227) Fisher’s polyneutrons again

Ludwik Kowalski (5/30/05)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Fisher’s theory of cold fusion has been described in unit #191. The theory is based on the assumption that polyneutrons exist and that their exact masses can be calculated. It is important to emphasize that existence of polyneutrons is highly speculative. The same is true for the formula used to calculate their exact masses. John is aware of this. On the last slide of his presentation at Siena (May 2005):


John asks: “Do I believe polyneutron theory? Yes in concept. Polyneutrons are key agents for CF phenomena. They avoid the coulomb barrier, gamma radiation and neutrons. They offer explanations for transmutation and excess energy. Not in detail. Other choices for key parameters may be required. Should experimenters believe the theory? Not yet. But it has suggested novel experiments in the past (Particle showers in the vapor, energetic particles behind the cathode). . . . And it provides a mental framework for interpretation of results. Should theoreticians believe the theory? No. But they should have open minds. There are plenty of new theoretical questions that need attention.“ Fisher’s model seems to be consistent with traditional nuclear physics; it respects the coulomb barrier and the law of conservation of energy. He invented polyneutrons and uses them to explain various cold fusion claims. His theory would be much more believable if it were based on universally recognized facts.

John’s Siena presentation was a modified version of his theory. After posting slides of that presentation (available from the above Internet address) he suggested, in a private message, that I replace the earlier version of his theory (described in unit # 191), by his slide show. I am not going to follow that suggestion because I want to be able to compare two versions of John’s theory. My task is not to justify his theory; it is to describe it pedagogically, and to share some comments. Here is how John introduced the new version in Siena: “Nuclear physics is incomplete. It can be extended to include polyneutrons. Polyneutrons explain cold fusion phenomena.” In the recent private e-mail message John wrote that “for years they [theoretical physicists] had been stubbornly sticking with the idea that DD fusion was responsible for the cold fusion effects, and they were putting all their efforts into trying to find tricky ways of getting around the absence of the trademarks of DD fusion, rather that just accepting the fact that DD fusion did not occur . . . “

Slides 5 and 6:
Referring to the “BCS model for polyneutron fluid” John states that “pairs of neutrons of opposite spin and momentum attract each other. Neutrons attract each other forcefully and directly. Not weakly and indirectly as for electrons via phonons. With strong interaction and full access to momentum space polyneutrons will be strongly bound. Collective binding of neutron pairs is expected to be much stronger than binding of electron pairs.” I am not familiar with the BCS theory but I do know that traditional nuclear physics postulates existence of attractive nuclear forces between all nucleons. In the new version of the theory John postulates that the smallest possible polyneutron consists of 12 neutrons. I do not know why four or six neutrons, for example, can not form a polyneutron, as postulated in previously version.

The mass difference formula now has two terms, not one, as in the previous version. These are the volume and the surface terms, as used in the well known semi-empirical mass formula. John writes: “ I assume a liquid drop model for the polyneutron mass excess. (ANt) = avA + asA 2/3 (A>12). The mass excess is a minimum at A =12, and for A<12 it rises abruptly toward (4Nt) [where it is assumed to be equal to zero]. Consequence: reactions that generate polyneutrons ANt are endothermic for A<12. “

It is worth emphasizing that the semi-empirical mass formula for ordinary nuclei is much more reliable that the formula for the polyneutrons. The reason is obvious. Nobody questions existence of atomic nuclei; masses of many atomic nuclei have been measured with great accuracy. Existence of polyneutrons, on the other hand, remains questionable. For ordinary nuclei modeling coefficients, such as av and as, match experimentally measured masses. In the case of polyneutrons that approach to modeling coefficients is not possible. In other words, the above formula the mass excess should not be called “semi-empirical.”

Slides 7 and 8:
Here we see how to calculate D, a difference between mass excesses of plyneutrons composes of A+1 and A neutrons. Consider polyneutrons composed of 126 and 125 neutrons. In that case the value of D (in MeV) is av + 0.133*as. Numerical values of the modeling coefficients, av and as, are not specified on these slides. In the previous version of the polyneutron theory the av was 1.90 and the as was zero.

Slides 9 to 12:
These four slides remind us about showers of alpha particles reported by Oriani and Fisher at ICCF10. Using a cell identical to the one they used I was not able to convince myself that such showers exist. In private e-mail messages Oriani wrote that his recent attempts to observe large showers were not successful. Like many other CF researchers, he is struggling with the issue of poor reproducibility. He even tried to speculate about causes of irreproducibility. But that is a different topic.

Slides 13:
Here “composite nuclei,” such as 16O74Nt are introduced. It is a system composed of an ordinary nucleus and of a polyneutron -- a “nuclear molecules.” John writes that such molecules “are bound to each other by a reduction in surface energy over the area of contact. These composites must be stable (except for beta decay) if they are to participate in polyneutron reactions.” In other words, he refers to stability with respect to strong nuclear forces only.

