INTRODUCTION: Cold Fusion is the
experiment which arrived in a burst of publicity in 1989 when Martin Fleischmann and his
partner Stanley Pons declared to the world that they had fused deuterium nuclei in a
test-tube, generating 100 times the electricity they applied. However, no one was
able to repeat the results and in science, results have to be repeatable to be of any use.
Both Fleischmann and Pons became the black sheep of the science community. However,
research in cold fusion is still going on, and maybe one day there will be a breakthrough
and it will become the energy source of the future.
- Cold fusion is the generation of anomalous excess heat at low
temperatures. It began with experiments using an immersed palladium electrode activated in
heavy water. In March, 1989, when the achievement of cold fusion was first reported in the
press, electrochemically induced reactions were very difficult to reproduce. Despite the
ensuing controversy, much work has persisted.
- More understanding has developed regarding what the products are
(including Helium ), and how the reactions work at increasing power levels.
- More importantly, the technology has blossomed to include
anomalous heat of both steady-state and burst type in several types of materials.
POWER AND MATERIAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE FIELD
- Cold fusion technology has developed several material sciences
which now include the use of titanium, nickel, and other metals in a variety of
- The reported excess heats are in the range of 2 to 400+% for the
steady state excess enthalpies, and its occasional heat bursts demonstrate even greater
amounts of potential useful energy.
- In '89, Drs. Fleischman and Pons demonstrated this novel system of
unexpected physics showing excess power densities of 20 Watts per cubic centimeter of
- Today, the amount of excess heat produced has actually increased
by a factor of 10,000% ! The power densities achieved (initially ca. 10W/cm3
palladium) have increased more than two orders of magnitude and have been linked in part
to the production of "ash": Helium.
COLD FUSION IS IMPORTANT
- Cold Fusion is important because even if there is only 1/10 of 1%
possibility of its reality -- given its low expense and ubiquity - the fuel is contained
even in water - its safety - consider helium versus acid rain or radioactive isotopes -
and its impact - jobs, improved welfare in the short-term and a serious potential
reduction of energy requirements in the long-term.
- It must be investigated.
EARLY PROBLEMS WERE MATERIALS-RELATED
- Drs. Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons initially may have
underemphasized the fact that the cold fusion reactions are very difficult to prepare.
- Early on, considerable focused upon the use of alloys, additives,
and other techniques (e.g. issues #V1-3, 3-2, 4-2).
- One quantum advance occurred when Dr. Michael McKubre demonstrated
that the addition of aluminum after partial loading of the palladium by deuterium appears
to increase the likelihood of generating these reactions.
- Dr. Edmund Storms clarified that not all palladium electrodes are
equal Why is this yet another quantum advance? Because some electrodes work and some do
not. The wisdom in this field will consist of knowing the difference. Preparation of the
proper materials led to higher power levels and recognition of the product - helium.
ASH PRODUCED BY COLD FUSION REACTIONS
- Dr. Melvin Miles (China Lake, US Navy; ) and others have
demonstrated that helium, used to fill ordinary lighter-than-air balloons, is one product
generated by the cold fusion reactions, if adequate loading is achieved.
- This helium is beyond the amount which could leak in from the
- The helium is generated by, and linked to, the production of
- This generation of energy -- with a safe product for a change --
is therefore quite important.
COLD FUSION IS DRIVEN BY LOADING
- The cold fusion reactions follow after successful loading of the
metals by an isotope of hydrogen (protium or deuterium).
- In the figure on the right, the heavy water is composed of D2O
molecules and is used to electrochemically load the palladium.
- The metallic palladium is on the left hand side of the figure, and
is shown fully loaded.
QUASI-ONE-DIMENSIONAL (Q1D) MODELS
- The applied electric field intensity produces migration in the
electrolyte and loading of the metal.
- The figure [after Swartz, Fusion Technology, 296-300 (1992)]
qualitatively shows the loading of the material (palladium) with the inhomogeneous
distribution of isotope (deuterium obtained from heavy water) .
- Q1D models have successfully predicted that the loading of
hydrogen isotopes into the metal is an effect which is actually opposite the
generation of bubbles which are classically associated with electrolysis.
- One important result is that If insufficient voltage is used, or
if the metal is defective (like a balloon with a moderate leak) it may simply never
COLD FUSION UPDATE: 1994
Cold fusion, though duly interred by mainstream science, still
flourishes at the periphery of science. The recent Third International Conference on Cold
Fusion, held in Nagoya, Japan, drew 350 participants, including 50 from U.S. corporations
and government laboratories. Hardly a wake, but also hardly a confirmation. Even with new
results frequently reported, the incontrovertible, reproducible proof of cold fusion
demanded by the scientific community still is lacking.
A written confrontation between cold fusion protagonists and
antagonists appeared in the March 1994 issue of Physics Today. The "pro"
position was stated by E. Mallove, editor of the new journal: Cold Fusion :
"The cold fusion phenomenon, in the view of many active in
the field, is a spectacular new form of lattice-induced nuclear energy whose mechanism is
still poorly understood---as the mechanism of low-temperature superconductivity was for
decades. That the nuclear products that have been found so far are incommensurate (by
conventional theory) with the non-chemical-magnitude excess energies simply means that the
results have to be explained by new physical mechanisms."
Of opposite polarity were remarks by J.R. Huizenga, author of the
debunking book: Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century :
"In contrast to Mallove's declaration that cold fusion is a
"spectacular new form of lattice-induced nuclear energy," I conclude that there
is no persuasive evidence to support this far-out claim. Instead, cold fusion as a nuclear
process producing watts of excess heat is more likely than not to be an example of
Of historical interest in this collection of correspondence in
Physics Today was S. Bashkin's mention of the 1926 experiments of F. Paneth. His results
were essentially identical to those of S. Pons and M. Fleischmann that began the present
cold fusion furor. Paneth detected helium after passing an electrical current through
hydrogen-laden palladium! But he later retracted his conclusions.