Cold Fusion on 60 Minutes

Status
Not open for further replies.
T

thnkrx

Guest
Just got through watching '60 Minutes' tonight. One of the pieces there dealt with current cold fusion experiments, with the focus being on claims of 'excess heat'. They did interview a range of people from hardened skeptics to true believers; one of the characters they brought on board belonged to the 'skeptic' camp until he actually went to one of the laboratories in question (in Israel) and methodically went over the equipment and procedures himself - at which point he concluded that the claims of significant 'excess heat' were valid. Supposedly some shadowy goverment think tank called DARPA is also convinced of the claims of excess heat, but being the government, these guys are obviousely idiotic small fry. The '60 Minutes' crew didn't give Cold Fusion untarnished praise; they pointed out that the appearance of the 'excess heat' is not reliable, either in time or in amount produced - one of the big gripes the skeptics have against the process.

There probably is a link out there somewhere if somebody cares to track it down.
 
D

DrRocket

Guest
thnkrx":2vg2nf3d said:
Just got through watching '60 Minutes' tonight. One of the pieces there dealt with current cold fusion experiments, with the focus being on claims of 'excess heat'. They did interview a range of people from hardened skeptics to true believers; one of the characters they brought on board belonged to the 'skeptic' camp until he actually went to one of the laboratories in question (in Israel) and methodically went over the equipment and procedures himself - at which point he concluded that the claims of significant 'excess heat' were valid. Supposedly some shadowy goverment think tank called DARPA is also convinced of the claims of excess heat, but being the government, these guys are obviousely idiotic small fry. The '60 Minutes' crew didn't give Cold Fusion untarnished praise; they pointed out that the appearance of the 'excess heat' is not reliable, either in time or in amount produced - one of the big gripes the skeptics have against the process.

There probably is a link out there somewhere if somebody cares to track it down.
DARPA is not all that shadowy or all that much of a think tank either. They fund speculative research for the DoD. Some of it is pretty good and some is just speculative. Invoking DARPA's name is not an automatic stamp of approval.

http://www.darpa.mil/

Claims of excess heat don't impress me all that much without a hypothesis as to the mechanism that is source of that heat and some data supporting the hypothesis. That is precisely where the first claims of cold fusion ran aground.

So, what is the hypothetical mechanism. And if it is fusion where are the requisite emissions?
 
T

thnkrx

Guest
If the 'excess heat' can be consistently generated at a desired temperature for sustained periods, does the exact nature of the process (chemical, fusion, something weird) really matter?

I wonder if this might not be linked to another story I vaguely recollect from a while back...something about a guy who set out to invent a piece of medical equipment and ended up being able to set water on fire. Now...if that stunt could be duplicated for greater energy put out than put in, it would be worthwhile...
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
thnkrx":35xtprro said:
If the 'excess heat' can be consistently generated at a desired temperature for sustained periods, does the exact nature of the process (chemical, fusion, something weird) really matter?

I wonder if this might not be linked to another story I vaguely recollect from a while back...something about a guy who set out to invent a piece of medical equipment and ended up being able to set water on fire. Now...if that stunt could be duplicated for greater energy put out than put in, it would be worthwhile...
Well, yeah, it does matter if you are calling it fusion.
 
O

origin

Guest
thnkrx":3pfbpbnx said:
If the 'excess heat' can be consistently generated at a desired temperature for sustained periods, does the exact nature of the process (chemical, fusion, something weird) really matter?

I wonder if this might not be linked to another story I vaguely recollect from a while back...something about a guy who set out to invent a piece of medical equipment and ended up being able to set water on fire. Now...if that stunt could be duplicated for greater energy put out than put in, it would be worthwhile...
Like Wayne said of course it matters. I can make excess heat by lighting a piece of paper on fire, this is a chemical reaction, if I called a fusion reaction that would be more than a little misleading.

The 'guy' in quesiton used RF to cause hydrolysis of the water. No big deal. At best it takes the same amount of energy to break the O-H bonds as you get back when they recombine (burn).
 
D

DrRocket

Guest
thnkrx":27zv5l5d said:
If the 'excess heat' can be consistently generated at a desired temperature for sustained periods, does the exact nature of the process (chemical, fusion, something weird) really matter?

