If you use this information to perform any testing, make sure you use all safety precautions and equipment. The chemicals mentioned can be toxic or lethal the use of high pressures can be explosive, and electricity can be dangerous.
Author: Hank Mills
Researcher, Writer and Contributor to E-Cat World and Looking For Heat
The following paper is my personal understanding of how the Rossi Effect works and how to potentially achieve a high success rate. I do not make any guarantees or promises that the ideas will be effective.
In this paper, the author describes the fundamental requirements to induce Cold Fusion or Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) inside of the crystal lattice structure of metals capable of absorbing hydrogen – such as nickel, palladium, platinum, titanium, and titanium. Practical considerations are provided for the preparation of powders (particularly nickel) in such a manner to allow for high levels of hydrogen loading. Furthermore, stimulation processes are discussed and how they relate to various methods of inducing the exit of hydrogen from the nickel lattice beyond the rate at which hydrogen may desorb. A unified concept is presented that provides a logical framework to guide replicators as they work towards reproducing the, “Rossi Effect.”
General Terms and Definitions
Molecular Hydrogen – The normal state of gaseous hydrogen in which two individual atoms are connected via a chemical bond.
Atomic Hydrogen – A single hydrogen atom not chemically bonded to any other.
Dissociation – The splitting of molecular hydrogen into two individuals atomic hydrogen atoms.
Adsorption – The process by which hydrogen makes contact with the metal surface and undergoes dissociation.
Absorption – The process by which hydrogen is taken below the metal surface into the nickel lattice.
LENR, Cold Fusion, Rossi Effect, E-Cat, Energy Catalyzer, Nickel-Hydrogen System, Self Sustain, Trigger, Excess Heat, Stimulation, Nickel, Lithium, Copper, Palladium, Electropositive, Electronegative, Promotor, Poison, Tungsten.
Since the emergence of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat (Energy Catalyzer) in 2010, there has been a greater level of interest in the field of Cold Fusion or Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. The various versions and implementations of his technology have demonstrated enormous energy and power densities (sometimes up to or beyond 1000 w/gram of fuel mixture) that have excited the imagination. Such high power densities at high temperatures of beyond 1300C without the expected accompanying levels of ionizing radiation (gamma, neutrons) offer the potential of a radical new energy source capable of changing our civilization in fundamental ways – away from the use of hydrocarbons or traditional fission based nuclear power.
Tempering the hope of utilizing this technology for the betterment of mankind, has been the high failure rate of replication attempts. Although a number of highly successful replications seem to have been performed (Songsheng, Parkhomov, Stepanov, and others), most tests yield little to no excess heat. The reasons for the lack anomalous thermal events has been unclear.
From analysis of available documentation in the form of patent documents, third party replications, discussions with successful replicators, and the vast wealth of literature available, the author has conceptualized a framework of logically deduced guidelines that may hold the potential to increase the success rate dramatically. Primarily, the guidelines revolve around two critical issues that must be broken down into additional topics and analyzed: the absorption of hydrogen into a transition metal allowing for the creation of a highly loaded “metal hydride” and the stimulation of said metal and hydrogen via thermal shock and/or additional methods.
Successfully achieving hydrogen loading and a sufficiently powerful thermal shock – inducing the desorption or degassing of the hydrogen from the nickel at a rate that is faster than possible by the constraints of the lattice – are the two absolutely critical requirements for inducing “cold fusion” in metal hydrides. However, to achieve such loading and stimulation careful choices of fuel composition and fuel preparation must be made. This paper discusses such issues and others vital to the successful replication of the Rossi Effect.
Transition Metal Choice and Additives
Early Cold Fusion experiments from the late 1980’s to the 1990’s often utilized palladium which has is an especially good at absorbing hydrogen, reaching possible loading ratios up to one atom of hydrogen to one atom of metal. During the same time period and afterwards, a number of other metals and alloys were tested. Although these were primarily electrolytic systems – far different than Andrea Rossi’s present day gas loaded systems – the most important factor in the production of excess heat were identical: the absorption of hydrogen into the metal lattice. The work of Sergio Focardi, Francesco Piantelli, and others led to the development of the first gas phase nickel-hydrogen systems.
