Minimal cold fusion experiment

Summary

Challenged by one of my physics friends to build a cold fusion demonstration for under £1000, I decided to attempt to replicate the work of Les Case (more here and SRI replication here and Storms talks about his attempts in this interview at 57 min in).

This is an informal log that I'm using to keep track of my progress and to share some of the details of my journey with others. More bite-sized updates can be found on:

Twitter - @CasualPhysics

Instagram - casualphysics

2018-01-14

2018-01-26

2018-02-08

2018-02-09

One of my physics partners is becoming less available to help so perhaps need to rethink this approach of building everything from scratch on a shoestring budget.

2018-04-11

2018-05-01

2018-05-02

2018-05-07

Playing with kanthal wire

2018-05-27

2018-06-26

Creating a vacuum

2018-07-01

2018-07-02

2018-07-05

2018-07-06

2018-07-07

2018-07-08

2018-07-09

2018-07-10

2018-07-(16 -19)

time (h)pressure (mbar)
67660
25270
1280
12.580
1260
24180
24240
24260
24320

2018-08-28

2018-09-24

2018-09-27

2018-10-01

2018-10-19

2018-10-24

2018-10-25

timeblanket T (C)pressure (atm)Internal T (C)
07:3021--
07:3383--
08:00148--
08:26154--
09:08166--
09:30171--
09:431743-
10:001743.75-
10:201784-
10:441794.5-
11:151844.9-
12:001825.25-
12:15Insulated sides--
12:262135.5-
12:15Removed insulation--
12:351845.75-
13:051835.9-
13:251825.75157
13:451815.5155
13:45Insulated top--
14:201846.5162
15:201886.9164
15:20Insulated bottom--
15:471888.5173
16:1819410180
16:4519411.25185
17:1519412188
17:5119412.25189

2018-12-12

2018-12-13

2019-02-09

2019-02-20

2019-03-10

2019-03-16

 

2019-03-19

2019-04-09

 

2019-05-10

 

2019-05-16

 

2019-05-17

 

2019-05-20

 

 

 

 

2019-05-21

 

timepressure (atm)temperature (C)
14:30123
15:301125
16:002144
16:102.5145
16:203150
16:404157
16:554.5160
17:305.1165
17:45— covered top —— covered top —
18:306169
19:306.5172

 

2019-05-27

 

2019-06-01

 

2019-06-11

 

2019-06-13

2019-06-18

2019-06-20

timepressure (atm)temperature (C)
15:2010.75189.5
15:20— added extra bottom insulaton —— added extra bottom insulaton —
16:4512194

2019-06-27

2019-06-27

2019-07-01

2019-07-03

2019-07-05

2019-07-14

2019-07-28

2019-07-30

Playing with kanthal wire

 

2019-08-01

 

2019-08-03

 

2019-08-04

 

 

2019-08-06

Key

H - Hydrogen generator valve

R - Reactor valve

V - Vacuum pump valve

Evacuate reactor

  1. Close H
  2. Open R
  3. Open V
  4. Switch on vacuum pump
  5. Wait for 2 minutes (note, I should create an automatic notification when pressure sensor get's low enough )
  6. Close R
  7. Close V
  8. Switch off vacuum pump

Fill reactor with hydrogen

  1. Evacuate reactor (follow the protocol - H, V and R should be closed at the end of this)
  2. Open H
  3. Switch on the hydrogen generator
  4. Wait until the generator pressure gauge reads 2 atm
  5. Switch on the vacuum pump
  6. Slowly open V a little bit and let the generator pressure gauge drop to somewhere between 0.5atm and 1atm. Hold for a 1 min. Don't open it full otherwise the generator will be exposed to full vacuum and it might break. This process allows the air present in the hydrogen tube to get flushed out.
  7. Close V
  8. Switch off vacuum pump
  9. Open R
  10. Wait until pressure gauge reaches the desired value
  11. Close R
  12. Switch off the hydrogen generator
  13. Disconnect vacuum pump tube from the pump
  14. Place pump connecting tube out of the window
  15. Open V (You will hear a hissing sound as the high pressure hydrogen in the tubes vents to atmosphere)
  16. Re-connect pump tube
  17. Switch on the vacuum pump very briefly (until pressure goes down to 0.25 atm). This is to suck out most of the hydrogen remaining in the tubes. Don't let the hydrogen generator be exposed to full vacuum as it might break it.
  18. Switch off the pump
  19. Close V
  20. Close H

Vent reactor

  1. Wait until it reaches low temperature (NOT SURE HOW LOW YET)
  2. Close H
  3. Open V
  4. Disconnect vacuum pump tube from the pump
  5. Place pump connecting tube out of the window
  6. Open R - this will vent the hot high pressure hydrogen gas to the outside
  7. Re-connect pump tube
  8. Switch on vacuum pump
  9. Wait for 1 min (this will remove remaining hydrogen that's inside the reactor and connecting fittings)
  10. Switch off pump
  11. Allow reactor to reach atmospheric pressure
  12. Close V

 

 

 

Pressure test

 

2019-08-07

Record temperature

Insulated pressure

 

2019-08-13

Cold helium test

Heated helium test - start

Heated helium test - full

 

2019-08-14

 

2019-08-15

Heated hydrogen test

 

2019-08-19

  1. Clean with deionised water using a toothbrush to get in between small spaces - this is to remove any big bits of dirt
  2. Clean with isopropanol - this is the first attempt to remove any grease
  3. Soak in 10% citric acid solution hot for 10 min (Alan soaks overnight, but the advice on "passivation" of stainless steel suggests a lot less time - I will be conservative in this stage)
  4. Rinse with water
  5. Soak in acetone for 10 min - removes any remaining grease and also kind of "mops up" any remaining water.
  6. Heat the components to make sure all water and other chemicals have been taken out

Clean reactor test

 

2019-08-20

Heated hydrogen test

Hydrogen ppm

 

2019-08-21

 

 

 

NiPd
3.4901.015
3.4871.016
---0.992 after annealing and sanding
3.4820.984
3.4790.986
---annealing
3.4750.987
---0.980 after sanding
3.4730.981
3.470 (long)0.980 (long)
---0.964 after sanding
--- hard rubbing ------ hard rubbing ---
3.4700.962
3.4660.961
3.4680.960

 

2019-08-22

degassing

2019-08-23

first experiment