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Have been rather occupied with other matters and have not been
able to post anything for some time.
Recently Mr. Rothwell referred to the work that Fleischmann and Pons
published in Physics Letters A (paper communicated by J-P Vigier), and said that
Prof. Fleischmann had informed him that electrical readings were only recorded
every 300 seconds. This greatly astonished everyone as the most extreme claim
of F&P concerned a time of only 600 seconds. This was during the period when
the cell was boiling vigorously, this over the last 600 seconds before the
cell is dry, "the excess rate of energy production is about four times that
of the enthalpy input" and the specific excess enthalpy is 3.7 kW per cc of
palladium. In June 1993, comments were written on the F&P letter and they are
available as the CERN preprint, CERN-PPE/93-96. They were also submitted to
Phys. Lett. A. In this comment is written;
"Another important problem is the estimate of the input energy - here the
input enthalpy is taken as the current multiplied by the (cell voltage - 1.54V).
It is not explained how these quantities are measured. This is crucial as when
the cell is boiling vigorously, the impedance must be fluctuating strongly.
Thus the current will have both an AC and a DC component. If only the DC
component were measured, then the input enthalpy would be underestimated.
A detailed description of the current and voltage systems showing their fast
response characteristics is needed, but is not presented, so that although the
estimate may be correct, there is an absence of proof. Also the cell voltage
over the last 600 seconds cannot be read from fig. 8 as the bin size is
500,000 seconds and the trace is rising exceedingly steeply - as this is an
important question, one would have expected the voltage trace over the last
600 seconds to have been shown in great detail."
Hence it seemed impossible that after so many years, and having all the
expensive facilities available to them at the NCFI in Utah and with the IMRA
organisation near Nice, that F&P would take data only every 300 seconds.
Now this information came from a non-scientist, Mr. Rothwell, whose
accuracy is variable - for example he has been writing that "Morrison was
unable to get his critique published because as you will see, it lacks
scientific merit. He claims, in essence, that it is possible to burn 0.004
moles of hydrogen and generate over 87,600 joules of energy." Both of Mr.
Rothwell's statements are inaccurate. He adds " This clearly violates
junior-high school level physics and chemistry, and so do most of Morrison's
But it seemed so incredible that Mr. Rothwell was correct and Fleischmann
and Pons really did after all this time, measure only every 300 seconds, so felt
that the only way to be sure, was to ask one of the authors. Last Wednesday
Prof. Fleischmann gave a talk at the University of Lausanne. It was
very charmingly presented. Thanks to some adroit chairmanship plus
interventions, very few balancing comments to explain why most of the World's
scientists do not believe in Cold Fusion, were expressed, despite efforts.
Since I felt my time to comment was rather limited, gave the Chairman the
programme of the University of Lausanne's winter series of public lectures
(Cours General Public) and asked him to announce that another point of view
would be presented there, in particular when I would give the closing talk of
the series on the 23 February entitled "Science pathologique; fusion froide et
autres histoires". The Chairman appeared to agree and took the paper, but then
somehow forgot to announce it.
So asked Martin afterwards and he confirmed that the data was taken once
every 300 seconds. Tried to explain about AC and DC, but somehow we did not
seem to communicate. However he generously said if I asked for any plot, he
would send it to me. I asked for the plot of the current and voltages during
the end of the run. Martin also kindly invited me to visit their laboratory
On the net there has been great interest in the three hours after the cell
runs dry. Many were astonished that with no incoming power, the cell should
stay very close to 100 degrees although earlier calculations had indicated that
the cell should cool down. Most people considered this an impossibility and
a demonstration that there was something wrong with the experiment, but at
Lausanne, exactly the opposite conclusion was extracted by Martin. He declared
that the fact that the cell stays hot with no heat input, shows that something
exciting is taking place. Wonder if this will be the subject of the last talk
at ICCF-4, on Monday afternoon by Pons and Fleischmann intriguingly entitled
"Heat after Death"?
In the confused period after I questioned this impossibility, seemed to hear
the statement that two other groups had repeated this work and obtained the
same result - this is natural, if you repeat with the same technique, you should
get the same result. On the other hand if the two groups are normal scientists,
they will carry out check experiments to try and prove themselves wrong. For
example a major criticism in CERN-PPE/93-98, was that during the final phases
of Fleischmann and Pons's experiments, they only used D2O and did not repeat
with H2O to see if they could claim it was fusion (as F&P believe) or not as
J-P Vigier believes (he would expect excess heat to occur also with H2O
according to his version of quantum chemistry). It will also be interesting to
see if the two other groups use normal fast electronics to record the current
and voltage and look for the expected fluctuations, ie AC as well as DC input.
