathodes delivered to NERL. Storms has demonstrated that using the open circuit voltage as an analysis tool provides a quick method to identify cracking, thereby allowing him to sort through samples prepared by different methods rather easily. Using this technique, he could help Dr Miley's group identify the proper conditions so that the supplied samples would be more reliable.

Storms wrote to us: "The main problem is not with the location of the anode, but with the characteristics of the thin films. These films are destined to come apart when they load. The end near the anode loads most, hence comes apart first and most rapidly. If loading were uniform, the entire sample would come apart at the same time. By having non-uniform loading, hopefully some part of the sample would achieve a sufficiently high loading to make heat before it also came apart. Of course, this is a bad design if the sample were expected to make heat over its entire surface.

"A basic materials problem exists. Palladium must expand when it loads. The Ni also will expand, but in a different amount. The glass remains fixed so something has to give. By making the glass rough and by making the layers very thin, expansion would not cause the layer to delaminate-this may have been the thought. Presumably, Miley has achieved success in this respect."

Dash Titanium Cathode Cell Testing
With minimal changes to its set up, Dr. Storms tested a cell that had been designed and built by Ed Wall here at NERL to reproduce the work of Prof. John Dash with titanium cathodes. Storms filed this report with us:

"I have finished the study of the Ti sample within the cell you sent. The Seebeck calorimeter was used with D2O+H2SO4 electrolyte and this was calibrated after the Ti study using a dead Pt cathode. The results are as follows:

Current, A                Excess power, W (0.05W)
0.48 -0.065
0.98 -0.022
0.18 -0.049
0.48 -0.071

"The sample lost 0.00674g (10.3%) during the study and a copper colored solid precipitate was found floating within the electrolyte. Because the cell was not gas tight, I could not measure the amount of D taken up by the sample. However, the shape of the precipitate suggests that a thin layer was removed more or less intact from the surface as a result of hydride formation.

"I believe no excess energy was made and the slight negative bias resulted because the cell had to be disturbed in order to insert the Pt cathode for calibration. This could have been avoided if an internal heater had been installed."

First Gate Energies Reactor
In November, we acquired from Roger Stringham of First Gate Energies a sonofusion reactor of the general type that has been described in some articles about this technology in the magazine.1,2 Eugene Mallove initially visited Stringham in his California laboratory to observe his methods of power measurement, data collection, and analysis. Calorimetric measurement of the thermal losses from the external oscillator circuit for the ultrasonic transducers determines the input electrical power to the reactor transducers. Calibration of the reactor proper with an internal joule heater allows determination of output power during experiments.

The overall conclusion of the site visit was that measurements were being properly made and analyzed, such that at least a two-fold amplification of input electrical power to the transducers appears to be achieved by Stringham, e.g. 10 electrical watts input, 20 watts thermal output. However, the excess heat power "rides" on top of an additional 50 watt input from joule heating, required in the present configuration to raise the temperature of the argon gas-pressurized heavy water high enough for the cold fusion effects to appear. In principle, this drawback could be eliminated by insulating the reactor. We will evaluate Stringham's reactor at NERL, first confirming its performance to our satisfaction using his protocols and then working with First Gate Energies to create a user-friendly demonstration device.

1. Benson, T. 1995. "A 'Micro-Fusion' Reactor: Nuclear Reactions 'in the Cold' by Ultrasonic Cavitation," Infinite Energy, 1, 1, 33-37.
2. Stringham, R., Chandler, J., George, R., Passell, T., and Raymond, D. 1998. "Cavitation in D2O with Metal Targets Produce Predictable Excess Heat," Infinite Energy, 4, 19, 41-44.

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