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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Brief History of Cold Fusion Research

Although fusion was not known in the 1920’s, 
Friedrich Adolf Paneth predicted together 
with Kurt Peters that the sun produced its 
energy this way. They even reported the 
transformation of hydrogen into helium by
spontaneous nuclear catalysis at room temperature
and normal pressure. He compared the results obtain from 
using various forms of palladium and nickel. The so-called 
cold fusion research was used by J. Tandberg to apply for
 the first patent on Feb. 17, 1927. Received but not 
understood, was the reply from the patent office. 
 The effect was “rediscovered” more than 60 years 
later by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann.

One day after work, John Tandberg did an interesting
experiment in the evening. He had a small wire of the metal
palladium.  By electrolysis of heavy water, using this wire as
cathode, he had saturated it with deuterium in the same way he had
previously done with ordinary hydrogen (1927). Consequently, it could
be expected to contain very densly packed deuterium nuclei.

He was now going to blast the wire by letting a condensor battery,
charged with a high voltage, discharge through it. This would mean a
sudden vaporization during a violent increase of pressure and

The densly packed deutrons should get a high energy and there should
be good conditions for violent collisions with nuclear reaction and
fusion as a result. These reactions involve some loss of mass by the
nuclei, so one could expect energy generation according to Einstein's

The electric discharges sounded like powerful shots, but some nuclear
physical effect - hard radiation or radioactive residues - could not
be detected with the equipment John possessed at the time." 
A similar experiment was done by SPAWAR in 2011 yielding positive
 results two out three times. Then, they were ordered to cease work 
in this area.

Ultimately,  Adolf Paneth  fulfilled the alchemist’s dream: The first 
chemical evidence of artificial transmutation was
proven by Paneth and his associate Paul L. Günther.
They used the radiation from thorium to bombard
paraffin resulting in the production of helium.
In contrast to earlier works on transmutation, where
all products were detected physically, in this work,
the amount of helium was large enough to be detected
chemically (1933).

The modern emphasis has shifted to weapons. In the 
1940's the Germans patented bombs based on U-233. 
The United States used U-235 and plutonium in theirs.

The hope still lives that after all the nuclear disasters, we will
see the light and switch to safer forms of nuclear energy.

French Patent:
FR646856A 1928-11-16 Improvements brought to the processes and means for the production of electrical energy


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