Fusion catalized from graphite?

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CCatalyst
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TL;DR Summary
Who would have thought that pencils could create nuclear power? (Besides myself).
My name "crystal catalyst" because I believe that is the best way to achieve fusion. It was inspired by the Pons and Fleishman experiments. Were they actually right? I don't know. But maybe they were on the right track, as having the fusion fuel loaded inside a crystal catalyst that holds the fuel atoms closer together, making them easier to fuse.

Now, watch this.

Now, the erbium and titanium are used because of a hexagonal molecular lattice. But I think those elements are a little rare. So I was thinking of other hexagonal lattices and carbon in the form of graphite popped into my head.

So do you think this could work if this experiment used graphite instead? Also, what would happen if you were to fuse a deuterium isotope with carbon-12? Would you just get nitrogen-14? That would be the best scenario.
 
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  • #3
berkeman
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Summary:: Who would have thought that pencils could create nuclear power? (Besides myself).

It was inspired by the Pons and Fleishman experiments. Were they actually right?
Cold Fusion is on the list of Forbidden Topics for PF discussions (see the Rules under INFO at the top of the page):
Cold fusion and LENR
Also, YouTube videos are not an acceptable source for starting technical discussions at PF (that is also in the Rules). This thread is temporarily locked until you can send me some valid technical references for what you want to discuss. Please be sure that the references are from valid peer-reviewed journals -- you can find a list of such journals also in the PF Rules. Thank you.
 
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  • #4
berkeman
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@CCatalyst sent me a link to a popular press article, which is based on peer-reviewed publications. Thread is re-opened to discuss these links:

https://www1.grc.nasa.gov/space/science/lattice-confinement-fusion/

NASA Detects Lattice Confinement Fusion

A team of NASA researchers seeking a new energy source for deep-space exploration missions, recently revealed a method for triggering nuclear fusion in the space between the atoms of a metal solid.


Their research was published in two peer-reviewed papers in the top journal in the field, Physical Review C, Volume 101 (April, 2020): Nuclear fusion reactions in deuterated metals” and “Novel nuclear reactions observed in bremsstrahlung-irradiated deuterated metals.”
 
  • #5
Astronuc
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Summary:: Who would have thought that pencils could create nuclear power? (Besides myself).

It was inspired by the Pons and Fleishman experiments. Were they actually right?
No, their experiments were discredited, although a lot of people theorized how it might work with Pd, with its particular electron configuration ([Kr]4d10). Certainly, there is an interest in the theoretical aspects. Cold fusion might be of interest for neutron sources, but it impractical for 'energy generation' unless one can separate charges, meaning getting electrons away from nuclei with a meaningful potential or current.

Summary:: Who would have thought that pencils could create nuclear power? (Besides myself).

Now, the erbium and titanium are used because of a hexagonal molecular lattice. But I think those elements are a little rare. So I was thinking of other hexagonal lattices and carbon in the form of graphite popped into my head.
Yes, Ti and Er are hcp elements, as are Zr and Mg, among others. Graphite is not the same structure, and it has Z of 6, as opposed to 22 and 68 for Ti and Er, respectively.
Summary:: Who would have thought that pencils could create nuclear power? (Besides myself).

So do you think this could work if this experiment used graphite instead? Also, what would happen if you were to fuse a deuterium isotope with carbon-12? Would you just get nitrogen-14? That would be the best scenario.
No. Reading the NASA (PhysRevC.101.044610) paper, they are considering d+d fusion, more probable the p+12C, but unlikely in graphite. One would more like produce deuterated methylene (usually an intermediate state) or methane.

From the articles abstract, "d-D nuclear fusion events were observed in an electron-screened, deuterated metal lattice by reacting cold deuterons with hot deuterons (d∗) produced by elastically scattered neutrons originating from bremsstrahlung photodissociation (where “d” and “D” denote 2H)." So, it's not 'cold fusion' and does not involve d+12C.
 
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  • #6
CCatalyst
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Well, the reason why I wanted to use carbon was because it is more common. Won't the fusion process release neutrons and won't that eventually split the Erbium or Titanium? Or do the neutrons have too little or too much energy?

