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Indian scientist who claimed to have caused cold fusion in a lab

  1. May 17, 2005 #1
    Hey,

    I remember watching a program (Horizon - UK) on an indian scientist who claimed to have caused cold fusion in a lab.

    The program tried to recreate it (the procedures were not actually the same - but some big name scientists advised them which equipment would be used), and failed.

    I was wondering, what was the scientists name? I know its a long shot you will know but I am curious!

    regards,

    M
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2005 #2

    Hi, Ive the video somewhere, but I found this from bbc wbsite:The experiment was carried out by Seth Putterman, one of the world's leading practitioners of sonoluminescence.

    Link here for your inquiry:http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/experiment_prog_summary.shtml
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2005
  4. May 17, 2005 #3
    Cheers!

    Can i just ask - did you get really excited/laughing a lot when they said - and tonight we are going to perform cold fusion etc?!

    On the one hand I knew it was too good to be true, on the other, I was very excited!

    -M
     
  5. May 17, 2005 #4
    The defination of 'Hot-Fusion' is pretty ill-defined, I have no doubt that Cold-fusion is likewise, I mean, one can class the bringing together of two buttered slices of bread, as a form of 'Cold-Fusion' process :biggrin:
     
  6. May 17, 2005 #5
    I just reckoned it must be wrong because otherwise my salivating mathematics professor would be extatic as he loves the idea of fusion!
     
  7. May 17, 2005 #6

    Morbius

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    Spin_Network,

    I don't believe "Hot-Fusion" is ill-defined at all.

    Hot Fusion is when the temperature is high enough so that the nuclei can
    overcome the Coulomb barrier.

    You know what nuclei you are trying to fuse - and their charge - so you
    can calculate the height of the Coulomb barrier - i.e. the repulsion of
    the like-charged nuclei.

    Then determine the temperature needed for a reasonable number of
    nuclei to be able to scale the barrier energy.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  8. May 17, 2005 #7
    And I'm guessing - as a mathematician that cold fusion is when the temperature is too cold for the nuclei to overcome the Coulomb barrier?

    -M
     
  9. May 17, 2005 #8

    Morbius

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    maverickmathematics,

    Well - we'd all like to see nuclear fusion.

    The problem is that, as of yet; there seems to be no way around the
    Coulomb barrier - the mutual repulsion of the like-charged nuclei.

    In order for the nuclei to overcome that barrier - they have to have
    enough kinetic energy to get over it - and that means their are hot.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  10. May 17, 2005 #9

    Morbius

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    Maverick,

    You got it.

    The "Cold Fusion" claims of Ponds and Fleischman were at room temperature.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  11. May 17, 2005 #10
    The problem is - as I understand it - you cannot get the atoms to touch because of electrostatic repulsion (I think thats the term for charges repelling each other.

    The solution would be somehow to get them close enough together. Now, in my limited knowledge of physics I think I have a plan. Heat the particles up - very hot - as hot as they need to be. And then switch on a huge magnet, I mean big which has a -ve charge.

    The +ve particles (nuclei) will be attracted to the -ve charge and will hopefully collide, producing energy, and causing other reactions as they increase the overall kinetic energy of the nuclei.

    Alternatively, create a black hole - as the black hole is a point in space, and has infinite mass, the atoms must be touching each other - of course getting the energy out of the black hole, and indeed containing it...may not be easy! :rolleyes:

    -M
     
  12. May 17, 2005 #11
    I thought of nearly exactly the same thing.

    The problem is due to nuclear scattering and a Coulomb scattering, the no. of particles fused will be a fraction of the ones colliding. You're going to lose more than half of the energy used in colliding the particles and you'll only get a little bit of energy back.
     
  13. May 17, 2005 #12
    I was always under the impression that the term "cold" in cold fusion meant that the fusion was under a controlled setting and having nothing to do with the temperature.
     
  14. May 17, 2005 #13

    russ_watters

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    No, P&F's "fusion" was called "cold" because it supposedly occurred near room temperature. Instead heat and pressure, the fusion was said to occur by disolving hydrogen in a metal matrix. The higher the concentration, the more "pressure" via chemical forces (magnetism). If the "pressure" gets high enough, the hydrogen nuclei are forced together and they fuse.

