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101) Excess heat again

Ludwik Kowalski (August 15, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

I am reading the article the John Bockris published in Journal of New Energy (vol 4, no 2. 1999, p. 40). It explains how the so-called “excess heat” was measured by this famous electrochemist. I do not know why, in some places, Bockris confuses energy with potential; I am sure he knows the difference between these two concepts. He writes, for example, “this energy is represented by the electrochemical potential applied to the cell.” In another place he writes that “I2*R heat is included in E, the total potential applied to the cell.” I would not use E for the difference potential and I would not confuse E with rate of using electric energy. Sloppy formulations tend to discredit a scientists. But I will ignore them.

Suppose that the difference of potential, E, is applied to a cell in which water is electrolyzed, and that the current is I. The input power is E*I but the heat generation rate is (E-1.54)*I because 1.54*I is the rate at which energy is used to produce bubbles of oxygen and hydrogen. The excess heat generation rate is a difference between the heating rate measured, P, and the (E-1.54)*I, provided no recombination of hydrogen and oxygen takes place inside the cell. In Figure 5, for example, the excess heat was zero during the first 60 hours, was slowly increasing up to 40 mW during the next 50 hours and remained constant (40 mW) in subsequent 50 hours. I am not impressed by 40 mW but I believed that it can be measured very accurately.

How do they measure heat generation rates, P.? The cell is surrounded by a constant temperature bath (plus or minus 0.1 degrees C). But the measured temperature inside the cell, after the equilibrium is reached, exceeds the temperature of the bath by dT. It turns out that a relation exists between the true heating rate, P, and dT. The relation is linear as long as dT is not larger than about 7 C. The coefficient of proportionality between P and dT, for example 0.8 W/C, is determined by calibrating the cell with ohmic resistors. Knowing the coefficient k one can always determine the true heating rate as P=k*dT. The excess heating rate, H, as indicated above, is given by:


where H is watts, dT in C, E is in volts and I is in amperes. This approach, used by Fleischmann and Pons, was also employed by Bockris and his coworkers. Different calorimetric approaches were later developed by other scientists. The way in which H was measured by Karabut, for example, was described in unit #13.

The remaining part of the paper deals with evidence for nuclear effects: production of tritium, production of helium and transmutations. But that evidence is not very convincing. The paper has a lot interesting information on people, and on their motivation in early 1990s. But it offers no description of reproducible observations. Even suspected cases of fraud are mentioned.

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