artifacts in electrolytic cells (witch's brew) simulate putative nuclear reactions, Kirk L. Shanahan on micropits in CR-39 plastic, re claims by Richard A Oriani and JC Fisher 2002, Pamela Mosier-Boss 2006.08.02: Murray 2006.11.24
As a unqualified, uneducated, inexperienced scientific layman, I've written many critical reviews of cold nuclear fusion (CNF) and Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) claims -- rather a True Believer (TB) from 1989 to December 1996, I quickly became a pragmatic skeptic,
active until 2000, as by carefully studying the actual claims, I
invariably found multitudinous obvious flaws, simple enough to be discernible to a patient layman, and, invariably, implacable but telling resistance from the enthusiatic, closed TB minds.
So, I was intrigued by the persistence of claims by Pamela Mesier-Boss,
since I am ever hopeful that a genuine, irrefutable anomaly will pop up,
as is so common in all areas of science. I soon turned to a search on
Google Groups on "Kurt Shanahan", Oriani, since I've always found
him to be the most careful, experienced, persistent, and lucid of the skeptics.
The problem, really, is that the seemingly small, simple, stable, clear, low-cost, low-energy, safe, comprehensible, stable vial of an electrolysis cell is operationally a witch's brew, a concentrated magic potion of constantly changing ingredients, phases, reactions,
temperatures, bubbles, and potent impurities of boggling complexity and variety, in brief, an archtypal kluge -- a technical mess that somehow
produces irregular, unpredictable, inexplicable, and uncontrolable
results -- complex, surprising, and even impressive, sufficient to
entrance TBs, challenge skeptics, and warm the coals of avarice in canny operators.
[ I confess that I, too, make public scientific claims that are brazen and audacious, re which I seek critical feedback:
Hubble Infrared Ultra Deep Field clearly reveals deep cosmic background
fractile 3D mesh of H filaments lit by hypernovae: Murray 2006.11.21
To Kurt's suggestions, I add that exploding microbubbles in a liguid on a solid surface can generate surprisingly potent jets.
First, I summarize a major recent PR release by vested interests, I hope, not unfairly, and then a relevant Usenet exchange on alt.physics.fusion, and, lastly, my simple theory for hydrogen and oxygen chemical micro explosions, easily capable of instantly metals in an electrolysis cell, producing complex surface structures.
In mutual service, Rich Murray
Rich Murray, MA Room For All firstname.lastname@example.org
505-501-2298 1943 Otowi Road Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
group with 78 members, 1,381 posts in a public, searchable archive http://RMForAll.blogspot.com
50 kb S. R. Little, "Null Tests of Breakthrough Energy Claims,"
Proceedings of 42nd AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference,
AIAA 2006-4909 (2006 July). ]
Extraordinary Evidence by Bennett Daviss and Steven Krivit
Bennett Daviss is a science writer based in New Hampshire.
Steven B. Krivit writes for and publishes New Energy Times, a Webzine specializing in low energy nuclear reaction research.
[ He is founder of New Energy Institute Inc.
11664 National Blvd. #142 Los Angeles, California, 90064 USA
310) 470-8189 email@example.com
Scientists at the U.S. Navy?s San Diego SPAWAR Systems Center have
produced something unique in the 17-year history of the scientific drama
historically known as cold fusion: simple, portable, highly repeatable,
unambiguous, and permanent physical evidence of nuclear events using
detectors that have a long track record of reliability and acceptance among nuclear physicists......
But the field has never had simple physical evidence of those nuclear processes to physically place in the hands of doubters.
Until now. Using a unique experimental method called co-deposition, combined with the application of external electric and magnetic fields, and recording the results with standard nuclear-industry detectors, scientists at the U.S. Navy?s San Diego SPAWAR Systems Center
have produced what may be the most convincing evidence yet in the pursuit of proof of low energy nuclear reactions......
The chips that the SPAWAR Systems Center scientists had brought to
Washington were slices of CR-39 plastic, a common, transparent polymer that resists fogging and abrasions and is used to make eyeglass lenses, among other things.
