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infinite energy

The 7th International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF7)—Impressions and Overview

by Jed Rothwell


Over 200 scientists, engineers, inventors, students, and investors convened in Vancouver, Canada for the Seventh International Conference on Cold Fusion, ICCF-7 (April 19-24, 1998). ICCF-6 had been held in October 1996 in Hokkaido, Japan. ICCF-8 will be held in Italy in the fall of 1999, following the custom of rotating the conference from Asia to North America to Europe.

Registrants at the conference this year came from Australia (4), the Bahamas (1), Canada (10), China (14), France (8), Germany (6), Greece (1), India (1), Italy (16), Japan (30), Netherlands (1), Poland (1), Romania (1), Russia (14), South Korea (1), Spain (1), Switzerland(2), Taiwan(1), United Kingdom (3), and the U.S. (96). Registrant totaled 211.

There were many good papers at ICCF-7 about research that has continued for years, especially from Michael McKubre, George Miley, Ed Storms and Martin Fleischmann. I’ll discuss  these later, but for now I would like to describe some notable surprises, that is, papers describing new and unexpected breakthroughs. These have not been replicated or independently verified yet— except for the pioneering work of Dr. Leslie C. Case, who successfully demonstrated his catalytic fusion process at our lab in Bow, New Hampshire less than a week after ICCF-7 (See the story about this work on pages 32-40). I would target them for a closer look and near-term replication. Case’s and Ohmori’s experiments appear to be relatively simple to replicate. Attached are six abstracts describing novel, unexpected developments. (Unexpected by me, anyway.) Papers are listed alphabetically by the main author: Cain, Case, Iwamura, Ohmori), Silver, and Stringham. Here are my comments about the papers.

B.L. Cain et al. (Mississippi State University)

Thermal Power Produced Using Thin-Film Palladium Cathodes in a Concentrated Lithium Salt Electrolyte

Sputtered thin film palladium is electrolyzed in highly concentrated electrolyte at high temperatures. (Cain selected a high temperature, because I had written that Fleischmann recommends it, which is gratifying. At least one researcher listens!) Six out of six cells produced heat, ranging generally from 50 to 100 watts, with one run at 200 watts, which is extremely high power density for a thin film experiment.

The authors used much more electrolyte than normal, in a transparent cell, so they could see what was going on better than most researchers can. They emphasize the importance of direct observation. A number of factors raise the suspicion this might be a chemical reaction:

1. Much lithium carbonate precipitated out of the electrolyte.

2. In one case, the cell began to produce heat before electrolysis was turned on

3. The excess heat runs were fairly short, and successful runs were accompanied by intense and somewhat weird chemical reactions also took place continuously, with cloudiness, bubbles and so on.

4. The complex chemical reactions are apparently critical to the excess heat. When other, equally vigorous but different chemical changes took place no heat was observed. For example, when lithium salts coated the vessel above the water line heat was not generated; when the upper portion of the vessel remained clean, heat was generated.

To allay worries about a chemical reaction masquerading as cold fusion, the chemistry department did a careful analysis of the precipitate and of before and after samples of electrolyte, cathode and other components. The precipitate was tested when it was still a wet slurry. The conclusion was that only ~5% of the lithium converted to carbonate. If 100% of the lithium had been consumed, this would have generated enough chemical heat to explain the excess. The carbonate was presumably formed from carbon from the air, because this is an open cell. It was more open than usual, and more than recommended, so I suggested they use a gas bubbler. This might prevent carbonate formation which might also clobber the reaction, which would be interesting. The power was cycled on and off in order to perform loading measurements. I suspect this may have contributed to the success of the experiment (assuming it did actually succeed and this is not chemistry.) I would urge people who replicate the experiment to cycle the power in the same pattern, even if they do not measure loading when the current is off.

