Talk:Cold fusion/Storms (2010)/Radioactive decay of contaminant

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Initial discussion[edit]

(Copied from Talk:Cold fusion/Storms (2010)

  • The title is appropriate, and clear, and that there is controversy is certainly noted. But what is asserted in the abstract is true, it is the conclusion of the paper, presented in the abstract, and that's totally normal. --Abd 15:15, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
It occurs to me that the evidence points the other way. Storms notes that a number of unexpected contaminants were found in the apparatus after the experiment was completed. To my mind, the most obvious explanation is that the Deuterium was not the reagent, but the solvent that carried all those contaminants into the cell. Almost surely those contaminants were in the heavy water from which the Deuterium was manufactured, and ended up as impurities in the Deuterium. See the next section for more details on how one or more of those contaminants would have been the most likely source of Helium + Heat through simple alpha decay of radioactive elements carried into the cells via the Deuterium. —Caprice 19:00, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
This is a hypothesis which is only tenable if we completely neglect the quantities of "contaminants" involved. The use of the term "contaminants" here assumes that the substances were present prior to the experiment, whereas, in fact, these elements are not present in controls, including analysis of the heavy water before the experiment. That is so basic that it's surprising that one might think this testing was not done. --Abd 20:56, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
  • What controls? The contaminants were not present before the experiment, but were found afterwards. As far as I know, only two materials were introduced into the cells — the electrolyte and the deuterium. Nowhere in the Storms paper does one find any analysis of the deuterium to see if it's the source of the contaminants. It shouldn't be that hard to analyze the various grades of deuterium from the various suppliers to see if it contains xenon, radon, or other suspicious contaminants. Deuterium manufactured by electrolysis from heavy water would almost surely contain such contaminants if the manufacturer were using heavy water procured from nuclear plants. What do we know about that? —Caprice 21:19, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
This is a review we are talking about, not a primary source. Storms is not reporting these things for the first time, he is reviewing the reports. Caprice, you are assuming that these are "contaminants," rather than "substances created by transmutation." If there were some radioactive substance present in the cell as a contaminant, and even if there were no specific prior analysis of the deuterium, the element would show up in the analysis as the actual contaminant, and only the far, far smaller amount of ash would be present. Now, if the material in question is short half-life, sure. You might get more ash. But that, then raises further questions. I have D2O in stock. It's been sitting on the shelf for a year. If there were radon present, it's gone. Most labs would have D2O that was older than would be expected to have significant radon left, given the 3.8 day half life. So radon contamination could only have a tiny effect, if any at all. In a six or eight week experimental run, radon contamination, even if the radon contamination were fresh and thus present in significant quantities, the effect would fade with time, whereas the production of excess heat and helium increase with time, generally, as higher and higher loading is reached. Loading cannot affect the concentration of a contaminant in the palladium, because pretty much the only things that can enter that lattice are hydrogen and deuterium. Even helium is largely immobile. It's a metal!
There are many known characteristics of the P-F effect that are inconsistent with a theory of radioactive contamination. To list some:
  • Excess heat increases with loading ratio attained. If loading stays below about 90%, there is no excess heat, even if the electrolysis continues for a long time, and no helium is found.
  • Excess heat is measurable with a calorimeter. To get measurable heat from natural radioactivity takes a lot of radiation! Heavy water, sitting there, doesn't warm up. Blank cells with deuterium but no electrolysis don't warm up. Radiation is not detected from the heavy water used in these experiments, there are no reports of that. There is suspicion of very low tritium contamination from the suspected entry of recycled heavy water from nuclear reactors. Those suspicions are generally rejected. The possible contamination asserted was to explain the detection of tritium, not to explain excess heat. Tritium produces only 5.7 KeV beta emissions. Even significant tritium contamination would not have an effect on anything but tritium detection, and possibly increased secondary emissions D-T fusion.
  • No radioactive contaminant has been identified at significant levels, in any cell materials, which includes the heavy water.
  • One or two percent of light water poisons the reaction (levels are reduced enormously, if not entirely). This would not occur if the effect were caused by radioactive contamination.
  • Cells with heavy water but no electrolysis don't show excess heat effects and do not produce helium. If the source were a radioactive alpha-emitter contaminant, there would be as much heat without electrolysis as with it.
The statement about materials introduced into the cells is inaccurate. This is what is in a typical CF cell. There are variations.
  • palladium cathode
  • platinum anode
  • cell material (glass, acrylic plastic, typically)
  • heavy water
  • lithium chloride or another salt to increase conductivity
  • In addition, there may be trace amounts of other materials, such as materials in gaskets, etc.
I have read that "all cell materials" have been tested for the possible presence of radioactive contaminants. It would be some work to track down the references, but "cell materials" includes heavy water, it would be preposterous to exclude it, as Caprice seems to casually assume. This becomes very important when searches are being done for radiation. It's not an issue for excess heat/helium because the levels of radiation necessary would be quite high, the contaminant would be easily detected because of the radiation. --Abd 00:56, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
Most researchers, I'm sure, don't have their deuterium analyzed, but buy it from a reputable source which would not sell them radioactive heavy water, beyond the tiniest quantities of trace elements perhaps detectable only with the most sensitive methods. Excess heat is an effect that would require far larger quantities of radioactive material, easily detected, than could possibly be present in commercial heavy water. Likewise, even if there were such contamination, the heat/helium ratio would not be larger than perhaps 5 or 6 MeV/He-4 at the most. It is five times that. Etc.
There is a great deal of controversy over the transmutation reports that Caprice is depending on here. Some researchers have claimed that the detected materials have migrated to the cathode from other cell materials, and in some cases evidence has been found that this has actually occurred. This is a huge red herring, besides the heat/helium evidence. There is no observed ash from alpha decay that would be expected, unless the ash were another of the cell materials. This starts to become quite a Rube Goldberg hypothesis, but there is no experimental evidence at all to support it. --Abd 01:04, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Excess heat increases with loading ratio attained. If loading stays below about 90%, there is no excess heat, even if the electrolysis continues for a long time, and no helium is found.
How is loading ratio determined? Isn't it the case that more fuel must be introduced (and supplied for a longer duration) to get higher loading ratios? If the contaminant is in the fuel, and includes products of radioactive decay, then supplying more fuel and leaving it there for a longer time would increase the deposition of any such contaminants (or their decay products) on the cathode. Moreover, deposition on the cathode of any ionic substances dissolved in the electrolyte would also be proportional to the cathodic current, voltage, and duration. After all, this is equivalent to charging a battery. How does one falsify the hypothesis that deposition (rather than alchemical transmutation) is the correct theory?
  • Excess heat is measurable with a calorimeter. To get measurable heat from natural radioactivity takes a lot of radiation!
You are measuring the ratio of heat to helium. Each atom of helium produced (whether from fusion or from alpha decay is accompanied by some heat, of the order of 10 Mev per helium. The results, as I understand them, is that the total amount of heat + helium varies from one experiment to the next, but the ratio of heat to helium stays close to the expected value, either for fusion or for alpha decay.
  • No radioactive contaminant has been identified at significant levels, in any cell materials, which includes the heavy water.
Did they look for it? Given that the heavy water is also the fuel, and that it's procured from various vendors at various grades of purity, how does one falsify the hypothesis that some supplies had impurities that no one bothered to assay?
  • One or two percent of light water poisons the reaction (levels are reduced enormously, if not entirely). This would not occur if the effect were caused by radioactive contamination.
This would be persuasive if it can be shown to be a consistent cause of failure. But some experiments also fail with pure heavy water. How are other causes of failure ruled out?
  • Cells with heavy water but no electrolysis don't show excess heat effects and do not produce helium. If the source were a radioactive alpha-emitter contaminant, there would be as much heat without electrolysis as with it.
Without electrolysis, there is no loading, no deposition, and no consumption of fuel. Wouldn't the amount of contaminant be proportional to the amount of fuel needed to supply the loading process? Did they circulate the same amount of fuel, for the same duration, into the cell when their was no electrolysis underway?
  • Most researchers, I'm sure, don't have their deuterium analyzed, but buy it from a reputable source which would not sell them radioactive heavy water, beyond the tiniest quantities of trace elements perhaps detectable only with the most sensitive methods. Excess heat is an effect that would require far larger quantities of radioactive material, easily detected, than could possibly be present in commercial heavy water. Likewise, even if there were such contamination, the heat/helium ratio would not be larger than perhaps 5 or 6 MeV/He-4 at the most. It is five times that.
If they don't have their deuterium supply analyzed, how do they know how pure it is, or what contaminants are present? Do they even report which grade of purity they are procuring from their vendor? Do you know the impurity levels for commercial (e.g. industrial grade) heavy water from various vendors?
  • Likewise, even if there were such contamination, the heat/helium ratio would not be larger than perhaps 5 or 6 MeV/He-4 at the most. It is five times that.
We found that for Radon, the heat would be about 9 Mev per He, not counting any additional exothermic chemical reactions with the decay products. Storms also points out that half the helium produced at the surface of the cathode would become trapped in the cathode and not vented. That adds another factor of two to confound the estimate of how much helium is being produced. If the source of helium were alpha decay of contaminants in the free-flowing electrolyte, virtually none of the resultant helium would be trapped in the cathode.
Caprice 14:24, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

The Evidence[edit]

The evidence, as reported in the Storms paper, is that a number of contaminants were found in the experimental apparatus, after the experiment was completed.

Among the contaminants found, Storms lists Lead, Curium, Arsenic, Gallium, Antimony, Tellurium, Iodine, Hafnium, Rhenium, Iridium, Bromine, and Xenon, several of which had abnormal isotopic ratios.

Very likely these contaminants were introduced via the Deuterium and/or the electrolyte. Deuterium is manufactured by electrolysis of Heavy Water. It is very likely that some or all of these contaminants were dissolved salts or gases in the Heavy Water from nuclear plants, used to produce Deuterium, and ended up as impurities or contaminants in the Deuterium.

Of these contaminants, Xenon (a noble gas) is probably the most interesting, as it almost surely would have been mixed in with the Deuterium. Note that Radon, however, is missing as a contaminant. Yet if there is Xenon, why is there not also Radon?