I wonder if this might not be linked to another story I vaguely recollect from a while back...something about a guy who set out to invent a piece of medical equipment and ended up being able to set water on fire. Now...if that stunt could be duplicated for greater energy put out than put in, it would be worthwhile...
Yes, it matters. It matters a great deal.

It is a matter of credibility. What is being claimed is a mechanism for the production useful energy, energy capable of being used to do work. That energy must come from somewhere. It could come from changes in the state of electrons -- chemical energy. It could come from changes in the state of protons and neutrons -- nuclear energy. It could be coming from the energy used to set up and run the experiment itself, in which case there is a net loss of useful energy. Or, as in the case of the cold fusion of the 1980's it could be an illusion resulting from bad execution of calorimetric measurements.

Let us take the example that you gave of "burning water". That is the result of first breaking water down in to hydrogen and oxygen and then re-combining the hydrogen and oxygen to create water again. It is trivial to show that it is impossible to have a net release of energy in that process, and in fact you will have a net loss. If you could somehow cause the hydrogen nuclei to fuse then you could release energy, but that is quie a different process. So the mechanism is quite important in determining if the claimant is credible.
 
P

PatIreland

Guest
The key test of fusion is not the presence of excess heat. It is the release of nuetrons. There was no mention of nuetron release in any of the 60 minutes coverage. I suggest as a further reading "cold fusion" on Wikipedia.
 
N

NetherBelgian

Guest
The "skeptic becoming a convert" may be a fine narrative device (and a fairly typical one in TV pseudoscience reporting), what matters is replication. Not finding flaws in the original experiment is the first hurdle to be taken, but unless the experiment is independently replicated, no degree of faith in said skeptic's ability to check the equipment's operation constitutes proof. Also, even if a particular scientist is well placed to detect flaws in an experimental set-up, he or she might be rather less well equipped to detect outright fraud.
 
T

tcthomas4

Guest
This is truly exciting. I have hardly been able to work today just knowing that this possibility has reemerged. I have long since thought that this was a theoretically possible occuruence, even though it was debunked 20 years ago while I was a freshman in highschool. I had a very interesting chemistry teacher at the time that explained to me how this could happen and I never lost hope that this would be something that comes back to serious study. The way he explained it was that the deuterium would enter the pallidium wire and essentially fill the empty spaces within this latice structure. When a charge was introduced this would begin pressing the deuterium atoms together. On the outside of the wire the force due to this charge would be fairly low, but as you got closer to the center of the wire this force would increase exponentially approaching infinity at 0 point. This force would overcome Coulumbs barrier and the atoms would fuse. OK, so thats the theory I heard 20 years ago, but it always seemed somewhat plausible to me (and I dont have a physics degree so dont flame me if I am way off on this one). I think that its incredible that this has come back to real science and am glad that I never lost hope that this could come to fruition (unlike the mainstream scientists that wouldnt even do a peer review on papers concerning this subject for fear of losing credibility). Got to love those crackpots out there that pursued continued lab work without "accepted science" interfering with their creativity. Imagine if Einstain had allowed such dogma to influence his imagination!
 
A

aremisasling

Guest
It's not science of any kind if the experimenters don't know what is happening. I didn't see the 60 minutes report, but I'm guessing this is sensationalized journalism. As was said earlier, fusion is not determined by heat generation. Furthermore, you can actually create fusion in your own basement as a teenage kid did just a few years ago. It's not a piece of cake by any means, but it's not as complicated as you may think. The trick is not to create fusion, but to create a net positive output of energy, which that kid didn't accomplish (and to his credit never claimed to have done).

One need only watch mythbusters (itself not technically a scientific show in the purest sense), to see tons of examples of incredible claims that appear on the surface to be true, but are easily explained by other means when examined closer. Case in point, their anti-gravity show where they demonstrated that several of the major competing designs are simply ionized air (which has already been used to power aircraft, though only a few). Such designs fail to work in a vaccuum. I suspect that even if this cold fusion thing is generating heat, there's another reason for it.
 
Z

ZenDraken

Guest
Whether ColdFusion is real or not, we need to be exploring alternative fusion technologies. One way or another, fusion is possible, the question is how can it be done safely and economically, and that is a difficult question. The "all eggs in the ITER basket" is not a promising way to pursue fusion tech.