The fact that the cell began producing heat before electrolysis is surprising and suspicious, as Douglas Morrison of CERN pointed out, but it is not totally unexpected. Fleischmann has been telling me for years that he expects chemical methods of making hydrides might be superior to electrochemistry.  (Note well that Dr. Les Case’s work appears to do just that—see below.) Morrison claimed these results contradict others because “cold fusion requires electrochemistry,” but this is not true. Beginning in March 1989, gas loading, ion beam loading, and other methods have been reported and discussed at the ICCF conferences which Morrison attended.

This experiment will have be independently confirmed or widely replicated before I believe it, but it is interesting and tentatively it looks like quality work to me. Cain agreed to try to arrange independent verification soon. He will also attempt to run a cell for a long time, past the “limits of chemistry.”


L.C. Case (Fusion, Power, Inc., Greenland, New Hampshire)

Catalytic Fusion of Deuterium

Gas loading with commercial hydrogenation catalysts consisting of ~1% palladium on activated carbon. The cell must be maintained at a temperature between 150 and 250°C, no higher or lower. It is first loaded with ordinary hydrogen gas, which cleans the catalyst and purges oxygen. It is then evacuated and loaded with deuterium gas. The temperature rises 5 to 30°C over the baseline temperature established with hydrogen, indicating 10 to 30 watts of excess heat. The excess heat lasts for weeks. He has never let it run indefinitely. He quenches the heat by letting the cell cool. The experiment has been repeated dozens of times successfully. Dennis Cravens of CETI commented that the treatment with hydrogen may be important. It serves as a null run and it cleans the catalyst. Someone asked Case whether the hydrogen blanks might be producing heat. He responded that he would have no way of telling; he only knows that deuterium is much warmer. (He ignores differences less than 5°C.) I was suspicious that this might be an artifact of the different heat conduction coefficients of deuterium and hydrogen. Such problems were reported by Mizuno, Oriani and others working with gas calorimeters. I asked Case about the position of the thermocouples, gas pressure, calibration techniques and the cell wall temperature. I am satisfied this type of artifact is not a factor.

In his conference summation, McKubre cited this as one of the most significant papers, because Case appears to have developed a 100% reproducible process, and because he is willing to publish all details about experiment. Mallove and I agree that at the moment this may be the most important experiment in cold fusion. At present, Case uses an uninsulated steel cell , which he raises to the critical operating temperature with an electric heater. We advised him to move the cell to an insulated container, perhaps a Dewar, and to turn off the electric heater once the reaction begins.  He is going to do that. If this is a genuine cold fusion excess heat reaction, the cell should self-heat and remain hot indefinitely with no input, probably for years. This test would do away with the need for calorimetry and resolve all doubts about the existence of the excess heat.

Case is a chemical engineer who has decades of experience working with these catalysts. Beginning in 1992, he scoured the catalogs and requested sample materials from several chemical companies. He tested dozens of samples at different temperatures and pressures, in an Edisonian search for one that would rapidly absorb deuterium and develop excess heat reliably. He finally found a particular type of catalyst that is available from three suppliers. He has filed for an international patent, which requires that all details be revealed even before the patent is granted (see PCT announcement beginning on page 30). At ICCF-7 Case agreed to bring his cell to our laboratory in Bow, New Hampshire for independent verification, and this was done successfully. The materials in this cell are simple and cheap. The chemical companies can supply tons of the catalyst, and only 50 to 100 grams of the catalyst is need for each small cell, so this would make an ideal demonstration cell. If we determine it works, we hope to license the device, manufacture and distribute hundreds of demonstration kits within months. We move fast here at Infinite Energy!

Case took samples to Prague where he rented the use of a nuclear research laboratory to search for neutrons during the heat events, but after extensive research, he determined there are none. Case took a cell that had run for weeks to Oak Ridge national Laboratory in Tennessee. They found 100 ppm helium in the used gas—far above the 6 ppm atmospheric level for helium.

