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CRITICISM OF PONS AND FLEISCHMANN'S EXPERIMENTS "DEVASTATING"
JONES RESULTS DECONFIRMED.
PONS, FLEISCHMANN. PREPARATA, BRESSANI, AND DEL GIUDICE SUE FOR 8 BILLION LIRE.
A group at the General Electric Company, including Fritz Will, have
examined the Pons and Fleischmann's analysis and found major errors which make
their claims of Cold Fusion unacceptable. Robert Park of the APS describes the
GE paper as "devastating".
Steve Jones and Howard Menlove have tried to repeat their experiments
claiming small yields of neutrons in the giant Japanese Kamiokande detector
and after many months of trying have failed to reproduce their early results.
One asks, with the two experiments that excited world-wide attention in
March 1989 now gone, can Cold Fusion survive?
Since the last Cold Fusion Update No. 5 in July 1991 after the Second Annual
Conference on Cold Fusion in Como, there has been no major experiment which
observed excess heat and comparable amounts of fusion products. There have
been a few claims of Cold Fusion effects but the excitement was each time
The tragic death of Andy Riley at SRI greatly saddened all who knew him.
The Third Cold Fusion Conference is scheduled to be held in Japan
in October 1992. There was a "semi-secret" Cold Fusion meeting in Turin in
Funding continues - Stan Pons together with Martin Fleischmann, are
working at the Science Research Park near Nice for a Japanese supported
company. It is reported that the Electrical Power Research Institute, EPRI,
has given further money, $12 million, to the Stanford Research Institute, SRI,
for continuing Cold Fusion work.
Drs. Pons Fleischmann, Preparata, Bressani and del Giudice are taking legal
action against the Repubblica newspaper and asking for 8000 million lire.
1. General Electric paper.
1.1 Background and Introduction
1.2 Title, Authors, Abstract
1.3 Critique of Analysis of Fleischmann and Pons
1.4 Experimental results
1.5 Reaction of Fleischmann
2. Kamiokande experiment for Jones and Menlove
2.1 Background and Introduction
2.2 Experimental results
3. Andy Riley, SRI and EPRI
3.2 Andy Riley
3.3 Experiments at SRI
4. Other Experiments
4.1 Helium measurements of Bush et al.
4.2 Mills et al. and Tom Droege
4.3 Takahashi, Osaka
4.4 Bressani et al.
4.5 Cold Fusion in China
4.6 Withdrawal of Cluster Fusion Result
6. Meetings, Press Conferences, Legal Actions
1. GENERAL ELECTRIC PAPER
After the 23 March 1989 press conference, General
Electric, like many power companies, signed confidential agreements with
the University of Utah. Also then sent people to work with Dr. Pons in
Utah and at the same time, and completely independently, started working
on Cold Fusion experiments at their Research and Development labs at
Schenectady. It is the work of this latter group that will be published
this spring in the Journal of Electroanalytic Chemistry. However the major
part of their paper is a very detailed consideration of of the Fleischmann
and Pons work where they find many errors , several of which are serious.
The GE experimental work was done on a large scale within the first year,
but for a variety of reasons has not been generally available. I learnt of
major errors in the Fleischmann and Pons analysis over a year ago and these
have been presented to them. Publication was delayed appreciably and the
final paper is carefully written. Here the rather kindly abstract will be
given and then the main evidence will be presented so that everyone may judge.
The authors include former GE researcher Fritz Will who after the experimental
work was essentially completed, became the Director of the National Cold
Fusion Institute in Salt Lake City.
1.2 TITLE, AUTHORS AND ABSTRACT
"Analysis of Experiments on Calorimetry of LiOD/D2O Electrochemical Cells
R.H. Wilson, J.W. Bray, P.G. Kosky, H.B. Vakil and F.G. Will".
"In this paper we present a detailed analysis of calorimetry with
heavy water electrolytic cells, especially of the type described by Fleischmann
Pons et al. in recent publications. We also summarise our own experiments,
which involve calorimetry of electrolytic cells of various designs. None of
our experiments has yielded any excess heat or radiation products within the
detection limits. We evaluate the data and methods of Fleischmann, Pons et
al. and, where sufficient data are available, conclude that they significantly
over-estimate the excess heat. This is in part because they did not include
in their calibration calculation the change in input electrochemical power
to the cell resulting from the calibration heater power. An additional
significant overestimate of excess energy occurs when the calibration is made
at cell temperatures above 60 C, due to the increased evaporation of heavy
water duing the calibration. Furthermore we find unexplainable inconsistencies
in the data on light water controls as reported by Fleischmann and Pons.
While our analysis shows their claims of continuous heat generation to be
significantly overstated, we cannot prove that no excess heat has been
generated in any experiment".