Slide 14:
In principle, neutrons can be transferred from one component of a nuclear molecule to another, for example:

16O74Nt --> 15O75Nt + e,


15O75Nt -->16O74Nt + e,

where e, the reaction energy (third modeling parameter) is postulated to be negative and identical for both directions. I think that is not possible; if the first e is negative then the second must be positive, and vice versa. How can direct and inverted reactions be both endotermic?

Slide 15:
Introduces the third modeling parameter, Eb; it represents the energy released when a nuclear molecule is broken. The name of that positive parameter is “composite mass excess.” Breaking of a nuclear molecule should not be confused with breaking of a polyneutron (see slide 17).

Slide 16:
Here I see a postulate that the reaction energy E (not to be confused with Eb or with e)
is positive for one particular kind of process:

18O + ANt --> 16O + (A+2)Nt

That process consists of growing on a polyneutron in the presence of 18O. About 0.2% of oxygen, in air and water, contains that isotope of oxygen. John takes it for granted, as described in unit #191, that the above reaction was taking place spontaneously in the original experiments of Fleischmann and Pons (and in many other cold fusion experiments). That is why E must be positive in his theory. Accepting this postulate John shows that D (defined in slide 8) must be smaller than 1.955 MeV. Algebraic manipulations leading to this conclusion are straight forward. Note that D, defined, in slide 8, is expressed in terms of his model parameters av and as.

If one had D=1.955 then it would be an equation involving two unknowns av and as. In reality it an inequality involving these two model parameters. It is the first constrain on the values of av nd as. The second constrain appears in the next slide.

Slide 17:
Here I see a postulate that the released energy, E, must also be positive for another kind of reaction, namely:

18O + ANt --> 16O(A-22)Nt + 12Nt + 12Nt . . . . . (provided A > 33)

In other words, large polyneutrons (A > 33), colliding with 18O, can result not only in reactions described in slide 16; such collisions can also result in formations of nuclear molecules accompanied by the emission of two polyneutrons of size 12. I do not know on what bases were the values 12, 22 and 33 chosen. Accepting the positive E for the above kind of reaction John derives the second constrain involving av and as.

3.955 + Eb - 2*av + as*(A2/3 - (A - 22)2/3 - 2(12)2/3) > 0

The other two constrains are implied -- neither av nor as can be negative. Two equations with two unknowns would most likely lead to a unique set of two model parameters. The inequalities, on the other hand, can only be used to restrict a region (in the first quadrant of the av versus as plane) in which the unknown solution is located. I am writing all this as I go from one slide to the next. I do not know how the inequalities are going to be used. What is clear, however, is that the above two processes are going to contribute to a chain reaction which, as explained in unit #191, can develop under favorable conditions.

Slides 18 and 19:
The possible chain reaction consist of two processes, the first consists of the growth of polyneutrons and the second, consists of production of a pair of 12Nt polyneutrons. A chain reaction in air and water would generate enough thermal energy to kill everybody on our planet. Fortunately, this does not happen. What protects us? What stops a chain reaction when it starts developing? According to John, reaction products (right sides of the two equations in slide 18) have the ability to absorb polyneutrons. They are poisons in the same sense as fission products in our commercial nuclear reactors. This is illustrated in Slide 19.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


“This is a multipart message in MIME format, just some fun summer reading: The Center for Applied Mediocrity of the Institute of Negativity, a major research institution, has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "governmentium."

Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311. These 311 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minuscule amount of governmentium causes some reactions to take over 4 days to complete, when they would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but, instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." When catalyzed with money governmentium becomes administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.”

More Serious Insertion (6/4/05):
Polyneutrons, invented by John, offer a great explanational flexibility but their real existence is not as certain as existence of neutrons. I know of two cases in which neutral particles were first invented and then discovered. They are neutrons and neutrinos. Let me briefly summarize the case of neutrons. Their discovery was announced in 1934 by Chadwick. Beside being a good experimentalist, Chadwick was exposed to 1920s speculations that such particles (hypothetical proton-electron combinations) might exist. This helped him tremendously to recognize real neutrons. Other scientists, especially Joliot-Curie (in 1932), contributed to this discovery.

The first contributors were Germans, Bothe and Becker. They discovered highly penetrating radiation coming from a beryllium foil bombarded with alpha particles. The radiation consisted, as we know today, of neutrons but they believed it consisted of gamma rays. A French scientist Jolit-Curie recognized a contradiction between what was already known about gamma rays and properties of beryllium radiation. In studying penetrating properties of that radiation he discovered paraffin bombarded with it was emitting protons. Neither Germans nor French were familiar with earlier speculations about neutrons. But Chadwick, an English scientist was. After reading Jolit-Curie’s publication he realized that protons might be knocked from paraffin by neutrons. Then he conceived a clever experiment to confirm this hypothesis.

Will the history repeat itself? Perhaps polyneutrons do exist but Fisher’s way of thinking about them is too naive. The first way of thinking about neutrons (proton-electron combinations) was also too naive and has subsequently been rejected. Perhaps existence of polyneutrons will be discovered in experiments that have nothing to do with cold fusion. A scientist familiar with John’s theoretical model might be in a better position to recognize polyneutrons that other scientists. Theoretical speculations are useful, even when they are based on unacceptable postulates.

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