The researchers had placed the small pieces of plastic inside several of their electrochemical LENR test cells to capture and preserve any fleeting evidence of nuclear events.
"We heard about the use of CR-39 detectors from other LENR researchers
at the 11th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science in Marseilles, France, in 2004," Mosier-Boss said.
She and her colleagues later learned that these same simple detectors have long been used by researchers in inertial confinement fusion (a form of hot fusion) and other areas of nuclear science to
record the passage of neutrons, protons,and alpha particles (the two-proton nuclei of helium atoms stripped of their
electrons). The traveling particles? charges shatter the bonds linking the plastic?s polymers, leaving pits or ?tracks? in the plastic.
CR-39 detector Photo: Steven Krivit
Pamela Mosier-Boss displaying microscope-computer
viewing station for the CR-39 detectors
Photo: Steven Krivit
Tracks on CR-39 Detector from Radioactive Uranium
Photo: Pamela Mosier-Boss
Tracks from LENR Experiment (Au/Pd/D, 6000V EField, 500X)
Photo: Pamela Mosier-Boss
After a CR-39 detector [ polyallyldiglycol carbonate polymer ] is exposed to a source of nuclear emissions, the detector is bathed in a sodium hydroxide solution, typically for six or seven hours, at a temperature between 65 and 73 degrees C.
?If the solution is too hot, that damages the chips; if you [wash the detectors] too long, you etch away the pits,? Mosier-Boss noted.
The bath scours away the collision?s debris, and the resulting tracks are visible with a microscope or, if they?re present in sufficient densities, with the unaided eye.
?CR-39 detectors are ideal for detecting particles in LENR experiments because we can put them right inside the cell where the placement of electronics would otherwise be highly impractical,? Gordon said.
?You don?t need complicated instrumentation like you do with calorimetry or tritium analysis," he said. "It?s an easy detection tool that?s very straightforward.?.....
Electrolysis simultaneously co-deposits deuterium and palladium,
in particles 60 nm in diameter, in equal amounts onto the cathode?s neutral substrate, typically a thin wire made of either nickel or gold......
To gather evidence, the team plated a film of palladium particles and deuterium atoms onto a copper mesh or wires of platinum, gold, or silver about .25 mm in diameter. During the plating process, the cathode is in contact with a CR-39 detector in the cell to which the scientists had
applied an external electric or magnetic field. After the experiments had completed their runs of eight to 11 days, Mosier-Boss and Szpak saw dense, cloudy areas on the portions of the detector near the cathode.
?The fact that the cloudy areas are observed where the detector was in close proximity to the cathode suggests that the cathode caused the cloudiness,? Mosier-Boss said.
As a control, Mosier-Boss also exposed CR-39 detectors to electrolysis in a lithium solution without palladium in it. The result: only a sprinkling of tracks, randomly distributed and so few
in number that they could be accounted for by background radiation.
She also immersed the detectors in the usual solution of palladium chloride and lithium chloride in deuterium but without applying the external electric current. The outcome was the same: no unusual shower of tracks from high-energy particles......
In one notable test, University of Minnesota physicist Richard Oriani and his partner, John Fisher, suspended CR-39 detectors 1.5 cm above and below nickel and palladium cathodes. 
Although their cell design and experimental method differed sharply from those of the SPAWAR group's, the detectors caught particles that Oriani and Fisher calculated to be traveling at energies of two mega-electron volts, a force liberated only through nuclear reactions.
A five-MeV particle will travel less than half a millimeter in the liquid environment of a LENR cell. The 1.5-cm distance ?was the closest that Oriani and Fisher could place the detectors [to the palladium cathode] without impeding the uniform loading? of deuterons, Mosier-Boss
She said that was not close enough to record most of the nuclear particles flying from the cathode.
?In our experiments, the co-deposition reaction was performed with the cathode wire wrapped around the CR-39 detector,? she added.
?Oriani and Fisher reported charged particle track densities between 1.5 and 38 tracks per square millimeter; their controls yielded densities of 0.5 to 5.4 tracks per square millimeter," Mosier-Boss said. 