1.3 Analysis of Fleischmann and Pons
A detailed discussion of the open cell used by
Fleischmann and Pons is first given and it is pointed out that several terms
are not properly accounted for but fortunately do not lead to significant
errors. Other potential errors such as inadequate mixing and recombination are
believed not to be significant. However the heat loss calibration procedure
does lead to important errors, this being established partly theoretically
and by experiments with cells similar to those of F&P, thus the heat loss
is found to be half by radiation and half by conduction whereas F&P now treat
all heat losses as radiative(in their first paper they treated all heat losses
as conductive - Newton's law of Cooling). Two calibration procedures are used
by F&P, firstly "approximative" and the second a very complicated
multiparameter regression analysis which is said to give "exact" excess
energies. The calibration depends on giving a brief additional burst of heat
to the cell. This temperature change is not taken into account in the first
procedure and it is shown that this error substantially reduces the excess heat
claimed. Since the second method is claimed by F&P to agree very closely (few
milliwatt) with the incorrect first analysis, hence there must be error(s) in
the second analysis. A possible error in the second calculation which would
account for this is identified.
When a correct calibration procedure is used, the excess heat claimed is
significantly reduced. "Because of the paucity of experimental details in their
publications, it has been difficult to determine quantitatively the effect of
calibration errors" eg "they have not reported cell temperatures or
calibration power" so that pictorial data have been used instead.
Several effects have been neglected by F&P, two of which are important -
the reduction in resistance when the cell is heated by the calibration heater
and secondly the evaporative cooling of the electrolyte important at higher
operating temperatures and which is increased by the calibration heater. The
magnitude of the errors caused by these neglects is such that "in some cases
the errors are greater than their inferred 'excess heat'" and "in some some
instances excess heat remained after correcting for these errors."
"The control experiments reported by F&P also pose a dilemma. Using their
approximate method to calculate excess heats, they find no excess heat within
a few milliwatts. If, however they used the procedures they describe for
determining excess heat, they should have obtained significant positive values
as a result of neglecting the effects described above. The results they report
are inconsistent with the procedures they describe." Further embarrassing
problems are also indicated.
1.4 Experimental Results
A very extensive series of experiments were
performed. In one set the cells and procedures of F&P were followed - no excess
heat was found. Many small variations(eg different types of palladium and
different shapes, different electrolyte) were also tried and also major changes
such as thermal insulation to avoid radiation effects, and closed cells with
recombination catalysts and a flow cell. The current was varied between a few
milliamps to 0.5 amps per cm2. The length of time was varied. "Within
experimental error, no excess energy was found."
"A few experiments were carefully monitored for gamma ray and neutron
production" using good techniques(particularly liked the use of Manganese
nitrate solution where the 55Mn captures a neutron to give 56Mn which decays
with a half-life of 154 minutes giving a gamma of 0.847 MeV - this is an
energy region with little background- this is useful for integration of
neutron signals; other detectors were used for direct neutron detection).
Activation foils were also used. "Nothing was found above background". "Many
of the electrolytes were checked for tritium build-up. No increase above
concentration by electrolysis was found". "Nor was the concentration of 4He in
the Pd rods found to be above background."
1.5 Reaction of Fleischmann
Business Week of March 2nd reported that
"there's bad news ahead for cold fusion" and then talked about the
conclusions of the GE paper - the reporter did not seem to have read the
paper himself. The article continued that Pons and Fleischmann asked the
journal to let them write a rebuttel - but they have not done so yet.
Fleischmann is quoted as saying "Those people have got mental constipation
about this thing". Hope this is not a correct quotation as have always found
Martin a charming person, but have found that some people who have no answer to
scientific evidence against their work, do react this way. Sad, it would have
been pleasanter to see a scientific reply.
There are two parts to the GE paper. Their experimental
results are very extensive, some of them copying the P&F experiments, others
are superior; all give no evidence for excess heat or for fusion products.
It might be thought that this should be enough convince even True Believers
that there is nothing there, but this has already happened with the Harwell
experiments led by David Williams who was helped by Fleischmann before
the 23 March 1989 press conference, and whose group also did a very large
number of experiments, some the same as P&F and others better - and TB's
ignore or discount this work.
However the main thrust of the GE paper is to show that the analysis of
the calorimetry had many errors some were so serious that when the P&F data were
corrected the excess heat claimed became sometimes a negative effect and
sometimes a positive effect so that the conclusion was that one cannot trust
In the Abstract it is written that "we cannot prove that no excess heat has
been generated in any experiments". This statement, which unintentionally, has
some legal use, covers the fact that the paper was concerned with the main
claim of Cold Fusion, that a steady source of power was possible. The GE paper
does not discuss the question of heat bursts. Thus the real question is;
"Can the P&F experiments be considered to give trustworthy evidence in favour of
the existence of Cold Fusion as a steady source of power?" The GE analysis shows
that the P&F work is so full of errors that it is not clear whether they found
a positive or a negative effect as is shown clearly in their table 2. In other
words the uncertainties are so great that the P&F work cannot be used as a
justification for the existence of Cold Fusion.
There is also the embarrassing matter that the control experiments
which were said to show no effect, should have shown an effect if they had
been analysed the way that P&F said they had analysed them.
