GodesI asked Alessandro Cavalieri to explain us the achievements described in the Brillouin Energy’s poster presented at ICCF-19:

Brillouin Energy’s reactor, with still only a few watts produced, is (on the paper) one of the possible future alternatives to Rossi’s E-Cat, whose 1 MW plant in these days has outperformed all the competitors with its huge COP: >20 according some rumors from Mats Lewan and others.

But what is interesting in the case of Brillouin’s reactor is not the quantity of energy produced (in 2015, at 642 °C they have 24 W of thermal production from a 6 W power input), but the fact that there is a quite clear theory behind their device and – the most important thing – it seems to be in agreement with the experimental results.

Therefore, it can be useful to analyze this theory in the light of the latest info presented in a poster at ICCF-19 by the Company of Robert Godes, to see if there may be points in common with the E-Cat. He said in Padua that the theoretical basis of their reaction is the Electron Capture and that multiple tests run by Tom Claytor, formerly at Los Alamos National Laboratory, detected a production of Tritium which matches this hypothesis.

Brillouin_ICCF19_Poster

The poster presented by Brillouin at ICCF-19 (courtesy Brillouin Energy).

Indeed, as shown in the poster, in 2014 they detected, near their running reactor, a slight increase in activity of the background radiation level from the 0-18 keV tritium window, whereas the higher energy window 18-150 keV showed no excess activity.

Tritium, or H-3, is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, containing one proton and two neutrons. Naturally occurring tritium is extremely rare on Earth, where trace amount are formed by the interaction of the atmosphere with the cosmic rays. It has a half-life of 12.3 years and decays (through a so-called “beta decay”, a type of radioactive decay in which a proton is transformed into a neutron) into Helium-3, releasing 18.6 keV of energy in the process.

Brillouin’s technology converts the hydrogen – most easily directly from water – to helium gas, a process that releases large amounts of useful heat. The process starts by introducing hydrogen into a suitable piece of nickel. Then, a proprietary electronic pulse generator creates stress points in the metal where the applied energy is focused into very small spaces.

This concentrated energy allows some of the protons in the hydrogen to capture an electron, and thus become a neutron. This step converts a small amount of energy into mass in the neutron. Further pulses both create more neutrons and allow neutrons to combine with some of the hydrogen to form deuterium, or H-2 (a form of hydrogen with both a proton and a neutron in the nucleus). This ‘combination’ step releases energy.

The process continues, again, with some neutrons combining with deuterium to form tritium (hydrogen with one proton and two neutrons). This step actually releases still more energy. The process continues with some neutrons combining with the tritium to form the so-called “quadrium”, or H-4 (hydrogen with one proton and three neutrons).

As pointed out by Brillouin, since quadrium is not stable, it quickly turns into helium in a process that releases more energy than it took to create all the preceding steps (2.4 units of energy go in and 24 units come out). The released energy is initially absorbed by the metal element, and then made available as heat for thermal applications.

brillouin_theory_2

The Brillouin controlled Electron Capture reaction (courtesy Brillouin Energy).

In Brillouin’s theory, the nickel (or other metal elements with the correct internal geometry) acts only as a host and catalyst, and is not consumed, the only consumable is hydrogen, and the electron capture reaction is controlled by the proprietary electronics developed by Godes (an electronic engineer), which compress the electrons to create the right conditions: probably coherent phonon waves within the metal lattice created by electro-magnetic pulses.

Hydrogen enters as an ion in the nickel (or metal) lattice, where it is highly confined. According to a study of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) – a U.S. Department of Energy research laboratory – confinement energy alone can drive electron capture events. However, it is the electrical stimulation to provide energy levels in excess of the 782 KeV threshold needed to produce a neutron out of the combination of an electron and a proton.

The lattice, stimulated with precise, narrow, high voltage, bipolar pulse frequencies (called “Q-pulse” by Brillouin) cause protons to undergo electron capture. The Q-pulse reverses the natural decay of neutrons to protons, plus beta particles, catalyzing – through a dramatic increase of the phonon activity – an electron capture in a first endothermic step, then an ultra cold neutron is formed. This triggers the cascade of reactions described above, resulting in a beta decay transmutation to Helium-4 plus heat.

