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298) Nuclear alchemy aspect of CMNS

Ludwik Kowalski; 5/28/2006
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

It is not the first time that I am describing a report claiming that nuclear reaction products are produced by certain chemical reactions. T. Mizuno, a Japanese electrochemist published a book on that subject several years ago (1). It is unfortunate that, due to his medical condition, I missed a chance of working with Mizuno after the last cold fusion conference in Japan. But I was lucky to work with another scientist, J. Kasagi. Based on that experience, and on other observations, I can say that Japanese scientists are highly qualified and extremely careful about what they publish. Yes, I know that a generalization from one example might be wrong. But it is better than generalization from zero examples. In any case, the purpose of this piece is to review a paper coauthored by Mizuno (2); that paper will be published in the ICCF12 proceedings.

What attracted my attention to this report was a plasma-electrolysis cell that operated continuously for 15 days; the cell we used in Colorado2 experiments (see items #271 and #270) operated for less than half hour. After that time our tungsten cathode would erode. The cathode and anode used in (2) were made from Pd (whose melting point is considerably lower than that of W) and they did not erode during 15 days of operation. After that the electrodes were examined and chemical elements, presumably created during the electrolysis, were found on the cathode. The potential difference between electrodes was approximatively 50 V. This is considerably lower than voltages at which excess heat was measured during plasma electrolysis. The low voltage reminded me of another paper (3) devoted to plasma electrolysis. The authors of that paper cooperated with E. Stroms and with J. Rothwell. But their contribution to CMNS phenomena (excess heat, excess hydrogen and excess elements) was minimal.

Experimental Setup:
The volume of the teflon cell used by Abe et al. (2) was only 300 cc, as illustrated in Figure 6 of their paper. It had a lid with small hole. The hole prevented accumulation of hydrogen and oxygen; it was also used to periodically add water (to keep the volume of the electrolyte constant). The electrodes and the thermocouples were mounted on the lid. The electrolyte was the 1M solution of K2CO3 in distilled water. Its nearly constant volume was 200 cc. Palladium rods inserted into the cell had the diameter of 1 mm. They were partially coated with teflon. The distance between the electrodes, according to Figure 6, was about 6 cm. Extreme precautions were made to keep the cell components as clean as possible.

Main results:
The surfaces of electrodes, after 15 days of operation, were examined with a scanning electron microscope (to observe structural details) and with energy dispersive X-ray analyzer (EDX to identify elements). Crater-like features, found on the cathode but not on the anode are considered to be evidence of nuclear reactions. The energy spectra of scattered X rays (Figure 7) show peaks due to well known elements. These peaks were not present when electrodes were examined before the electrolysis. That is an indication that they were produced during the electrolysis. Furthermore, some elements, such as Cu, Zn and Mg, were found on both electrodes while others, such as Fe, Ti, and Cr, were found on the cathode only. The height of the iron peak, for the cathode, is nearly three times above the background. This can be contrasted with the height of the same peak for the anode. The iron peak (if any) for the anode is nearly negligible in comparison with the background.

Peak appearing on the cathode only are identified by bold letters (in Figure 7) while peaks appearing on both electrodes are identified by italic letters. The authors conclude: “If [the identified elements] were transmutation products, at least two processes may explain their existence. The first [process is a] nuclear reaction presumably occurred at the cathode and only produced the bold letter elements, while the second reaction occurred at both electrodes, and produced the italic letter elements. Since we have not analyzed the samples by other methods, we cannot determine the origin of these elements yet.” The “yet” implies that work is in progress; I hope the isotopic composition of iron will be reported at the next cold fusion conference (ICCF13). Will that composition be the same as that reported by Karabut (see item #13) or will it be different? That remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, peaks in Figure 7 are quantified in terms of arbitrary units (counts). It would be more useful to identify them in terms of absolute units, such as numbers of atoms per square centimeter, averaged over the entire surface. As far as know nobody was able to demonstrate that excess heat produced in Mizuno-type cells is commensurate with the number atoms produced via nuclear reactions. By the word “commensurable” I mean at least 0.01 MeV of excess heat per atom. Any other evidence that excess heat is due to nuclear reactions is much less convincing.

Plasma protocols:
The issue of “the right kind of plasma” was mentioned in the unit #271. Mizuno told me, at ICCF12, that the current must be very low and that it should be decreasing with voltage. Figure 2 of the paper is a plot of the voltage and current versus time, for about 3 hours. During the first 9000 seconds the applied potential increases nearly linearly (in small steps). The rate is about 2.5 volts per minute. The current also grows, up to about 2.5 A. After that the current goes down when the voltage goes up. After about one hour the potential difference is about 120 V while the current is about 0.6 A. The current becomes ~ 0.4 A when the potential becomes ~300 V.

The above description refers to a cell whose electrolyte was 0.2M K2CO3 and whose cathode was a tungsten wire of 1.5 mm diameter. The anode geometry is not mentioned. Assuming the cathode was cylindrical one might say that the cell was not very different from the cell used in Colorado2 experiments. The Colorado2 cathode, however, was about two times thicker. I suppose that this was the reason for which our current at 300 V was several times higher than 0.4 A. The “right plasma region” corresponds to currents below 1 A (when potentials are between 60 and 300 V).

The term “right plasma” means right for experiments in which excess heat is generated. That region is characterized by rapid deterioration of cathodes. That kind of operation, however is not appropriate for accumulation of transmutation products. To study such products one must operate the cell under “. . . another, milder type of electrolysis, which does not severely damage or disintegrates the electrode. . . ” In Figure 4 that operation region is near the point at which the current is maximum (2.5 A at 45 V). The cell geometry to which the Figure 4 refers is not identified, it seems to refer to the cell with the tungsten cathode and with the 0.2 M electrolyte.

1) Tadahiko Mizuno, “Nuclear Transmutations: The Reality of Cold Fusion;” Infinite Energy Press, 1998.

2) “Elemental Analysis of palladium electrodes after Pd/Pd light water critical electrolysis;” by Yutoriy Abe, Tadahiko Mizuno, Tadayoshi Ohmori and Yoshiaki Aoki. This report can be downloaded from the library at

3) N. A. Reiter and S.P. Faile. Their unpublished report can be downloaded from

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