She was quick to emphasize that the results of the SPAWAR team?s co-deposition experiments can?t be compared directly with Oriani?s and Fisher?s because of the sharp differences in cell design.
"We conservatively estimate that our recent external field
co-deposition experiments yielded track densities greater than 10,000 tracks per square millimeter in the cloudy areas,? she noted.
?Because of the close proximity between the cathode and the detector,? Mosier-Boss added,?we have the optimum geometry to detect any particles that could potentially be emitted from the cathode. Put simply, these newer results are nearly three orders of magnitude greater than
the Oriani-Fisher results.".....
SPAWAR scientists contend that their CR-39 detectors that captured the particles are physical evidence of not just low-temperature nuclear reactions but also reactions that are unusually intense.
Thousands of tracks from the LENR experiment are visible
on this CR-39 detector
Photo: Pamela Mosier-Boss
Conventional nuclear scientists well-versed in reading CR-39 detectors agree. A researcher (who asked not to be named) at a major research university was one of the first to analyze SPAWAR?s CR-39 detectors. He said that the detectors held far more tracks than he?d seen in his own inertial confinement fusion experiments.
Gary W. Phillips, a nuclear physicist and expert in CR-39 detectors is similarly surprised by what he saw in SPAWAR?s detectors. Phillips has used the detectors to record nuclear events for two decades.
He said that the tracks recorded in SPAWAR?s CR-39 experiments are ?at
least one order of magnitude greater? in number than those in any other
conventional nuclear experiments he?s seen.
?I've never seen such a high density of tracks before,? Phillips noted. ?It would have to be from a very intense source ? a nuclear source. You cannot get this from any kind of chemical reaction.?.....
But by now, after tens of thousands of experiments and a steady search for high-energy neutrons, it is clear to LENR scientists that their cells don?t produce high-energy neutrons as the dominant, or even a prominent, product. Some researchers do register a few neutrons
coming from their cells, but their quantity, as well as their energies, are negligible......
The fact that Fleischmann, Pons and the hundreds of other experimenters have not died is proof that these experiments do not yield high-energy
neutrons or strong gamma radiation.
Indeed, it has become increasingly hard for scientists bound by convention to dispute the mounting data from SPAWAR and other LENR labs.
?We?ve been publicly quiet but scientifically rigorous,? Gordon said. ?At SPAWAR Systems Center, we haven?t called press conferences, but we have followed the scientific process of carefully performing experiments and reporting the results in peer-reviewed journals ?- 15 papers so far.
?We've conducted very few experiments looking for excess heat because it?s very difficult to perform good calorimetry.?
Critics can, too easily if erroneously, dismiss claims of anomalous heat. ??Did the researcher get the settings right? Or they didn?t do this right, they didn?t account for that,?? Gordon said.
?Besides, heat evidence doesn?t tell you much about what?s actually happening.?
By using CR-39 detectors, he said, ?we?re using instrumentation that the nuclear industry has accepted and used for decades. Even if some skeptics might claim that our experiment is flawed, it?s still producing charged particles. Our experimental results provide compelling
evidence that nuclear events are occurring."
Skeptical physicists asking whether the SPAWAR group performed a quantitative energy analysis were unable to find any such results. However, skeptics are left to confront the fact that only two sources of energy affecting the test cells. The first is a few volts from the current applied through electrolysis; the second is the external electric field of about 6,000 volts. The particle tracks look identical to tracks made by nuclear particles that have at least 2 million
Because particles carrying millions of electron-volts of energy aren?t created by reactions powered by a few thousand volts at most, a larger question lingers: What is the source of the anomalous energy that seems to be arising from within the LENR cells?
?We don?t make claims that we?ve developed a new energy source,? Gordon emphasized. ?Our hope is that, by developing an understanding of the processes and how to stimulate them, we?ll be able to use this knowledge for whatever benefit it may offer.?
In the same spirit, he offered no theories to explain the nuclear process he suspects is taking place along those thin layers of palladium in his group?s cells.