These experiments obviously were the basis of what inspired Andrea Rossi in the development of his E-Cat: the use of a hydrogen gas environment instead of a liquid electrolyte allowed for higher temperatures to be achieved, the use of nickel allowed for massive cost savings that could yield a commercially viable system, and the various methods of stimulation performed allowed for the precise control of the exothermic nuclear reactions produced.
Although poorer at absorbing hydrogen than palladium, nickel continued to be his primary transition metal, although documents and statements indicate that his earliest reactors (such as those tested in 2008 before opening the Journal of Nuclear Physics) utilized mixed powders containing both copper and palladium –something possibly implied by a statement from Tom Darden in an interview with Fortune Magazine. This has the purpose of enhancing the absorption of hydrogen into the nickel via the “spillover” effect. These early systems, although fairly low temperature compared to later “hot cat” reactors, seem to have been capable of very high COPs into the hundreds.
The first public and third party E-Cat reactors tested after the opening of the JONP seem to have moved away from the use palladium as a fuel additive, according to analysis of spent fuel. Although copper powder may have continued to have been used for a period of time, its presence in spent “ash” from these later reactors could be due to electro-chemical migration from copper components (such as reactor bodies) or physical abrasion from manually scraping to remove used fuel.
Although largely ignored early on by online commentators, bloggers, and replicators, lithium was found as an additive in these early systems. Originally, lithium is conjectured to have been added in elemental form; however, the “Fluid Heater” patent granted to Andrea Rossi specifies that LiAlH4 started to be used in addition to elemental lithium powder. An electro-positive element that can serve as a promoter for hydrogenation, lithium had the dual purpose of both helping facilitate the absorption of hydrogen and acting as a fuel via a number of possible nuclear reactions, including the nuclear reaction between a proton and lithium atom resulting in two alpha particles.
The function as an electropositive alkali metal promoter is opposite of the electronegative catalytic poisons that hinder hydrogen absorption such as chlorine and sulphur. The second function of lithium as a fuel is built upon the foundation established by Hidetsugu Ikegami whose extensive testing revealed an enormous nuclear rate increase between protons and lithium in the molten state. Furthermore, the testing performed by Unified Gravity Corporation on the low energy fusion of protons and lithium, with an optimum energy sweet spot of around 200eV compared to the 300,000eV minimum that conventional scientific understanding demands, confirms the uniqueness of lithium as nuclear fuel.
Seemingly high successful replications of the Rossi Effect achieved by Songsheng Jiang, Alexander Parkhomov, N. Stepanov, and multiple other individuals and teams confirm that massive excess heat can be produced by utilizing nickel powder, lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH4), and no other additives except what contaminants may reside in the fuel or maybe leeched from the reactor body. These contaminants may effect, positively or negatively, the production of excess heat but are in no way critical to a successful replication. To avoid excessive complexity, the primary focus of this paper will be on the utilization of nickel powder and lithium aluminum hydride alone – with the possible addition of elemental lithium or LiH (lithium hydride) to enhance the pressure dynamics of the reactor. However, for those who may seek to replicate Rossi’s earliest systems which utilized an external hydrogen tank as a source for hydrogen, the addition of palladium and/or copper powder may be a plausible route to enhance hydrogen absorption.
The nickel selected for a replication attempt should be of fairly small particle size between a few microns and a few tens of microns. A number of different nickel powder types (nickel shavings, high surface area carbonyl nickel, electrolytic, and others) have been successfully utilized. Although the grain structure, surface area, and morphology of the nickel may have significant effects on hydrogen absorption and the production of excess heat, they do not seem to be critical – as will be discussed in another section of this paper the cleanliness of the nickel surface and interior lattice structure seem to be of upmost importance.
The choice of LiAlH4 is also important, due to the fact that not all brands are equal in hydrogen content, level of contaminants, and particle size. More than one successful replicators have reference the efficacy of Alfa Aesar brand LiAlH4 of 97% purity. This may be due to the smaller particle size of around 10 microns verses 50-150 microns for Sigma Aldrich sourced LiAlH4. The smaller particle size, possibly produced by high energy ball milling, may help facilitate more efficient desorption of hydrogen. Also, although officially rated at 97% purity, the certificate of analysis of some batches of LiAlH4 from Alfa Aesar indicate a level of 99% purity. This may reduce the level of catalytic poisons known to be present in LiAlH4 such as chlorine.
