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  • #1260
    Avatartheanphibian
    Member

    I’ve had some friends asking me recent about the viability of the Rossi Energy Catalyzer, or the E-CAT. They want to know “can it work?” It’s a difficult question that got my gears churning and lead me to a comparison with Focus Fusion. Here is the reality:

    The E-cat is not even wrong

    I encourage you to watch some of their videos, if you’re interested in learning how to sell completely intellectually devoid concepts and trick people into giving you the benefit of the doubt, all the while having basically no actual argument for your work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-8QdVwY98E

    I thought to myself “It’s good to be wrong”. Being wrong is infinitely better than being such a steaming pile of nonsense that no one can make heads or tails of what you’re claiming in the first place. I like Focus Fusion because I have a good general idea (in spite of being a non-expert) of what they’re trying to do, and more importantly, why and how it might not work. The switches, for instance, were obviously liable to be a technical bottleneck, and they were. There were other scaling issues, and while the hope is for the machine to continue to show good scaling, it might not happen. My favorite quote from the E-cat is “the deafening silence from the scientific community”. Silence from the scientific community has never been a good thing. I do not perceive a silence about FF in the scientific community at all. I have read very good arguments against the idea. Expert criticisms help, not hurt.

    Furthermore, I completely believe that FF is both testable, and that I will know if it is “wrong” in the end. Even being wrong, I hope that it has a lasting impact on fusion research, and obviously I hope that it may influence future designs.

    I haven’t been to this forum in a while, but I thought I would show up randomly and indulge this random tangent.

    #10930
    Avatarikanreed
    Member

    Everyone should embrace the scientific method like this. However, I’d like to point out that the biggest liability that you should look for potential problems in is the theory, not the particulars of mechanical implementation.

    What are the assumptions about plasma and nuclear physics they’re relying on here? How many of those are already well supported by existing research? How many have been verified at least tentatively by experiments so far? For example, I’m not sure anyone has ever actually experimentally verified the enthalpy needed to fuse boron and hydrogen, even in energetically wasteful ways like particle accelerators . If the theory is even a little off from the reality, the whole concept might not work, ever. But even for things like this, we at least know the premise well enough to know what experiments LPP will need to complete before they know.

    #10931
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    ikanreed wrote: For example, I’m not sure anyone has ever actually experimentally verified the enthalpy needed to fuse boron and hydrogen, even in energetically wasteful ways like particle accelerators

    Whoa. Experimental pB11 fusion validation is old news… in fact the most recent experiments along those lines showed that the reaction should be even easier to tap for direct conversion to electricity than was previously thought:

    http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2011/04/15/the-boron-11-hydrogen-fueled-fusion-looks-better-than-thought/

    #10932
    Avatardelt0r
    Member

    The Ecat suffers from everything cold fusion suffered from. No viable method of real fusion. There is a lot of data out there with fusion reactions. There is a lot of validated theory about the strong nuclear force and the structure of the nucleus. Yet for the Ecat to work is has to all be wrong. literally 1000s of experiments and mountains of data. Now you can get energy out of a reaction fusing hydrogen with nickle. But not without radiation, not without gamma rays and not with the well know decay chains that have been observed 1000 of times in previous experiments. Also there is a really really high coulomb barrier they claim is over come with a little heat. Add to that the high secrecy no details, it stinks of a scam. There are a few mitigating circumstances that perhaps indicate its not a scam but a mislead individual who is ignorant of what he is doing or even measuring. Hell even the successful test that measured ~400kW needed a 500kW generator running the whole time, but just for “warm up”, trust us. Yea right.

    This is in stark contrast to Focus Fusion. Focus Fusion, if it works is a break through. But it does have a very legitimate base in theory *and* experimental data. And if it works there are going to gamma rays and some neutrons to deal with. Low levels but they will be there. Eric has said as much in his Google talk. He does not claim anything that goes against all that we do know and have experimental evidence for.

    Yes there have been particle accelerator experiments for proton reaction for many materials. It is interesting for nucleoli-synthesis theory’s even if not for fusion.

    You know what you get when you add a proton to 11B and then take away 2 Helium nucleus? Another Helium nucleus. You can’t change the number of protons+neutrons you have.