Y. Iwamura, Mitsubishi Advanced Technical Research Center., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Detection of Anomalous Elements, X-Ray and Excess Heat Induced by Continuous Diffusion of Deuterium Through Multi-Layer Cathode (Pd/CaO/Pd)

This is a continuation of work reported at the previous two ICCF conferences. They have made considerable progress. The experimental apparatus is a multi-million dollar instrument complex installed in a clean room. In six out of six experiments, they detected excess heat, x-rays and transmutations. This is a unique cathode, with layers of palladium and calcium oxide. Deuterium is loaded on one side electrolytically, and then sucked through the cathode into a vacuum chamber. This increases the mobility of the deuterium, which the authors believe enhances CF. Dennis Cravens and others have been saying that for years. The temperature is fairly high, 40°C I think, but not high enough. Per Fleischmann's recommendation, Iwamura will try higher temperatures.

The transmutations are confirmed with three independent methods of spectroscopy: EDS, XPS and something called WDS. Transmutation is also confirmed quantitatively: 22 micrograms of titanium were found on the active side of cathode, compared to 23 micrograms of titanium contamination measured in the entire cell before the experiment. It is extremely unlikely that all of titanium selectively leached out of the anode and electrolyte, because other contaminants like copper were present in larger amounts before the experiment, but no significant amount of copper was found on the anode. (Furthermore, Cu is more mobile then Ti.) The Ti isotopes were not unusual, but the Fe found on the cathode was profoundly shifted from their natural  isotope abundance ratio.

X-rays were observed on two detectors simultaneously, tuned to x-ray and gamma-ray spectra. An x-ray detector under the cathode, shielded from the active side, saw no activity, as expected. Tom Claytor of Los Alamos National Laboratory told me he thought the x-ray example might be a burst of noise , because it climbed and then halted abruptly, but other experts disagreed. They pointed out that earlier bursts tapered off gradually. (These others were shown on a much smaller scale in the viewgraph, but Iwamura confirmed the shapes.) They also pointed out that the sample burst lasted 1,000 seconds (17 minutes) which is longer than most bursts of noise, and the drop-off looked more abrupt that it might have been because this was a count of x-ray emissions “binned” into 20 second points. If this was noise, it originated in the cell, not in the electrical system or the individual detectors, because all events were seen on two exposed detectors but not in the shielded one. Iwamura says he took other steps to ensure the x-rays are real and he has a great deal more information about them, like the spectra. I hope he publishes it in detail.

Input power was ~40 watts, output ~42 watts. The 2 watt excess was measured at three-sigma, which is low compared to most calorimeters. The cell is made of thin-walled Teflon. This allows x-ray detection, but it reduces calorimetric precision.

Mitsubishi has demonstrated how big money and high technology can make a superb contribution to this field. This kind of experiment showing multifaceted, indisputable evidence of a nuclear effect is exactly what the skeptical physics purists have been demanding for nine years. Unfortunately, judging from Morrison’s reaction, I expect the skeptics will ignore it. I noted that Morrison ignored Iwamura's lecture after taking a few notes, turning his attention instead to counting heads on the List of Attendees. He was apparently tallying them up on a sheet of paper, perhaps in support of his “Regionalization of Results Theory.”

T. Ohmori and T. Mizuno, Catalysis Research Center, Hokkaido University

Strong Excess Energy Evolution, New Element Production, and Electromagnetic Wave and/or Neutron Emission in the Light Water Electrolysis with a Tungsten Cathode

Abstract: Strong heat evolution enough to incandesce the electrode was observed by applying a high electric power. The excess energy amounts to 183 W which is 2.6 times the input power. At the same time strong electromagnetic wave and/or neutron emission reaching 60,000 counts/sec by a neutron counter was observed. During the electrolysis, considerable amounts of new elements, i.e. Pb, Fe, Ni, Cr and C were produced. The distributions of Fe, Cr and C on/in the electrode were overlapped. The isotopic distribution of Pb deviated greatly from the natural isotopic abundance. These results show that the nuclear transmutation reaction took place on/in the tungsten electrode during the electrolysis.