?There?s a saying, 'Theory guides but experiments decide.' Consider our data,? he exhorts challengers. ?If it is what it appears to be, and the scientific community confirms it through replications, then new theories will need to be considered, and this may be challenging for
some people to accept.?.....
* For researchers interested in performing a replication of this experiment, please see the Galileo Project Web site, (thegalileoproject.org) for more information.
Frank Gordon's NDIA Slide Presentation
[ Dr. Frank E. Gordon firstname.lastname@example.org
Head, Navigation and Applied Sciences Department, Code 230
SPAWAR Systems Center, San Diego
Pamela Mosier-Boss's NDIA Slide Presentation
[ 31 slides with spectacular photos
email@example.com, 919-553-1603 ]
New Energy Institute Short (non-technical) Video Documentary www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke_ZhgAKjhs
References: (most papers are available at lenr.org/)
1. Szpak, S., et al., "Thermal Behavior of Polarized Pd/D Elect
rodes Prepared by Co-Deposition,"
Thermochimica Acta, Vol. 410, p. 101, (2004)
2. Mosier-Boss, P.A. and S. Szpak, "The Pd/(N)H System: Transport Processes and Development of Thermal Instabilities,"
Nuovo Cimento, Soc. Ital. Fis. A, Vol.112, p. 577, (1999)
3. Szpak, S., et al., "Evidence of Nuclear Reactions in the Pd Lattice," Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 92(8), p. 394-397, (2005)
4. Szpak, S., et al., "The Effect of an External Electric Field on Surface Morphology of Codeposited Pd/D Films," Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 580, p. 284-290, (2005)
5. Szpak, S., Mosier-Boss, P.A. and Smith, J.J., "On the Behavior of the Cathodically Polarized Pd/D System: Search for Emanating Radiation," Physics Letters A, Vol. 210, p. 382, (1996)
6. Szpak, S., et al., "On the Behavior of the Pd/D System: Evidence for Tritium Production," Fusion Technology, Vol. 33, p. 38, (1998)
7. Szpak, S., P.A. Mosier-Boss, and S.R. Scharber, "Charging of the Pd/(n)H System: Role of the Interphase,"
Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 337, p. 147, (1992)
8. Szpak, S., P.A. Mosier-Boss, and J.J. Smith, "Deuterium Uptake During Pd-D Codeposition,
Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 379, p. 121, (1994)
9. Szpak, S., et al., Cyclic Voltammetry of Pd + D codeposition," Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 380, p. 1, (1995)
10. Lipson, A.G., et al., "Evidence for Low-Intensity D-D Reaction as a Result of Exothermic Deuterium Desorption From Au/Pd/PdO:D Heterostructure,"
Fusion Technology, Vol. 38, p. 238, (2000)
11. Oriani, R.A. and J.C. Fisher, "Energetic Charged Particles Produced in the Gas Phase by Electrolysis,"
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Cold Fusion, Cambridge, Mass., (2003)
12. Oriani, R.A. and J.C. Fisher, "Generation of Nuclear Tracks During Electrolysis,"
Japanese Journal of Applied Physics A, Vol. 41, p. 6180-6183, (2002)
13. Lipson, A.G., et al., "Phenomenon of an Energetic Charged Particle Emission From Hydrogen/Deuterium Loaded Metals,"
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Cold Fusion, Cambridge, Mass., (2003)
"The question becomes how can I explain that supposed observation.
As you may recall, I have postulated that apparent excess arises due to a calibration constant shift, which in turn arises because of a redistribution of heat sources in the cell. I also speculate further that the electrode surfaces becomes 'active' to normal recombination. This implies that there are miniature chemical explosions (H2/D2 + O2) occurring at the electrode.