    There are, of course, some severe problems with that logic... ie, the coulomb barrier Morbius cited is much higher than the force that can be generated by dissolving hydrogen in a metal.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2005
  15. May 18, 2005 #14

    Morbius

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    Russ,

    Exactly!

    A little calculation will show that the pressure needed would blow the
    Palladium to smithereens - no way does Palladium, nor any other material,
    have anywhere near the strength needed.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  16. May 18, 2005 #15

    Morbius

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    maverickmathematics,

    If you get the nuclei hot enough - you don't need the magnet.

    Additionally, a magnet doesn't have a charge. Magnetic fields form
    closed loops. A bar magnet has positive and negative poles - but the
    field is a closed loop that runs from positive pole, through the air to
    the negative pole, and back through the magnet to the positive pole.

    Courtesy of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center:

    http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/academy/space/mag_field.html


    Contrary to popular belief, charged particles are not "drawn" toward
    the poles of magnetic fields. First, the charged particle has to be
    moving, and the strength of the force is proportional to the strength
    of the magnetic field, the velocity of the charged particle, and the
    sine of the angle between the velocity of the particle and the direction
    of the field. [ The force on a motionless particle is zero, and the force
    on a particle travelling in the same direction as the field is also zero
    because the sine of the angle is zero. ] The direction of the force is
    mutually perpendicular to the magnetic field direction, and the velocity
    of the particle.

    Consider how the Earth's magnetic field protects us from charged
    particles from space. The Earth is a big magnet with field lines emerging
    from the North Pole, wrapping around the planet, and coming back in
    at the South Pole.

    The field lines that are over your head are parallel to the ground [ roughly].
    Therefore, if a charged particle is heading downwards at right angles
    to the magnetic field - then the force will be maximal. The direction
    will be sideways. So downward moving charged particles from the Sun
    and the rest of space are deflected.

    If a charged particle is moving in the same direction as the magnetic
    field - then the force will be ZERO! At the poles, the magnetic field
    lines are approximately vertical. If a charged particle is travelling
    in a downward direction at the poles; it is moving in the same direction
    as the field lines - so it will not be deflected.

    Therefore, there is an influx of charged particles at the poles. These
    charged particles interact with the air to produce the Aurora Borealis,
    or "northern lights" effect. It's also why your radiation dose is higher
    if you fly a polar route from the USA to Europe in an airliner.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2005
  17. May 18, 2005 #16

    russ_watters

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    The thing about P&F is that they were, iirc, electrochemists, not physicists. Still, you'd think they'd be able to make that little calculation and realize something was amis. I'm not a physicist either, but it seems like its something that should have been a basic "reality check" calculation prior to even starting the experiment.
     
  18. May 30, 2005 #17

    Art

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    Cold fusion is still a 'hot' research topic

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/6.11/coldfusion.html

    It's an unpopular topic amongst some physicists because it contravenes existing theories but there there have been some inexplicable results including the production of helium nuclei and other particles which you would expect to find in a fusion reaction. The link above is a very good investigation of the work currently being undertaken.
     
  19. May 30, 2005 #18

    russ_watters

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    Art, that article is seven years old.
     
  20. May 31, 2005 #19

    Morbius

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    Russ,

    Yes - basically the "reasoning" of P&F was - "something's happening, and we
    chemists can't explain it - so it must be a nuclear process - even though
    neither of us is a nuclear physicist."

    Their whole contention was that it had to be a nuclear process because
    they didn't understand what was happening chemically. I will bet, that when
    and if the final chapter is ever written on the "cold fusion" debacle - that
    it will turn out to be some chemical process that P&F didn't think of and
    falsely attributed to a nuclear process.

    As for the calculations, if P&F had done the calculations and calculated
    how much radiation would be coming from the device if it really was
    fusion taking place in the hydrolysis cell - then they should have have
    keeled over from an overdose of radiation.

    That whole affair was one of the most disgusting debacles. The science
    was not peer-reviewed before publication. All the normal "checks and
    balances" that the scientific community has to review information
    before it's put "out there" - to be sure that the public is receiving high
    quality information was bypassed. Scientists were going to a gullible
    media quickly - so that they could be the first to grab the media
    attention. It was really disgusting seeing scientists becoming "media
    hounds".

    If you want to grab the headlines - go into politics or entertainment -
    not science.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Physicist
     
  21. May 31, 2005 #20

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Ironic - they may have missed out on a Nobel Prize opportunity.
     
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