The GE authors say that is in principle possible to obtain results on
excess heat with the Pons and Fleischmann type cells, but it is complicated
and needs to be done properly, which was not the case. Many times it has been
suggested that Drs. Pons and Fleischmann do a good experiment with a closed
cell and several constant temperature baths surrounding the cell for then the
corrections become fewer and small. Also they should much use bigger cells so
that the effects are clear - but they have only reported results from the
original small cells which gave excess heat with the errors in calculation.
The GE paper is not a light paper, the appendixes contain very detailed
work. The GE authors are major experienced researchers in this field. It is
surprising that no response has been made since Drs. Pons and Fleischmann have
been aquainted with these difficulties and have been in possession of the
GE paper for some considerable time.
The overall conclusion must be that there is no good evidence for useful
excess heat or fusion products in the Fleischmann and Pons experiments.
2. KAMIOKANDE EXPERIMENTS OF JONES AND MENLOVE
2.1 Background and Introduction
The Kamiokande detector is a tank
of 3000 tons of very pure water in whose walls are many photomultipliers
which can detect Cherenkov radiation produced by electrons.
The experimental team is large and well-funded. They have done
outstandingly good work in neutrino detection. They detected (along with
the IMB detector) neutrinos from Supernova 1987A. They have also detected
neutrinos from the Sun and have shown that there is no variation with time
(in particular not with the inverse of the sunspot number as had been
surprisingly claimed by another experiment). Also their measured flux
of solar neutrinos is in agreement with Evolutionary model(SSM)
calculations of the Saclay group though some other SSM predict higher
neutrino fluxes. Thus their experiment is playing a major role in the
important question of whether there is a solar neutrino problem or not.
The question is important as the solar neutrino problem is the only major
result where there may be disagreement with the Standard Model of
The Kamiokande detector was off for a year and half to improve and
maintain the detector. During this time an installation was made in the
centre of the Kamiokande detector where Cold Fusion cells could be
installed and surrounded by a sodium chloride solution. If any neutrons
were given off by the Cold Fusion cells they would be detected by capture
by the 35Cl giving off energetic gammas producing electrons which the
photomultipliers would detect by their Cherenkov rings. The system has been
calibrated using a 252Cf source and the efficiency for neutron detection
is about 20%.
The Kamiokande detector is so big that the Cold Fusion work does not
seriously interfere with the Solar Neutrino and Supernova watch activities.
For the period January to end May 1991, Kamiokande effectively ran for
99 days for neutrinos and 2 days for Cold Fusion (during neutrino running the
Cold Fusion cells were normally running but not interfering with the main
work of Kamiokande). It is expected that Cold Fusion measurement will continue
until April 1992.
The emission of neutrons from Cold Fusion cells is highly
controversial. Most workers did not find neutrons above background but
a considerable number of claims were made, several of which have been
withdrawn (eg the original claim of 40 000 neutrons/second of F&P).
Of the positive claims, some of the lowest rates are from the original
1989 paper of Jones et al. in Nature. However other groups (eg Moshe Gai at
Yale, the Frejus/Bugey group) obtain no neutron signal and give upper limits which are one to two order of magnitude lower.
Jones et al. claimed to measure in Run No. 6 a flux of neutrons of
Run No. 6 (4.1 +/- 0.8 )*10**-3 n/s above background
Background (1.4 +/- 0.13)*10**-3 n/s.
Later this rate was lowered by averaging over the other runs where no
significant effect had been observed and this gives
Average (0.62 +/- 0.1)*10**-3 n/s above background
that is an average which is less than half the background.
As the efficiency was only (1 +/- 0.3)%, this meant that the corrected
counting rate was about 0.1 neutrons/second. Kamiokande which has a
detector efficiency of about 20%, proposed that with their detector they
could obtain a background 10 000 times less. The limit of their neutron
sensitivity was expected to be 4*10**-5 n/s with a threshold energy of 7 MeV.
Later Steve Jones joined with the Howard Menlove group at Los Alamos
and discovered bursts of neutrons. In the summer of 1990 graphs were presented
showing bursts of 20 to 149 neutrons observed being emitted in less than
128 microseconds. As the efficiency of the counters was between 21 and 34%,
this means bursts of 100 neutrons or more were frequently being observed.
Such bursts would be easily detected by the Kamiokande detector.
2.2 Experimental Results
The first experiments were said to be of gas and
titanium, but with relative lack of success, and electrolytic cells were tried
including some with the "mother earth" type recipe.
