Whether Cold Fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions, U.S. Navy Researchers Reopen Case

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
9,434
Reaction score
1,572
Whether Cold Fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions, U.S. Navy Researchers Reopen Case
Spurred on by continued anomalous nuclear results, multiple labs now working to get to bottom of story
22 Mar 2021


After more than three decades of simmering debate in specialized physics groups and fringe research circles, the controversy over cold fusion (sometimes called low-energy nuclear reactions or LENRs) refuses to go away. On one hand, ardent supporters have lacked the consistent, reproducible results and the theoretical underpinning needed to court mainstream acceptance. On the other, vehement detractors cannot fully ignore the anomalous results that have continued to crop up, like the evidence for so-called “lattice-confinement fusion” adduced last year by a group at NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

Scientists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division have pulled together a group of Navy, Army, and National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) labs to try and settle the debate. Together, the labs will conduct experiments in an effort to establish if there’s really something to the cold fusion idea, if it’s just odd chemical interactions, or if some other phenomenon entirely is taking place in these controversial experiments.

[snip]

But still, lingering interesting results continued to emerge. Aside from the recent promising findings from NASA, Google published a paper in Nature in 2019 revealing that the company had spent US $10 million to research cold fusion since 2015. The company teamed up with researchers at institutions including MIT, the University of British Columbia, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The research group found no evidence of classic Pons-Fleischmann-style cold fusion, but it did find evidence of the larger umbrella category of LENRs—suggesting (as the NASA group also reported) that nuclear fusion may be possible in locally-hot sites in otherwise room temperature metals.

“We got our impetus from the Google paper appearing in Nature,” says Carl Gotzmer, Indian Head’s Chief Scientist. Gotzmer’s duties include keeping the Navy abreast of the latest scientific developments. Gotzmer says his cold fusion/LENR interest developed after attending the International Conference on Cold Fusion in 2003. After a four-hour conversation with Fleischmann himself, and seeing presentations from across the world giving evidence of nuclear transmutations, he says he began to follow this field in earnest.

“Quite frankly, [to] other folks who have tried this over the years, it was considered a career ender,” says Gotzmer. But the Indian Head team decided that, as a government lab, they had a little more freedom to pursue a controversial topic, so long as it also offered up the prospect of rewarding scientific results.

[snip]

Barham describes Indian Head’s role in the new project as that of an “honest broker.” “Our main task is to try and collect the data that’s going to come in from, for example, the US Naval Academy, the Army Research Laboratory, and [NIST],” Barham says. He explains that different laboratories—all together, five are participating in the investigation—can provide different detectors and other equipment suited to exploring particular research questions. Indian Head can then coordinate materials and research between labs. And when the data starts to come in, the researchers at Indian Head can not only assess the data’s quality themselves, but ensure the other labs have that data available to review as well.

The Navy researchers are taking as their guiding inspiration the thirty years of literature that has been published on cold fusion, LENRs, and adjacent topics. They said a literature review of these results pointed them toward the best metals for their experiments, common refrains in experimental set ups, and so on.

The researchers say they hope to publish their initial results by the end of the year. “I think the most important thing is to reveal a mechanism by which the phenomenon works,” says Gotzmer. “Because if you understand the mechanism, then you can extrapolate into better experiments and make it more reproducible. There’s many mechanisms which have been proposed, but no one’s really nailed down completely what the nitty-gritty science is.”


ColdFusion (Burn Water) Music Mix 2019

 

aerostadt

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
3,487
Reaction score
380
Location
Brigham City, UT
There is never anything on this topic that anyone can really sink there teeth into.
 

Bill S

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2019
Messages
760
Reaction score
364
Interesting. I would expect that if there was any eventual discovery that can be replicated, the US Govt would take it over and it wouldn't be publicized. Just being cynical here.
 

Mike Haberer

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Messages
637
Reaction score
402
Interesting. I would expect that if there was any eventual discovery that can be replicated, the US Govt would take it over and it wouldn't be publicized. Just being cynical here.
It's not cynical when you speak the truth....
 