Briefly, this paper describes excess heat and transmutations from tungsten run at high voltage at 85 to 100°C. I like this experiment because it is quick. The control run goes from 85 to boiling in two minutes, and the main experiment, with the same power input, the same mass of water, and the same stirring boils in 45 seconds. The experiment is quick, but the analysis takes weeks.

D.S. Silver and John Dash, Physics Department, Portland State University

Surface Studies of Palladium After Interaction with Hydrogen Isotopes

Palladium cathodes were electrolyzed once for very short periods, up to 6 minutes, and then put aside and observed. Observations were made months and years later. Gradual, profound changes to the metal were seen. This is an extraordinary result. If replicated, it would challenge many longstanding hypotheses, like the idea that high loading is necessary. I thought the work was carefully done and well presented.

R. Stringham, First Gate Energies

Cavitation in D2O with Metal Targets Produces Predictable Excess Heat

Cold fusion induced with cavitation bubbles. Like the Iwamura experiment, this was reported at previous conferences, but new developments were described. Input to output ratios are large. Day-long heat after death events and transmutations were observed. The experiment was described in greater detail than it has been previously.

These six novel papers from ICCF7 are about unexpected breakthroughs or unconventional methods. Now I would like to discuss some of the outstanding conventional or “mainstream” papers at the conference, which greatly outnumbered the novel presentations. “Mainstream” may seem like an odd word in the context of cold fusion, which is itself so marginalized, but it is the correct word. Cold fusion is split into factions centered around materials, methods and theories. Factions include: heavy water palladium bulk; high surface palladium (palladium black, thin film, thin wire, sputtered palladium); nickel light water; cavitation; ion beam. . .and so on. Too often, people in these factions ignore one another.

The conventional wing has been reluctant to accept strong evidence for excess heat with nickel/light water and transmutations—and even more reluctant to let go of some marginal evidence for neutrons and helium. The conference summaries presented on the last day by Bressani and McKubre were interesting in that regard. I find Bressani an “extreme” conventionalist. This year he again said that helium and neutrons are the most important evidence for cold fusion. This year, for the first time, he granted that there is good evidence for transmutation as well. Perhaps he was thinking of the work at U. Illinois and Mitsubishi. He mentioned transmutation briefly, but he devoted most of his attention to neutrons and helium. I suppose he thinks the transmutations alone cannot account for the excess heat, or that transmutations cannot occur without a neutron flux. Until this year I have classified McKubre as a rock solid conventionalist, but he has broadened his perspective even more than Bressani has. He noted the transmutation evidence and he said that Mitchell Swartz presented the first convincing data showing excess heat in nickel light water systems.

Much of the outstanding mainstream research has continued for years, making slow progress. Much of it is highly technical, and over my head.  All of the theory papers are over my head so I cannot comment on them. I should report that MIT Professor Peter Hagelstein thinks he has made progress recently, and he has greatly simplified the core mathematical expression in his theory, which is usually a good sign. I asked Storms if he feels there has been progress on the theory side, and what he thinks of the latest Hagelstein theory. He said the theories still do not make useful predictions for the experimenter. They are so generalized, they do not tell us why ordinary materials are not constantly and spontaneously undergoing massive cold fusion reactions.

Here are some brief comments and quotes from the abstracts of mainstream papers that caught my attention. These are listed alphabetically by the main author.

