Sunday, April 29, 2012

Details to be explained or addressed

I'm starting to get a sense of what I think might be going on in the LENR experiments.  The idea is that there's a photoelectric effect involving a gamma or an X-ray and an electron, which gives rise to a bosonic quasiparticle which can then combine with a free proton in the metal lattice and yield a neutron. An earlier post has already noted some difficulties in adopting an explanation that involves neutrons.

In addition, there are other details which may not seem contradictory to an account involving neutrons but which nonetheless need to be explained or addressed.  Edmond Storms mentions some of these details in his excellent paper, "A Student's Guide to Cold Fusion." For a Pd/D electrolysis experiment, these details include (possible explanations in parentheses):
  • Lack of correlation between neutron detection and heat (neutrons were absorbed during heat generation and so could not be detected).
  • Far too few gammas for generated heat, lack of correlation (gammas are also absorbed in the reaction).
  • X-rays are not always detected in proportion to generated heat.
  • High Pd/D average loading is usually required (high loading is a proxy for the flux of free protons through the nuclear-active environment).
  • High Pd/D average loading is not always required (there are sufficient free protons in the nuclear active environment, despite the low loading).
  • Current must be maintained for a sufficient amount of time, but this time can be short for thin layers of palladium and a long time for bulk palladium (there has to be 1, sufficient proton flux, and 2, an energetic photon that comes along for some reason to set off the reaction).
  • Impurities can activate inactive palladium (the palladium is not what is involved in the reaction; it is a catalyzer).
  • Success in getting a reaction depends upon the batch of palladium (there has to be something that gives rise to the right optical phenomena, e.g., microcavities).
  • H2O contamination will stop a reaction (the atomic hydrogen does not ionize and prevents the deuterium from entering the lattice).
  • A higher temperature causes the reaction to go more quickly.
There are details in other types of experiments that need to be addressed as well:
  • There is an effective positive charge for hydrogen migrating through palladium in some electrodiffusion experiments (I have speculated elsewhere that it is atomic hydrogen and not ions that migrate).
  • Energy and nuclear products have been seen when >1 MHz sonic waves are used to react deuterium with solid metals.

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