New Energy Research Laboratory Device
and Process Testing Update
by Ken Rauen
Solid, 8.5 watts excess heat, 40% over-unity,
S/N > 40/1 achieved
In late 2000, NERL selected one of Roger
Stringham's sonofusion processes as the best method of demonstrating
cold fusion via a commercial device. It has been our intention to
replicate the excess heat, and then to clean up Roger's design for
small scale production of the reactor and associated instruments.
In this way we will be able to reliably demonstrate cold fusion
on demand to anyone with minimal experimental skills. We replicated
the excess heat with Roger's reactor and calorimetry, but did not
always find excess heat as Roger had claimed for his setup. Likewise,
what we found was a maximum of 30% excess heat, not the 100% excess
heat which he claimed to see with the same device. We built a version
more suitable for sale, but until this time had never found any
excess heat from the new reactor. New ultrasonic wattmeters from
Pioneer Microsystems allowed us to move the ultrasonic oscillator
electronics outside of the Seebeck envelope calorimeter (SEC), so
that only the reactor, a circulation fan, and calibration resistors
are inside the SEC. This sequence of events in our experimental
program was covered in detail in previous issues.
Lacking the ability to hire a consultant in piezoelectrics
and ultrasonics, we have had to learn some things on our own. We
thought that the Crest oscillator was operating at the resonance
of the piezoelectric ceramic transducers, but we were wrong. The
resonant frequencies we reported in the last issue were not an indication
of a drift of the system's operation. We measured electrical impedance
and plotted it. See Figure 1. The complex impedance of the piezos
is influenced by many factors. Crest uses a 5 mH coil in series
with each piezo, which changes the impedance curve, generally lower
in impedance and with slight shifts in the multiple resonant frequencies.
We now do not know where the system will produce the desired acoustically
induced fusion events. Since the 38 to 39 kHz pulsed sweep used
by the Crest electronics is not over any resonance of the piezos,
we do not know what conditions to establish in a new oscillator.
Even Roger does not know what is going on, as he never changed any
parameters in this sonofusion system; it always ran the same way,
which always produced excess heat. His other system designs have
produced excess heat, and greater heat at that, but not repeatably,
so this is why he recommended the Crest oscillator swept system
for a commercial demonstration device.
To further understand what has been happening, we
reassembled the original reactor from Roger-finicky seals, connections,
and all. It did not produce any excess heat. We then tried to figure
out what had changed. Neither Roger nor Crest, the manufacturer
of the ultrasonic oscillator used by Roger, knew what had happened.
When we built the new, smaller reactor, we selected
titanium endcaps for the piezoelectric "stacks," the transducer
assemblies. These titanium "radiating bars," as the piezoelectric
industry calls them, are not cemented to a stainless steel water
bath, as they are in jewelry cleaners. The radiating bars are the
reaction chamber surfaces which are directly exposed to the heavy
water in our unit. Roger found nearly all of the metals he tested
to have active fusion sites, even when there was no target foil
inside the reaction chamber and all that remained was the metal
chamber itself. Titanium was found to be an active metal and he
recommended that we use it for our exposed piezo stack surface.
Normally, aluminum is used for the radiating bars, but aluminum
will be easily damaged by the acoustic energy, just as we saw with
the copper target, reported earlier. The radiating bars must have
a low density in order to transmit the acoustic energy without significant
attenuation. Steel is too dense, so titanium was selected, as it
also is resistant to ultrasonic erosion.
In an effort to narrow down the nuclear reaction pathway,
the new reactor with the titanium in the stacks was first tested
with deuterium-depleted water, 3 ppm deuterium. No excess heat was
found, as anticipated. Then the water was replaced with normal,
distilled water; again no excess heat was found. That water was
replaced with heavy water, which is 99.9% deuterium oxide. This
time the excess heat was expected, but again it did not occur. This
was reported in a prior issue. It turns out that titanium forms
a stable hydride, derived from the hydrogen of the water. The protium
oxide exposure may have "poisoned" the titanium against
excess heat production. Since the hydride is so stable, it is not
likely to establish an equilibrium reaction with the water to exchange
hydrogen isotopes. The protium in the hydride seems to remain there.
We hypothesize that if deuterium does not get into the metal lattice,
fusion does not significantly occur.
The protium hydrided titanium radiating bars were
machined to expose fresh titanium under the surface. About 0.020
inches were machined off. No excess heat was found with the exposed
titanium. We do not know how deeply the hydride layer forms, so
we may not have removed all of the protium. Much more cannot be
removed, because the thickness is critical to the mechanical resonance
of the stack.
New titanium piezo stacks were installed. Finally,
excess heat appeared-this time in a major way. One test was run
for 57 hours, establishing excess heat long before thermal equilibrium
was obtained 11 hours from the start, reaching 8.5 watts, 41 hours
from the start. No "heat after death" was observed. With
approximately 20 acoustic watts of input (estimated to be around
195 dB sound pressure level), 8.5 watts of excess heat is about
At 46 hours into the run, the program was changed
to monitor a resistance heater pulse input to the SEC. The purpose
of this test-an on-the-fly calibration-was to document the scale
of the SEC calibration, to make sure that it had not changed. We
put 2.3 watts of regulated DC voltage and current into the resistor
for 3 hours, and a 2.3 watt stepwise rise was seen in the heat detected
by the SEC, verifying that the scaling of the SEC had not drifted.
