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infinite energy

New Energy Research Laboratory Device and Process Testing Update
Published in IE Volume 6, Issue #32 July, 2000. By Ed Wall and Ken Rauen.
Hydrosonic Pump
NERL's testing using a circulation pump, flow rate meter, inlet and outlet thermocouple temperature readings, and radiator, as reported in the last issue, was not working well. When it was discovered that the Hydrosonic Pump would itself pump about 7 GPM without the external circulation pump, a means of testing without a circulation pump and flow metering emerged. The new method is very simple: raise the temperature of a fixed quantity of water by a measurable amount and compute the change in enthalpy, then compare this to the input energy measured.

dash warnerWe now have two large plastic barrels (~ 65 gallons each) glued end-to-end, with four thermocouples mounted in the side at different levels. Enough water fills the assembly such that a run was expected to be long enough for good calorimetry, but then, something else unexpected occurred. The intake for the Hydrosonic Pump had water fed into it that was pressurized by a head pressure of about five feet. We were expecting the Hydrosonic Pump to run in liquid mode, that is, we did not expect any steam production. But the motor started drawing about 87 kW, which is far above what is expected for the 75 HP motor (56 kW). We verified our readings and started worrying that we might destroy the motor if we kept running it.

We were disappointed, but relieved that the cause of an excessive current draw in our Hydrosonic Pump runs was due to a design error, originating with HydroDynamics. President Kelly Hudson is dealing with this problem in a very responsible way. The company will be sending NERL a new pump (rotor) assembly to replace the one we have now, which is oversized for the motor. Recent information from the company is that we may receive the replacement in as little as two weeks.

We decided to run the Hydrosonic Pump in steam mode by restricting the water intake. We were able to get it to boil off the contents of the pump itself, but when we opened the intake valve a bit, very little water flowed. When we opened it more, the water would surge in, causing severe shuddering, suddenly increasing power consumption from 7 kW to 87 kW, then stop flowing as steam pressure built, until the steam came out and more water would surge into it, repeating cyclically. No matter how the intake valve was set, the surging problem continued. The mechanical stress on this "behemoth," when the shuddering happened is seriously non-trivial, so we have decided to discontinue testing until the properly sized replacement unit arrives.

Dash Cell Progress
Jon Warner (at Portland State University, Professor Dash's doctoral student) presented his cold fusion results at ICCF-8 in a clear and concise fashion. We will be reporting more on Warner's work in the future. He mentioned to Ed Wall that (at Ed's suggestion) he had tried moving his cell assembly to the corner of the Seebeck Envelope Calorimeter (SEC) and found a noticeable change in the SEC output voltage for the same power to the Device Under Test (DUT). This is due to conduction of heat through the wall of the calorimeter to the area in which the reference thermocouples are located, perturbing the reference temperature. Of course, if he keeps his test and calibration cells in the same place for all runs, this should not present a big problem, but it is better not to have the warm cell in direct contact with the inside calorimeter surface. Ed Storms recommends inserting a small fan into the SEC to avoid hot spots. This would help with the problem of hot spots, and allow for the cell to dissipate heat and run with more input power without reaching boiling, but it would decrease the signal-to-noise ratio of the SEC. For now, we are setting the DUT in NERL's Thermonetics SEC on a small platform to allow air convection on all sides.

The Thermonetics SEC has been in use for some time now. Initially, we did not have a room with good temperature regulation to compensate for the cool nights and warm afternoon sun. We now have a room with air conditioning and heating that is probably as well-regulated as that found in most office or lab environments. Even with this enhancement, however, fluctuations in SEC output voltage on the order of 1 mV (which corresponds to ~ 150 mW DUT power variation) were seen when the air conditioning or furnace cycled. We then built a foam box around the SEC, but this only slightly attenuated the perturbation caused by room temperature fluctuations. The next step was to use "active" insulation to reduce the effect on the SEC. The foam box has two large muffin fans in it to vigorously circulate air and the SEC is raised from the bottom of the foam box by spacers to allow circulation on all sides. It has a dispersed heater consisting of many resistors strung out in the foam box space. These resistors are connected to the output of a Watlow PID controller. The controller monitors the air temperature in the foam box and is tuned to the control characteristics of the box (easier than it seems). This has helped dampen effects of room temperature fluctuations considerably (~ 80%). More important, the improvement has drastically reduced the effect of long-term drift in ambient temperature, which seriously affects calorimeter accuracy, not just precision. We should probably mention that we had to put quite a few holes in the foam box to allow for heat exchange between the environment and SEC, in case a reader decides to try this. The idea of the SEC, after all, is to measure heat flux coming out of its envelope.

Although two test cells almost identical to Warner's were assembled months ago, they have not yet been used. The difficulty of the welding required to attach platinum leads to electrode foil pieces is the main cause of the delay. We had planned on using our small TIG welder, but it simply cannot deal with such thin metal pieces without destroying them. We now intend to use a small spot welder, which is what Dash and Warner use. The problem was that we did not have one. So, a requisition was forwarded to the "Department of Improvisation," and a couple of non-working spot welder prototypes emerged. Then the latest version was developed, which works better (large capacitance, lower voltage seems to do the trick).

Peter Mobberley's Innovations
An enthusiastic IE subscriber from the UK we met at ICCF8 announced to the audience after Dr. Mizuno's presentation on plasma-electrolysis that he was doing work with underwater arc discharges that did not have the electrodes near the arcing! He accomplished this with a couple of clever methods. The first one was by means of an electrolyte diaphragm, which is a barrier between the cathode and anode. This barrier is an inverted ceramic "peppershaker" (called a "pepperpot" in the UK). The holes in the bottom are the only path for the current to flow through the diaphragm; under high voltage conditions, they act as high current conduits. The current density can get high enough for arcing to occur and we have experienced this in our initial attempts at replication. Mobberley prefers the use of a saturated LiOH solution and has reported preliminary significant overunity performance. He has a preferred means of accomplishing his "electrodeless arc plasma" by using a small pump to squirt electrolyte at one potential into a container with electrolyte at the other potential. I can only imagine what this looks like! He reports this gives him good control over the reaction by varying the pump speed. The terrific advantage of this method is that electrodes are not destroyed, as with the Mizuno-Ohmori tungsten cathodes, and so reactions can run for as long as desired, which makes heat measurement much more reliable and easy. Mobberley measures input power into an autotransformer, where it is still a clean 50 Hz sinusoid. The reader may remember that input power measurement into the Mizuno-Ohmori cell consists of measuring power directly into an arc, which has a virtually infinite frequency bandwidth, so is subject to considerable difficulties.

Mobberley also has reported success using, as a cathode, an ordinary spark plug with the ground lead removed. It seems that the alloy used in the center pin can stand up to the conditions of arc discharge for extended periods. Also, the ceramic mounting of the pin is ideally suited for holding the center pin without getting destroyed or allowing the arc to break the surface of the electrolyte, which could ignite the electrolysis gasses. We hope to have more to report on this exciting work in a future issue. Stay tuned.

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