The CR-39 plates are placed in close proximity to the electrodes, sometimes even between them, and represent about half of the available cross-sectional area of the cell. (This is a major disturbance in and of itself, and the cases of above and between ought to be discussed separately, at least to establish whether they are the same or different.) The speculation is what exploding bubbles of D2+O2 would do to the Cr-39 material. I find it hard to exclude, a priori, a chemical effect of this on the CR-39, which would then be observed by 'etched tracks' in the developed plates. Clearly, any such effect should be quite position dependent, and that whole aspect should be more fully explored than it is in the paper. While they did place controls
in the electrolyte (separately, no electrolysis ongoing) and test what
unreactive D2 bubbles might do, I contend that that does not simulate the physical/chemical action of exploding D2+O2 bubbles, possibly right on the CR-39 plates." Kirk Shanahan 2002.11.13 firstname.lastname@example.org
"I realized this morning that I have probably missed an even more
important potential cause of 'proto-pits' in CR-39, namely
oxidative attack. In the active electrolysis cell, there are
multitudes of O2 bubbles around. When pure O2 contacts a carbon-
hydrogen compound, oxidation is almost guaranteed to occur. The
extent of that would depend on contact time primarily I would
think, and the solution should be well-stirred, which would
minimize that. The contact point between an O2 bubble and the
CR-39 surface would then be the nucleation point of an etch pit.
This would also potentially explain why sometimes the opposite
side of the CR-39 shows more pits than the side towards the Pd.
Since the O2 comes from the _other_ anode, placement closer to
it might produce more contact on that side, depending of course
on mixing patterns.
Further, the Miley results with Cu foils, might also make sense
in that the foil would trap O2 bubbles longer, allowing the
oxidized area to grow larger, thus leading to bigger etch pits.
This is easily testable. Bubbling O2 over the CR-39 (instead of
H2 or D2) at the same temp, with some stirring perhaps, should
do the same. (Bubble size might be important due to surface
Note that this does not negate my shock damage theory, it just
seems more likely in comparison to me today. More data and I
would readjust. That's just the scientific process - pony up
a hypothesis, test it, refine it based on results, repeat. The
point is that now I have proposed two potential mechanisms to
explain the CR-39 observations."
Kirk Shanahan 2002.11.26 email@example.com
? Start of topic ? Older Messages 11 - 12 of 12 Newer ? End of topic ?
From: Rich Murray - view profile
Date: Fri, Jan 7 2000 12:00 am
Email: Rich Murray <rmfor...@earthlink.net>
Groups: sci.physics.fusion, sci.physics, sci.skeptics
Jan 7 2000 Hello all, I am reposting these critiques, since John Dash
is claiming complex microstructures and transmutation products on Ti
cathodes from electrolysis in acidified heavy water. Since Au has an
molar density of 197 gm/mole, which is 4 times that of Ti, 48 gm/mole,
then for the same loading of H in the Ti, the burning of an O2
micro-bubble against the metal, forming steam, will soften and foam
about 4 times the volume of metal as in the case of Au. My reports
contain proposed experimental tests for this process of
electrochemical formation of complex corrosion structures. In addition,
I give detailed analysis that simple impurities are the source of the
"transmutation" products. This may help in avoiding these known
sources of error in Dash's work. Rich Murray.....
June 24, 1998 Little Lily Theory [this version a little improved]
Hello all, The report in May, 1998 Fusion Technology by Ohmori, Mizuno,
and Enyo describes 7 to 30 day runs at 1 to 3 A on 2.5 to 5 cm2 Au
electrodes in 0.5 M Na2CO3 and Na2SO4 H2O electrolyte, from a Pt anode.
producing after a few days up to ~1 mg mostly Au precipitates, and
leaving myriad little lily volcano-like or ear-like foam structures on
scraped (rough) sites on the Au, as large as 20 microns wide and 30
deep, with detected Pt, Pd, Ni, Os, and Ti, and other elements, with
claimed isotopic ratio anomalies. In another post I have discussed the
sensible interpretation that Pt, Pd, Ni, Os, and Ti, and other elements,
are impurities in the system, electrochemically concentrated at the
cathode at rough microspots, where the current density is much higher.
I am disputing their claim that the precipitates and spots are evidence
of low energy nuclear transmutations, and suggesting a chemical reaction
theory, namely that the most abundant and obvious and reactive chemicals
present, naturally enough, H2 and O2, are recombined at the cathode.
