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infinite energy


New Energy Research Laboratory Device and Process Testing Update
Published in IE Volume 8, Issue #43, May/June 2002
by Ken Rauen

Sonofusion
Nearly a year of testing of Roger Stringham's sonofusion process via commercially available Crest ultrasonic oscillator electronics has only sporadically produced excess heat, as documented in IE issues over the last year. Because of the vast amount of testing done with few positive results, I have given up on the Crest oscillator system. Positive results are too few and the system is far too unrepeatable to demonstrate the effect. I believe that NERL's reactor design may have something to do with the lack of success with the Crest oscillator circuitry, creating a detuned system. Our piezoelectric transducer design, which is significantly different from Roger's due to practical considerations, has higher resonances than Roger's, and the resonances are higher than the Crest operating frequencies. Changes need to be made to match an oscillator to the higher frequencies of our reactor.

Being such a small lab, what would be a routine shift of resources, a regrouping, is a major effort for us. Changes in materials and equipment are big changes for us. Our magazine sales and other revenue just barely pay our rent and our salaries. There is little left over for materials and equipment for the lab. Since the Crest oscillators are not working for us, our alternative has been to examine single frequency excitation via a signal generator and an audio amplifier. In order to do this, I have loaned one of my audio amplifiers to the lab, a Mackie M-1200, a two-channel professional sound reinforcement amplifier, rated at 600 watts per channel into 2 ohms, regardless of the load reactance.
The Mackie amplifier has a power bandwidth of 70 kHz, so it is well suited to sonofusion research, except for one detail. The voltage output is limited to 70 volts, peak. The Crest electronics produces 350 Vp. The technique of creating an LRC resonance by putting a coil in series with a piezo element boosts the voltage available to the piezo. Generally, I have observed a ten times increase in piezo voltage near 40 kHz with the 5 mH coils provided by Crest. This translates to 3.5 kVp for the Crest system, and 700 Vp for the Mackie. No one knows what piezo voltage is required for sonofusion to occur. The frequency and amplitude shifting of the Crest oscillator leaves these parameters uncharacterized. Chris Eddy of Pioneer Microsystems is continuing to help us and has arranged for some custom-made step-up transformers to be sent to us. While we wait, we have continued testing with our equipment on hand.

Many tests have been made with the 70 Vp limitation. Aside from NERL's standard reactor, two modified reactors have been made. The standard reactor uses Roger's cavity size of 2.5 inches in diameter with a gap between the piezo drivers of 0.25 inches. One modified reactor has only a 0.10 inch gap, putting the entire water volume at approximately the same acoustic pressure, being far below the quarter wavelength of heavy water in the 40 kHz range. The other has a 0.69 inch gap, corresponding to the half wavelength of heavy water at 40 kHz, hoping to see standing wave effects.

An impedance curve of a Crest piezoelectric transducer was published in Issue #40. Since we acquired a digital storage oscilloscope with computer-driven fast Fourier transform spectrum analysis, I have been able to plot impedance curves readily. I have found a bewildering variation of impedance which is influenced by air or water loading, the thickness of the water chamber, single or double transducer excitation, temperature, pressure, and other factors. The impedance curve shifts like wind-blown sand in a desert, plus multiple peaks and dips exist, far more than the 3 tangent wave-like spikes seen in the published graph (IE #40). Specific frequencies for uniform testing are difficult to select.

A wide range of tests have been done on all three reactors, with the 70 Vp limitation. Certain frequencies have been selected, based upon resonant or near-resonant conditions, where current is in phase with applied voltage at the input of the LRC circuit. One hundred percent amplitude modulation covers that one variable, up to 70 Vp. Argon over-pressure has been varied from 0 to 40 psig. Temperatures have not been regulated, but vary from room temperature to 80°C. Resonances have drifted with a change in temperature, and the oscillator frequency has been adjusted throughout each test. All results have been null, typically showing +/- 0.3 watts or less.

The next level of higher amplitude testing has been started with the addition of a 1:1 isolation transformer, two 5 mH coils on one ferrite toroidal core. This allowed the Mackie to be operated in bridged mode for a 140 Vp signal. The two channels are used to drive one load by driving the second channel with a reversed polarity signal. The load is connected to the "plus" polarity terminals of each channel, therefore providing a non-grounded, differential drive. The isolation transformer makes this compatible with the grounded wattmeter. Though testing by this method has just started with the 0.1 inch gapped reactor, all tests have been null so far. Much more can and will be done with various resonance points, plus the two other reactor types.

Maybe the step-up transformer will "put us back in the ball park."

We also have another option for higher acoustic amplitudes. Thanks to Jan Roos, my semi-retired, part-time lab partner who comes in about one day a week, another means is at our disposal. He recognized that two piezo elements can be used back-to-back in the same transducer assembly with the same polarizing voltage for twice the acoustic amplitude. Two metal foils form the electrodes of a capacitor, for which a piezoelectric ceramic disc forms a dielectric insulator between the electrodes. Three electrodes with two piezoelectric discs form this new piezoelectric capacitor, with the central electrode as the hot terminal and the two outer electrodes as the grounds. The two piezo elements are axially oriented with opposite polarity, but when electrically polarized by the metal plates, produce mechanical strain in the same direction, thus doubling the acoustic amplitude. Preliminary testing shows this is a practical method.

Yet another option is a fourth reactor housing which was designed by computer finite element analysis for its vibrational behavior. A maximum axial amplitude was found for a different steel end cap support of the piezoelectric assemblies, increasing the available acoustic field even more. That has been machined and is awaiting lab trials.

Gene Mallove has arranged for testing for tritium of some of our past test water samples. He will be working with staff at the University of New Hampshire on a Packard 1600 TR liquid scintillation analyzer that is ordinarily used in radon studies, but which has the capability of accurate tritium counting too. This direction has been inspired by the sonofusion work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, reported in Science (March 8, 2002).

Since I am the only full-time lab employee at the moment, and Jan Roos is here one day a week, I feel like a three-legged cat on a tin roof. And NERL has other, proprietary projects in development, which we are not at liberty to mention in public yet. There are good things to come. We just need more support to bring them to life in a shorter period of time.



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