First results were presented by Dr. Ikegami at the Second Annual
Cold Fusion Conference with a newspaper article claiming that Kamiokande
had detected neutrons - this caused quite some excitement but is not
included in the published proceedings. However it turned out that these were
observed as "bursts" of 2, 3 or 4 neutrons (one neutron is excluded as
a "burst"). Now if Uranium (or plutonium) were present as a contaminant in the
cell (eg in the Palladium) then as the number of neutrons per fusion can be as
large as 6 (or 7), this would account for the effect. The Kamiokande group
have already taken enormous precautions to reduce the background from U or Pu
and it is sited at a depth of 2700 mwe in the Kamioka mine and is surrounded
by a shield of 6 to 7 metres of U-free water so that the background can
be as low as one count per year. Quickly it was learnt that neutrons were
also detected when H2O and not D2O was used which would appear to confirm
that the bursts were not from fusion but from contamination. This is
contested by Steve Jones who feels that the data may be significant and
one should wait. The prelimainary data that I have seen show that relatively
little running was done with H2O so that the statistics are not very significant
However after this excitement, the main result tended to get lost that
the counting rate was less than one-hundredth of that claimed in the 1989
paper of Jones et al. Thus after more than two years development work, and
the insertion of many cells in Kamiokande, the original claim presented in 1989
cannot be justified.
A second main result is that large bursts (here taken as > 27 neutrons)
as claimed in the 1990 paper of Menlove et al. cannot be justified as no
large burst has been observed.
Steve Jones claims that small bursts (defined as 2 to 10 neutrons)
are being observed and the rates are being studied. We shall have to wait and
see if some new effect will be claimed at a much lower rate than the previous
claims. No statement has been made about intermediate bursts (11 to
Have been exchanging many messages with Steve - he is genuinely anxious to
find out the truth and discuss in a scientific manner (this does not mean
he agrees with my conclusions - his position is unclear to me)
At present some surprising tests are being made using cells filled
with concrete. The basic idea is the hope that this would represent in
some way what is happening in the earth where Jones et al. claim fusion
may be occurring. It is well known that concrete contains radioactive
materials, in particular thorium. It is surprising that such an
uncontrolled substance is being introduced into Kamiokande which makes
such efforts to remove contamination. It is to be hoped that this does not
interfere with Kamiokande's main mission to study neutrinos.
It must be concluded that the original work on low
level neutron counting is not confirmed by a large margin due to the
high quality and enormous size of the Kamiokande detector.
This is not the conclusion of Steve Jones who claims some possible
effects and that more time and work is needed. What I have seen of these
claims makes them look like statistical fluctuations combined with trials
of a number of data selections, but there could be other data which has not
yet been presented. However whether there are or are not such very low level
effects, this does not change the two main conclusions that the level of
neutrons observed in 1989 and the level of bursts claimed in 1990, have been
disproved by the same experimenters working with numerous cells tested for
long periods of time in the Kamiokande detector under favourable conditions.
3. ANDY RILEY, SRI AND EPRI
The Stanford Research Institute, SRI, does
research for agents that give it funding. Thus it is not an academic
establishment with a commitment to making available all its results
without the agreement of its funding organisations. The Electrical
Power Research Institute, EPRI, is the agent of the power companies
and has many activities. It has been sponsoring research in Cold Fusion
and in particular has been giving appreciable funds to Mike McKubre's
group at SRI. In Business Week of 2 March it is written that EPRI will
give $3 million to SRI for this year and there is talk of $12 million
over three years.
3.2 Andy Riley
Andy Riley was a materials scientist. He was employed by the National
Cold Fusion Research Institute in Utah. It was there that I got to know
and like him. He was not concerned about the reality or not of Cold Fusion,
but was greatly interested in the materials research work that he could do.
He was very knowledgable and it was a pleasure to learn from him.
He had a great love of the desert and it was he who persuaded me to spend a
weekend visiting the Southern Utah desert - he was right, it is splendid.
After NCFI closed down, Andy went to work at SRI. Newspaper reports
quote firemen as saying that the explosion which killed Andy was due to the
removal of a cell from its container as Andy had found an automatic pressure
relief valve had stuck and was trying to open it manually. Happened to be in
Palo Alto a week later for a seminar and phoned Mike McKubre who was one of
those injured in the explosion. This was Mike's first day back at work and
fortunately he was much better. He told me that SRI was now going to start
its investigations and the conclusions might be different.
At no time did anyone suggest that the explosion had any connection with
the existence or not of Cold Fusion.
It is interesting to recall that in 1989 among the thorough experiments of
many German groups (all of which found nothing) was the work of Kreysa,
Marx and Plieth of Frankfurt and Berlin who took a deuterium-loaded
palladium sheet and placed it on a table where it burnt the table. The point is
that considerable energy is stored in the palladium when the deuterium is
driven in by electrolysis and when the Pd sheet is removed the energy raises
the temperature of the palladium which then becomes an efficient catalyser
for hydrogen and oxygen (in the air) to burn. This is the principle of the
flameless catalytic combustion of hydrogen which is used in catalytic
hydrogen burners. The experimenters then found that if after extracting
a D-loaded Pd sheet and placing it on glass rods, a temperature
rise of the palladium from 20 C to 418 C occurred within 74 seconds after an
incubation time of 15 seconds. There are many reports of Cold Fusion cells
exploding and everyone should be aware of the potential dangers and take
We all grieve for the loss of Andy Riley.
3.3 EXPERIMENTS AT SRI
The fact that EPRI is giving large grants to SRI
and that they refer obliquely to results that justify this funding, raise
interest in the work at SRI.
