353) From my ICCF14 notes
Ludwik Kowalski (8/17/08)
Montclair State University
Added on 8/19/08)5
This unit is based on what I wrote while listening to several ICCF14 presentations. Many sessions of the conference were named to match the CMNS subfields. The names were (a) Heat Results, (b) Measuring heat (calorimetry), Materials, (d) Gas and gas loading, etc.
1) What is FPE?
It is interesting that both David Nagel (conference chairman) and Dennis Lett (one of the presenters) defined the Fleischmann-Pons Effect (FPE) as electrochemical excess heat. I like this definition because it does not refer to the origin of excess heat. Most scientists of my generation would probably say that FPE is a nuclear reaction of some kind, triggered by electrolysis. Fleischmann and Pons speculated about nuclear origin of excess heat but they had no evidence for it. It is not hard to imagine how different history of our field would be without their premature speculations. No one would object to their isoperibolic calorimeter data and only highly qualified electrochemists, such McKubre, Szpak, Miles and Boss, would continue studying the new effect. First they would demonstrate reproducibility, then they would test interpretational predictions. Premature speculations of F&P were responsible, at least in part, for the tragic situation in which one field of research was unjustly pronounced as unscientific.
I was impressed by the report of S. Lesin (Israel). He described electrochemical experiments in which excess heat, at the power level between 0.5 and 1.0 watts, was observed (in more that 20 experiments) at levels of reproducibility between 75% and 80%. In all of these experiments the electric current was periodic (superwaves) and cathodes were bombarded with ultrasound. This should not be confused with rare experiments yielding much more spectacular results. In the best of these experiments, lasting 40 days, the excess power was said to be 32 watts. Multiplying 32 watts by the duration of the experiment one gets the total excess energy of 110 MJ. But reported value was 35 MJ. That probably means that 32 Watts was the highest power, not the mean power. The mean power was probably close to 10 W, which is spectacular.
That spectacular result was obtained by using superwaves (but without bombarding the cathode with ultrasounds). The idea of using superwaves, suggested by Dr. I. Dardik, an Americal medical researcher, has been used in Israel for many years. According to T. Zhilov, a large number of tests have been made (in the past) to show that cells powered by superwaves produce more reproducible results that identical cells powered by constant currents. According to another scientist, superwaves are also used to influence solidification of metals. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any quantitative theories explaining superwaves. Let me also mention that Preparata medal was awarded to Irving Dardik, for introducing superwaves.
3) A pectacular results to be confirmed
Another set of spectacular excess heat results were described by a Russian scientist, A. Karabut. (Unit 13, by the way, was also devoted to his results). He used an electrolytic cell powered by periodic input current (rather than d.c.). I suppose that periodic current consisted of nearly rectangular pulses separated by zero current, as in another paper presented by Karabut. That would be equivalent to superwaves--short pulses consist of many frequencies. The cell was made from quartz, two kinds of palladium (pretreated and not pretreated) were used as cathode and the electrolyte was made by using light water. Unfortunately, chemical composition of the electrolyte is not specified in the paper. The meaning of the pretreated and not pretreated is not at all clear. How can anyone try to replicate the experiment without such information?
But reported results are indeed spectacular. Excess heat produced with the pretreated palladium was produced at the rate of ~300 W for nearly 3 hours. The amount of excess heat produced was 8.1 times higher that what was used. Excess heat produced with not pretreated palladium, was produced at the rate of ~100 W for 6 hours. The amount of excess heat produced was 3.1 times higher that what was used. The results were said to be reproducible on demand. Potential differences between the anode and the cathode, in these experiments, were between 800 V and 1000 V.
In both cases the electrolysis was turned off when the temperature of the electrolyte reached the level of 80 C. Does it mean that generation of excess heat, at the rate of 300 W, would continue if excess heat was efficiently removed from the cell, for example, to produce electricity? I do not know haw to answer this question. But I am surprised that no replications of Karabuts results were made by other Russian CMNS researchers.
4) Working against all odds
During the medal-award ceremony (8/13/08) Irving Dardik referred to us as a community of dedicated people working against all odds. This is a profound observation. How can it be interpreted? One can say that, due to unfortunate circumstances in 1989, a situation was created in which the level of scrutiny for CMNS claims is much higher than for claims in other areas of research. This can be summarized by the well known rule formulated by Carl Sagan -- extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. How can one disagree with such rule? But the rule has often been abused. Scientific journals should not refuse sending CMNS manuscripts to referees and granting agencies should support proposals formulated by reputable scientists.