Nickel Surface Cleaning
The surface of most commercially available nickel powder is covered in an oxide film (NiO) that inhibits the adsorption of hydrogen, the first step in the process that leads to the absorption of atomic hydrogen into the lattice of the nickel or other transition metal. The nickel oxide film can be removed via a number of methods, each of which come with their own benefits and drawbacks.
Ultrasonic irradiation of nickel powder in an alkane hydrocarbon slurry (hexane or decane as examples) utilizing a low frequency range of around 20khz at a high intensity of 50 watts per cubic centimeter has proven to completely remove the surface film off nickel, allowing for a massive increase in catalytic ability.
In a liquid medium, ultrasound produces cavitation bubbles that oscillate and grow before experiencing a powerful rapid collapse which yields extremely high temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius and pressures of hundreds or thousands of bars. If an object with a surface area significantly larger than the diameter of the cavitation bubble is nearby, the central “hot spot” inside the bubble can deform asymmetrically and produce a powerful jet that can impact the particle. This can induce melting, pitting, fragmentation, and chemical reactions. The bubble size produced by ultrasound is proportional to the frequency. A frequency of 20khz results in a bubble of approximately 160 microns in diameter, which is far larger than the typical nickel particles used in Rossi Effect replication attempts. In this case, since the surface area of the particle is smaller, the jet does not form. Instead, the shockwave from the collapsing bubble imparts kinetic energy to the nickel particle accelerating it up to half the speed of sound. The power of the bubble collapse, resulting shockwave, and kinetic energy is a function of a number of factors: the viscosity of the liquid (lower means faster movement of the particle), the vapor pressure of the liquid undergoing cavitation (the lower vapor pressure the more powerfully the bubble collapses), the frequency of the ultrasound (lower means a more powerful collapse), and the intensity of the ultrasound.
The collision of nickel particles removes the outer oxide layer and smooths the surface, enhancing the ability to adsorb hydrogen and act as a catalyst in chemical hydrogenation reactions. The catalytic activity of nickel in such reactions have been increased up to 100,000% in certain tests. Extensive ultrasonic irradiation over a longer period (beyond one hour at 50 watts per cc) can reduce the catalytic activity.
Interestingly, a thin layer of carbon is applied to a portion of the surface of the nickel by this process. This carbon is thought to be sourced from the thermolytic breakdown of the hydrocarbon alkane by the high temperatures produced inside the bubbles. Various authors speculate this carbon may actually enhance the catalytic properties of the nickel beyond just the removal of the oxide layer. One reason for this could possibly be the production of imperfect, fragmented carbon allotropes such as graphene or carbon nanotubes on the nickel surface. One commercial process of graphene production involves the application of carbon onto a nickel surface and irradiation with ultrasound.
If this method of nickel surface cleaning is utilized, great care should be undertaken due to the toxicity and flammability of the alkanes mentioned. Hexane, for example, is neurotoxic and a possible carcinogen.
A more traditional method used to remove nickel oxide is the use of hydrochloric acid, acetic acid, or others diluted in various ratios. These methods combined with stirring can chemically etch away the oxide layer. Acids such as hydrochloric acid, that contain chlorine, an electronegative catalytic poison, should be avoided.
Yet another method is the reduction of nickel oxide by a flow of hydrogen at high temperatures. At very high temperatures 700C or higher the oxide layer can be completely removed in seconds to minutes. At lower temperatures, the process may take longer and can often be incomplete, leaving residual oxide. In addition to temperature, the flow rate of hydrogen also influences the reduction speed.
One or more of these processes should be performed to clean the surface of the nickel before any attempt at hydrogenation. Although in-situ reduction of the nickel oxide layer by hydrogen may take place inside an active reactor, the degree of elimination may be variable. At very high temperatures molten lithium and aluminum may chemically remove the oxide layer, but depending on these processes is a gamble that is not worth risking days or weeks of labor spent in the laboratory. Also, exposure of the cleaned nickel surface to atmosphere can result in the re-growth of the oxide layer in a short period of time – possibly minutes. Keep the cleaned nickel in an inert environment, preferably hydrogen.