There are a number of alternative fusion schemes out there, my personal favorite being the Polywell: http://iecfusiontech.blogspot.com/2009/01/easy-low-cost-no-radiation-fusion.html
 
M

moonmadness

Guest
Saw the 60minutes report.

Basic theory on lack of experimental replication stems from quality issues of source material.

Namely the Paladium? core.

If new data holds, excess heat is produced from neutrino emissions.

caveat. This was 60 minutes and not a reliable source.
 
R

rlb2

Guest
Since the inception of Space.com message board I have suggested that they may have found something more interesting than cold fusion, a simpler thought would point it too rare but increasing chance that matter collided with antimatter from virtual space using this combination of water molecules and anodes, therefore the unreliable readings from the cold fusion. If a small amount of antimatter mixed with matter it would also give out trace amount of fusionable material from the energy exhausted appearing to be of fusion origin...
 
R

rogerinnh

Guest
tcthomas4":1eq6mkzj said:
This is truly exciting.
Sadly, no, it's not. It will be exciting only when it is proved to work (i.e. actual nuclear processes under "cold" coniditions, generating useful energy), and that means for all of the details of the experiment to be published, to be crticlally reviewed by other scientists, and for the results to be replicated numerous times under stringent conditions by other scientists.

tcthomas4":1eq6mkzj said:
I think that its incredible that this has come back to real science and am glad that I never lost hope that this could come to fruition (unlike the mainstream scientists that wouldnt even do a peer review on papers concerning this subject for fear of losing credibility). Got to love those crackpots out there that pursued continued lab work without "accepted science" interfering with their creativity. Imagine if Einstain had allowed such dogma to influence his imagination!
In fact, back when Fleischmann and Pons originally claimed to have produced cold fusion, dozens of scientists all over the world jumped in and attempted to duplicate the expirement. This was made particularly difficult since Fleischmann and Pons kept many of the details of the expirment to themselves (very UN-scientifc behavior). Nevertheless, those other scientists did the best they could and none, not a single one, was able to duplicate the results. There were plenty of articles written about it in many scientific journals. There were no peer-reviewed articles by Fleischmann and Pons because they did not submit any.

So, the fault here is not within the scientific community, it is with those very un-scientific people claiming to have created cold fusion but refusing to abide by the principles of science. And that's not dogma. That's science.
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
Not really. At best, it's suggestive. Let's see some peer reviewed papers before we dive into the cold fusion pool again, eh?
 
T

thnkrx

Guest
Regarding the ability to replicate cold fusion experiments...

...I seem to remember reading a long while back that in the early experiments to create transistors, the failure rate there was also very high - something on the order of 70%? - 80%?, with a great many either not working reliably or not working at all. Yet, in the end, the researchers persevered and 'got it right'.

It seems to me a similiar situation might be the case with cold fusion.
 
M

Mee_n_Mac

Guest
upriver":1s7zn4at said:
SPAWAR has it down. Its reproducible.
You might want to read this thread about pitting in the CR-39 detectors before jumping to any conclusions. Scroll down to silylene's post.

As for the "fusion" .... I can't understand why the source of the excess heat isn't more easily identifiable. Early in the broadcast it was stated that in some cases the excess heat was 25x the electrical energy input. Now if 60 Minutes can be believed then .... oh wait .... nevermind.
 
S

SIR81

Guest
First off, excess heat, for those who missed it is the ability to output more heat then the amount of energy input to a system. I want to be clear on this, since I've seen several arguements along the line of: the mechanism of excess heat matters because without knowing the mechanism, we can't be sure that the scientists aren't simply performing electrolysis and then burning the hydrogen to generate heat. But since we know energy is lost when performing electrolysis and then burning the hydrogen, by definition such an experiment can not be generating excess heat.

Second, If this claim of excess heat is reproducible (I don't know that it is I'm just saying if), then as much as I'd like to know the exact mechanism, not knowing or understanding the mechanism does not affect the huge importance of being able to generate excess heat simply with the input of water, palladium, and an electric charge. For example, if someone showed you that they could reproducibly and verifiably make perpetual motion machines, and offered to teach you how to do the same, would you honestly say, "unless you can tell me how the perpetual machine works, I don't want to know how to make one." Sure I'd ask how it works, but if the person couldn't give an answer, I'd still jump for joy to be taught how to make a perpetual motion machine.