ALESSANDRO CAVALIERI is a physicist who teaches Mathematics and Physics in a secondary school, in Northern Italy. His cultural interests goes from Chaos Theory to the Mind-Matter connections. He loves to read books on the history of Physics.


poster_smallAn interesting post sent by Alessandro Cavalieri on a scientifically promising Ni-H research line performed in Italy producing an unexplained “side effect”:

I found extremely intriguing – because it could open a completely new area of research in Physics if it will be confirmed by other researchers – the effect of spontaneous generation of a potential difference, or voltage, found in Constantan wires by Francesco Celani (Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics, INFN), Giorgio Vassallo (University of Palermo, Italy) and their many collaborators.

The experiments performed by the professional Italian group are very original and instructive for many aspects and have been well described in the poster presented at ICCF-19, and that you can find here.

Since the end of 2011 Celani et al. introduced, in the LENR research field, a new (low
cost) material, Copper-Nickel alloy, named “Costantan” (ISOTAN 44, Isabellenhutte – Germany, composition: Cu 55% Ni 44% Mn 1%), and demonstrated that it, at nano/micrometric dimension and at high enough temperatures (>120°C), catalyzes the dissociation of H2 to 2H and absorb/adsorb protons in the lattice.

In a typical setup, they have a Platinum wire (diameter = 100 Micrometers) used mainly for calibration purposes (“reference”) and two Constantan wires (the “active”) with different diameters (100 and 200 Micrometers, respectively) and/or surface treatments. Each wire is inserted inside a Boro-Silicate Glass fiber sheet (the 3 sheaths are closely braided each other).

Reactor_Celani

Photo of the small, dissipation type, transparent reactor operating at INFN-LNF. The
volume is about 250cc. The 2 wires, reference and active, are rounded on a mica support. The thermocouples are Type K, SS screened (diameter 1.5 millimeter).

Some of the results obtained using these wires in a simple dissipation reactor (see the picture above) made of a thick-walled boro-silicate glass tube, were quite reproducible and the Anomalous Heat Effect (AHE) detected (at Constantan wire surface temperatures of 160 – 400°C) was about 5-10W with 50W of electric input power.

Periodically, the resistance of one constantan wire was measured by a general-purpose multimeter to evaluate the presence of absorbed Hydrogen. They observed that the wire resistance decreases (up to values as low as 70% of initial one, the so-called R/Ro ratio), when the Constantan wire is heated in presence of Hydrogen.

Resistance_fall

Details of first loading by H2-Ar mixture. The “trigger” temperature, to get the large resistance decrease of sub-micrometric Constantan wire, was about 125°C. Temperature measured by a type K thermocouple (SS sealed) inside the gas cell.

On June 25, 2014, the group noted, almost by chance, that Constantan wire generates by itself a macroscopic voltage (>>100 Microvolts), that is function of many parameters (temperature, gas type, pressure, value of R/Ro). Maximum values (not stable over time, only few hours) were of the order of 1400 Microvolts and current of 120 Microampere. Stable values were about half.

What is more interesting is that the effect is not the usual Seebeck effect, because they use only one wire, NOT a junction of 2 different materials, like in thermocouples. According to Celani et al., the new spontaneous voltage (and the low excess heat) are related to some of the following parameters and conditions:

  1. absolute value of temperature (as large as possible, avoiding material sintering);
  2. enough amount of Hydrogen absorbed/adsorbed by the catalytic material, i.e. to the use of a proper nanomaterial;
  3. flux (as large and fast as possible) of Hydrogen from a region of high concentration to a lower one;
  4. the addition of elements that have Hydrogen concentration increasing with temperature (like Fe);
  5. the wires that have good performances from the point of view of excess heat values show values of spontaneous voltages quite remarkable;
  6. the non-equilibrium conditions, as large as possible, look the most important condition to get any type of thermal or electrical anomalies.

So, it is clear that more work is necessary to better understand the complex phenomenology and to increase further useful “anomalies”. There are also clear “connections” with the results obtained by Andrea Rossi and Brian Ahern – which are a first indirect confirmation of this excellent work – but Celani’s apparatus seems more suited to a further experimental study of the parameters and physics involved, hopefully under the umbrella of the INFN.

ALESSANDRO CAVALIERI is a physicist who teaches Mathematics and Physics in a secondary school, in Northern Italy. His cultural interests goes from Chaos Theory to the Mind-Matter connections. He loves to read books on the history of Physics.