Ben Bush and J. J. Lagowski, U. Texas

“Methods of Generating Excess Heat with the Pons and Fleischmann Effect: Rigorous and Cost Effective Calorimetry, Nuclear Products Analysis of the Cathode and Helium Analysis”

Bush and Lagowski detected helium and excess heat at the milliwatt level with palladium supplied to them by the Japanese NHE (New Hydrogen Energy) program. The NHE itself says that it saw no excess heat, but Bush uses a better calorimeter, which he recommends. It is the Seebeck or Calvet envelope calorimeter. It is fully electronic, requiring no heat transfer fluid (cooling water), with no moving parts. It captures all of the heat. In the abstract, Bush writes: There is little standardization of methods employed by different laboratories and the performance characteristics of the various methods are obscure. We have settled upon high performance Calvet calorimetry as a cost effective, but highly reliable method for measuring excess heat.” He makes an important point:

As the electrolysis proceeds a non-conductive film of oxyhydroxides builds up on the cathode surface. This film acts as a temperature sensitive activity step-up transformer. In the Pons and Fleischmann type isoperibolic calorimeter, excess heat causes the cell temperature to rise which decreases the degree of hydration (hence decreases deuteron mobility) so fewer deuterons carry the current and their activity increases which increases the excess heat. . .in a cycle that goes to thermal run-away and boil down.

Bush described his helium detection techniques during an evening workshop on calorimetry, which included participation by Scott Little of EarthTech International, who exhibited his computerized flow calorimeter.

T. N. Claytor, Los Alamos National Laboratory

“In-Situ Measurement of Tritium Concentration Variation During Plasma Excitation of Deuterium Loaded Palladium and Palladium Alloys”

Twenty-two new experiments were described. More evidence of tritium was presented at high sigma σ>10). A promising alloy has been identified. My impression is that reproducibility has been improved, but Claytor may correct me on that.

Claytor explained again that great care must been taken to ensure that the spark reaches only the palladium target, not the holder or other components, which would sputter and contaminate the experiment. Sputtering of the palladium itself should be held to a minimum. As before, multiple tests are made to verify the radioactive product is actually tritium: “In addition to the real time tritium measurement, the deuterium gas can be combined with oxygen, at the end of a run, resulting in water samples that were counted in a scintillation counter.” The energy spectrum and half-life confirm this is tritium. Progress has been made in sweeping out old tritium and other contaminants from the device between runs, so that the starting baseline level of tritium is lower than ever. Small details make or break an experiment: the spark must reach the palladium alone; the connections inside the loop have to be made of ultra-smooth material that can be swept clean of residual tritium.

M. Fleischmann , United Kingdom

“Cold Fusion: Past, Present and Future”

Fleischmann put up an excellent poster session and the next day he gave the best lecture I have ever heard from him. At his poster session he showed that some of Japan’s NHE program cells probably produced excess heat, even though the NHE says they did not. This can be seen in the temperature relaxation after a heat pulse. When there is no excess heat, after a pulse the temperature returns to its previous level in a predictable curve. With excess heat this recovery is unpredictable. It may take much longer and the temperature may never return to the starting point. The NHE data was very noisy compared to other isoperibolic calorimeters of this class, and especially compared to Fleischmann's own equipment at IMRA Europe, but nevertheless Fleischmann was able to graph the IMRA data and show the heat pulse relaxation data. He did this analysis years ago and showed it to NHE scientists and managers. They did not respond then or at ICCF-7. They refused to give him any additional data and he says they stopped using calibration heat pulses during their replication of the Pons-Fleischmann isoperibolic cell experiments. Strictly speaking, these were not replications, because the heat pulse is an essential part of the protocol. It triggers the reaction and makes the calorimetry much more precise.

During his lecture Fleischmann demonstrated how precise his calorimetry is. He drew a curve of calibration point and showed that with sophisticated physics he can measure heat below the milliwatt level. This is a remarkable accomplishment, especially for an open cell isoperibolic calorimeter. Many people have pointed out potential weaknesses in these cells, especially at low power, when heat losses from the top of the cell dominate, thermal gradients become significant, and a layer of stagnant electrolyte can build up at the cell wall. Fleischmann is aware of these problems. He does not use excessively low power. (He can reliably measure tiny changes in power output when the power is reasonably high, but that is not the same as measuring very low power.)