Simple. Radon has a half life of just 3.8 days. It decays into Lead through a series of alpha and beta decay steps. After a few weeks, any Radon present when the Deuterium was manufactured would have decayed to Lead, producing Helium as the ash.

It occurs to me that the most likely interpretation of the evidence is that the Helium + Heat is the result of simple alpha decay of contaminants, of which Radon is a prime suspect.

Caprice 17:47, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

I will introduce evidence from the paper and other sources, but this is a preliminary comment on this theory. Yes, abnormal isotopic ratios is an indication that the "contaminant" was produced by a nuclear process, which would include radioactive decay, but which could also be from nucleosynthesis in the cell, such as by neutron activation or absorption of alpha particles, or, as well, by various processes whereby a deuteron or collection of deuterons might fuse with heavier nuclei. There is, for example, some significant evidence for the addition of three deuterons to various nuclei -- which could be four with emission of an alpha.
The problem is that the levels of these transmuted nuclei are very far below the levels of helium found. If there is decay from, say, element X -> (X-2) + 4He, then we would expect to find as much (X-2) as 4He. This is far from the case, unless X is 4, thus the decay is to two 4He. Further, the energy of alpha decay is well below the energy from fusion, perhaps 5 MeV. (If Be-8 formed by 4D fusion immediately decays, however, this is not a ground state decay, and would produce 23.8 MeV. That energy is not observed. Commensurate heat, though, is observed).
This is why Storms does not consider radioactive decay, per se, as a source of the energy. It is not in the ball park. The main reason is that the "ash" from contaminants is not present in the required quantities, the secondary reason is that candidate decays, if produced from a "radioactive contaminant" do not produce enough energy to account for the heat/helium ratio being as high as it is measured to be. Storms does list "3-6? from alpha" in his table. He means that if some transmutation reaction is taking place that generates alphas, this process could release 6-6 MeV. A third reason is that the materials in these cells are not radioactive when examined separately or in control cells.
With hydrogen controls, of course, one could argue, as is done here, that the contaminant is in the heavy water. However, controls where heavy water is used, but a different cathode material, or no electrolysis to produce deuterium gas for loading, do not show the effect and do not show helium. (Nor do they show excess heat.) If we postulate that the electrolysis process or other cell process is causing radioactive decay, we have found a "chemically aided nuclear reaction." CANR is one of the names used as a rough synonym for LENR.)
I thank Caprice for raising these issues. --Abd 21:23, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Where does Storms believe the Xenon came from? If, as I suggest, the Xenon was present in solution in the heavy water from which the deuterium was extracted by electrolysis, then would there not also have been Radon dissolved in that water too? Given the very short half-life of Radon (3.8 days) and its well-known decay process, where is the analysis that would estimate how much Radon would have been present alongside the Xenon, and compare that to the amount of anomalous Lead found deposited onto the Cathode after the fact? If that's in the review by Storms, I didn't see it. Instead, I saw that he expressly ignored radioactive decay as a possible explanation of the production of Helium + Heat. —Caprice 22:08, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Suppose that Radon were the sole contaminant in the Deuterium gas and responsible for 100% of the Helium production through alpha decay. With a half-life of just under 4 days, one Radon atom would decay to Lead producing three Helium atoms and 23.9 Mev of heat, or 8 Mev of heat per Helium. That is remarkably close to the magic number of 23.8 Mev per Helium reported in the literature. How can you say that it's preposterous to consider Radon contamination of the Deuterium gas as one of the likely culprits? —Caprice 00:42, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

That is not remarkably close, it is more than double the estimated error away. Further, unless there is some source renewing the Radon, that heat would be declining rapidly with time; after normal storage, it wouldn't be there at all. This would require radon contamination far higher than ambient radon, and the heavy water would be dangerous. So where is this hypothesis coming from? Helium production in the cells increases with excess energy measured, and does not show an exponential decline as radioactive heat would, with such a short half-life. Further, CF cells typically show a long period with no excess heat at the beginning, followed by a rapid increase in excess heat. This is totally unlike the behavior of radioactive heat.

By the way, 23.8 is not "reported in the literature." Various figures are reported, because varying amounts of helium have been recovered. Considering the most careful experiments, four series, Storms estimates 25 +/- 5 MeV/He-4. Most researchers writing on this summarize their data as "consistent with 23.8 MeV/He-4" --Abd 01:29, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Storms ignores radioactive decay from pre-existing radioactive contaminants because it is so far from explaining the experimental behavior that it is not worth discussing, that's the bottom line, except for learning purposes. --Abd 01:29, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

You don't seem to understand. If there is Radon contamination in the Deuterium gas, that Radon gas will enter the cell along with the Deuterium. Whatever Radon enters the cell will then decay with a half-life of 4 days, producing three Helium atoms inside the cell along with 23.9 Mev of heat from the decay sequence. In addition, the decay products will react chemically with the Deuterium to form metal deuterides, releasing some additional amount of exothermic heat. —Caprice 01:57, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
To respond, I find myself forced to imagine cell procedures that are entirely different from reality. First of all, it is common that cells are sealed, and the evolved deuterium and oxygen are recycled, using a recombiner catalyst. In other words, there is no new deuterium oxide being added to the cell. In any case, cells where helium is being measured are often not open cells, but if the gases are allowed to escape, nevertheless there is may be sufficient heavy water in the cell for the entire run. Adding deuterium would obviously provide a pathway for atmospheric helium to enter. The exact setup varies among the research groups reporting heat and helium. However, if a research group were, indeed, adding deuterium oxide to replace it when lost through electrolysis, it would normally be added from the same stock. For example, I have 10 bottles of 100 grams each D2O, all a year old since I purchased it, and probably packaged long before that. This material would have no significant radon in it being so far beyond the half-life of 3.8 days. It probably has helium at levels comparable to ambient, plus any helium resulting from original radon contamination, which is almost certainly some (very small) level. I assume that most labs have a certain stock of D2O, and they don't open new stock until the old is exhausted. So, usually, it would be the same material, and usually it would not be fresh enough to have significant remaining radon contamination, even if it had unusually high levels initially.
So "entering the cell along with the deuterium" means that when the deuterium is poured into the cell, the radon would be with it. If the cell is then sealed, that's that. A recombiner is used to recycle the deuterium. If it's an open cell, if more deuterium is added, it is almost always from the same batch. The radon levels in the cells will be declining much more rapidly than the level of heavy water in the cell. To give an idea, with a 25 g. initial cell charge, it is not by any means certain that I will need to replenish the deuterium oxide at all during a two or three week run. The highest currents are only at the end of the run, for a few days.
Bottom line: any heating and evolved helium would be long gone from almost all heavy water stocks before being used, and even if present at the beginning of an experiment, would not increase during the experiment, but would only decline due to the short half-life of radon. The length of electrolysis might be more than three weeks. If there were some effect from radiation in the first four days, by the end of twenty days, more than five half-lives, the effect would have declined by a factor of more than 32. Yet most experimental runs show peak heat well into the period, not at the beginning as would be expected from this radioactive contaminant theory.
I'll point to some papers by Miles. While Miles was not the first to detect helium as a product, he did become the first to show helium from a substantial series of cells. Later work was done by others that was more accurate in the helium collection and measurement and that was possibly more accurate in the calorimetry.
See Miles' cell histories, in the 1993 paper, showing the history of excess heat. It looks nothing like the steady decline that would be expected from a radioactive source.
Cold fusion experiments of the P-F type typically show no excess heat for long initial periods. That inconsistent with the radioactive heat theory. On the other hand, codeposition cells are reported to show excess heat almost immediately, because they can form highly loaded thin layers of palladium deuteride from the start. Thus the heating is related to the manner of formation of palladium deuteride and not to possible radioactive contamination in the heavy water.
I'm proposing to start a page where you can work on this theory of radioactive contamination if you wish, Caprice. I suggest, if you wish to continue to explore it, that you take some time to gather evidence and to look at the issues that have been raised.
Because the theory is original with you, apparently, it should not, until recognized in some independent publication, be given high prominence. I'll link a page from Cold fusion/Storms (2010) to allow your study, where you can edit and modify it to make the presentation as clear as possible, removing early errors or whatever. We can continue to discuss this theory on the attached Talk page, but we should, on the talk page for the Storms review, turn to the Storms review itself, what it reports and claims, rather than what it does not report and does not claim. Clearly, Storms does not respond to a claim that has been made nowhere in the literature, AFAIK, so debating that claim is not relevant to study of the review, per se. See what I do and if it meets with your approval. --Abd 03:21, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
  • The Null Hypothesis is not an original theory. The Null Hypothesis is that nothing unusual is happening, and that the observations are well-explained by a mundane application of existing theory. It is hardly an original theory to ask if some obvious contaminant entered the apparatus. —Caprice 14:44, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Abd, I want to go back to something from a few days ago that I don't understand. In your explanation of the experimental procedure for sealing the cell once it's fueled up and ready to go, you say:

A recombiner is used to recycle the deuterium. If it's an open cell, if more deuterium is added, it is almost always from the same batch. The radon levels in the cells will be declining much more rapidly than the level of heavy water in the cell. To give an idea, with a 25 g. initial cell charge, it is not by any means certain that I will need to replenish the deuterium oxide at all during a two or three week run. The highest currents are only at the end of the run, for a few days.

Is the typical cell size 25 ml of electrolyte? Based on your calculation of excess heat from CF, how many 25 MeV events would it take to account for that amount of excess heat over the course of the experiment. And how many hours does it run?

But the part of your explanation that surprised me was your remark that the highest currents are only at the end of the run, for a few days. According to what I read in Beaudette's book, Excess Heat, the cells are run at constant current of 0.4 amps, and the requisite voltage to reach and maintain that constant current slowly rises, but nominally operates at around 5 volts, so that the electrical power into the cell is about 2 watts. You say the current in your cell is not constant, but rises at the end. Can you explain what your current, voltage, and power curves are, over the duration of the run?

Caprice 14:31, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

Suggestions for the resource page[edit]

Caprice, please lay out, on the attached resource page, the theory you have proposed about radioactive contamination being the source of correlated heat and helium in cold fusion experiments. This page can evolve, it is not a discussion, it is a report that you write on your theory. If I edit it, it will be only to help and you may revert any of that. At least at this point!