As you can see from all my previous posts, I have many first-hand sources. When I prepared the book “E-Cat – The New Fire”, I contacted one of the people who had worked on the development of the E-Cat (therefore, not Rossi). He told me that the Hot-Cat running was a sort of “Sun in a box” and that once he had also seen the reactor sublimate!

Also Andrea Rossi, later, has described this type of event in a comment posted on JoNP:

sun_in_box

December 28th, 2013 at 8:32 PM

James Bowery:

Very sorry, I cannot answer to this question exhaustively, but I can say something. Obviously, the experiments are made with total respect of the safety of my team and myself. During the destructive tests we arrived to reach temperatures in the range of 2,000 Celsius degrees, when the “mouse” excited too much the E-Cat, and it is gone out of control, in the sense that we have not been able to stop the raise of the temperature (we arrived on purpose to that level, because we wanted to study this kind of situation). A nuclear Physicist, analyzing the registration of the data, has calculated that the increase of temperature (from 1,000 Celsius to 2,000 Celsius in about 10 seconds), considering the surface that has increased of such temperature, has implied a power of 1 MW, while the Mouse had a mean power of 1.3 kW. Look at the photo you have given the link of, and imagine that the cylinder was cherry red, then in 10 seconds all the cylinder became white-blue, starting from the white dot you see in the photo (after 1 second) becoming totally white-blue in the following 9 seconds, and then an explosion and the ceramic inside (which is a ceramic that melts at 2,000 Celsius) turned into a red, brilliant stone, like a ruby. When we opened the reactor, part of the AISI 310 steel was not molten, but sublimated and condensed in form of microscopic drops of steel.

Warm Regards,

A.R.

E-cat hot spot

The photo cited by Rossi: a Hot-Cat exhibits a hot-spot during a destructive test, in 2012.

Sublimation is a process during which a solid on heating changes directly into the vapor phase without passing through the intermediate liquid state. When the vapors are cooled, they condense to form solid. The temperature at which a solid changes into vapor is called the sublimation point (and corresponds to the boiling point of the liquid).

Typically, the pressure at which a material sublimate is atmospheric pressure, so the sublimation points are normally referred to the standard pressure of 760 mm Hg, and the temperature is the determining factor to the change of state in those cases. However, more in general, a material will change from solid state to gas state at specific combinations of temperature and surrounding pressure.

The temperature of a material will increase until it reaches the point where the change takes place. It will stay at that temperature until that change is completed. Some substances sublime at room temperature. A common example of this is dry ice, where solid carbon dioxide becomes gaseous without being a liquid during the process.

You can see below its phase diagram:

Phase_diagram

The phase diagram for carbon dioxide (from Wikimedia).

For each solid, raising temperature at low enough pressure takes the material directly from solid to gas, but at higher pressure it will go through the liquid between. The pressure where that behavior changes turns out to be a lot different for different materials, so at atmospheric pressure some behave some way, some the other. For water, if you lower pressure to about 1/160 of atmospheric pressure, it will go straight from solid to gas.

It is interesting that metals exhibit evidence of a tendency to sublimate – or, more exactly, show volatility – at temperatures considerably below their melting points. Krafft already in 1903 investigated in some detail the volatilization of a number of metals at low pressures. Rosenhain obtained beautiful crystals of sublimed zinc by heating a piece of zinc to 300 °C for some weeks in a glass tube containing hydrogen (!) at atmospheric pressure.

From the book “Hot-Cat 2.0 – How last generation E-Cats are made” we know that the reactors used in these destructive tests were made of metallic and non metallic materials: steel (external cylinder and inner cylinder), a ceramic material (between the two steel cylinders), some heating resistors (made of metal) and nickel (main component of the charge). So it is interesting to check what are the sublimation points for some of such materials.

The sublimation point for nickel is 2800 °C. However, very few metals are used in pure, or even relatively pure, forms. Steel, for example, is the name for a whole family of iron alloys (containing carbon and often some other elements). The boiling point of iron (not steel) is 2750 C, so the sublimation (or boiling) point of steel is likely to be close for most steels: around 3000 °C. Steel melts at much lower temperatures: around 1300-1500 °C.

Pure_iron_phase_diagram_(EN).svg

The phase diagram for pure iron (from Wikipedia).

In the phase diagram above you can see that iron is solid at room pressure and at standard temperature (25 °C), but melts around 1540 °C and sublimate around 2750 °C. Alpha (α) iron, or ferrite, is the name given in material science to pure iron with a body-centered cubic crystal structure. It is this structure which gives steel its magnetic properties and is the classic example of a ferromagnetic material. Mild steel consists mostly of ferrite.