In an account of the 2nd Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, 2ACCF, in Update
No. 5, it was written that "This was perhaps the most impressive positive
result." This has now been published in pages 419 to 443 of "The Science of
Cold Fusion" - the 2ACCF proceedings. Again it reads very impressively saying
the positive excess heat occurs at high D/Pd loading, greater than one. the
loading was measured by the axial resistivity and by volumetric displacement of
gas during loading in a closed system at constant volume and pressure. Andy
Riley once commented to me that axial resistivity was not a reliable measurement
as there was also radial distortion that had to be taken into account.
It seems that the high loading was achieved by using "substantial current
densities(typically 300 to 600 mA/cm2, but up to 6400 mA/cm2) for considerable
periods of time(typically 1000-2000 hours)" and also with high pressures from
40 to 10 000 psi above atmospheric pressure. The effect of high pressure alone
has been tried at much higher values - at Harvard 105 000 atmospheres(1.6
million psi) gave a loading of 1.34 +/- 0.1 and at Los Alamos a megabar was
achieved for 14 microseconds, but in both cases negligible numbers of neutrons
were produced and at Harvard no excess heat was found with an upper limit of
1.6*10**-8 fusions/dd pair/second. It is of course obvious that very high
pressures would not be suitable for confinement of a commercial fusion process
as the strength of the walls would decrease with bombardment by fusion products.
The calorimetry used in the experiments was much superior to any other
experiment that had claimed excess heat as it used closed cells and insulation
and a surrounding isothermal bath. However as there was only one bath, there
was needed a "effective conductive loss term, k'. The conductive power loss
for the large calorimeters was typically 3 to 5% of the total input power. The
accuracy claimed was the greater of 10mW or 0.1%.
While the calorimeters were greatly superior to previous ones giving
positive results, they could still be substantially improved by following the
Harwell design as used by David Williams. These had the following features;
1. The best measurements avoid corrections by trying to make null
measurements as in the Wheatstone bridge. Thus the Harwell calorimeter
kept the temperature of the inner isothermal bath constant by varying the
input power which then compensated any excess heat produced
2. There were three constant temperature baths
3. Calibration was done by inserting a known source of heat into the calorimeter
- this could be a calibrated alpha source.
In view of the substantial sums being invested by EPRI, it is to be hoped
that these improvements will be tried.
The 2ACCF paper states that typical excess output power was 5 to 10% with
a maximum of 28%. However could not find in the paper the value of the excess
power integrated over the whole period of each experiment(which is the number
of importance for commercial applications, but at 2ACCF, was told that it was
between 1% and 2 to 3%. Such values are too low to be of commercial use
which would require more like the values of 300 to 900% originally
claimed in March 1989.
4. OTHER EXPERIMENTS
There have been fewer new experimental results published recently.
Dieter Britz who now has a total of 688 papers and 96 patents/applications
says it is now a "trickle". None of these recent papers are complete
experiments or very convincing (apart from the GE complete work
and the high quality Kamiokande experiment). However some have attracted
attention and will be presented.
4.1 HELIUM MEASUREMENMTS OF BUSH et al.
Drs. Bush and Lagowski of Univ. of Texas at Austin have been
looking for helium in the electrolysis experiments of Drs. Miles and Ostrom at
the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, CA. They claim to find 4He when
excess heat is observed. John Huizengz has criticised the experiments saying
the level is very low and helium contamination is a possible explanation - this
is strongly denied by Bush et al. The outgoing gasses from the cell are
collected for about an hour in a 0.5 litre vessel. It is said that amounts
of < 10**12, 10**12, 10**13 and 10**14 atoms of 4helium are found corresponding
to no peak, small, medium and large peaks in the spectrometer and there is a
correlation with the amount of excess power - the values given for excess power
were (0.07 and 0.29 W), (0.12 and 0.17 W), (0.24 and 0.40 W) and (0.22, 0.36,
0.46 and 0.52 W) resp. There is a correlation but it is a poor one and it
would appear that the relationship was more of a power law than a linear
one as might be expected. If all the reactions were d + d ---> 4He + 23.8 MeV
then it is claimed that the highest excess power would yield 5.4 10**14 atoms
and "About 10**14 atoms were detected which is within experimental error
of then theoretical amount." - this is the nearest one gets to an estimate
of errors in the 2ACCF paper.
No 3He was found - this is curious as experiments on dd fusion find
that 10**7 times as much 3He should be produced as 4He.
The experiment looks very simple and it is to be hoped that the authors
will continue it with better apparatus for a longer time since if their result
were correct it should be easily possible to produce large ammounts of helium
which would put the matter beyond doubt.
4.2 MILLS et al. and TOM DROEGE
For a while there was some excitement when Mills et al.
announced significant excess heat and then Tom Droege with his very high
quality calorimeter, confirmed it. But further work by Tom showed there were
fatal problems with the calibration procedures or to be more precise an invalid
correction. The calorimeter built by Tom is accurate down to near the milliwatt
level and is beautifully instrumented as can be seen on pages 243 to 248 of
"The Science of Cold Fusion". Tom has a very good reputation in Fermilab,
for example for the work he did for the giant CDF detector which one hopes
will be able to find the long sought after top quark.