One of the resources we might develop, which would be useful for us now except it doesn't exist yet, here, is a list of observed phenomena that any theory of what is causing the effects called "cold fusion," which I'll now define as anomalous heat correlated with anomalous helium, from palladium deuteride, should attempt to explain. --Abd 03:56, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

  • It's not really a theory. It's just the Null Hypothesis, that the observations are not a new phenomenon, but explained by mundane theory. For example, when Penzias and Wilson measured the 3-degree microwave radiation signal, they began by looking for all the mundane explanations. Perhaps it was just thermal noise in their amplifiers. Perhaps it was pigeon poop on the antenna. Only after they had thoroughly eliminated all conceivable mundane explanations did they consider that it might be a new phenomenon. Contamination of materials is not a new phenomenon. It's a fairly mundane possibility that must be conclusively ruled out before considering that one has discovered a new phenomenon. The question I asked is, "How did they rule out contamination of the fuel supply?" —Caprice 14:58, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

After reading the comments by Caprice and other people trying to explain cold fusion as a prosaic process, I'm disappointed by how often they assume people working in the field are ignorant and unable to consider the suggested explanations themselves. After all, these are well trained and professional scientists who have worked in many recognized fields with success. Rather than asking for an education to help their own ignorance of science, the skeptics frame the question as why their suggested possibility was never considered or was ignored. The fact is that most of these suggestions have been considered and found to be so trivial as not to require taking the time to reject them. By focusing on trivial detail, the skeptics miss the big picture; that a huge amount of internally consistent information supports the reality of the effect. Now attention needs to be applied to its understanding and explanation, not to defending its reality. Enough time has been wasted by this distraction. A discussion of how the effect might operate and the consequence of its application would be much more useful. —Edmund Storms 17:33, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Is it your belief, Edmund, that I am ignorant of science? If so, please help me work out the basic physics here. How many parts per trillion of Radon would it take to raise the temperature of water 2 degrees celsius per hour? —Caprice 18:40, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

Caprice, why do you keep beating a dead horse? No Rn could possibility be in D2O because of its short half-life and the absence of a source in the environment. More directly, none has been detected when various batches of D2O are periodically tested. Rn does not magically appear, as you propose. Even a skeptic must play by the rules of known behavior and measurements. The only plausible source of helium is from the air. Miles found that helium did leak into his cell when the cell and tubing was made of Pyrex. Subsequent work used stainless steel, which does not allow entry of helium. Furthermore, the same He-heat relationship has been found using only D2 gas in vacuum-tight steel systems. What is the point of suggesting an explanation for which NO evidence exists when a growing collection of evidence shows that a nuclear reaction is producing both the heat and helium in the absence of any radioactivity? This reaction has an energy consistent with D-D fusion and no other type of reactio(n comes even close. —Edmund Storms 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Edmund, it occurs to me this horse is far from dead, but galloping along, alive as you and I, much like those curious Arsenic-loving bacteria in Mono Lake.
In § II. 2.2.4 of your similar 1998 paper regarding Transmutation Products, you wrote:
Recent studies have revealed a variety of elements that seem to result from fragmentation of a heavy nucleus or its fusion with deuterium or hydrogen.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this section of your 1998 paper, you adopt the assumption that the Null Hypothesis doesn't apply. You presume the observed heavy elements really are there as reported, and not explained by trace contaminants in the electrolyte.
With respect to the experiment by Miley and Patterson, in which the electrolyte is ordinary water with Lithium Sulphate as the electrolyte, you write:
Great care was taken to analyze the material before hand and to remove possible contaminates from the electrolyte. Significant quantities of Fe, Ag, Cu, Mg, and Cr were detected using neutron activation analysis (NAA), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), Auger electron spectrometry (AES) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). Many other elements were also found but at lower concentrations. When the concentrations are plotted as a function of atomic number, four regions of enhanced concentration are produced with peaks at 15, 30, 50 and 80 au. Many of the minor elements probably result from the expected localization of impurities. However, the major elements are at such high concentrations making this explanation difficult to support. The main anomalous elements are noted in the Periodic Table shown as Fig. 9. Many of the detected elements show an abnormal isotopic ratio and have a higher concentration within the Ni layer in contrast to being found on the surface as would be expected if they plated out of the electrolyte. While most questions about the analytical methods have been answered, the nature of the nuclear process is still very much in doubt. The main problems involve how elements much heavier than Ni are produced, how the neutron/proton ratio between the proposed reactants and products can be balanced, and why the measured energy production is so small compared to the amount of nuclear transformation. Of course, the basic question remains as to how such reactions can occur in the first place.
Since the Miley and Patterson experiment used ordinary water with a Nickel cathode, Deuteron absorption cannot possibly be involved. Miley and Patterson found Lead, in the absence of any Platinum or Deuterium. To my mind, that's your control, against which the comparable Mizuno experiment (with heavy water and Palladium) must be compared.
Mizuno et al. [58] (Hokkaido Univ. Japan) subjected palladium to electrolysis at high pressure and high temperature. The electrodes were analyzed using EDX, AES and SIMS. Although this study is not as complete as the one described above, many of the same elements were found with abnormal concentrations and isotopic ratios. Surprisingly, significant excess Xenon was detected within the palladium metal using SIMS. Changes in the 104Pd and 110Pd isotopic ratio were also seen as a function of depth with the largest deviations from natural abundance at the surface. Abnormal isotopic ratios resulting from formation of metal hydride molecules, which distort SIMS measurements, or because of isotopic separation caused by electromigration may occur but are difficult to justify in all cases.
Mizuno also found Pb, as one would expect given that Pb was found in the non-CF experiment of Miley and Patterson. But Mizuno found, much to your surprise, significant excess Xenon. And yet you blithely discard the Null Hypothesis that these could be residual contaminants in the electrolyte.
I don't understand why you discarded the Null Hypothesis — that in both of these experiments, the heavy elements were contaminants in the electrolyte. Nor do I understand why, today, you dismiss Mizuno's finding of Xenon as a misinterpretation of the SIMS (Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry) assay.
My reading of your reports is that you did not falsify the Null Hypothesis, but simply assumed it away on the basis of "Great care was taken to analyze the material beforehand and to remove possible contaminates from the electrolyte." Am I misreading your reports?
Yesterday, in E-Mail you wrote, "Of course the fuels have impurities. Xenon is not the evidence for this. This evidence comes from direct analysis, which has been done." Aren't the above studies, by Miley & Patterson and by Mizuno the evidence that, even after great care to remove impurities, the heavy elements are still found on the cathode, even when (as in the case of Miley & Patterson) there was no Palladium and no heavy water in the experimental apparatus?
How can one consider the above and not conclude that the Null Hypothesis is alive and well and very much in the race?
Caprice 14:39, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

First of all, Caprice, you are making several assumptions different from mine. You assume the 6000 ppm of D2O in normal H2O is not the source of the transmutation reactions reported by Miley. I do not think this is a safe assumption at this point in our understanding. Therefore, the H2O work is not a Null Hypothesis. In addition, his cathodes did contain Pd along with Ni. Second, I assume Miley did accurate measurements and was able to show that the observed elements did not result from contamination. I made this assumption because the purpose of the paper is to show what is observed, not evaluate every detail. People, such as yourself, need to know what is claimed before you can effectively evaluate it. Besides, even if there are a few errors, knowing what is found allows its comparison to what other people find, which can more easily weed out what is error. In fact, a growing data set showing the result of transmutation is being reported and this is revealing patterns of behavior that cannot be understood from a single study no matter how carefully it is analyzed.

As for Xe, its presence or absence in not important at this stage and the claim is too weak to devote time to debating its reality. Eventually, this and many other claims need to be reevaluated and the work repeated once we know better what to look for. People doing this work have limited resources. These need to be applied to work that has demonstrable meaning and that gives important insights. The Xe claim is not one of these.

The Null Hypothesis approach is only one of several that can be used to evaluate reality. Making gross changes in experimental conditions and seeing if the novel effect still occurs is a better approach. This eliminates many imagined possibilities all at once without having to test each one. This has been done with success. Evidence for a nuclear process has been gotten using 6 difference methods with many variations. Of course, you are welcome to find the unique reasons why each of these is giving the same wrong answer.

Edmund Storms 20:22, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

  • You assume the 6000 ppm of D2O in normal H2O is not the source of the transmutation reactions reported by Miley. I do not think this is a safe assumption at this point in our understanding. Therefore, the H2O work is not a Null Hypothesis.
I am not assuming that transmutation is occurring, as that is the experimental hypothesis to be demonstrated in another experiment with Pd+D20. The Null Hypothesis for Miley's H20 experiment is that there are no measurable assay products in the purest possible electrolyte. But he finds measurable residue, thus falsifying his Null Hypothesis and demonstrating that even electrolyte with pure ordinary water may have detectable trace minerals in it that show up on assay.
When one is doing science, one does not assume that any hypothesis is correct. Rather one makes a list of hypotheses (including the Null Hypothesis) and then proceeds to try like the dickens to falsify each and every one of them. The last one standing is then the best surviving hypothesis, but none are ever conclusively proven. Theories in science are not proven, the way a theorem in mathematics is proven. Rather false theories are disproven by showing they are inconsistent with the observations.
  • I assume Miley did accurate measurements and was able to show that the observed elements did not result from contamination.
You assume he showed that?!? How could Miley possibly show that, since his experiment amounts to assaying the residue from running an electrolytic cell with ordinary water that was as pure as possible. His experiment reveals what turns up in an assay in the control group with ordinary water and Nickel. His experiment falsifies his Null Hypotheses and establishes a baseline level of observable residue. He fails to rule out contamination and simply shows that there are residues which could potentially be explained by any number of causes, including trace impurities in the electrolyte.
  • I made this assumption because the purpose of the paper is to show what is observed, not evaluate every detail. People, such as yourself, need to know what is claimed before you can effectively evaluate it.
You claimed that Miley showed there were no contaminants. But Miley didn't show that at all. Miley falsified the Null Hypotheses for his experiment, that pure water would be free of assay products. Had Miley found no residue whatsover, he could have claimed there were no detectable contaminants. But he found residue! So he cannot conclude there were no contaminants. He now has to consider the possibility that the residue he found could be explained by trace contaminants.
  • As for Xe, its presence or absence in not important at this stage and the claim is too weak to devote time to debating its reality.
Of course it's important. It's consistent with the as-yet-unfalsified theory that the elecrolyte is demonstrably free of contaminants. Mizuno found the same residues as Miley, plus Xenon, suggesting that if contamination is the correct explanation, then D20 may have even more contaminants in it than ordinary water. If Xenon were a contaminant in D20, then Radon may well have also been present. And if Radon were present, it would sooner or later decay to Pb and Helium, which would then be found upon post-mortem assay. And, as you know, Pb was indeed found.
  • The Null Hypothesis approach is only one of several that can be used to evaluate reality. Making gross changes in experimental conditions and seeing if the novel effect still occurs is a better approach.
Here is a gross change that (as far as I know) has never been attempted. Run the cell until the cathode is fully loaded. At that point switch to an adiabatic mode in which the temperature of the external bath is regulated to rise in lock step with the temperature of the electrolyte. That way, there should be zero heat transfer through the calorimeter, so than any calibration error becomes a moot issue. The cell temperature should now begin to rise in direct proportion to the electrical power going into to cell, and inversely with the thermal mass of the cell. With both the D20 experimental cell and a control cell with H20, compare the temperature rise, accounting for the electrical input. Does the temperature in either cell rise faster than would be accounted for by the input of electrical current?
Caprice 21:41, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