Regarding the ceramic materials contained in Rossi’s type of Hot-Cat used in the destructive tests (different from the alumina used in the Lugano test, as described in the cited book), their melting point is around 1900-2000 °C, and their sublimation point is about 3000-3500 °C.

Therefore, at the end of this “exploration” we can conclude – taking into account also the temperature gradient along the reactor from inside to outside – that the temperature reached in the destroyed Hot-Cats was well beyond 3000 °C! This is extremely interesting, because there is no way to obtain such a result using electrical heating resistors…

This post has been written with the kind collaboration of the physicist Alessandro Cavalieri.


LogI sincerely hope that the next edition of ICCF – the International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science – can be assigned to a structure that has the due regard for the media.

In fact, the following is the unfortunate story that happened to me and that I think hurts the LENR world and all the people who, like me, dedicate with passion and professionalism their time to try to bring these issues to a wider public, including top politicians and notable scientists, as already documented in previous occasions.

Here is briefly what happened. About three months ago, I dedicated a post to ICCF-19 and, after some weeks, I sent an e-mail to the local organizer proposing a written interview, imagining that it would make him happy, because in the last few months very few posts (if not “0”) on ICCF-19 had been published even on the blogs specialized on LENR.

So, on January 6 I wrote at the cold and impersonal address – no physical person mentioned! – indicated in the web site of ICCF-19: info@iccf19.com. But I didn’t receive a response, so I did not know if my letter had been read or not. Therefore, more than two weeks later, on January 22, I wrote again asking if the organizer was interested or not in being interviewed.

comm

I finally received an answer, because in the meantime I had known through friends the name of the person who reads the e-mails in the private company organizing ICCF-19 and therefore I had sent the e-mail just to this person. Well, the reply was positive: I could send the questions for Eng. La Gatta. Therefore, I spent an entire weekend to document about the company and to prepare the questions, which you find at the end of this post.

On January 27, I sent the questions. But I never received the answers, or justifications for the growing delay. After 5 (five!) weeks, on March 3, I kindly requested the promised response, not just for me but for the readers, who certainly deserve the maximum respect from those who organize such an event. But to date, I have not received feedback.

Finally, to be fair, on March 11 I informed the man managing the e-mails of ICCF-19 for the local organizer that, having lost a weekend to prepare the interview, the questions would have been published in any case and therefore they would not have made a good impression. I also indicated next 10 days as a final deadline for sending the answers.

Again, no answers, no justifications, anything (!). I leave you to judge whether this is the proper way to interact with the media by the organizer of a public event as ICCF.

For this reason I have decided not to cover the event and not to be present in Padua. Maybe I have a concept of professionalism and good manners too high for the Italian standards (see also what is happening with the EXPO in Milan), but I was brought up to work well.

That’s all, no further comments are needed. I wish everyone a Happy Easter!

The QUESTIONS (of the accepted interview) STILL WAITING for a reply:

1) Eng. La Gatta, thank you for accepting this interview. Do you remember when and how did you get interested in Cold Fusion or LENR for the first time?

2) How and when did you get the idea of organizing a major and complex event such as an International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF)?

3) Your company, TSEM, is quoted in the Italian stock exchange, so shares price can benefit from investments in a so promising field. What are the activities of TSEM and how do they reconcile with LENR?

4) About 5 years ago, you led TSEM into the study of high bandwidth calorimetric measurement of palladium excess heat. What types of researches, if any, are you performing or planning now? Have you ever tried to replicate Rossi’s reactors?

5) LENR can be a business also not having a working reactor to sell: some years ago, your Company provided a calorimeter to SRI. If an Italian or foreign Company is interested in buying a calorimeter for LENR, can TSEM provide a turnkey product or other kinds of products/support for LENR?images

6) We saw you sitting next to Bill Gates in his visit at ENEA last year, and I’ve read somewhere that he will be at ICCF-19. Can you confirm this participation and do you think that finally Gates will invest on Italian researchers (public or private)?

7) In this edition of ICCF, you’ve added an “Engineering Application Committee”, a direct link between academia and industry. In practice, what tasks will have this committee?

8) ICCF-19 has received the “High Patronage” from the Italian Prime Minister’s Office. It seems a first tangible sign that the political class is opening to these researches. Is this also your feeling?