4.3 TAKAHASHI et al., OSAKA
In February Dr. Ikegami gave a talk at Frascati which people who
doubted Cold Fusion, found impressive. The highlight of the talk was a
description of the results of the group of Dr. Takahashi at Osaka University.
They have done four experiments and have presented results on neutrons, tritium
and excess heat plus a theory that explains all results. In the early runs peaks
in the neutron spectrum were observed at 2.45 MeV as expected from
d + d ---> 3He + n, and over the region 3 to 7 MeV which is not expected.
In the fourth experiment excess heat of 200W per cc of Pd was observed and
more than 100 MJ of heat produced. Tritium was also observed with a ratio
n/t of 10**-5. The neutrons were observed at a rate of 1 to 100 n/s/cc. It was
claimed that there was a correlation between neutron production and excess heat
but the fig. 1 of the paper seems to prove the contrary, the highest neutron
rate being near the lowest excess heat claimed. In another transparency it was
noted that when the power increases the neutron production decreases - this is
contrary to all previous experience of believers and non-believers.
The electrolysis cells have cooling water passing through them and the
temperature of the incoming and outgoing water is measured and after calculation
the excess heat is deduced. The cells are basically similar to those of
Pons and Fleischmann in being open and poorly insulated. Hence all the comments
and criticisms of the GE scientists would have to be considered before any
claim could be evaluated. In the description available there is not enough
detail to follow how all the calibration and heat loss calculations were done,
so a serious account of the work, mentioning the GE considerations, is needed
before the claims of excess heat could be justified.
A theory is proposed that explains all the results including the n/t ratio
of 10**-5 and the n/f ratio of 10**-12 (where f is the rate of fusions expected
in the reaction d + d ---> 3He + n ). The model assumes "multibody fusions"
where not only do d-d fuse but also three and four deuterons, ie d-d-d and
d-d-d-d. The four atom fusion is calculated to give a megaWatt per cc while
ordinary water would yield a kiloWatt per cc because of the one atom in 6700
which is deuterium. Normal considerations of barrier penetration do not
seem to have been considered in this theory which is liable to find few
supporters even among True Believers - but one never knows.
4.4 BRESSANI ET AL.
T. Bressani et al. have carried out experiments to measure the
energy of neutrons emitted from Ti metal loaded with gaseous deuterium ie
following the ideas temperature cycling of Dr. Scaramuzzi. They use a neutron
spectrometer with time of flight and double scattering technique. They report
a two and a half standard deviation effect corresponding to 1.3 +/- 0.5
neutron per second per gram of Ti - this would correspond to about 10**-12 watts
for the reaction d + d ---> 3He + n, they do not report searching for 3He.
The D2 gas pressure used by Bressani et al. was very low with a maximum
value of only 1.5 10**3 Torr. They remark that the volume and pressure
measurments give a D/Ti loading of only 0.32 which they comment is "totally
inconsistent with the Ti-H phase diagram", but the low loading seems
consistent with the low loadings for similar pressures used by Steve Jones
and collaborators. It seems slightly inconsistent for Dr. Bressani to have
employed such a low loading value when he strongly emphasises the
necessity of high loadings to obtain the threshold value that is claimed to be
necessary to observe Cold Fusion.
Many groups have reported not finding any neutrons when adopting the
Scaramuzzi technique and some have upper limits less than one thousandth
of the Scaramuzzi claim. As the early reports of Scaramuzzi claimed
5000 neutrons per second using 100 grams of Ti, Dr. T. Bressani must be
congratulated for joining the experimental groups that have found different
results from Dr. Scaramuzzi - it is surprising that he has not made a
comparison of his result with that of the earlier paper which would
have allowed him to make a comment himself.
4.5 COLD FUSION IN CHINA
While at the Pugwash Conference talked with Dr. Li who is the
leader of the Chinese scientist working on Cold Fusion. He told me that there
were very little funds available. The apparatus used is rather primitive
and few results are emerging.
4.6 WITHDRAWAL OF CLUSTER FUSION RESULT
In an errata in Physical Review Letters(in press), the group at Brookhaven
that had claimed to have observed fusion when using clusters of D2O to
bombard targets, have withdrawn their observation for technical reasons.
The problem was light contaminant ions containing deuterium.
This puzzling result which could not be quite explained, was described as
cold or lukewarm fusion and was not considered central to the debate about
the existance or non-existance of Cold Fusion.
Hear that John Huizenga's long-awaited book on Cold Fusion has
finally been published. It is an excellent serious book for those interested in
Science (and psychology). A must for those involved in Cold Fusion as well as
Gary Taubes phoned me about another subject (neutrinos). His book has
unfortunately been delayed until later this year.
Saw Frank Close's book on the shelves in Geneva - good for you Frank!