This discussion is going nowhere, Caprice. You seem to have a view point that cannot be changed no matter what I say or what evidence I show you. You keep bringing up Rn even though it has no relationship to the reality of cold fusion and you keep focusing on the imagined role of trivial contamination when logic and direct measurements show that these have no role in producing the major nuclear reactions. I'm at a loss to understand why you can keep insisting that a radioactive alpha emitter might be present and cause the heat and helium while I keep telling you that direct measurements showing the absence of such material, conflict with the amount of released energy, and the known characteristics of radioactive decay show that no such material is present nor would it produce the observed behavior if it were present.

Your description of the Miley work shows no understanding of what this work claims. Miley carefully measured the presence of elements before and after exposing the material to electrolysis. He reported seeing an increase in the amount of certain elements. He proposed this increase resulted from a nuclear reaction called transmutation. Of course some of this increase might have resulted from unrecognized contamination, but not all. Furthermore, thisHow could he possibly measure the contribution from impurities except by electrolysis observation is consistent with growing evidence for transmutation that is observed to result from a variety of conditions. These observations have no direct relationship to energy and helium production except transmutation and fusion might be produced by the same mechanism, hence are branches of the cold fusion phenomenon.

Even though you acknowledge that you have not mastered the literature about the subject, you reject my analysis even though it is based on a complete reading of what has been published and my own direct experimental studies. If you want to make a useful contribution to a discussion, you must at least acknowledge what is real not what you imagine to be true. The other approach is to assume I'm lying to you, in which case you are free to show up my lie by using facts from the literature. All the important citations are in my paper and in my book so your search for the facts is made easy.

As for your suggested calorimeter, this contributes nothing to an accurate heat measurement for reasons that are too long and complex to discuss here. The present methods used to measure heat are well documented to be accurate to better than ±50 mW, which is more than enough to prove existence of anomalous energy. This observation has now been replicated hundreds of times by laboratories all over the world using calorimeters of many designs. Suggesting an untested design is only a distraction and an example of hubris from someone who has no understanding of calorimetry. You might be interested to learn that Fleischmann and Pons used both isothermal and adiabatic calorimetry in their study (but of a design different from yours), which supported their claim.

I welcome discussing the possible flaws associated with cold fusion, but only if the other person acknowledges the existence of observed fact. There was a time when observed fact left room for imagined prosaic explanations for cold fusion. That ship has now sailed. As skeptics kept suggesting plausible explanations, these ideas were tested and shown to be wrong. Unless you can suggest an idea that was missed during the last 20 year by hundreds of trained scientists who have examined this subject, you are wasting my and your time. So far you have not suggested anything that has not been considered and rejected as I have carefully described in our discussions.

Your wish to apply the logic of the Null Hypothesis is commendable. However, you fail to understand that such logic, while occasionally used in research, is not always the best approach. Rather than trying to understand the role of each and every imagined material or variable that might cause the effect, it is easier to simply change the gross conditions and see if the observed effect still occurs. This eliminates many real and imagined possible causes while introducing a new set. If the effect is still seen, this means it must be caused by something that is common to both conditions. If enough different conditions are used, the common requirement can be easily identified. This approach is being used in cold fusion and the common features are being identified, which are not the ones you are focusing on.

—Edmund Storms 16:57, 6 December 2010

  • Miley carefully measured the presence of elements before and after exposing the material to electrolysis.
Before electrolysis, the cathode was clean. Miley assayed the residue on the cathode from ordinary water after electrolysis [Figure 9 of your 1998 paper]. The Null Hypothesis would be that the elements he found on the cathode afterward were trace impurities in the water. The experimental hypothesis would be that the residue (which included Pb) came from alchemical transmutation of the electrodes. How did Miley falsify the Null Hypothesis?
  • Your wish to apply the logic of the Null Hypothesis is commendable. However, you fail to understand that such logic, while occasionally used in research, is not always the best approach.
Ed, I was frankly gobsmacked to learn that you eschewed the idea of falsifying the Null Hypothesis. I frankly don't see how one can be claiming to do scientific research any other way.
In E-Mail, you wrote:
"As I keep saying, the Null Hypothesis idea does not work in chemistry or in Cold Fusion. All kinds of possibilities are eliminated based on experience and knowledge of chemistry up front and without much effort." —Edmund Storms, E-Mail, December 4, 2010
More than anything, Ed, I think the above difference in the way you and I construe and apply the scientific method explains why you come to different conclusions from me (and other scientists who think like me) in terms of the scientific protocols of hypothesis testing. As I construe the protocols of the Scientific Method, the Null Hypothesis has not been falsified. As near as I can tell, you simply discarded the idea of considering Null Hypothesis, asserting that doing so doesn't work in Chemistry or Cold Fusion.
To my mind, I suspect we have diagnosed the impasse. As near as I can tell, you neglected to falsify the Null Hypothesis, simply assuming it away at the outset. That's the crucial observed fact that has emerged in our conversation over the past few days. If that's the way you do science, Ed, then your concept of science and mine differ in a fundamental way that fully explains why your conclusions depart from those who construe the scientific method as I do.
Caprice 18:38, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

Let's look at this problem from a different perspective. We have two different explanations. You think the cold fusion effect is caused by prosaic processes that are related to minor impurities. I think the CF effect is caused by a novel nuclear process. You want me to unilaterally apply the scientific method to my explanation by identifying the role of every possible impurity. Let's instead apply the scientific method to your explanation. These observations must be explained and presumably your explanation is as good as any other. Can you show the evidence that supports your explanation and how this applies to the hundreds of successful demonstrations of anomalous behavior by laboratories all over the world? Can you show that only your explanation applies using the scientific method? Of course not. Therefore, you fail the scientific test. Since you think my explanation is unproven and you cannot prove your explanation, then either the observations are figments of imagination or something else is happening neither of us has identified. Therefore, would you say that helium is being made without a nuclear process being involved or do you think modern instruments give false readings? Both possibilities can be explored by your scientific method if you want. You can see the nonsense conclusions an honest use of your logic produces. —Edmund Storms 01:55, 7 December 2010