Also, I just wanted to point out that just like the P&F experiment, the fuel is loaded in the metal. UNLIKE the P&F experiment, fusion was CONFIRMED in the NASA experiment. But is it enough to be economical?
 
  • #7
TeethWhitener
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Also, I just wanted to point out that just like the P&F experiment, the fuel is loaded in the metal. UNLIKE the P&F experiment, fusion was CONFIRMED in the NASA experiment.
Also unlike P&F, it's not cold fusion. They're irradiating the sample with ~3 MeV gamma rays to cause photodisintegration of deuterons and release of neutrons.
 
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  • #8
Astronuc
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Won't the fusion process release neutrons and won't that eventually split the Erbium or Titanium? Or do the neutrons have too little or too much energy?
No. Stable isotopes of Er and Ti would simply absorb neutrons and emit gammas. Fission really doesn't occur for atoms lighter than thorium. We often talk of spallation reactions (fast neutrons and high energy protons), or in the case of lower energy neutrons (radiative capture and subsequent transmutation by beta decay, or sometimes alpha for certain heavy isotopes).

Also, I just wanted to point out that just like the P&F experiment, the fuel is loaded in the metal.
The original work by Pons & Fleischmann involved deuterium in palladium metal. I vividly remember the NE department fielding calls from people wanting to know about investing in palladium, or asking department faculty for opinions on the announcement. While the faculty were reluctant to take a position, other than they were still waiting for details, I took a position that it was nonsense.

LENR research took off during the ensuing decades.

But is it enough to be economical?
Definitely NOT!
 
  • #9
Alex A
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Loading the hydrogen isotope into a metal and firing deuterons into it to do fusion reactions is 60 years old at least. A film of titanium over something like silver works well as a self loading target. Bulk titanium works less well because the hydrogen isotopes don't stay where you put them. Preloaded targets are a high tech industry.

This seems limited by all the things that limit neutron generators, except the acceleration is wildly indirect. So from a process that produces too little fusion heat to detect, but useful amounts of neutrons to... a process that when fed with a linac, fusion is barely detectable. They did manage to detect a few thousand events, so congrats to NASA.... I guess?
 
  • #10
CCatalyst
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No. Stable isotopes of Er and Ti would simply absorb neutrons and emit gammas. Fission really doesn't occur for atoms lighter than thorium. We often talk of spallation reactions (fast neutrons and high energy protons), or in the case of lower energy neutrons (radiative capture and subsequent transmutation by beta decay, or sometimes alpha for certain heavy isotopes).
You're not suggesting that the atoms in the metal will last forever in the fusion reactor, are you?
Definitely NOT!
Which one? The P&F experiment or the NASA one?
 
  • #11
Astronuc
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You're not suggesting that the atoms in the metal will last forever in the fusion reactor, are you?
No. Atoms like Er and Ti (both hcp metals; there are others) are simply to hold atoms of deuterium (and maybe tritium) close together with the expectation that some will fuse under some imposed conditions.

If neutrons are present, over time, nuclides of Er and Ti will be transformed in other elements. For example, Er-166 would absorb a neutron and become Er-167, which is stable and could also absorb a neutron with a higher probability than either Er-166 or Er-168.

https://physics.nist.gov/PhysRefData/Handbook/Tables/erbiumtable1.htm
Similarly, Ti has several stable isotopes, which would absorb neutrons and increase in A by +1 each time.
https://physics.nist.gov/PhysRefData/Handbook/Tables/titaniumtable1.htm

The P&F experiment or the NASA one?
Both actually. P&F is not practical, and the NASA approach is not economical, IMO.
 
  • #13
Nugatory
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What is to be made of this paper?
Let's hold that thought until it has been published in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal.
 