Fleischmann said that before 1989 he and Pons thought about five different methods of producing the cold fusion effect:

1. Systems based on the electrodifusion of D+ in host lattices (especially Pd wires); 2. Systems based on the electrochemical charging of host lattices (especially of Pd electrodes); 3. Chemical Systems based on superacid/highly oxidizing conditions: the link to “Hot Fusion”; 4. Chemical Systems based on superbasic/highly reducing conditions; 5. Hybrids of these systems.

Item 3 may be what B.L. Cain has achieved. Interestingly, Fleischmann does not list gas-loading, a method many researchers tried in 1989 and thereafter, with some notable successes. The most recent reported success is by Les Case. If this can be confirmed widely it will probably lead to commercial energy generation, and it might relegate other forms of cold fusion to use in scientific research only.

Fleischmann again stressed the importance of relatively high cell temperature (above 60 to 80°C) and dynamic, changing conditions. He said that even at low loading levels, well below the accepted 85% threshold, the cold fusion effect will be seen if the cell is heated up. Fleischmann stressed the importance of high temperatures at every conference since ICCF-3. He often states things obliquely, in lectures which are difficult to understand, but he has made this point without a hint of obfuscation, so I cannot understand why few scientists have heeded his suggestion.

Fleischmann thinks “tritium and neutron generation can be detected especially under non-equilibrium conditions.” He thinks that electrodifusion in fine wires is an “especially promising” approach.

Several people remarked that is the first time they understood everything Fleischmann said. He tends to speak in riddles, and for several years he has been restrained from revealing technical details by his contractual obligations to IMRA. Last year he told me that since he has retired he now feels he can reveal some secrets. Fleischmann was the sole author of this lecture, he is no longer collaborating with Pons. Pons himself did not come to the conference, and the IRMA Europe laboratory he worked at has been closed down (or so we were told). I do not know what research he is doing at this time.

G. Lonchampt, Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique, France

“Excess Heat in Palladium Cathodes at Boiling” and “Excess Heat and Nuclear Ashes in Nickel Palladium Beads”

Jean-Paul Biberian (lecturing for Lonchampt) described two experiments now underway at the French Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique  (Atomic Energy Commission—A.E.C.). The first is a continuation of the Pons-Fleischmann boil-off replication. None of the four platinum null experiments produced excess. Thirteen out of 14 experiments with palladium produced excess heat, which ranged from 5 to 29% during the final boil-off phase. These percentages are not as large as the A.E.C. reported at the last conference, or as good as Pons and Fleischmann reported, because the A.E.C. now begins measuring the final boil-off phase earlier, using a more rigorous method. They measure the waterline with a sensor. They designate the boil-off phase as the moment the water temperature reaches boiling and the water level drops according to the sensor. Formerly the onset was based on a time lapse video or visual observations of the cell. Biberian said that if you consider the boil-off performance based on the old onset, the excess is as high or higher than it ever was. In earlier phases of the experiment the sensor provides additional evidence that no recombination occurs.

With little fanfare, but with perhaps great import, the French A.E.C. has set up a small, formal program on cold fusion—and, it is clearly getting interesting results.

The second A.E.C. experiment is a replication of the CETI light water/nickel bead cathode work. Beads supplied by CETI did not produce excess, but beads fabricated by the A.E.C. produced 200 to 400 mW, with input ranging from 0.5 to 4.0 watts. This input to output ratio is not as good as that reported by CETI years ago, or by Miley.