  • I suspect the mundane explanation is the more likely one to survive, but we have on the table, two competing hypotheses. Our obligation, under the protocols of the scientific method, is to try like the dickens to falsify both of them (because they could both be incorrect). To falsify the contaminant theory (which is what you want), we have to show that the residues on the cathode are absent when CF is absent. Now if CF is absent, then (by definition) there is no anomalous heat or helium to explain. Nor should there be any residues on the cathode from CF alchemy. So find the control experiment where there is no excess heat or helium (because CF didn't occur) and assay the cathode. There should be no residue if the fuel was free of contaminant. But I'm expecting (and predicting) that the same contaminants found by Miley and Patterson will be there. After all, Miley and Patterson ran a non-CF cell, using ordinary water and a Nickel electrode. Since residues were found, they cannot rule out contaminants in the electrolyte, because the residue turned up after the electrolyte was put into the cell and after the current was turned on. It's well know from electroplating that any anions cations in the electrolyte will plate onto the cathode. Miley showed the cathode plated with the anions cations listed in your Figure 9, and so they are evidently (and most likely) the impurities in the electrolyte. It may not be the only explanation, but it's ruled in, not out. There may yet be other things going on, but if so, one now has to subtract out the contribution from the (now assayed) impurities in the electrolyte. —Caprice 08:41, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Barry, you are laying out an "obligation" that may be some kind of collective obligation, as if it were an individual one. It is not necessary to "falsify" every conceivable alternate explanation, only the plausible ones, and, in particular, those who do not require more revision of theory and reconsideration of experience than one that we are considering. That is, we normally choose to operate upon the hypothesis that best and most simply explains experimental facts. It is always possible to propose alternative hypotheses, which, if there is an obligation to falsify them, leads to an endless regression.
  • Who decides what is "plausible"? Barry, it's the one who is going to do the work, is able to direct the work, or who will be paying for it. Who else? Do you think that experimental scientists are slaves to skeptics, who can order them to try this or try that. In fact, most of the early suggestions were tried, and the researchers learned that nothing would satisfy. The ash was demanded. The ash was found. Ignored. Stirred cells were demanded, cells were stirred, ignored. Neutrons were demanded. But there were no neutrons, at first, or, more accurately, they were down in the noise, Fleischmann's early neutron report was artifact. Thousands of dollars and a great deal of time and effort were poured into very sophisticated neutron investigations; the best of these found anomalous low-level neutrons in bursts, not far above background. However, eventually, years later, neutrons were conclusively found and reported. Ignored. Do you understand why a cold fusion scientist may be less than thrilled about someone who clearly does not understand the conditions and materials involved suggesting this or that new experiment? What for? To prove cold fusion? Prove to whom, Barry? He's seen quite enough, and I've reviewed his work and his reviews, and for that reason I've seen enough myself. I'm not going to do such experiments unless they are easy, and sophisticated elemental analysis is expensive unless someone donates it. I'll dope a cell with some beryllium chloride at some point. Cheap. Can you guess why I'd do that?
  • Storms has stated in his review that transmutation has not been associated with excess heat. In particular, the levels of transmutation, if it is taking place, are quite erratic and far below the levels needed to explain or be a part of the primary reaction. There will be "residue" on the cathode in any experiment that involves electrolysis, it simply is not possible to purify all the materials in the cell to eliminate them entirely; the analytical methods are extraordinarily sensitive and can can find almost any element anywhere. If very pure electrolyte is added, nevertheless, the cell will leach elements from the cell walls, boron from borosilicate glass, various elements from stainless steel, from gaskets in the system, from many sources. There is, however, no correlation that has been found between any "contaminant" and excess heat, nor with helium. Those are the primary phenomena. Transmutation has been reported by enough workers and in detail such that it is considered an established phenomenon, in round outline, but with problematic relationship to the main reaction. The main reaction may produce transmutation as an unusual byproduct; that's not surprising. Fusion can generate a lot of energy, it could do almost anything, under the right conditions. I'm going to emphasize this and repeat this, because you seemed to have missed it. In the above discussion, you talk about contamination without any consideration of what is essential: quantity.
  • You may wish that a cathode were analyzed to bits, and I may wish it, and, indeed, it's quite possible that it has been done. You can be sure that if significant results were found, they'd have been reported. Workers in this field do not generally conceal results that seem to be of interest, positive or negative. Lots of people have been looking for trace elements that might be catalyzing the reaction, so this kind of analysis is common, but before and after. But as a major "fuel" or major "ash," no, the quantities simply are not there. --Abd 19:41, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
When you do electroplating, you expect the cations in the electrolyte to plate out on the cathode. When you find metals plated onto the cathode, the most plausible hypothesis is that the metals that plated onto the cathode were cations in the electrolyte. It's the most plausible hypothesis because it's exactly what one would expect. —Caprice 20:22, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Cations, yes, positively charged. Yes, that they come from the electrolyte is the obvious default. The problem, though, is that they may be quite dilute in the electrolyte, they become concentrated at the surface of the cathode, so they are easier to detect there. It's possible to discriminate; you suggested one technique, a sacrificial cathode. I think I've seen that used. They may also come from within the cathode, and might likewise concentrated at the surface. This happens whether there is transmutation or not. So transmutation is tricky to determine. One of the things that can show a transmutation product rather than a trace contaminant is an abnormal isotopic ratio. Contaminants would normally show up at standard isotopic ratios, whereas transmutation will tend to prefer a particular isotope (often strongly).
  • People within the field are not uncommonly skeptical about the transmutation results. There is a vast gulf between the solidity of evidence for transmutation and that for excess heat and helium. To be sure, more investigations have looked for excess heat. Transmutation is not usually considered so important for investigation because the levels are so far below that of the main reaction, as shown by heat/helium, that transmutation is only a minor clue to the main reaction and most workers are looking for ways to enhance the main reaction and make it more reliable.
  • I'll quote Storms (2010) on transmutation:
... the claims must be examined with care to avoid being misled by contamination or analytical error. However, even though a complete evaluation is not possible in this paper, so many examples of transmutation have been published, as summarized by Storms (2007), the claim must be given serious consideration. A few especially compelling studies are described and the consequence to theory is discussed assuming transmutation is a real process.
Absolute proof is not yet available because replication is difficult and many obvious souces of error tgorment the measurements. Various methods have been used to determine the presence of these transmutation products, each with its own but different source of error. consequently, all the claims cannot be rejected based on the error in one method, such as the existence of overlapping molecular species when SIMS (secondary ion mass spectrometry) is used. As will be apparent, the possibility of transmutation being real and related to the fusion process is not as difficult to explain as it might first appear.
  • Reading Storms again, I'll note that, for example, Mizuno used sacrificial platinum electrodes for 7 days of electrolysis first.
  • Storms emphasizes the need for continued investigation. Isn't that what you would expect from someone following the scientific method? For the purpose of commenting on transmutation theory, he states that "The difficulty in replication can be used to reject the claims as being impossible, or it can be used instead to show that rare and difficult conditions are required to initiate the nuclear reactions, the so-called NAE. The latter belief will be accepted here for the sake of further discussion. Consequently, success is related more to understanding how materials science applies to the processes than to a model based only on nuclear physics. Apparently, once the required conditions are created, the nuclear process occurs without further assistance. A search for these special conditions thus becomes the goal without a need to first understand the subsequent nuclear process. In other words, in this case, chemistry leads and physics follows in the effort to make the effect larger and reproducible."
  • I'll note that in this last comment Storms is talking about transmutation, not about fusion itself. There has already been a reproducible experiment, demonstrating (strongly) that fusion is taking place, and it has been widely confirmed, and it has not been significantly disconfirmed. This experiment does not establish mechanism, only fuel and ash. It's not absolutely convincing in one way: some other nuclear reaction than fusion might accidentally imitate the critical heat/helium ratio, but this would almost certainly lead to other observed products, greater in quantity than noticed in the transmutation analyses. However, Occam's Razor easily leads us to deuterium fusion, unknown mechanism, as a default. If we could measure the loss of deuterium, we'd have it, but ... that's not possible! Too little is consumed.
  • I'm quite confident that, if "deuterium fusion" as a theory is incorrect, the search for the mechanism, as it intensifies and is better funded and supported, will expose the truth. Remember, "more research" was what both U.S. DoE reviews called for, in the second case, 2004, it was apparently a unanimous, sincere recommendation. In 1989, it was politically forced by the Nobel Prize winner who was co-chair, and massively outvoted on the panel, threatening to noisily resign. Does it mean anything to you that, at the time, two Nobel prize-winning physicists supported cold fusion? Another one is currently active, and Edward Teller also attempted to develop a theoretical explanation. Do you know the name of the hypothetical particle he invented for this purpose?
  • You are on the right track when you propose looking into what causes two apparently opposing sets of scientists to come to different conclusions. However, if the two sets are not looking at the same evidence, the differences in conclusions are not surprising! And I've seen scientists haughtily reject the idea that they even need to read the papers. After all, why waste time reading about nonsense? That may make perfect sense in some situations; after all, nobody can read and invesigate everything, people have to set priorities, but ... it is not the scientific method, and they simply disqualify themselves from participating in a review of that evidence, which is fine. If, as you think, cold fusion scientists are a tiny minority, then on a small minority of "normal" scientists need to look at the evidence.
  • But this is exactly what is happening, and I haven't seen a case of someone, knowledgeable in the necessary fields, who actually did carefully review the evidence who rejected it. Peer reviewers, who certainly include knowledgeable scientists, if it's a mainstream publication, are accepting articles on cold fusion (usually titled in some other way, what was truly remarkable about Storms (2010) is that the editors allowed the article to be titled "Status of cold fusion (2010)." They knew what they were doing, and I'm quite sure that publisher management was in on it. The publisher decided it was time to stop pussyfooting around. It's fusion, get over it. Now what?
  • All you quantum physicists, there is a very difficult theoretical problem here. If it's fusion, what's the mechanism? Or would you prefer to work on easier problems? Your choice, no obligation, but, please, don't continue to claim that cold fusion was "debunked" years ago. It never was, and that's quite clear. What was the mechanism for the "artifact" and what was done to show this, in the way of controlled experiment? "Error" is not a mechanism that could explain massive reports from hundreds of research groups, and especially not with heat/helium, where there is no negative replication. Zero heat is easy to get, and zero helium with it, but ... helium in amounts correlated with significant excess heat? Sorry, the default "leakage" doesn't cut it, it is quite inconsistent with the experimental results. Smoke that! You might learn something. If you are willing. --Abd 21:10, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Cold Fusion Research has achieved something remarkable. They managed to take two precious metals — Platinum and Palladium — and (by means of an over-excited battery charger) dramatically transform them into the surreal elements of Antinomy and Antagony. —Montana Mouse (talk) 23:52, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually, those elements arise from normal human interactions. Platinum is a minor player, the "battery charger" is not "over-excited," the currents involved are lower than are normal for battery chargers, and these cells, if they are "battery chargers" are quite remarkable ones, which do not show negative enthalpy during the "charging phase" to match observed enthalpy in the release phase. If you can figure out how they manage that trick, you could win a prize. A big one. We have, in the supposed charging phase, measured heat evolution that matches input power closely; then, when NAE is apparently formed, heat rises far above input power. The area above the input power is drastically larger than the area below the input power, on the power vs. time charts that are often presented. Excess energy is the integral of excess power. If the excess energy is coming from stored energy, where did this stored energy come from? How could integrated excess power be so much larger than integrated stored power?
