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Cold Fusion

  1. Apr 6, 2008 #1
    Hi I am by no means an expert nor have I even ever taken a class on physics. I have always been interested on such subjects however.

    Here is my question.

    I am doing research on electrolysis and found something interesting on a wikipedia with regards to cold fusion.

    "Cold fusion revolves around the idea that palladium or titanium might catalyze fusion stemmed from the special ability of these metals to absorb large quantities of hydrogen, including its deuterium isotope, the hope being that the deuterium atoms would be close enough together to induce fusion at ordinary temperatures"

    Now the atomic number for Ti is 22 and Pd 46 22 x2 +2 the atomic number for Plutonium is 94 or 46 x2 +2.

    In 1927, Swedish scientist J. Tandberg stated that he had fused hydrogen into helium in an electrolytic cell with palladium electrodes.

    Using my knowledge of elctrolysis i know that + charge creates hydrogen and - creates oxygen.

    If you charged Heavy water with a - heavy charge via electrodes made of plutonium would the excess heat generated from heavy hydrogen absorbtion by the plutonium and the continuous reduction of oxygen creating either deuterium or helium?

    I believe I may be going in the right direction but lack of expertise on a few fronts I may be wrong please help.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2008 #2


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  4. Apr 6, 2008 #3
    I think my main question is if it is reasonable to assume that the hydrogen absorption properties of plutonium far exceed the capabilities and properties that titanium and paladium exhibit. If this is true which from what I have read it is then would it be reasonable to assume that charging plutonium in a hydrogen rich environment with an aspect of heat added could cause an excess charge from the reaction as the hydrogen was absorbed. There are many possibilities besides heavy water even using liquid ammonia. If combined may cause Amidogen "A compound radical, NH2, not yet obtained in a separate state, which may be regarded as ammonia from the molecule of which one of its hydrogen atoms has been removed"

    If this worked the ultimate question is if combined could Ammonia, heavy water, and plutonium with the right medium via electrolysis generate massive energy via heat, charge, or plain combustable fuel.
  5. Apr 7, 2008 #4


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    And now that the topic's been brought up:

    When I was in a physics class at a small community college, the prof said, "Cold fusion has already been shown to occur in nature, so we know ti can happen...". This statement greatly confused me, but it was a 6-week cram course, and there wasn't time for questions that were not vitally important to the curriculum, so I didn't ask.

    I'm sure the statement was a lose one; the sort that can only be taken as true if one define's one's terms a very specific way, but I can't seem to figure out what he was reffering to. Anyone ever heard of proof that cold fusion occurs in nature?
  6. Apr 7, 2008 #5
    In my opinion "cold fusion" is a good example of bad science. What I have read no one has been able to repeat Tandbergs experiment, so in my opinion there are no evidencies for cold fusion and I have not heard about anything about cold fusion in nature.
  7. Apr 7, 2008 #6


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    Indeed it is. For instance, it is a good attachment point fro pseudo-alchemical theories; "pseudo-" because even alchemists were fond about having experimental results (barring the modern "spiritual alchemy", of course) and even tried to have some theoretical backup. On cold fusion, most of the alchemy is of the kind "plain scam", where some guru tries to exploit both some madman and some subjects into sects or monetary schemes. Sometimes one hears here and there in the newsgroups some questions which clearly come from such groups.

    Then, and related to the former, it is a good collector for legends and paranoias. I have always considered the possibility of rooting Teller's obsession for the H-bomb as related to wide circulation of histories of Tandberg experiment (and others) in the pre-war Copenhagen. It doesn't help that Teller himself appeared in one cold-fusion meeting.

    Then it is the fact that fusion, as ordinary alchemical transmutation, is only forbidden by the barrier of potential. It is the same problem that trying to tell people that it is impossible to build a moving macroscopical artifact without energy dissipation.
  8. Apr 7, 2008 #7


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    about Tandberg, he is a known author in the pre-war period

    I am not sure about Paneth and Peters; I read the retract, time ago. But I was unable to find/read the original paper they were retracting from; the volume was not in my library. That was time ago. Panerh hold some post-war glory as director of the research institute at Mainz.

    Some internet sources:

    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008
  9. Apr 9, 2008 #8


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    I definitely agree. But I can't get past that statement by my prof, that "cold fussion occurs in nature, so we know it can be done...". That one really threw me off. Has anyone else ever heard this claim?
  10. Apr 11, 2008 #9


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    maybe he considers 30,000,000K cold?
  11. Apr 11, 2008 #10


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    I've never heard that claim, and I suspect that it is incorrect. I would ask the professor, where exactly in nature has this occurred?

    With respect to Pd, it is the particular crystal structure, packing fraction and electron configuration (5d10) that is rather unique. It is surmised by some that two deuterium nuclei (interstitially located) might just get sufficiently close in the Pd crystal structure to fuse. Considering that each D atom still has its own electron, which interferes with the process, leaves me skeptical.

    AFAIK, cold fusion has not been demonstrated.

    There are neutron generators, which use high potential voltages with D-gas and deuterated or tritiated targets, but that's not cold fusion.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  12. Apr 11, 2008 #11
    Some references to 'cold fusion' refer to muon-catalysed fusion, which does indeed occur at ambient temperatures. Unfortunately not yet practical, if ever, because far more energy would be consumed generating the muons than would be produced by the fusions they catalyse.

    Muons, being some 200 times more massive than electrons, orbit 200 times closer to nuclei. If muons are captured in a D-T mixture, a muonic molecular ion [DTmuon]+ is formed. In this the D and T nuclei are close enough to fuse, giving He-4 and a neutron, and (usually) setting the muon free. Although the muon half-life is only 2x10^-6 sec, a muon can catalyse hundreds of such reactions before it decays, releasing far more energy than was needed (in principle) to create the muon itself.

    Only in principle, however. All known methods of making muons consume far more energy than is needed just to generate them.
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