    #10934
    Avatarikanreed
    Member

    Whoa. Experimental pB11 fusion validation is old news… in fact the most recent experiments along those lines showed that the reaction should be even easier to tap for direct conversion to electricity than was previously thought:

    http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2011/04/15/the-boron-11-hydrogen-fueled-fusion-looks-better-than-thought/

    I wasn’t referring to energetic output, but the inputs necessary to cause fusion. Nor was I suggesting that even that was unlikely, or that I have any disagreement with the theory that got us here. It’s just that everything needs experimental verification. It’s fantastic that we’re going to try that verification so soon.

    Also I was just using that as an example of an area where the theory and the experimental process haven’t perfectly unified with each other, there are more questions that require a far more in-depth understanding of plasma physics than I possess.

    #10935
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    delt0r wrote: You know what you get when you add a proton to 11B and then take away 2 Helium nucleus? Another Helium nucleus. You can’t change the number of protons+neutrons you have.

    The work at Duke? They don’t claim otherwise… just that the energy distribution among the various reaction products is different than what was presumed to be the case.

    #10937
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    ikanreed wrote:

    Whoa. Experimental pB11 fusion validation is old news… in fact the most recent experiments along those lines showed that the reaction should be even easier to tap for direct conversion to electricity than was previously thought:

    http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2011/04/15/the-boron-11-hydrogen-fueled-fusion-looks-better-than-thought/

    I wasn’t referring to energetic output, but the inputs necessary to cause fusion.

    … errrr…

    …. how do you think they got the output they used to measure energy distribution?

    #10938
    Avatarikanreed
    Member

    zapkitty wrote:

    Whoa. Experimental pB11 fusion validation is old news… in fact the most recent experiments along those lines showed that the reaction should be even easier to tap for direct conversion to electricity than was previously thought:

    http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2011/04/15/the-boron-11-hydrogen-fueled-fusion-looks-better-than-thought/

    I wasn’t referring to energetic output, but the inputs necessary to cause fusion.

    … errrr…

    …. how do you think they got the output they used to measure energy distribution?

    By fusing the inputs. Did the paper state how much energy they put into the system first? If they were already net positive, there’d be no point to FoFu. Do you think I was saying no one had fused hydrogen to boron before?

    #10939
    AvatarIvy Matt
    Participant

    Let me see:

    *A published hypothesis that can be falsified.
    *No apparent contradictions to previous experimental evidence that need to be explained.
    *Experimental results reported more-or-less regularly.
    *Detailed photographs of pretty much every aspect of the device, updated as changes are made to the design.

    What’s not to like? :coolsmile:

    #10941
    Avatarzapkitty
    Member

    ikanreed wrote: By fusing the inputs. Did the paper state how much energy they put into the system first? If they were already net positive, there’d be no point to FoFu. Do you think I was saying no one had fused hydrogen to boron before?

    If you want data on the total enthalpy of the pB11 reaction in an FF-style device then you are going to have to wait until spring at the earliest… as they hope to do those tests this winter and then we’ll have to wait for publication in JOFE 🙂

    #10951
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    delt0r wrote:
    There is a lot of validated theory about the strong nuclear force and the structure of the nucleus. Yet for the Ecat to work is has to all be wrong. literally 1000s of experiments and mountains of data.

    Actually, no it does not have to be all wrong.

    I can give you a key and a shotgun, and tell you to open a lock. You could run thousands of experiments that confirm that if you fire the key at the lock with the shotgun, the lock opens, with particular probability, and the key escapes, with particular probability. But, decades later, someone else reports that you didn’t have to use the shotgun, after all.

    If they are correct, your experimental results are not wrong; they were just made in a different regime.

    #10958
    Avatardelt0r
    Member

    That is a awful analogy and totally wrong. Its not the key i was taking about, its what comes out of the box once you get the key in. Aka decay and isotope products + radiation that they claim does not exist. Add a proton to a nickel atom anyway you want you get either 59Cu with a half life of 81 seconds or 61Cu with a half life of 3h. Both via beta- decay. We are ignoring the gammas that also must happen with the new proton “falling” into the strong nuclear force potential well.