K. Matsui, R&D Center for New Hydrogen Energy (NHE)

“Excess Heat Measurements and Nuclear Detection Experiments in the NHE Program”

Matsui described 500 rigorous experiments conducted with ultra-high-tech equipment in which (they said) no significant excess heat and no tritium, neutrons or any other sign of a nuclear reaction was detected. The NHE project was canceled because of these disappointing results. The NHE began with a complex, ambitious plan describing a long list of goals and milestones. As far as I know, not a single one of these goals was reached; the program was a total failure. Some ICCF-7 participants praised their diligence and their meticulous studies of palladium loading and other materials research. Others said they developed the wrong kind of materials. Robert Huggins told me that he thinks the best bulk palladium cathodes have small grain sizes because the reaction occurs at grain boundaries and other dislocations. Mizuno and others have said this. The NHE materials program strove to increase grain size and to make the material homogeneous, without dislocations. Huggins described it as custom-designed to prevent cold fusion. As I pointed out in 1996 in Infinite Energy (Issue #10), the experimental methods chosen by the NHE were seriously deficient, based on papers by leading cold fusion scientists. The wrong type of palladium materials were selected, temperature was much too low, there were no dynamic changes to the cell environment, and the wrong type of cell wall material was selected. It takes only a single mistake to ruin an experiment.

The NHE found an artifact in an earlier experiment that they say calls into questions positive results. They put the I/J-fuel cell-type isoperibolic cell developed by Kunimatsu into a flow calorimeter. That is, they put a static calorimeter into a flow calorimeter, and tested them both simultaneously. The isoperibolic calorimeter showed excess heat, but the flow calorimeter did not. The reason is unclear, but it seems likely that the isoperibolic cell was fooled by low power thermal gradients or some other problem common to this type of cell.

One of Matsui’s viewgraphs said that none of the experiments at the NHE produced excess heat, but a statement in parenthesis said “except for experiments performed by Melvin Miles.” Matsui did not discuss these experiments. The NHE invited Miles for the last six months the lab remained open. He replicated the Italian thin wire electromigration experiments and apparently—according to this one statement in parentheses—he saw significant excess heat. Miles confirmed this briefly, but he says he is not allowed to discuss the results yet because his reports have not been translated into Japanese and approved by the NHE management. He hopes that he will be free to report his results at the next ICCF conference, in 1999. Miles said that originally Matsui, Asami and the other NHE managers planned to say nothing at all about his results, not even a statement in parentheses, but he prevailed upon them to add this sentence.

M. McKubre, SRI International

 “Materials Issues of Loading Deuterium into Palladium, And The Association With Excess Heat Production”

McKubre analyzed his previous results with bulk palladium. As he put it, “On first inspection, the results obtained appear to be highly irreproducible, signaling the presence of uncontrolled variables . . .” The graph of all results shows a meaningless tangle of lines. However, when he categorized the experiments according to resistance measurements, removing the resistance affected by varying loading levels, he found the data falls into clear patterns. Three kinds of cathodes emerge from the apparent chaos, corresponding to three modes of resistance response to current:Mode A, shows a linear decrease of resistance with a logarithmic increase in current. This is seen with cathodes that produce excess heat.Mode C, a shallow decrease in resistance and a corresponding increase in current. These cathodes do not produce excess heat. The lattice shatters early on; they do not load.Mode B, combines features of mode A and C. These cathodes begin to load and then fail catastrophically.

G. Name, G.H. Miley, University of Illinois

“Quantification of Isotopes Using Combined Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry and Neutron Activation Analysis”

Miley talked about the continuing experiments with transmutation in CETI cells. He described the blank control runs. As before, he used two main methods of measuring isotope shifts, NAA and SIMS. NAA is relatively insensitive, but it samples the entire bead mass. SIMS is sensitive but it sees only a thousandth of a bead at a time, so statistical methods must be used extrapolate the results for the entire bead, and if the SIMS happens to look at one highly unusual spot on the bead this would distort the statistics. Miley described another problem, and concluded:A separate problem involves isotope fractionation which can distort the isotope shifts (SIMS vs. Natural) up to 4% for the light elements and to 1% for the heavier elements. However, for example in Ti film run, about 51 isotopes have statistically significant deviations from natural and are not within the uncertainty due to isotope fractionation effects. Also the measured increase in concentration of isotopes/elements after the run cannot be explained in terms of known impurity sources or chemical effects, even considering statistical uncertainties.