The proceedings of the Second Annual Cold Fusion conference last June
at the Villa Olmo in Como, have now appeared. The dust jacket is very tasteful
with delicate images of Volta (a special hero in Como), a cold fusion cell
with all the parts labelled, the original 1989 Jones et al. neutron result,
Scaramuzzi's controversial plot, something that has a vague resemblence to a
Feynman graph but I doubt if he would acknowledge it, etc. The main heavy
writing on the cover which stands out well is
THE SCIENCE OF COLD FUSION
and the publishers title. There are 527 pages.
6. MEETINGS, PRESS CONFERENCES, LEGAL ACTIONS
There was a "semi-secret" meeting lasting three and a half days in
Turin on Cold Fusion early in March. It was attended by about 40 people,
mainly local but some foreigners such as Stan Pons also attended. Was told that
there was not very much new. Although the press attended, it was not widely
advertised - not even in the University of Turin!
The account of the Turin meeting in a newspaper of 17 March said that it
was organised by the Turin section of the INFN and was called "Cold Fusion
Three Years After". The participants were described as being under tension
and prudent like the adepts of a secret society who are sure of their ultimate
triumph. They were particularly encouraged by the new results from Osaka
indicating excess heat of 100 Watts per cm3.
At a press interview, Dr. Pons said there were no more doubts; he
took a sabbatical from Utah to open a lab in Nice. There are about
10 people working there with important financial backing from Technova
- a company that finances research for some Japanese industrial groups.
They have developed a new type of electrolytic cell with Palladium
to obtain a kilowatt per cc of electrode. Reproducibility has been attained
at 100% and depends on a new type of Palladium alloy. He said that to
understand the new phenomenon one must put aside classical fusion reactions
in a vacuum and think of alternatives. Preparata's ideas can explain the
results. Dr. Pons said the aim was to present to the public a practical
application before the end of the year. He also said other labs had prototypes
and quoted McKubre at SRI and Bressani at Turin. Prof. Bressani, who was
introduced as leader of the Obelix experiment at CERN, Geneva, confirmed that
his group had interesting effects from a cell with D2 gas and Titanium of
the type proposed by Dr. Scaramuzzi, but said that it would need more
time to construct a demonstration cell.
Heard about it only because I was invited to give a seminar at Turin
reviewing Cold Fusion and some people were astonished when they were told about
the meeting two weeks after it had occurred. The seminar was well received
except that a True believer, TB, came forward at the end and made
comments of a violence that astonished his colleagues. His essential
point was that I was biased as I had not mentioned recent work including
his own, reporting evidence for Cold Fusion. Tried to explain that my talk
was based on the one I gave at the Sakharov Conference last summer,
consisted of three main parts, (1) a summary of ALL results, positive
and null(with upper limits often lower than the positive values), (2) for
the period since then, only good experiments with complete, careful calibration
and controls, (3) understanding of the results in human terms. As Dr. Ikegami
had recently given a lecture at Frascati which was written up in the newspapers
on recent research on Cold Fusion in Japan and in particular had spent
some time reporting on the results of Dr. Takahashi of Osaka, I showed in
reply, 5 transparencies showing his results and explaining the problems
that had led me to exclude it from the "good" experiments. The TB was
not satisfied and continued in the same violent manner. Afterwards (too late)
noticed that he had not questioned anything that was presented in the
seminar and in particular not the "devasting" results of the GE analysis
of Pons and Fleischmann's work. The seminar finally lasted longer than
normally scheduled, two hours but it was observed to me that almost no one
left before the end!
Have received an invitation from Dr. Ikegami who is head of one section
of the Japanese National Fusion Institute in Nagoya, to attend the Third
International Cold Fusion Conference which will be held in Nagoya from
21 to 25 October 1992. "The conference will cover the broadest topics
relevant to Cold Fusion phenomena in the research fields including nuclear
physics, electrochemistry, and solid state physics". As the organising body
is the very serious National Institute for Fusion Science which has done
excellent work on Inertial Confinement, etc., it may be expected that this
will be a serious conference where the organisers will ensure that the
conference will be balanced and that all points of view and both null and
positive experiments will be reported and discussed. If these justified hopes
are fulfilled, it could be a significant conference and it is to be hoped
that many who have worked at some time or other on Cold Fusion will attend.
Dr. Ikegami is chairman of the conference. The Fax address is 052 781 9564 and
the Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
When in Turin learnt that the important newspaper Repubblica is being sued
by 5 True Believers for defamation. They are Martin Fleischmann, Stanley Pons
Guiliano Preparata, Tullio Bressani, and Emilio del Giudice. This arose from
an article in Repubblica where Cold Fusion was defined as a "truffa scientifica"
which I am told means "scientific fraud". It appeared on the 20 October 1991.
It was said that the results of Pons and Fleischmann cannot be reproduced
in any other laboratory. Later another article based on a letter from
Believers was entitled "No, we are not False Prophets", but the comment was
apparently not withdrawn. Now the newspaper is being sued for a total of
eight billion lire which is roughly five million US dollars - this is made up of
2 billion lires for P&F and one billion for Preparata, Bressani and del Giudice
plus 200 million for each of the five for repeated violence.