Next, the ultrasonic oscillator was shut off and the SEC heat was
allowed to drift to thermal equilibrium; this checked the zero of
the system calibration, as the ultrasonic wattmeters were still
on. The system drifted to +0.2 watts of excess heat in 14 hours.
See Figures 2 through 6 for a graphic display of the results.
The excess heat measured was validated. Though we
successfully replicated Roger Stringham's work earlier this year,
this robust result feels, at this writing, much more secure. Our
previously stated goal of this replication effort had been to take
this cold fusion system to a commercial product. Finally, we are
close to doing just that. As this issue goes to press, we are building
a second set of hardware. If it also produces excess heat, we will
build a total of ten systems. If most of these produce excess heat,
we will go into production of demonstration devices for sale. We
hope that in the next issue of Infinite Energy we will be able to
announce the availability of these long-awaited tangible proofs,
which we have needed so badly. The skeptics said they would only
believe cold fusion is real if they could buy a device at K-Mart.
These will not be sold in K-Mart, but the skeptics will be able
to buy them from us instead. Stay tuned.
We still intend to do a systematic search to
identify the "sweet spot," the exact conditions which
cause the fusion of deuterium into helium in an acoustic field.
The Crest oscillator produces a burst of ultrasonic power, which
changes in frequency as it rings down to zero amplitude; we do not
know what the precise conditions of the fusion events are. Our search
will be done with a constant amplitude, 100% duty cycle, sine wave
oscillation. Once we identify exact conditions, it will be possible
to excite the water continuously with ultrasonic energy and produce
far more excess heat, which may make this process viable for steam
production to power a turbine and generate electricity.
Figure 1. This is a plot of the
measured electrical impedance (ohms) of a titanium mounted
piezo stack manufactured by Crest Ultrasonics with a 5 mH
coil in series. The impedance varies from 22 ohms to over
10,000 ohms from 35 kHz to 47 kHz.
|Figure 2.The excess heat run data from the Hewlett-Packard
BenchLink data file is displayed in three overlapping segments.
The first segment is in this figure. We apologize for the imperfect
display of the BenchLink graphics; the HP software and Microsoft
Works do not work well together. Each line on the graph has
unique settings for vertical scale and offset in order to present
the data most clearly. The legend below each graph in Figures
1 through 3 identify the settings for each line; all five traces
are identified, only two identified in each figure. The vertical
scale is in units per division and the vertical offset is the
value at the center line, marked "Ref" for reference.
The lines are identified from top to bottom at the right side
as SEC heat, ultrasonic power, excess heat, room temperature,
and SEC temperature.
|Figure 3. The excess heat run data
for the second segment. The triangle at the top indicates when
the air conditioning was turned on. The zero for the excess
heat trace is the bottom of the graph, so that whatever is shown
is positive, being truly excess heat. It is still climbing,
hypothesized to be caused by the gradual loading of deuterium
into the titanium lattice. The noise of the excess heat is caused
by the noise of the ultrasonic power, which is caused by the
sampling rate of the datalogger (once every 10 minutes) being
slightly out of synch with the ultrasonic power pulses (120
per second). Long-term averaging of this signal has proven to
|Figure 4. The excess heat run data for the third
and final segment of this data file. The SEC heat at the top
of the graph stabilizes at the same time that the excess heat
reaches the maximum of 8.5 watts, average. The ultrasonic power
input stabilizes at about 19 watts, for an excess heat of 40%
for the reactor. The excess heat is believed to be from the
fusion of deuterium into helium.
|Figure 5. While the sonofusion reaction was running,
a 2.3 watt pulse of heat was applied inside the SEC. The heat
detected by the SEC rose by 2.3 watts. If the excess heat of
8.5 watts out of a 19 watt input were an artifact of a drifting
calibration, the 2.3 watt extra input would have measured as
a rise of about 3.2 watts. This calibration check proves that
the scaling of the SEC did not change. The sampling rate was
once every minute in this data logger run. The traces are, from
top to bottom, reactor temperature, SEC heat, excess heat, ultrasonic
power, room temperature, and joule heater power. All are spaced
vertically for the convenience of viewing. All of the power
traces are 2 watts per vertical division.
|Figure 6. The sonofusion reaction
was terminated shortly after this data logging run was started.
The ultrasonic oscillator was shut off. At this point, the heat
remaining in the SEC was calculated as excess heat, the spike
which rose off the graph. Thermal equilibrium was reached in
several hours. The excess heat measurement settled at +0.2 watts,
indicating the measuring system did not develop a significant
zero drift. This second post-calibration test, in combination
with the first post-calibration heat pulse input, proves that
the instrumentation was operating accurately. The excess heat
measured is legitimate. The traces are identified, from top
to bottom on the left, as SEC temperature (which falls rapidly
off the graph), excess heat (which is zeroed at the reference
line and therefore could show a negative excursion and thus
display a system error), SEC heat (which coasts asymptotically
to the bottom trace), ultrasonic power (which falls rapidly
off the graph), room temperature, and circulation fan power
(what the SEC heat line was converging to). The circulation
fan and SEC heat lines are zeroed at the bottom of the graph.
At the end of this run, the +0.2 watt excess heat was the error
between the SEC heat and the circulation fan's DC electrical