This was posted on Vortex by Jed Rothwell and with his permission is posted below.
I spoke with George Miley of the University of Illinois about his most recent tests with palladium zirconium alloys with gas loading. Here are some notes from the conversation and some related information about some of (Dr. Tadahiko) Mizuno’s experiments.
See the slides starting at # 46.
Slide 48 shows the overall pattern of the reaction.
Note that for ordinary chemical reactions, loading is exothermic and deloading is endothermic. That is not what you see here. In some cases the initial chemical exothermic reaction is followed by a second reaction raising the temperature still higher. This is the anomalous cold fusion reaction. These slides do not show it lasting for long. This is similar to (Dr. Akira) Kitamura’s results.
The slides show early runs. Recently they made a batch of material that works dramatically better. However, they only made one batch so far and they have run samples from it four times. They will need to make more batches to confirm that they can reproduce this improved performance. Miley is “optimistic but cautious” that the next batch will work as well as this one did.
In the four runs they have achieved fairly stable output ranging from ~75 to ~200 W. The runs last around six hours. As shown in slide 48, the sample first self-heats from the chemical reaction. Because the sample is well insulated this heat is enough to trigger the anomalous reaction — when the anomalous reaction occurs. You do not usually need external heating although the cell is equipped with a heater (slide 47).
The samples are ZrO2 with 35% Pd loaded with deuterium at 60 psi. They range from 15 to 30 g. The starting material is of high purity and comes from Ames National Laboratory. Additional processing is done at the University of Illinois. Miley thinks that recent success is due to their increased attention to material purity and improved manufacturing methods, and a better vacuum pump. Quote slide 49: “Most effort has been to develop improved nanoparticles by comparing and down selecting a series of triple alloys.”
They are also making ZrO2Ni, to be loaded with hydrogen. I do not think they have done this yet. We did not talk about that much.
Although deloading is chemically endothermic, in some cases they have seen the heat increased during deloading. This is presumably anomalous heat. Rossi showed a similar effect during the October 6 demonstration. Miles says this is probably caused by flux, that is, deuterons moving through the lattice. It does not matter which direction they are moving. McKubre listed flux as one of the key factors in his “ad hoc” equation.
A schematic of the calorimeter is shown in slide number 47. This is a gas calorimeter, similar to the one Mizuno used in his studies with proton conductors. I have a lot of data from that and I am pretty familiar with the characteristics so I will discuss it below.
The temperature is measured at the sample I believe, or anyway, in the sample chamber. When there is heat (chemical or anomalous) you see a temperature difference between the sample chamber and the outer chamber. In Miley’s case, the temperature difference ranges from 100°C to 200°C. Miley described this calorimeter as very complicated and nonlinear. It is difficult to model. The problem is that the ratio of output power to the temperature at the core of the sample chamber will vary depending upon the type of gas you fill the sample chamber with, and the gas pressure.
Based on Mizuno’s data, I agree this is very complicated but on the other hand it is also probably reliable, stable and repeatable. Mizuno tested hydrogen, deuterium, helium, air, and a vacuum. He tested the gases over a range of pressures. He found that when you use the same kind of gas at the same pressure, a given power level always produces the same temperature difference between the inside and the outside. So, when anomalous power produces a certain temperature you can find that point on the output curve and you can say with confidence that it is producing that much power.
Because of this complexity, Miley et al. do not know with accuracy how much power the sample is producing. On the other hand they can be sure it is producing heat because the sample chamber is much hotter than the outer chamber. We know the energy is anomalous, because it produces a much larger temperature difference than the chemical effect, and it lasts much longer: 21600 s compared to 150 s. The anomalous power continues when the heating coil is turned off, so there is no possibility that they are mistaking conventional electric heating with anomalous heating.
In other words, they can be sure there is anomalous heat but they cannot say with assurance what the magnitude of it is. I think they would have to do more calibration with a joule heater to establish exactly what the power level is. The heating coil around the outside of the sample chamber would not be suitable for this. You need to put heater right where the sample is located, in the center of the sample chamber. This is what Mizuno did.
Ambient air is outside the outer chamber. Changes in this air temperature will not have much effect on the calorimetry because the inner temperature differences are so much higher than ambient fluctuations. Mizuno’s data shows no measurable effect from ambient changes even though he was in a poorly heated laboratory in Hokkaido, with large gaps in the walls and windows.
They are using one calorimeter. They are doing the experiments every few weeks. They would like to expand the effort to have someone work full-time on it. Miley would like to have 4 calorimeters instead of 1, so they can test more samples in parallel. I suggested they use at least one Seebeck calorimeter. This would sweep aside all of the complexities of gas calorimetry, since it measures the heat outside the walls of the gas cell. The cell should fit into a Seebeck calorimeter because it is about 2 inches long.
Miley outlined a development path for this in slide number 52.
I hope to find someone who can provide funding for this research. It has some major advantages over Rossi’s research:
The power density and temperatures are roughly comparable with Rossi.
Tests with nickel might produce the same light water effect that Rossi has observed.
This is a state university so the results would be made public.
Miley and his students are conventional academic scientists, not businessmen. They have no imperative to keep their results secret. On the contrary they would publish as quickly as they can to establish priority.
Miley’s researchers are young. See slide 46. This kind of research should be done by young people. Frankly, I would rather have one young person than 5 elderly scientists.
The material supplied by Ames Laboratory can be documented in great detail, and probably reproduced. The additional processing performed by Miley et al. can also be documented in detail.
Unlike Rossi, Miley et al. are willing to reveal all details of their work and to share materials with other qualified researchers, so this material can be independently tested by other laboratories.
This is not to criticize Rossi for being secretive. The imperatives of research at a public university are different from those in a private corporation.
Rossi does have one large advantage over Miley et al. He is working on a gigantic scale. This impresses many people. It does not impress me…I find a test at 100 W as convincing as a test at 1 MW. As long as the temperatures and power density are comparable, and the reaction is stable, I don’t see any advantage to scaling up above 100 W. It just makes the calorimetry more complicated, and it makes the experiment dangerous. However, members of the public and mass media reporters will probably be more impressed by the larger scale of Rossi’s tests. I suppose that from a public relations point of view it would be a good idea to scale up. If Miley et al. had funding perhaps they could make a cell that generates kilowatt level heat. I regard this as more of a public relations stunt than a scientifically useful thing to do, but sometimes a stunt is called for.
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