Winston

Lorenzo von Matterhorn
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
9,434
Reaction score
1,572
Navy Labs To Reopen The Once Taboo Case On Nuclear Cold Fusion
Federal labs are reexamining the DOD’s research into cold fusion and low-energy nuclear reactions, potentially leading to revolutionary technologies.
APRIL 9, 2021


Excerpts

Researchers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division have reopened the case on low-energy nuclear reactions, or LENRs, largely unexplained phenomena that are at the core of theories about "cold fusion." Five different government-funded laboratories under the control of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and National Institutes of Standards and Technology will conduct experiments in an attempt to once and for all settle the debate over this little-understood and highly controversial topic. Despite the controversy and stigma associated with LENR, many experts across the U.S. military believe that the science behind them is sound, and if working technologies can someday be developed, it could transform military operations to an extent not seen in over a century.

...enough researchers believe there is at least something to LENRs and that the topic is worth a serious second look. The 2016 Scientific American guest blog “It's Not Cold Fusion... But It's Something” claims that “Hidden in the confusion are many scientific reports, some of them published in respectable peer-reviewed journals, showing a wide variety of experimental evidence” for LENRs, “including transmutations of elements.” The same article states that studies have also shown that LENRs “can produce local surface temperatures of 4,000-5,000 K and boil metals (palladium, nickel and tungsten) in small numbers of scattered microscopic sites on the surfaces of laboratory devices.” A more recent theory suggests that LENR reactions have nothing to do with fusion at all, and instead are produced by weak interaction and are perfectly consistent with known physics.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division seeks to get to the bottom of the LENR phenomenon with an honest look at the available data and by conducting new experiments. NSWC Indian Head specializes in energetics, a branch of research involving the development and testing of explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics, fuels, and other reactive materials as they pertain to propulsion and weaponry.

Oliver Barham, a project manager at NSWC Indian Head, says that despite past controversies surrounding LENRs, the laboratory believes the science behind these little-understood reactions is worth a second look. “I’m not as worried about looking into something that is considered controversial as long as there’s good science there,” Barham told IEEE.org. “The whole point of our effort is we want to be doing good science. We’re not out to prove or disprove anything, we’re out to assemble a team of scientists who want to take it seriously.” Barham says the lab will serve as an “honest broker” that will reexamine decades’ worth of data collected by the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Craters on the surface of a sample of palladium which may have resulted from low-energy nuclear reactions:




 

aerostadt

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
3,487
Reaction score
380
Location
Brigham City, UT
It is simply amazing that 30 years after the initial discovery that something strange is happening, there is no definitive conclusion. The mere fact that no practical inventions has been introduced exploiting any potential energy source tends to state that likely nothing is there. Knowing how exploitive our culture is, surely anything worthwhile would have been discovered by now. At the heart of the problem is the second to the last bullet on the post above. There has been no reproducible results. Overall, if anything is there, it is minute and hard to reproduce. To date no one has produced a definitive conclusion.
 

prfesser

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 7, 2017
Messages
1,966
Reaction score
2,109
Location
Murray, KY
It is simply amazing that 30 years after the initial discovery that something strange is happening, there is no definitive conclusion. The mere fact that no practical inventions has been introduced exploiting any potential energy source tends to state that likely nothing is there. Knowing how exploitive our culture is, surely anything worthwhile would have been discovered by now. At the heart of the problem is the second to the last bullet on the post above. There has been no reproducible results. Overall, if anything is there, it is minute and hard to reproduce. To date no one has produced a definitive conclusion.
Not really amazing; it can take a lot of work to disprove an hypothesis, especially when those supporting it have a vested interest in it. (Scientists are only human, and some have a tendency to embrace their own hypotheses in the face of conflicting evidence.) There were quite a few scientists in the 1800s who kept clinging to the phlogiston hypothesis. Even Lavoisier (discovered oxygen, which disproved phlogiston) was skeptical about his own results, thinking that it was just another aspect of phlogiston.


It took over a decade and a lot of experiments for the "polywater" hypothesis to be disproved. In the 60s and 70s, polywater was thought to be a higher-boiling, lower-freezing, more viscous, and higher-density form of water. Turned out that it was just impurities in the water.


Best -- Terry
 

aerostadt

Lifetime Supporter
TRF Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
3,487
Reaction score
380
Location
Brigham City, UT
Exciting ideas that could have big consequences do sometimes die hard. Isaac Newton, of all people, had a 20 year flirtation with alchemy.
 

Funkworks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
1,554
Reaction score
1,182
I wouldn't invest my time on it, but if someone likes playing the slot machine, I have no say. :)
 
Top