I don't know how much the Au will load with H2. However, Pt, Pd, Ni,
Os, and Ti will naturally be electrodeposited as concentrations at any
tiny rough spots, and then will both load with H and catalyze the swift
reaction of that H with any tiny positively charged O2 bubbles that are
also attracted and conveyed by the turbulent bubbling from the anode 1
cm away to attach to the rough spot. The bubble and the spot will heat
up quickly, so quickly that there is little time for heat loss by
radiation, conduction, or convection at the Au-H2O interface. As the Au
heats and softens, the contained H will build up pressure and expand it
like popcorn, creating a popped blister of frozen foam, expelling some
of the metal, and leaving the impressively ugly little lily vocanos.
The process would tend to reoccur at the thus even rougher spot,
building up a cluster of lilies of various sizes, as is shown in
Ohmori's dramatic images.
I will calculate the details for a 0.1 cm3 amount of O2.
Au melts at 1063 degrees C, 1336 degrees K.
The molar specific heat Cm = 26.9 J/mol degC.
For Au, 197 g/mol 5.08X10E-3 mol/g 19.32 g/cm3 9.81X10E-2 mol/cm3
10.2 cm3/mol To heat from 27 to 1063 deg C, a delta of 1036 deg C,
takes heat (1036 deg C)(26.9 J/mol) = 2.79X10E4 J/mol, and to melt takes
1.27X10E4 J/mol, known as the molar heat of fusion. These conveniently
add up to 4.06X10E4 J/mol, or 40.6 KJ/mol to heat and melt the Au. That
certainly sounds like a lot!
Now, we get the moles of O2 in the 0.1 cm3 O2:
n = PV/RT = (1 atm X 10-4 L)/(8.2X10E-2 atm L/degK mol)X(300 deg K) =
4.065X10E-6 mol O2. That's not very much.
We know that one mole O2 reacts with 2 moles H2, and may as well assume
with 50% loading that the H2 is held within 4 moles of Au.
The reaction is 2 H2 (g) + O2 (g) -> 2H2O (g), and the enthalpy is
2 X 241.8 KJ/mol = 483.6 KJ/mol, for each mole of O2.
So the enthalpy released is
Ec = (4.065X10E-6 mol)X(483.6 KJ/mol) = 1.97X10E-3 KJ = 1.97 J.
Now, 2 J is the energy from 1 A at 1 V for 2 sec. Note: this is the
range that heats perhaps a milligram of W to incandescence in a
The moles of Au heated and melted by this heat are
Nm = (1.97X10E-3 KJ)/(40.6 KJ/mol) = 4.85X10E-5 mol
and the volume of Au melted is
Vm = (4.85X10E-5 mol)X(10.2 cm3/mol) = 4.95X10E-4 cm3, which, assuming
for convenience a cube, has a width .791 mm, and
mass Mm = (4.85X10E-5 mol)X(197 g/mol) = 9.56 mg, or ten times the
maximum precipitates found by Ohmori after 30 days of electrolysis at up
to 3 A and a few volts, an input energy for 2.592X10E6 sec, if at 5 V
and 3 A, of 38,880,000 J. So the 2 J to create 10 mg of melted Au is a
most minute fraction of the available input energy.
Now, the results are the same if we have one 0.1 cm3 O2 bubble, or a
million bubbles of size 10E-7 cm3, spread out randomly over the 30 day
run, about 1 event every 2-3 seconds, creating the same total of 10 mg
melted Au. These million bubbles would as little cubes have widths
.004641 cm = 46.4 micron, about the right size for our little lilies.
Each of these events would then have an average energy of 2X10E-6 J.
It should be possible to detect IR, visible, and UV radiation, and
acoustic signals, about 1 event per 2 to 3 seconds. Another test would
be to use an anode which does not contribute Pt, Pd, Ni, Os, and Ti, and
in contrast, to use an anode enriched in these metals. Also, a barrier
could be used to prevent O2 bubbles from reaching the cathode from the
anode, and in contrast, positioning the anode to maximize O2 bubble
If the word, "POOF!" is microplated onto the Au as a layer of Pt 10 to
100 microns thick, then the resulting lily volcanos should spell,