Nickel Interior Cleaning – Degassing
Removing trapped gases and contaminants from the interior of the nickel powder is equally as eliminating it from the exterior surface. Trapped gases take up free space in micro-cavities, cracks, defects, and interstitial spots where atomic hydrogen will need to go during hydrogenation/loading. If these gases are not removed, a lesser quantity of hydrogen will be absorbed potentially resulting in a lack of excess heat production.
The vacuuming of nickel under heating is the accepted means of removing these contaminants. Keeping in mind the possibility of sintering together the nickel particles (their surfaces previously cleaned of oxides), high temperatures should be applied along with low vacuum pressures. This process should continue for hours, days, or even up to a week to remove all trapped gases. To maximize removal, a step wise increase in temperature should take place. At a certain temperature the exodus of trapped gases will flat line; however, increasing the temperature will re-start the desorption process.
Multiple successful replicators have utilized a degassing stage in the processing of their fuel – either in a separate vessel or in the active reactor. One example is Songsheng Jiang who vacuumed his nickel-LiAlH4 fuel mixture for up to a day, without the application of heat, before starting one of his highly successful tests that produced the “heat after death” effect. In this case the application of heat to the LiAlH4 would have resulted in the early release of hydrogen. Christos Stremmenos and an unpublished account by Thermocore have told of massive exothermic releases of energy produced after nickel had been exposed to high vacuum for extended periods. Andrea Rossi is also said to have utilized a vacuum pump for in-situ removal contaminants in some of his early tests. There also exists a high probability he may utilize degassing as a step in the preparation of the fuel for his newer high temperature reactors.
Simply put, skipping the degassing stage will reduce the chances of producing excess heat. Serious replicators should utilize this process to maximize hydrogen absorption. As with nickel surface cleaning, do not allow the nickel to have contact with atmosphere after degassing or absorption of atmospheric gases may take place.
Pre-Loading of Hydrogen
Nuclear reactions cannot take place if hydrogen is not loaded into the lattice of a metal hydride. This can take place during the heating stages of an active reactor, regardless if fueled by an external tank or LiAlH4. However, performing multiple pre-loading or pre-hydrogenation sequences on the transition metal powder may better your chances at producing excess heat by augmenting what will be absorbed during the actual run.
To accomplish this, the nickel powder should be placed in appropriate vessel which has been cleaned via degassing with vacuum and application of hydrogen. Once the powder, for this example nickel, is placed in the vessel, the highest available and safe level of hydrogen pressure should be applied. The vessel should be heated to a minimum of between 150-200C or higher during this process. The rate of hydrogen absorption is controlled by both of these variables: heat and pressure.
If one is available, a high precision manometer should be utilized to monitor the hydrogen pressure in the reactor. One method of determining the rate of hydrogen absorption is to watch for a pressure drop. When the pressure slowly drops over time – which can take hours, days, or longer – and eventually flatlines, additional hydrogen should be added to increase the pressure back to the original level. After repeating this process multiple times, the amount of hydrogen absorbed each cycle will decrease.
If someone wishes to push pre-hydrogenation to an even higher rate, an atomic hydrogen source can be used. The atomic hydrogen will absorb much faster into the nickel than would molecular hydrogen, because the dissociation step – the rate limiting step in hydrogen absorption – is bypassed.
After the hydrogen absorption process is complete, the nickel should be allowed to cool in a hydrogen environment. The hydrogen that was absorbed will be locked inside the lattice of the cooled nickel, and will not desorb significantly unless further heat is applied.
Slow Heating Of Active Reactor
If LiAlH4 is used as a hydrogen source mixed in with the nickel powder, the reactor should be heated very slowly at a rate of below one degree K per minute through 200C. By heating at such a slow rate, the LiAlH4 does not melt, phase change into a liquid, and wet the nickel (hindering hydrogen absorption) before decomposing. After 200C, the reactor should be heated to 700C at a rate no faster than 5 degrees Celsius per minute.
