17) Nuclear side of cold fusion

Ludwik Kowalski
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043.

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Let me summarize a paper of an Italian physicist T. Bressani “Nuclear Physics Aspects of Cold Fusion Experiments.” It was presented at the Seventh International Conference on Cold Fusion in Canada (1998). The pdf file containing the article can be downloaded from < http://lenr-canr.org/Features.htm >

The author identifies three questions concerning cold fusion. They are:

1) How can Coulomb barrier be lowered between two deuterons to allow as many as about 10 to 20 fusion events per second (necessary to explain the actually measured excess heating rate.)

2) Why are branching ratios in cold fusion completely different from those in the free (d + d) fusion? Recall that the branch in which 4He is produced is extremely rare in free fusion and that it is associated with the emission of 23.8 MeV gamma rays. The most common free fusion branches are: emission of neutrons plus 3He, and emission of protons plus 3T.

3) Do nuclear transmutation reactions take place in cold fusion, and why are their dominant byproducts stable rather than radioactive?

Before addressing the first issue the author refers to a study of Kasagi et al. in which palladium was bombarded with a beam of deuterium ions from an electrostatic accelerator. They found that the (d+d) cross section, measured down to 2.5 KeV, is 50 times larger when d is embedded in PdO than when in pure Pd or Ti! This experiment, writes Bressani, “is very important for at least two aspects. The first one, quite obvious, is that it is a dramatic proof of the influence that condensed matter effects may have on nuclear observables. The “Condensed Matter Nuclear Physics”, whose first milestone is the Mössbauer Effect, may consider this experiment as the second milestone. The second aspect is that the enhancement of the cross section for (d + d), as measured following the method of Kasagi et al., could be considered as one of the quality parameters needed in the choice of metals/compounds/alloys best suited to reach reproducible results in Cold Fusion Experiments.”

The second issue, in my opinion, was not addressed, except by reviewing experimental results concerning light byproducts of cold fusion. These results confirm that dominant light byproducts are indeed very different from those resulting from free fusion. Experiments confirming the accumulation of 4He are described but the issue of 23.8 MeV gamma rays is not addressed.

Referring to the third issue the author writes: “I have always been absolutely skeptic about the possible existence of transmutations in Cold Fusion experiments. . . . The experiment of Iwamura et al. 15 however is quite [promising]. Their cell, in which deuterium atoms are flowing through a Pd plate separating an electrolytic solution of D2O/LiOD from a vacuum chamber, showed quite strange phenomena, like the production of Ti in quantities larger than the maximum contamination present in the samples and an isotope shift of the Fe atoms after the run.” I find this very interesting because the “isotope shift” was also observed, in a completely different setup, by Karabut et al.. I agree with the author that one should now be less skeptical about the reality of transmutation reactions.

It is probably too early to address the three basic questions formulated in this paper. We must first be certain that nuclear processes do take place in condensed matter without accelerated projectiles. On the other hand, blaming everything on “condensed matter” is not reasonable; nuclear reactions induced by accelerated projectiles nearly always occur in solid targets.

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