(Evolved heat normally tracks input power in these experiments, quite closely, until NAE is formed. I'm a student of all this, though, and, particularly where calorimetry is concerned, a primitive one. I've got lots of questions, as, I assume, you do also, Caprice/Montana Mouse/Barry. Nothing wrong with questions, and especially nothing wrong with "ignorant questions," if they are actually questions rather than accusations. Asking "ignorant questions" is the fastest way to learn, if your fuses don't blow when someone calls them "stupid." On the other hand, if you spend the next month trying to prove that the questions weren't "ignorant," you've lost or postponed the opportunity. Don't the answers matter more than your personal ignorance or lack of same?)
You keep using this "battery charger" polemic. That's a hypothesis, right? Why not state it explicitly, presenting evidence for it? Have you attempted to refute the null hypothesis? Where? --Abd 20:16, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Cool. Nice image. But not by any means an accurate coverage of the controversy over cold fusion, just of part of it. Dr. Storms is not one of the characters depicted, but it appears that you imagine he is, possibly because you imagine that he will be involved in the same drama as you, a human assumption. Give this time, Barry. It can take time to drop long-held assumptions, but that dropping is essential to avoid Feynman's "fooling yourself." Perhaps "suspending" would be a better term than "dropping." We hold these long-term assumptions because they are normally functional for efficiency; the only problem with them is that they limit transcendence. --Abd 21:23, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
And not an answer to the question, a question which you routinely ask others to answer, right? --Abd 21:24, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Oh, I don't expect any of the so-called "true believers" to revise their beliefs before they die. But regarding the notion of an "over-excited battery charger," compare the design of a Lithium Ion Battery Charger, in which you can see how the charging current (the dashed line) rapidly decays away to zero once the cell is fully charged. Compare that to the curve for a CF cell in which the excitation current is jacked up and sustained at peak levels once the cathode becomes fully charged. Notice also, how the "excess heat" is almost perfectly correlated with the excitation current (dropping immediately when the battery charger is switched off). That's strong evidence that the so-called "excess heat" is nothing more than CCS shift, arising from the undeniable fact that the atmosphere is loaded with D2 gas during the over-excitation phase, thereby reducing the thermal conductivity of the atmosphere so that a greater proportion of the heat drains through the calorimeter (while less of it is conducted away via the walls of the Dewar flask). —Caprice 21:48, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Caprice, you disqualify yourself as a neutral judge of "the scientific method" with the continual assumptions you make about others. If course, you might be right if by "true believers" you include all who are attached to their own beliefs, which would certainly include a great pile of pseudo-skeptics. Would it include you? Can you point me to an example of where you revised your beliefs? I can give you one for myself: I believed that cold fusion had been conclusively shown to be "non demonstrandum" in 1989-1990. Same with Robert Duncan, an actual physicist. Same with many others, in fact. Now, let's look at your "evidence" and "argument."
  • There are many plots of excess heat. What would a lithium cell look like if someone, unbeknownst to the experimenters, swapped it for a sealed cell with a recombiner. What you would see is negative "excess heat" for the charging phase. That is, more energy would be going in than leaving as heat. Then, as charging levelled off, you would see this excess heat rise to zero. Then, if you discharge the cell, say within the apparatus, you would see "excess heat." The integral of the heat is energy, and it should equal zero over the experimental period, unless an independent source of energy exists in the cell. That's pretty straightforward.
  • Yes, excess heat is correlated with current density, that's established. However, the increased joule heating from increased current is considered in calculating "excess heat," which means heat above normal heating. Further, the shutdown behavior is not as you describe, generally. There is generally some level of "heat after death," though it is often small. Sometimes it is far from small. No, if there is a recombiner, the atmosphere is not "loaded with D2 gas," any more than at other times. It is mostly oxygen, because excess oxygen has been generated. Usually the oxygen is bled off, in fact, but I don't know details. If it were not bled off, cell pressure would increase intolerably, I think. Further, you have made a drastic and incorrect assumption about calibration. Cells are generally calibrated before a run and after, but also, often, during a run. That is, a heater resistor is given a known amount of heat, and the effect on the calorimetry is observed. The work is far more sophisticated than you have imagined, even giving the restrictions that cold fusion researchers were sometimes working under (i.e., reduced funding and, even more important, reduced labor normally available to senior professors from grad students).
  • And all this fussy mess, with one invented "alternative hypothesis" coming after another, is blown out of the water by helium correlation. At some point you will need to address that, if you want to imagine you can criticize the "scientific method" of published senior scientists and academics. I can understand a general skepticism about calorimetry, coming from someone with no experience with calorimetry and how accurate it can be. However, the calorimetry of cold fusion researchers has been criticized in detail, by others who are also expert. Have you looked at the critical literature?
  • Your "scientific method," Barry, is asymmetric. It is highly biased against new evidence, going to vast lengths to create alternate hypotheses, but completely neglecting to apply the scientific method to "established theory." How well do you know this "established theory," Barry. Do you know the experimental evidence on which it was based? The field of cold fusion began with researchers who were quite familiar with that evidence, and with the theory that fusion was impossible under cold fusion conditions, but they were also aware that there had never been a systematic investigation of whether or not the theory was true. It was based on assumptions, Barry. Not the scientific method. There had never been a systematic investigation of the conclusion, based on certain assumptions about the applicability of 2-body quantum mechanics to the solid state, that fusion was impossible.
  • There was an additional assumption: that nuclear reactions would be accompanied by energetic radiation. Reactions that don't emit reaction energy as radiation are rare. The idea that CF was impossible was partly based on an assumption that radiation would have been noted. Now, there was, in fact, evidence as to anomalous radiation, but that radiation can exist, particularly in bursts, from cosmic ray events, as well as detector noise, easily masked this. That there could be a reaction that produces helium without easily detectable radiation simply was not on anyone's radar.
  • Hence, supporting the conclusion from assuming that 2-body quantum mechanics, which involves an approximation when applied to the solid state, an assumption that the space involved in the solid state is so vast that nuclei could not be affected by each other, was the lack of radiation, which would probably have been noticed. As I mention, we now know that sometimes radiation is emitted from CF reactions, but only at very low levels. Mizuno reports having detected a radiation burst (neutrons, I think), from palladium deuteride, he had long worked with the material. At the time, it did not dawn on him that it might be resulting from fusion. My guess is that others had seen similar effects. They were very low level, we can assume. Mizuno, who did a lot of work with palladium deuteride before P and F announced, had also noticed, in one case, major excess heat. He never figured out what had caused it, until the later announcement. Barry, assumptions about what is and is not possible repress contrary reports, we should be very careful about them!
  • Do you realize what a Rube Goldberg construction you are making with this "battery charger"? If heat is draining away unnoticed, this will cause negative "excess energy," not positive.
  • So let's look at the charts you've cited. The first one is not a power chart, and it does not show what would be seen in an "excess heat" plot. What we would see if we had the lithium cell in a calorimeter is negative "excess heat" in the charging phase. That is, the evolved heat would be less than the input power would have generated. This would rise to zero when the charging power is removed. If we discharge the battery inside the calorimeter, we would then see "excess heat," -- hey, "heat after death," for the discharge period. But we would see, clearly, that the integral over the total period of "excess heat" would be zero. Sure, if there is a very long charging period and a very short discharge period, perhaps the charging energy could be hidden in noise, though you can see the noise in real recorded plots, limiting the amount of charging energy that could be so hidden. This is simply incompatible with what I've seen of reports of excess heat. I've never seen that "excess energy" go significantly negative, as it certainly would with a battery charger.
  • Now, as to the SRI chart. Are you aware of what this chart is showing? It's a small segment out of a long experimental run, take a look at the time scale (which is the time for cell P13. They are showing, for these cell -- cell behavior is all over the map, in fact, and that should be a clue as to the complexity of the problem -- the dependence of excess heat on current density, when excess heat is evolved. This was, in fact, the primary research that was considered to establish current density as a factor. That would not be a storage effect, though, rather, if the excess heat is coming from increased current, it could perhaps represent calorimetric error. This is an entirely different hypothesis than that of stored energy, yet you present this evidence as if it confirms storage. Barry, this isn't going to go well for you, I think, if you don't start to recognize your errors more quickly. I've heard you (complain? assert?) that you are too old to change, or something like that. I hope it's not true. I'm a little older than you, and my life depends on my ability to adapt, still. Inability to change is, ultimately, death.
  • To be more clear about excess energy/current density, the increased normal power dissipation in the cell is considered in determining "excess heat." The chart is not showing temperature or raw calorimetric data, rarely is that provided in reports, because it's massive data that means nothing to the eye until processed. I will fill megabyte upon megabyte with data from my simple experiment. In my case, I will probably, in a complete report, present temperature data. Temperature data is the primary evidence Arata presents, sometimes, with, yes, adiabatic conditions, a cell packed in styrofoam. He's also, by the way, run a Sterling engine with such a cell, a flashy demonstration that might mean nothing, since you can easily make heat by adding hydrogen or deuterium to palladium. The question is how much heat?" And for how long. The heat of hydride formation, with nanoparticle palladium (high surface to volume ratio) appears briefly and stops when loading stops. If Arata runs the engine after that period, it's indeed a demonstration of excess heat. Unless somehow deuterium allows retarded hydride heat, whereas hydrogen does not.... There is a reason why I don't base my conclusion on cold fusion upon pure calorimetric data! It's helium that iced it, so to speak.
  • So, looking again at that chart, we see a strong excess heat signal, which does not begin until current density rises above about 0.16 A/cm^2. Yes, this excess power drops immediately when the electrolysis current is eliminated. This is a demonstration that storage of electrical power is not involved; were there storage, why would it drop immediately? (Note that in many other such plots I've seen, excess heat does not drop immediately. It is a serious error to assume that the characteristics of one experiment match those of all the others. There are great variations in these reports in the exact contruction and operation of the cells, both known and documented variations, and, as well, almost certainly, undocumented and unknown ones.
  • Notice, as well, something that ought to warm your heart, Barry, if you are willing to look. This chart represents a controlled experiment, with a single controlled variable, as far as they were able to arrange (under normal funding constraints. The researchers were being paid, and part of their responsibility is efficiency). The control is hydrogen. The same current protocol was followed at this point, both cells were considered fully loaded. So we are looking at the behavior of hydrogen vs. deuterium. Nothing about your "battery charger" hypothesis accounts for a major difference between hydrogen and deuterium. You have proposed head gas as a difference, I'll look at that below, and I hope you will realize how preposterous the suggestion is, why this isn't found in the skeptical literature, nor response to it in the positive reports.