If an external source of hydrogen is available from a hydrogen generator or tank, supplemental hydrogen should be added during the slow temperature climb to 700C (in preparation of a thermal shocking or triggering attempt). Adding supplemental hydrogen in addition to what is provided by the decomposition of LiAlH4 will fulfill the findings of Sergio Focardi and others that multiple cycles of increased hydrogen pressure are optimal for hydrogen absorption.
Preparation for Thermal Shock Event
In a system utilizing LiAlH4, at the temperature of around 700C or little higher, LiH (lithium hydride) should start to decompose. This will result in a pressure increase that can drive more hydrogen into the nickel lattice. After a period of time the temperature of the reactor should be reduced down to a lower temperature – perhaps 400C or 500C. As the temperature drops, two processes will take place: additional hydrogen will be absorbed into the nickel and gaseous hydrogen will react with elemental lithium to form LiH. This should reduce the internal pressure of the reactor.
The next step will be to rapidly increase the temperature of the nickel beyond a critical level. Basically, we want to induce the atomic hydrogen to desorb from the nickel at a rate faster than is physically possible. This will result in a very high pressure build up in the voids, cracks, cavities, defects, and interstitial sites. One patent application indicates that the pressure inside the nickel could reach up to 100,000PSI in a titanium lattice, due to the high tensile strength of the material. If the pressure reaches an adequate level, the result should be nuclear reactions of various kinds that will produce an output far beyond any chemical process. The author speculates that the maximum strength and intensity of the nuclear process may be a function of the tensile strength and other properties of the metal. For example, weaker exothermic events in aluminum, compared to nickel, may be the result of a reduce tensile strength.
In this example, a sudden drive upwards to 700C may be sufficient to trigger nuclear reactions, but a number of other methods may also work. For example, Andrea Rossi’s original Italian patent application describes a system that rapidly varies the pressure in his reactor up or down (this is when he was using an external hydrogen tank). This was mentioned as a method of stimulating reactions. Considering that lowering the pressure could provide a suction that could increase pressure inside of the nickel, this makes perfect sense. Furthermore, Sergio Focardi and Francesco Piantelli reported being able to trigger excess heat events by dropping the pressure in their systems in a rapid manner.
If the nickel in a reactor has been highly loaded with hydrogen, it may be useful to use a vacuum to lower the pressure before rapid heating takes place. The two forces – heat trying to push the hydrogen out of the nickel and vacuum trying to pull it out – may combine to stress the nickel to a high level. This could result in a greater chance of exothermic nuclear reactions.
The process of repeated absorption and desorption of hydrogen can alter the internal structure of the nickel, producing cracks, fissures, and defects that may allow for additional hydrogen to be absorbed. If one triggering attempt does not produce excess heat, repeated cycles above and below 700C may eventually allow for enough hydrogen to be absorbed to induce nuclear reactions.
Since the very first public tests of E-Cat devices, it has been speculated that Andrea Rossi utilizes specific frequencies to further stimulate nuclear reactions. He calls this, “the drive.” The drive can come in a number of forms, but primarily it is expected to be the use of high voltage three phase “dirty” AC power to the resistor coils. The electromagnetic fields generated may allow for nuclear reactions to be induced with less input power.
Songsheng Jiang’s test system utilized a design in which a significant thermal barrier existed between the electrical resistors of his device and the innermost reactor. Significant insulation existed between them, including a thick metal barrier composed of steel and empty free space. Utilizing multiple thermocouples, at the onset of turning on the input power he was able to detect an upward surge in temperature of the reactor core before thermal energy would have had time to migrate from the resistors. This proves that if the fuel is already heated to a certain temperature range, it can be stimulated electromagnetically without the addition of heat. This may be the result of the magnetic field remotely heating the nickel lattice via magnetic induction. Or it could be the interaction between the magnetic or electric field and an exotic hydrogen species created by the high pressures deep in the nickel lattice.
