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159) From another review of cold fusion

Ludwik Kowalski (7/11/04)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Unlike my review of recent cold fusion claims (see unit #152) the paper presented by George Miley (1) was not prepared by an uncommitted outsider. George is the author of numerous research papers; as the editor of a scientific journal devoted to nuclear fusion he has been a leader of that field from the year in which the controversy started. Let me begin with an attempt to categorize cold fusion research. The first subdivision of the field is obvious: some research topics are nuclear while others are not. Research on emission of unexplained neutrons and protons (via counters of such particles), or research on changes in isotopic ratios, belong to the first category while research on the unexplained excess heat (via calorimetry) belongs to the second. Seminal work of Steven Jones was nuclear, seminal work of Fleischmann and Pons was not.

George Miley offers an interesting further categorization of nuclear topics. He divides them according to reactions that take place. The first subgroup consists of DD reactions while the second consists of so-called “lattice reactions.” The DD reactions are:

D + D --> 3H + p
D + D --> 3He + n
D + D --> 4He + g

The first two are named “normal DD fusion” (some people call it “hot fusion”) while the last is named “P-F type Cold Fusion.” The P-F stands for Pound and Fleischmann who speculated that excess heat might have nuclear origin.

The so-called “Lattice Reactions,” on which Miley focuses in the review, are symbolically described as “p/D + metal.” That means they are initiated by fusion of 1H ions (or 2H ions) with much heavier atomic nuclei in crystal lattices. These reactions are called transmutations. Collectively P-F Cold Fusion and Transmutations are referred to as LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions).

There are two kinds of transmutations reactions, those in which compound nuclei are formed and those which are called “direct.” That characterization of nuclear reactions is not new, it can be traced to late 1930s (Niels Bohr) and to numerous textbooks published in late 1940’s. Formation of a compound nucleus is a process of complete fusion of two atomic nuclei followed by either fission (typically into two fragments) or emission of charged particles and neutrons. Direct reactions produce specific products, for example, transformation of 88Sr into 96Mo described by Iwamura (see item 152 on my web site). Compound nucleus reactions, on the other hand, result in a large number of products (see Figure 4 of Miley’s review).

I think that this categorization of the cold fusion field can be useful. Let me make some comments.

1) The term “cold fusion” was used by Steven Jones long before Fleischmann
and Pons offered a speculation that excess heat might have nuclear origin.

2) Rates at which emission of nuclear particles is observed in Jones’ experiments
(typically one per hour or less) are too small to generate measurable excess

3) According to Karabut (see item #13) alpha particles of 14 MeV are emitted
when Pd is bombarded by 2H ions of ~1keV in a glow discharge apparatus.
Such rates are also too low to generate measurable excess heat.

4) Transmutations, on the other hand (according to Miley and others who
observe them), take place at much higher rates, typically above 1011 reactions
per second per cubic centimeter. This is illustrated in Figure 4 of Milley’s
review paper. Transmutation reactions have been studied in 14 separate
laboratories, worldwide, as listed by Miley.

5) Accumulation of 4He, reported by several excess heat researchers, worldwide,
is also occurring at very high rates. Generation of heat at the rate of 1 W, for
example, is associated with generation of about 3*1012 atoms of helium. In
other words, production of each atom of helium (often called “an ash resulting
from nuclear burning”) is associated with the liberation of about 23 MeV of
energy. That number is in very good agreement with generation of helium in
thermonuclear reactions (sun and atom bomb). Let me end with a puzzling
question about generation of helium: “why is it relatively rare in thermonuclear
setups (one out of one million reactions in hot plasma) and dominant in some
cold fusion setups?”

According to Milley, “Excess heat production was also observed simultaneously with transmutations in various experiments . . . . The product production rate correlates with the excess power measured within the experimental accuracy.” This is important because one of the most convincing argument against the reality of excess heat in cold fusion (in the 1989 DOE evaluation of that field) was the lack of evidence for the “commensurate reaction products.” The excess energy claim was compared to fire without any byproducts of burning. If the reported accumulation of 4He, and the accumulation of transmutation products, are real (not due to migration of impurities, or errors of measurements) then the 1989 argument is no longer valid. Will the upcoming DOE evaluation of cold fusion address this essential issue?

1) G.H. Miley and P.J. Shrestha, “Review of Transmutation Reactions in Solids.”
This paper, presented at the 10th International Cold fusion Conference (August
2003), can be downloaded from the website. The exact URL is

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