  • But for now, notice that when the electrolysis power is increased, the noise in the hydrogen results increases. You suggested attempting to remove the heating by electrolytic power, because it confuses the issue, you want to see adiabatic conditions, with no power input. This chart, which you cited for your "battery" hypothesis, in fact, refutes it -- no storage effect is visible here -- but it does show that increased power input causes more noise to appear in the baseline hydrogen results. Your theory, right? That part of it was correct.
  • However, your suggestion that, therefore, one should run these experiments with zero power, or trickle power, after loading, was completely off, and this chart shows why, in general. High current density is necessary (normally, in a P-F experiment) for the excess heat to show. High loading is not enough. Take a look at the pre-stimulation power. It's running at about 0.03 A/cm^2. That's your "trickle." It maintains the high loading that is also a necessary condition for excess power. In gas-loaded cells, high loading is maintained by the ambient pressure of deuterium gas. They just keep adding the stuff, the palladium soaks it up, but eventually the pressure starts to rise; they add more deuterium until a high pressure is maintained. Note that if later heat were due to delayed formation of deuteride, the pressure would drop, presumably....
  • What's the role of high current density? Well, that's theory, eh? However, the general operating hypothesis is that for major excess heat, deviation from equilibrium conditions is necessary. This is the general theory behind SuperWave, by the way, to avoid a stable condition, but to keep stirring the pot, so to speak. High current density causes movement of the deuterium, and I could go into this further, but the basis for all this should be established first. The battery charger hypothesis is looking awfully weak here. Where is the charging phase? It would show negative excess heat, that is, less heat evolved than expected from electrolysis power. What is the storage mechanism? The possibility of storage by formation of deuterium gas is already accounted for in the calculation.
"Excess heat" refers to immediate heat, so definitely some level of excess heat could be generated from the fact that deuterium gas is being formed, which absorbs energy, later oxidized, which releases it. However, you will also see in CF reports, "excess energy," which is the integral of excess heat, which should be zero after the run is complete. That is, it should never go positive if there is no anomalous energy. If hydrogen/deuterium is allowed to escape, it should be negative unless balanced by this loss of energy. (And non-closed cells, in their calorimetric analysis to find excess energy, must account for this, they frequently measure the evolved deuterium.)
  • Now, I promised a reason that headspace gas wasn't a significant factor. Here is why:
  1. Calorimeters are calibrated under operating conditions, including all components. They are often calibrated during a run by adding known power to a resistor in the cell, and determining the effect on the calorimetry.
  2. The difference between thermal conductivity of hydrogen and that of deuterium was pointed out by Storms for gas-loading experiments, where this conductivity is crucial. It would be a bonehead error to use a hydrogen calibration for deuterium measurements, and vice-versa, but Storms thought it necessary to point this out. In gas-loading experiments, I've seen work where a sample was alternatively loaded with deuterium and hydrogen, with vacuum phases interspersing, and conclusions drawn from calorimetry. Those might have been an example of what Storms was cautioning about. If those cells incorporated calibration resistors, with calibration being done during each phase, not a problem.
  3. Electrolytic cells are operating under very different conditions than gas-loaded cells. The thermal conductivity of the electrolyte is far higher than that of either hydrogen or deuterium gas. Yes, deuterium gas and heavy water vapor have different thermal conductivity, but the overall thermal resistance of the assembly is far more determined by the thermal conductivity of the heavy water electrolyte than by the gas composition.
  4. The gas composition of the headspace is generally neglected, for the reason given above. However, under steady state conditions, as existed in the experiment cited by Kort (Caprice) above, the headspace gas will be at an equilibrium value. This experiment used a recombiner. It was around this time, I think, that an SRI cell exploded because of recombiner failure, killing a researcher. The pages you are reviewing are bloodstained.
  5. In a cell with a recombiner, deuterium content of the headspace will be low, though there would definitely be an increase in deuterium content of the headspace as current increases, on its way to the recombiner. However, the predominant constituent of the headspace would be oxygen and deuterium vapor at equilibrium for the temperature, which is not highly elevated. The cell is cooled by the flow calorimetry, if I understand that correctly. This was not isoperibolic calorimetry, as Shanahan considered with his CCS hypothesis, it should not be particularly vulnerable to shifts in where, within the cell, heat is generated.
  • This was very early work, 1992. The paper is a report commissioned by the Electric Power Research Institute, and, while much of this was reported later, the whole set of documents were recently released by EPRI. It's a treasure trove of detailed research documents, done professionally by SRI, which is in business to do that kind of consulting. A copy of this particular paper is at [1].(Aside: until a short time ago, it would have been impossible to put up that active link, because of the blacklist at meta. I was last topic-banned on Wikipedia for requesting that removal on meta, it was cited by the admin setting the ban. Even though the request was successful. That, in fact, was characteristic of what happened with me on Wikipedia. I was banned for successful complaints or debates, not for useless and tendentious ones, though tendentiousness was certainly claimed! The activities of your fellow "scientists," eh, Barry, those who believe that anyone trying to make the Wikipedia coverage fair and complete is a "POV-pusher" or "fanatic." "Believer," your term. You have fallen into strange company, considering that these were the same people who banned you, largely.)
  • The page in the pdf for the original chart is 122, for your convenience. These were cells P13 (hydrogen) and P14 (deuterium). The cells were operated in series, so they experienced the same current. They were not operated for the same total length of time. If wishes were horses .... However, read the report.
  • The hydrogen cell (P13) was operated for substantially longer time, it had been paired with P12 for current. (I originally planned to parallel the hydrogen and deuterium cells in my work, but it complicates other things, I'll be running them at the same current, but with separate current regulators. Cheap.) The current was ramped up as shown twice before with no excess heat appearing in either cell. Thus you are looking at an "anomalous event." An episode of excess heat that did not occur previously with, apparently, the very same cell, same conditions, etc. This kind of stuff used to drive CF researchers mad. You might think they were already mad, and perhaps they had to be to persist. This was before the helium results had been confirmed! But to a seasoned experimental researcher, it was simply more data. SRI, in this report, states that "only about half the cells" showed excess heat. presumably that is half of the deuterium cells, they ran hydrogen controls. In the chart you presented, look at the hydrogen results. from about 540 to 600 hours, during the power pulse, looks to me like the hydrogen cell is showing some excess heat. Some skeptics seem to think that this kind of data, close to noise, is typical of all CF results. In fact, that excess heat might be real, might not. I certainly would not consider it evidence of fusion in light water, unless far better demonstrated, and what we know about this class of experiment is that hydrogen cells don't produce helium, period. Zilch, measurements are at the experimental limit, in other words, "experimental background." Which should not be mistaken for "ambient," which is far higher.
  • McKubre, in this early work, suggests helium as the primary ash. He was right. He does not ascribe the results to "fusion," rather, he makes some remarkable statements that stand the test of time:
Although nuclear reaction products commensurate with the excess heat have not yet been observed, small but definite evidence of nuclear reactions have been detected at levels some 40 orders of magnitude greater than predicted by conventional nuclear theory. [He hasn't, at this point, read Miles, it might seem.]
  • Barry, you are not big on reliance on "authority," but science does rely on authority continuously. We do not and cannot calibrate all our own equipment, ab initio. You are quite ready to adopt numbers from texts on, say, the heat of formation of various molecules. That's authority. McKubre was providing, here, a professional and private report to EPRI, which has a heavy economic motive to know the truth, no BS, and the future of McKubre's career and the business of his employer, SRI, depend on his professionalism. I'm not saying that he couldn't make mistakes; indeed, he did make mistakes, but he simply admits them and moves on. This work, however, was not a mistake; mistakes have been made in individual instances; for an example, he apparently incorrectly estimated the experimental volume of his apparatus in one of his helium measurements, in a later report to EPRI. He reports correcting that when he discovered it, in a private report to EPRI and in later public exposition of this work. Krivit noticed the difference in heat/helium ratio that this produced, between the early SRI report and the later public reports, and tried, hard, to nail him on it. What was really weird about this was that, if McKubre had been motivated to make the ratio come closer to the magic 23.8 MeV figure, which he supposedly ardently desires to find, he'd have left the original error alone! His correction produced an anomalously high figure, which was already high. (But wherever helium isn't captured and measured, and it can be difficult to get all of it, this will cause the ratio to increase above the true formation ratio.) I watched McKubre on video responding to Krivit at the ACS press conference this year. McKubre is unflappable, he just answered the questions. Krivit, on, then tried to follow up and show that McKubre was being deceptive, it completely flopped. You can see what a terrible thing it is when a mind becomes attached to some "story." From what I can see, Krivit has demolished his profession as reporter on cold fusion, by alienating most of the scientists doing the actual research, but not by reporting fact (which would represent courage); rather by pushing his private theories of mind, attacking their professional honesty, dredging up whatever dirt he can find, even if it's meaningless except to a yellow journalist, etc. (Did you know that Irving Dardik was ejected from the New York medical profession! Obviously a nut case, eh? Or was he a brilliant generalist who decided that he didn't need that license, and was the removal simply a spasm of anti-unorthodox "enforcement." Long story, in fact, and you will only hear the first side of it from Krivit, to know the other, you'd have to read the book on Dardik, probably. I recommend it.) And, many have tried to warn Krivit, who is impervious to even the most friendly criticism. Nice case for you to study if you'd like, Barry.
Three conditions were found characteristic of all cells yielding episodes of excess heat: (1) a D/Pd ratio >0.9, (2) initial appearance times of 8 to 23 days, and (3) cathodic current densities above 0.1 Al/cm2. Excess powers ranging between a few percent to -350% were observed, measured to an accuracy of -0.5%. These excess powers integrated to a total of -0.1 to 1.1 MJ for a -2.5 g ( 1 /40 mole) palladium cathode. Thus, the excess heats ranged between 4 to 44 MJ/mole of palladium, which was well above the largest known heats of chemical transformation in this or any other metal. The largest heat of chemical transformation in palladium is to the bromide at 0.9 MJ/mole. If the integrated excess powers are diluted by the electrochemically generated heat during the long initiation periods, net positive heat balances of 2 to 4% are obtained. (p.3)
  • Skeptics seize on the low "positive heat balance" numbers, assuming that this means the results must be artifact or energy storage. In doing this they neglect the professional judgment of an elecrochemist, who ought to know, that the peak power is well beyond the capacity of chemical storage of energy for constituents of the cell. Other approaches don't rely on electrolysis to generate deuterium, and so avoid the problem of that large energy input needed to maintain deuterium loading, but this does is only a later confirmation of the calorimetry. If, indeed, this is energy storage, it has implications almost as great as fusion!
  • Also neglected is that some experiments do produce large overall excess energy, i.e., where energy generated is well in excess of input energy, and I recently cited an ET cell that did that; McKubre, in replicating ET work, shows a number of cells with more than 100% excess energy, which would mean that output power was double input power. The practical problem is that this isn't reliable yet. Results vary.
  • This is my little summary: it is as if someone proposes that they have seen ghosts in some place. Someone checks it out and sees no ghosts, but rather, perhaps, some unknown anomaly, maybe caused by space aliens. So what do they report? "We saw no evidence for ghosts, that original reporter was crazy and misinterpreted his observations." --Abd 01:44, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