E. K. Storms, Santa Fe, New Mexico

“Relationship Between Open-circuit-voltage and Heat Production in a Pons-Fleischmann Cell”

Storms described continued elegant experiments to detect changes in the open circuit voltage (OCV), which occur when the palladium is ready to produce the cold fusion reaction. Storms makes the case that the OCV is a more reliable indicator than loading measured by resistance or other methods. Loading is never uniform, and average high loading may not mean anything. Perhaps cold fusion only occurs in areas that are hyperloaded (much higher than average). He explains that “loading” as other people measure it describes the average composition, and: “average composition is not the best predictor for excess energy production. The OCV is proportional to the deuterium activity in the surface region. This value must be above 1.06 V (referenced to clean Pt) before excess energy will be seen regardless of the average composition.” Storms described many simple, cheap but highly effective experimental techniques. He can measure loading precisely by mechanical means, based on the oil displaced and weighed on a microgram scale. He accomplishes more with a modest budget and one worker (himself) than the NHE accomplished with $20 million and a few dozen people. But, Storms tells me that he often feels he has reached the limits, progress is too slow, and the problem is too big. He has worked wonders digging into the problem with a shovel, but the job calls for a bulldozer.

M. Swartz, JET Energy Technology, Inc.

“Comparative Pi-notch [Optimal Operating Point] Characteristics of Solid State Nuclear Systems”

Swartz described several years of work with nickel cathodes in light water, in a specially designed ultra-low noise calorimeter. He thinks there is an optimum operating point (power density) at which these cathodes produce heat, and that above or below it the excess heat fades away. As mentioned above, McKubre cited this as the first rigorous proof that the nickel produces excess heat. Actually, this proof has been around for some time. Swartz said these results are from three years ago, He presented this report (or a similar earlier version) at Texas A&M two years ago.

Swartz has spent tremendous effort designing, perfecting and calibrating the calorimeters, which have a complex design I have not seen elsewhere. They are boxes within boxes, and the heat is measured repeatedly as it passes from one box to the next outer box. This could be a superb research tool, but if your purpose is to convince people of the reality of a phenomenon, I feel it is a mistake to use a new calorimeter design. People will say your results are artifacts from a new, untested design. They will have no experience working with similar instruments, and no basis to judge whether your instrument is working or not.

Cold fusion is mysterious enough; you should not investigate it with mysterious and exotic instruments, unless you have no choice—or if the level of precision yields new physical insights. Whenever possible you should select a conventional instrument. If you must work with cathodes in the low power domain (below a half watt), I agree with the recommendation made by Bush, that a fully electronic Seebeck envelope calorimeter is best. It is high tech yet simple. It has no moving fluid or pumps, and it captures all of the heat from a cell, rather than sampling a small portion at one point in fluid or on the cell wall.

E. Yamaguchi, NTT

“Progress Report on the Study of Excess Heat and Nuclear Products by the 'In-vacuo' Method run at IMRA Europe”

Yamaguchi described a heart-breaking five year battle to replicate his earlier results. At NTT he fabricated special thin palladium gold plated cathodes. The cathodes were placed in a vacuum chamber. When current was passed through them they bent and produced a burst of heat and helium. Yamaguchi went on leave from NTT and built a much larger, more sophisticated instrument at IMRA, Europe. It allows fully mechanized, hands-off fabrication of the cathodes, which can be moved from chamber to chamber without ever leaving the instrument. Shielding against outside helium is improved. The instrument is better than the original NTT version in every way except one: I believe the sensitivity of the helium detection is not as good. Unfortunately, Yamaguchi was never able to replicate his original results. The heat bursts are now fully reproducible, but he feels they are mundane, being caused by mechanical forces released when bent, distorted lattice released. This result calls into question his NTT findings. Perhaps the helium and neutron results there were an artifact.

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