Personally I am against such legal proceedings. It would be much better to
wait until the end of this year and see the prototype of Dr. Pons actually
giving a kilowatt per cc - preferably a big prototype with many cc giving many
kilowatts such as Dr. Pons has been photographed with. Wonder if the Five and
Repubblica have read the article in Nature of 19 March, Vol. 356, page 191
where the definition of scientific fraud is discussed. A US senior federal
advisory committee has proposed that a strict-constructionist definition
of fraud be adopted, namely "plagiarism, the fabrication or intentional
falsification of data, research procedures or data analysis, or other deliberate
misrepresentations in proposing, conducting, reporting or reviewing research".
This report will go to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, he is
concerned mainly with health and biomedical agencies.
On the SCI_FUSION net, some of the above stories from a press
conference in Turin, were "confirmed" by an account with the heading Washington
beginning "At a packed press conference today (March 27) in the nation's
capitol, leading Italian physicist Dr. Giuliano Preparata announced dramatic
new steps forward in the develoPment of cold fusion as a practical, cheap
source of clean energy", "Speaking at the National Press Club". Dr. Eugene
Mallove, former chief press officer of MIT who wrote the book "Fire from
Ice" in favour of cold fusion, also spoke and said he hoped to repeat the
results of Dr. Takahashi from Osaka, before the April 15 when Dr. Takahashi
is scheduled to give a talk at MIT. "Mallove and Preparata attacked the
vicious witch-hunt conducted in the US and Europe against the scientists
who had the courage to attest to the reality of this revolutionary
new science, and then were subject to persecution similar to that which drove
the two pioneers to leave the United States."
The press report finished "You are dealing with a subtle process here
which must be explained by real scientific thinking", "For the sake of your
children, for the sake of the future of humanity, we must fight this
stranglehold on science that affects us all."
Jon Webb then pointed out that "this article was taken from the
New Federalist, a publication of the political extremist Lyndon LaRouche."
"if the press conference was packed, why haven't there been any other stories
about it?" Mr. LaRouche is described in one of the associated magazines as
"a political prisoner in federal prison in Rochester, Minn." - others say the
long jail sentance has something to do with tax.
Have just received on the net, the text of the proposed change to
the Law which would favour Fusion. The phrase "Cold Fusion" is not mentioned,
but it is easy to see it would help people doing such experiments.
The title is "Replacement of Public Law 96-389, sec 3, Oct. 7, 1980, 95Stat 1540
Chapter 101 -- Fusion Energy Engineering." "(The purpose of this revision
of 03/26/92 is to provide small grants to fusion innovators who possess
fusion technology patents, allowing them to devote more time and effort
in the pursuit of private capital sources)".
It says that preference should be given to aneutronic fusion - which is
defined as "any fuel which when burnt in a fusion energy system, produces
neutron radiation carrying away less than 10% of the produced energy." The
figure of 10% seems very high for an aneutronic reaction which means
no neutrons. It would allow more than 10**16 neutrons per second from
a megawatt power plant which would be a major radiation hazard and would
damage the materials used in the construction.
"Every US citizen possessing a patent for a fusion energy system is to be
provided with full reimboursement of all tax-deductible expenses incurred in
the pursuit of the patent, up to a maximum of $100,000"
"(2) to stimulate private sector investment in fusion energy technology
by awarding substantial prizes for significant technical achievement
and matching private investment with public grants" The prizes are substantial
12 of them each of $100,000,000.
At the Nevada nuclear test range, 100 acres should be made available at
a "cost of no more than $1000 per month to lease per acre, including all
user fees." This shall "be remote enough that the instantaneous release
of 1 gram of tritium gas per month will pose no significant health risk to
those outside the test range."
There would be 10 monthly auctions of "10 kilograms of Helium-3". Curious.
The major recent event is that the two original experiments of Pons and
Fleischmann and of Jones et al., seem both to have been discredited.
If there was no effect there to confirm, it is not surprising that the
majority of experiments found nothing.
The fact that a minority of experiments found some evidence that appeared
to confirm the two original experiments, is not unusual in these kind of
New experiments are decreasing to a "trickle" but it seems the band of
True Believers has decided on an active campaign using the media. One
wonders if some of them are becoming associated with Lyndon LaRouche or
only adopting his style. The well-funded journals, New Federalist and
21st Century Science and Technology, which support LaRouche, have been most
generous in their support of Cold Fusion
Expect that the Third Cold Fusion conference will take place. Since it is
under the auspices of the very respectable Japanese National Institute for
Fusion Reseach, it is to be expected that the meeting will be conducted in a
normal scientific manner - that the programme committee will contain both
people who believe in Cold Fusion and those who do not. Similarly one can expect
invited speakers from the main experiments that do and do not find Cold
Fusion effects. It should be an interesting meeting which will do honour to
Douglas R.O. Morrison.