An additional method of stimulation may be the application of electrodes on either side of the reactor body to induce a voltage across the fuel charge of the reactor. This method, mentioned briefly in one of Andrea Rossi’s patent applications, was attempted to be utilized in a “gas cat” that utilized natural gas for a thermal drive rather than electricity. We now know that Rossi abandoned that line of development due to him optimizing his electromagnetic stimulation method.
High Temperature Work
There is no guarantee that even after utilizing all of the concepts mentioned in this paper that you will be able to trigger anomalous excess heat at low temperatures. Both Songsheng Jiang and Alexander Parkhomov required very high temperatures exceeding 1000C to produce significant results. One reason speculated as to why such high temperatures may sometimes be needed is that the vaporization of lithium may be important to the Rossi Effect. At atmospheric pressure, lithium does not completely vaporize until over 1300C. However, some vaporization can take place at lower temperatures – especially if the pressure is reduced.
In preparation for high temperature work, make sure you are utilizing an inner reactor tube that is resistant to the corrosive effects of lithium at high temperature. This would mean stainless steel or iron. Lithium at such temperatures can eat right through aluminum oxide and many other materials.
Additionally, try to minimize the oxidation of your heating elements at high temperature. A commonly used heating element, Kanthal A1, oxidizes quickly at such high temperatures and may have a shortened life – especially when rapidly cycled up and down in temperature. Either use an alternate heating element material or insulate the resistor from atmosphere with a ceramic coating.
Additional Ideas and Concepts
The basic setup and fuels needed for an E-Cat replication are fairly simple and straightforward. A combination of properly prepared nickel and LiAlH4 stimulated appropriately appears capable of producing high levels of anomalous excess heat from a nuclear origin. However, the author would like to provide a few additional thoughts about more exotic or elaborate concepts that could yield interesting results.
- Ultrasonically irradiating a mixture of nickel, copper, and palladium powder in hexane or decane could produce a fuel mix that may optimize the absorpton of hydrogen into the nickel. Palladium’s superior ability to adsorb and absorb hydrogen may allow the spillover effect to induce a high loading of hydrogen in nickel. An example could be using a larger nickel powder size (lets say 20 microns) and a smaller palladium powder size (1-2 microns). The palladium could pepper the surface of the nickel powder like shotgun pellets. Instead of simply being mixed together, the palladium could be physically embedded into the nickel.
- The use of an extremely hot tungsten filament in the pre-hydrogenation vessel or even the active reactor could increase hydrogen loading dramatically. At approximately 2,000C a tungsten filament will start to produce atomic hydrogen which will be absorbed into the nickel or other transition metals at a high rate. The hydrogen could also be applied to the reactor through a thin tungsten tube heated to such a temperature.
- Applying an electrostatic charge to nickel can have a significant effect on hydrogen absorption. This should be further researched and experimented with.
- A spark discharge can generate atomic hydrogen. Generating such discharges in the hydrogen environment during pre-hydrogenation could yield greater levels of absorption.
- Nuclear reactions can be induced only with heat. Direct current seems to be suitable for this purpose. For example, Songsheng induced many hours of self-sustained operation using only direct current. However, in addition to testing out high voltage (300-400 volts or higher) three phase “dirty” AC, even higher intensity square waves should be tested. These square waves should have the shortest rise time possible to have the most powerful impulsive effects including the emission of longitudinal electromagnetic waves.
The basic guidelines to follow when attempting to replicate are fairly simple and straightforward. Conversely, the chemical, electrical, and material science issues are not. Experts in varying fields should cooperate and work together to come up with solutions to various issues. Even with a great deal of effort, the results of any replication attempt can be hit and miss until experience in the art is gained. However, the result of achieving anomalous heat production would be worth all the time and effort
A Note On Co-operation
High powered LENR technology holds the potential to change our world in a number of different ways, allowing for a revolution in almost every industry. From environmental solutions to a way to power space craft to colonize our solar system, the “Rossi Effect” is a game changer. If you have success replicating, please share your results openly and assist others in reproducing what you have achieved. Now is not the time for secrecy. For this technology to have the maximum impact and emerge in a manner that keeps it out of the hands of those who would attempt to control or potentially monopolize it, the knowledge to demonstrate the potential of this technology must be openly disseminated.