    Now we have 59Ni and 61Ni from the decays *not* Cu and we also have at least a pair of 500keV gammas (from the positron). Lets assume these then absorb another proton via the magic key. Again we ignore the highly validated nucleus energy levels that again would result in some gamma emissions. We get 60Cu and 62Cu respectively. Both again decay via beta- into Ni again with half lives of 23mins and 10mins so again the decay so fast we need to care about it. Also we have 2 more ~500keV gamma for each decay. Again we have 60Ni and 62Ni and we note that we have already look at the “proton” chain for 60Ni. So now lets just consider 62Ni.

    The 62Ni absorbs a proton and we now have 63Cu. This is stable and we finally arrive at where the Ecat folk claim to get. Never mind they also magically produce copper in natural isotope ratios where we have just show that even with a magic key you still only get 63Cu. Also you get at least a bunch of gammas from positron-electron annihilation.

    Now lets consider how much energy we get out of this. Turns out this is easy to calculate. We just get the mass difference between 63Cu and either 58Ni+5p or 60Ni+3p. Using the data from http://physics.nist.gov/cgi-bin/Compositions/stand_alone.pl we get ~45MeV and ~25MeV of energy out of each reaction. We also get 6 to 10 ~500keV gammas for each. So we can now calculate the lower bound of radiation from 1 MW of thermal power. We assume only 60Ni since this results in the most energy per proton and per decay. Thus we need 250×10^15 60Ni+3p->63Cu reactions per second for this power and thus about 1.5×10^18 500keV gammas carrying about 120kW of energy. Considering that a 1-2Gy (1J/kg) dose of radiation is a very large dose will have you vomiting in a few hours. Without massive shielding any person within100 meters is going to have a really really bad day.

    It should be pointed out that this is a bit of a conservative estimate. We need to consider that the half life for the products are in mins and hours, so that the true starting rate will need to be higher. Then you also have the “can’t turn off” feature of a plain old nuke plant. Since there are decays for hours after the thing is turned off, there will be high heat and radiation levels for hours afterward.

    All this with a magical “fuse hydrogen with Nickel” key. The key cannot change what is in the box.

    I won’t bother with just how magical this key thing is or how much other H+Ni experiments would have observed very different results (there is a lot!).

    In God we trust. The rest of you show me the data!

    Edit: the gamma rays are out by a factor of 2. They are approximately 500keV not 250keV as in the original post.

    #10967
    Avatarvansig
    Member

    delt0r wrote: That is a awful analogy and totally wrong.

    But being wrong is good? 😛
    My point was that we cant compare apples to oranges. Compton scattering and gamma emission might some day be shown to belong to a different regime. But, w.r.t their results, i should admit to you that i am *not* on their side, about this.

    Never mind they also magically produce copper in natural isotope ratios […]

    actually, this “production” of copper in natural isotope ratios is not really surprising, and yes it should make us all suspicious.

    in a previous post i pointed out that trace elements found on their anode after their experiments looked to me to be just like what you’d find if, instead of using a solid nickel anode, you had used a nickel-plated aluminum anode that had suffered pitting during the experimental process.. since finishers will ordinarily apply an under-layer of copper to help the nickel adhere.

    finding copper in natural isotopic ratios would seem to support my interpretation.

    #11015
    Avatartheanphibian
    Member

    Ok, I’m kind of curious, can someone even write the reaction the E-CAT uses? I’m not talking about discussing the plausibility of any of this. Seriously, write:

    A+B -> C+D

    You know, it can have different numbers of reactants and products, that’s fine. But is there a reaction that people can clearly identify the system is supposed to be using? Or is this in doubt?

    #11016
    Avatardelt0r
    Member

    Sure:

    58Ni+ 5p ->63Cu + 45MeV (some of that in gammas)
    and
    60Ni + 3p ->63Cu +25MeV (some of that in gammas)

    I am ignoring the other natural Isotopes of Ni. But you get the idea. Also this is the net reaction as they claim (a stable Cu isotope is what they claim). This disregards the beta- decays required as stated in my earlier post.

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