I rely on analytical models — models that can drive a simulation, quantitative models that make testable predictions, explanatory models that yield insight, and support diagnostic reasoning.

A wall of text is not a useful scientific model. I cannot use it to construct a simulation model; I cannot use it to calculate expected observations under a range of experimental conditions; I cannot use it as a tool for insight or diagnostic reasoning.

But I can use it to observe something about the tools for thought used by those whose exclusive tool of thought is to generate a mind-numbing, eye-glazing, and profoundly uninformative and fog-bound wall of text, utterly devoid of quantitative analytical models of the sort I that rely on to support insightful model-based reasoning.

Caprice 02:21, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Hey, if you aren't interested, don't read it! Suppose you are a fellow student in a seminar. Are you obligated to read every paper written by every student? Only if you want to benefit from their experience and research! In any case, many times I've mentioned to you that there is a model with high predictive power, allowing you to calculate, in advance, certain results from cold fusion experiments, and the model is deuterium fusion, reaction mechanism unknown, but nevertheless deserving the name "fusion" because the reactant and product are the basis of the model. You have yet to actually ask about it, nor have you reviewed the research on which it is based, though it was supposedly fundamental here, it was the core of Storms' paper, and though that research refutes your "radioactive decay of contaminant" theory which this page is supposedly about, right out of the box, so quickly that nobody among even the dedicated scientist-skeptics has proposed such an outlandish theory, they know too much and would not want the embarassment; my conclusion is that you are not actually interested in the application of the scientific method to cold fusion, but only in promoting your own theories about cold fusion scientists. The McKubre research cited is fully of quantitative analysis, some of which is useful for certain predictions, as well, and your theoretical proposals were, above, considered in detail. You don't like that. Tough. You don't like patient and thorough response, and you definitely don't like "stupid question, do your homework," either. My guess is that you won't like any response you get from someone who actually knows the topic, because the ignorance to which you are attached will conflict with what they will tell you.
Yes, that's a hypothesis, and I'm constantly looking for evidence to refute it. It's not appearing, so far.
No, Barry, the bankruptcy and poverty of information here is yours. You make preposterous theoretical suggestions, and to cover all the incorporated misconceptions, and try to explain the actual situation, as revealed in the literature, takes a lot of text, but you are not interested in uncovering your own misconceptions, so you won't waste the time to read the response, though it would take a small fraction of the time to read it as it took to write it, and in a real seminar, you'd be forced to sit there through the report of another student that was Boring as Hell. I just did that, in fact, in a seminar at the University of New Mexico, it was the final presentation of the students in a seminar on Native American Philosophy. Some of the student presentations were quite interesting, some, shall we say, relatively speaking, quite otherwise. I was a guest, it would have been quite embarrassing for my host if I'd started snoring. The professor, a name in the field, was patient and supportive of all the students, great guy. I've had a long dislike for lectures and face-to-face classes for this reason, though. I'd rather have distributed individual conversations, different model than traditional education.
Either way, read or don't read, fine with me. I'll use your questions and comments here to build a real educational resource, they will eventually be useful. Carry on, as you like. Or don't. Take advantage of the opportunity to expand your horizons, or don't, you are the one who must live with the consequences of what you do, not I. --Abd 02:48, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Ah, as to your plan to use my "walls of text" as examples for your study, good luck. You will succeed in making yourself look like an idiot, if anyone actually reads them. I've been doing this for over twenty years, you know. This is a talk page for a Wikiversity resource, and this is not an encyclopedia article, it's an opportunity to study a topic in depth and depth is encouraged and supported. The pages as you see them now are not as they will eventually appear to a new student, because, obviously, for pedagogical purpose, these conversations are way too wide-ranging, too diffuse, more or less as you complain. But this is a process to create such pages, the originals will remain as source materials, referenced from summaries and extracted material of value. It's a kitchen, not the dining room. Can't stand excess heat, stay away from cold fusion.... --Abd 02:55, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

You won't get any useful peer-review from walls of text. You are peerless when it comes to writing walls of text. If you want to get peer review on the science, you will have to do the science. You will have to run the numbers from the analytical models. Otherwise, you will just be fooling yourself into believing you've understood something, when all you've discovered is that you can drive people away by burying them in walls of text that contain not an iota of scientific modeling or analysis. —Caprice 03:04, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Have you falsified the null hypothesis, Barry? --Abd 03:31, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
The null hypothesis is that you are employing the full range of the tools for thought that one would expect to see in scientific research. The alternative hypothesis is that you are not employing the full range of tools for thought that are normative in scientific research. It appears that the null hypothesis is false, based on the evidence (both my own direct observation and your own express confirmation) that you never liked analytic chemistry, that you found it the most boring aspect of the subject, and that you're not doing any stoichiometry, full stop. That pretty much falsifies the null hypothesis, Abd. —Caprice 03:56, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
But, Barry, stoichiometry is irrelevant to my own work. You are quite correct, I'm not "employing the full range of the tools for thought that one would expect to see in scientific research." Nobody does, Barry. And if I were doing this and reporting on it here, you'd be complaining even more about the length of what I write. Rather, I'm focusing on one detail at a time, exploring it, reporting what I know, drawing conclusions about that detail. The complete assemblage here, will ultimately incorporate all the tools which I'm capable of using, and will transcend my own capabilities, because this set of resources is not limited by my personal ability.
Above and elsewhere in this sprawling discussion, you've raised theory after theory based on untrue assumptions about the experimental setups, the chemistry, etc., in the field, while wasting your own time and our space with often irrelevant calculations. I see no effort on your part, at all, to "falsify" your own theories. You are fooling yourself with them, imagining that you've found "alternative hypotheses" that the "cold fusion believers" have not falsified, so you judge them, when you, yourself, are far more vulnerable to the charge, and it's blatantly obvious. Try reading that McKubre paper, the one you pointed to, imagining that it showed some sort of confirmation of your "battery charger" hypothesis, when that data set, and the conclusions of the paper, cautiously drawn, were entirely contrary to "battery charger," and explicitly so. You've thoroughly and completely exposed your ignorance; you could benefit from that, but, instead, you resort to silly and shallow personal dismissal, parody, your standard approach. It doesn't work, Barry, one would think you'd have learned that by now. Part of the scientific method is abandoning nonfunctional approaches, varying technique until the efforts bear fruit.
It's personally irritating to me, in fact, though not for the reason you might think. It's because you were rejected and banned, partly by some shallow thinkers and POV-pushers and impatient editors who couldn't stand your constant challenges, and I thought that they were at least sometimes acting with excessive haste and improper domination, and I saw many people abused by some of the same people. But ... they were probably, in conclusion, correct, at least some of the time. I can see it here. Don't worry, it's not my way to seek banning, I've never done it except for those who themselves were seeking to ban others, and who were thus intolerably disruptive. But ... I do now see, more clearly, what the others were talking about. Maybe they were intuitively right and I just couldn't see it! Nor could you, apparently. My irritation is about being wrong about you being valuable for actual research into methods. I'd have much preferred that you were, and I know from your history, you told me on the phone, that you have the background for it. If.
I'd be completely wasting my time if I were doing stoichiometric calculations at this point. I didn't design the chemistry for this experiment, nor does my interpretation of results depend at all on the cell chemistry. In a certain way, I wouldn't mind pouring in newt's eye and bat guano, as long as they weren't already radioactive, if there were a report I considered reliable that neutrons were generated. I'm replicating a published experiment, in a field where the slightest changes can sometimes throw things off, unexpectedly, which means that, at this point, if I change anything, especially the chemistry, but also the electrolytic current profile, I risk replication failure. I have been told that aspects of this protocol are highly inefficient, and I suspect that my informant is correct (he's a well-known researcher in the field). But I can't make those changes to start! My innovations have to do entirely with designing the cell electrode supports, physically, for better control of position and visibility, and designing the neutron detection scheme so that it can develop better data about track vectors, and subtract background. Neat trick to do with less than a dollar's worth of SSNTD material, if I can pull it off. Okay, I'm also arranging the cell so that the cathode can be observed continuously with a microscope during the run, imaged or videoed, and sound can be recorded, probably with a high-pass filter, the piezoelectric sensors I'm using have an amazing high-frequency range, and I'll record the signal with a 50 MHz DSO, and I will have thermocouples in the cells and for ambient. All the electronic data (cell voltages, cell currents, temperatures) will be recorded with a Labjack, so I'll have one of those pretty displays with the data scrolling across the screen. Yes, Barry, I'm having fun, playing with science, looking at shiny pebbles. Dr. Storms has better toys, though, I'm jealous! How is it with you? --Abd 05:21, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
  • Abd are you familiar with the Ouroboros? For purposes of our (non-)discussion here, we can think of the Ourobouros sigil as a metaphor for a Baloney Ingestion Cult. —Caprice 10:54, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

A semantic and investigational problem[edit]

In earlier discussion, Caprice makes this comment: Storms notes that a number of unexpected contaminants were found in the apparatus after the experiment was completed.

There is a vast body of work, something like over 3000 published papers, covering many different experiments and kinds of experiment, with widely varying results, and widely varying detail of report. "The apparatus" is not defined above. This vagueness allows many different assertions to be made, seemingly reasonable, because in such a wide body of research, many different conditions may be encountered. But were these "unexpected contaminants" found in all experiments? I can tell you, no. But some quite simply because they didn't look! With some kinds of investigation and results, "contaminant" is so unlikely as a cause that the lab work isn't worth the cost! With others, and especially transmutation, it's a critical question.

To study these questions, we must either refer to specific experimental reports, or to summaries of reports that might be reasonably trusted. Transmutation is a controversial part of the work, within the field, not to mention outside it. It appears that transmutation, if it happens, varies greatly and is not associated with excess heat nor with helium. Transmutation reactions, if they occur, are apparently occurring at rates far below that of a main reaction that starts with deuterium and ends with heat and helium, correlated at the appropriate value. If one wants to challenge "cold fusion," the related experimental findings are these, that must be impeached or found to have a prosaic explanation.

Picking pieces of evidence from one report, and combining it with evidence from other reports, done under very different conditions, is cherry-picking, unless all relevant reports are considered, or at least an unbiased sample. From this you may abduct almost anything you want....

We can and should look at contamination vs. transmutation, it's an interesting exercise. But don't expect any big whoop here! This is (mild) supporting evidence for LENR, in no way as conclusive as heat/helium. Widom-Larsen theory focuses on transmutation as major evidence, on the other hand. We can consider that in pages devoted to W-L theory. --Abd 01:41, 29 December 2010 (UTC)