Also it will be interesting to see if they repeated the experiment with a single
thermistor or whether the cell was properly instrumented with many measuring
devices. It would of course, be even better if they were to have done a complete
controlled experiment where they continuously measured and studied the
outgoing fluids and solids (Lithium, D2, H2, O2, D2O, H2O, 3He,4He, tritium,
etc.) and their heat content. And it would be even more scientific if they had
followed the recommendations made at previous Annual Cold Fusion conferences,
to do good complete experiments - that is to measure simultaneously with
excess heat, also X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and protons - measuring
seriously, that is the energy spectrum with good resolution capable of
distinguishing the 21 keV X-ray line (as Steve Jones emphasises and even
offers to provide a compact detector), gammas of 24 MeV, neutrons of 2.45
and of 14 MeV, and protons of 3 MeV. Simply using a health physics neutron
counter or an X-ray plate which indicate "something" vaguely is no longer
serious after so many years of Cold Fusion and now good funding.
Since the piece of palladium used by F&P was so small, 0.039 cm3 (a speck)
it would be normal to vary the size of the palladium cathode, eg 4 cm3, 40 cm3
(taking appropriate precautions if you believe in F&P's results).
Think one of the new groups was from the CEA (French Atomic Energy
commission) in Grenoble. Wonder if the CEA knows?
Steve Jones has continued the BYU habit of doing simple experiments which
test vital claims. When was in BYU a few months ago giving a lecture, was shown
by Prof. Lee Hansen experiments with calorimeters to study whether or not there
could be recombination of hydrogen (deuterium) with oxygen to form H2O (D2O)
plus heat, in Fleischmann and Pons type cells - they have always denied
it and cite complicated calculations (have they ever done any experiments
on this?). However Lee did two simple experiments. Firstly he operated
the cell with the anode and cathode very close together as F&P so that
there was a chance that the hydrogen and oxygen emitted by the two electrodes
could mix and possibly recombine - assuming no recombination, he calculates
that he had then observed excess heat. He now moved the anode and cathode
apart, and as he did so the apparent excess heat vanished. This he
interpreted as evidence that recombination was occuring in the F&P - type
conditions and could be falsely interpreted as excess heat. Just in case of any
doubts, he did a second experiment - with the electrodes close together as F&P
and searching for excess heat, nitrogen gas was blown in at the bottom of the
cell - this one might expect to reduce the mixing of the hydrogen and oxygen
and hence reduce the recombination. He now calculated no excess heat.
It is to be hoped that those groups making claims of excess heat, will do these
simple control experiments - at the very least vary the separation of the
anode and cathode.
Steve Jones has now repeated the F&P experiment as described in their
Phys. Lett. A paper. Except he used H2O instead of D2O - and observed boiling
(if you believe this is manifestation of excess heat, it indicates it is not
fusion, and J-P Vigier should be happy while other theoreticians such as
Preparata, Bressani(also experimentalist) and Del Guidice who declare it is
fusion, should be unhappy as it implies Cold Fusion is not Fusion).
Steve followed F&P in keeping the current constant at 0.5 A. This meant
the voltage could vary, and unlike F&P did not sample it every 300 seconds but
recorded it on a strip-chart recorder. He wrote "As 100C was approached, the
voltage rose quickly from 20V to 75V, then we observed rapid fluctuations
during the boiling, with voltage jumping by + 60 V then -60V over short
intervals (less than 30 seconds)". This work is very recent and is being
analysed more completely, but already it clearly shows that the F&P
calculation of assuming only DC input is incorrect and the wild fluctuations
give a large AC contribution which has been ignored and instead interpreted as
a contribution to excess heat.
The overall conclusion is that the experimental technique employed by F&P
is inadequate or as written in the CERN preprint "The experiment and some of the
calculations have been described as "simple". This is incorrect - the process
involving chaotic motion, is complex and many calibrations and corrections
are needed. The calculations have been made to appear simple by incorrectly
ignoring important factors. It would have been better to describe the
experiments as "poor" rather than "simple".
The Fourth Annual Cold Fusion Conference,(ICCF-4) last four days, 6 to 9
December. It is difficult to detect from the titles and speakers' names, any
hint of skepticism that is so essential in Science, except possibly my talk
and the final Panel Discusion where the names of the members of the Panel have
not yet been given - wonder who will be invited to provide some balance to
reflect the fact that the vast majority of the World's scientists do not
believe in Cold Fusion - will I be invited?
My talk is entitled "Review of Progress in Cold Fusion" and I had rather
hoped that it would be in one of the scientific sessions. If there had been lots
of progress to report, I would have been given lots of time, if no progress then
I would have been given zero time. I have been given 20 minutes. The talk is in
the Parallel Session on "Special Topics". The speaker before is Dr. Fox and
the following speaker is Dr. Mallove (no doubt purely accidental choices) -
Drs. Fox and Mallove are not noted as recent regular scientific research
workers, but they may surprise us. It could be an interesting session and
one looks forward to later talks on "Cheap Electrical Power from Nuclear Fusion"
and "Proposed Nuclear Physics Experiment to Conclusively Demonstrate and
Explain Cold Fusion".
Cold Fusion workers may be interested in the last three paragraphs of
an article that Nature asked me to write on "The Rise and Fall of the
17 keV Neutrino" where a comparison is made with Cold Fusion - it is the
4th November issue, 366(1993)29-32.
(c) Douglas R.O. Morrison.