Same goes for "cold fusion," while it would be best to know the mechanism, if the cold fusion experiments could be reproduce consistently, then if I had the power I'd do the following. First, I'd thank the lucky stars for such an earth shattering discovery. Second, I'd give the person the nobel prize of all nobel prizes for publishing the research. Next, I would encourage all utilities to roll out on a massive scale, "cold fusion" power plants. And finally, after the first three step on only after the first three steps, would I worry about creating many government grants to study and try to understand the phenomenon that allows excess heat to be generated, and provide safe and nearly limitless energy at virtually no cost. But then that's just me.
 
D

DrRocket

Guest
SIR81":1r4qawob said:
Second, If this claim of excess heat is reproducible (I don't know that it is I'm just saying if), then as much as I'd like to know the exact mechanism, not knowing or understanding the mechanism does not affect the huge importance of being able to generate excess heat simply with the input of water, palladium, and an electric charge. For example, if someone showed you that they could reproducibly and verifiably make perpetual motion machines, and offered to teach you how to do the same, would you honestly say, "unless you can tell me how the perpetual machine works, I don't want to know how to make one." Sure I'd ask how it works, but if the person couldn't give an answer, I'd still jump for joy to be taught how to make a perpetual motion machine.
.
Nope. And this very nicely illustrates the problem.

What you have here is a device that, if it exists, would violate some of the most fundamental principles of physics. If you can really build a perpetual motion machine, then something is badly wrong with the very foundations of thermodynamics, including the second law (since NO real machine is ideal) --- principles that have been shown valid in a veritable mountain of data. So you would be taking the evidence of one individual demonstration and throwing out a couple of centuries of carefully taken and thoroughly analyzed experiments.

If that really is your philosophy could I interest you in some beachfront property? In Arizona ?
 
N

netdragon

Guest
Isn't it now called low energy nuclear reaction (LENR)? Cold fusion is the old-fashioned term. :geek:
 
M

MeteorWayne

Guest
netdragon":30xicyb0 said:
Isn't it now called low energy nuclear reaction (LENR)? Cold fusion is the old-fashioned term. :geek:
Well, right now it's AEH (Alleged Excess Heat) :)
 
D

DrRocket

Guest
MeteorWayne":2nmhq4cw said:
netdragon":2nmhq4cw said:
Isn't it now called low energy nuclear reaction (LENR)? Cold fusion is the old-fashioned term. :geek:
Well, right now it's AEH (Alleged Excess Heat) :)
At best. I is worth while to look at the link from uncertainH and the discussion of nuclear reactions by what appears to be someone with reasonable knowledge. He points out, quite correctly, that calorimetric measurements are at best misleading, and usually just useless. That is precisely where the first run at cold fusion (what he calles Loony Toony Cold Fusion) went awry. The results were all based on bad calorimetry. The real key to detection is understanding the reactions and finding the proper products -- in particular the neutrons or gamma rays that should be emitted.

What seems to get the attentionin in the press is Basic Unproven Low Level Simple Heat Investigation Tests (Bu... spell it yourself).

When and IF this stuff is replicated in several laboratories by people who understand the fundamental science and can relate any results to fundamental processes then it will be worth some attention. But these experiments have been kicking around in the backwaters for several years, without any validation in the scientific community at large.
 
T

tcthomas4

Guest
Perhaps it isnt "cold fusion" or even a "nuclear effect". But when you have serveral labs across the world reporting an excess of energy, I think its extremely important to find out the cause. It may be bad equipment, perhaps the system is flawed, perhaps the science is flawed. But even if it is only a 30% "success rate", this still begs the question, "Why?". There is clearly something going on we don't understand because I don't believe that so many scientists would be deliberately falsifying data in a field already considered the death knell to any legitimate career. So, yes, the way the Pons and Fleishman presented their findings was certainly unscientific but I believe that because of this, what should have been a field worthy of serious study, went largely ignored. And yes, I know the experiment was attempted on a mass scale after that news conference in Utah some 20 years ago, but I feel that it was abandoned with great haste when nobody got the result they were looking for. When a process isnt understood at all you would think they would have tried harder to figure out what occured (after all, Fleishman was regarded as a scientist at the top of his field, I don't think he would have assasinated his carrer for a few minutes of fame).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

Latest posts