  • #14
renormalize
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Let's hold that thought until it has been published in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal.
Note, though, that an immediate precursor to this NASA report has been peer-reviewed and published:

Electrolytic co-deposition neutron production measured by bubble detectors
Phillip J. Smith, Robert C. Hendricks, Bruce M. Steinetz

Highlights​

•Bubble detector neutron dosimeters measured electrochemical cell neutron activity
•Case control: PdCl2/LiCl/D20 cells were compared with CuCl2/LiCl/D20 control cells
•Experimental cells exhibited neutron activity greater than controls: 99% confidence
•Highest neutron-generating experimental cells produced dendritic cathode deposits
•Neutron activity cannot be explained by chemical reactions, only nuclear processes

Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry

Volume 882, 1 February 2021, 115024
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelechem.2021.115024
 
  • #16
Astronuc
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What is to be made of this paper?

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20210010199/downloads/TM-20210010199.pdf

also from NASA's LCF project.

This is a round about replication of Szpak et al:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.13182/FST98-A14 (for example)

Who claimed to find a number of anomalous results during Pd/D codeposition (across a number of papers).
In the NASA TM, the authors state, "This report is intended to supplement a previously published Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry article (Ref. 1 ), which focused on statistical and theoretical analysis of the bubble detector data for a particular experimental configuration that was repeated over seven trials. " Reference 1 is the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. There would presumably be some kind of peer review, but I'm not sure what that would be in a journal of electrochemistry, as opposed to a journal devoted to nuclear physics, or radiochemistry. Just because an article appears in a 'peer-reviewed' journal, it doesn't mean the work received an appropriate technical review.

How were the results independently verified? Were the controls appropriate? Just looking at some references in the TM, I'm somewhat skeptical, but I have to go read the articles in detail.

Even if there is neutron production, and if fusion (of dd?), it doesn't imply a practical method of producing fusion for power generation; none of the LENR concepts do.

Meanwhile - https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021LENR_workshop_Nagel.pdf

A healthy amount of skepticism is required.
 
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  • #17
orsova
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Reference 1 is the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. There would presumably be some kind of peer review, but I'm not sure what that would be in a journal of electrochemistry, as opposed to a journal devoted to nuclear physics, or radiochemistry. Just because an article appears in a 'peer-reviewed' journal, it doesn't mean the work received an appropriate technical review.

Your point re: journal quality is well taken.

Even if there is neutron production, and if fusion (of dd?), it doesn't imply a practical method of producing fusion for power generation; none of the LENR concepts do.

What's piqued my interest about this is that NASA seems to be of a different view.

In the following document, from 2019:

Link Removed

NASA experimental physicist Lawrence Forsley (himself a member of NASA's LCF project) writes about a NASA Space Act Agreement to develop a hybrid fusion-fast-fission reactor using Pd/D codeposition neutrons to fission U/Th.

Natural uranium and thorium were first fissioned using co-deposition in Naval and JWK facilities in 2008 (DTRA Final Report24 and ICCF-2125) which led to a NASA Space Act Agreement for a non-fissile, hybrid fusion-fast-fission reactor for long duration, deep space power.

The diagnostics and facilities were developed for the NASA Advanced Energy Conversion Project and replicated JWK facilities and instrumentation. These now include high temperature calorimetry; neutron spectroscopy using time-of-flight (TOF) and organic scintillators with neutron unfolding and pulse shape discrimination (PSD); Solid State Nuclear Track Detectors (CR-39); liquid scintillator alpha beta spectroscopy and HPGe high resolution gamma spectroscopy.

This hybrid technology embraces the NASA Kilopower and previous Prometheus nuclear reactor programs but requires neither low nor high enriched uranium (LEU or HEU) fissile material. Previous NASA power conversion, shielding and heat dissipation research and development is applicable to this new reactor core.

That NASA seems to be seriously entertaining this is interesting, to say the least.

It also seems like this Space Act agreement work is being done in parallel to the LCF project.

I acknowledge that I'm straying into contentious territory here, but I'm not trying to push an agenda or broadly re-litigate LENR. I'm simply trying to understand how to think about this work by NASA. I intend to limit my comments fully to the NASA TM and associated paper, as well as the above document by Forsley, which I think helps us characterise the broader context of NASA's LCF project, if nothing else.

A healthy amount of skepticism is required.

No doubt.
 

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