New Energy Research Laboratory Device
and Process Testing Update
Published in IE Volume 8, Issue #43, May/June
by Ken Rauen
Roger Stringham's sonically activated hydrogen
fusion process has been the primary focus of NERL's replication
efforts over the last year. We acquired one of Roger's devices,
have tested it, and have modified its design with the intention
of commercializing it and making it easier to operate. Infinite
Energy issues over the last year have covered this activity.
Some excess heat has been measured, but less than Roger measured
and with nowhere near the repeatability which he found. We are not
comfortable with the poor repeatability, so we say that we have
not replicated the effect. Previous announcements of positive test
results should not be taken as statements of replication. Some tests
were later discovered to be flawed, after the publication deadline
was exceeded, and the others just did not produce the same results
when we repeated them. In retrospect over the last year's efforts,
it is best to say that sonofusion has not been replicated at NERL.
We now see that our sonofusion replication project
has given way to pure research on the phenomenon. Roger's ideas
have not worked and we are trying our own ideas to make it work
with a more practical device. The sonofusion process is not in question,
as we think the helium detection, transmutation, and microvolcanic
evidence in the host metals, which were documented by other labs,
are legitimate and solid evidence that sonofusion is real.
With a close eye on the performance of our ultrasonic
wattmeters in our test apparatus, and with greater understanding
of our volunteer instrument maker, Chris Eddy of Pioneer Microsystems,
we have decided to redesign our ultrasonic oscillator and reactor
interface and power monitoring point in the circuit. The wattmeters
monitor the instantaneous voltage and current to the sonofusion
reactor for real-time, analog, high speed V-I multiplication. The
initial ultrasonic wattmeter design accommodated the circuit interface
established by Crest, the manufacturer of the oscillator and piezoelectric
transducers we are using. Crest mounts inductors in series with
the piezo elements as a method of achieving high voltages across
the piezos. The series resonance of the inductors and piezos produces
a much higher voltage across the piezos than what is applied to
this LRC circuit from the oscillator. The inductor-piezo interface
is what was readily available to us to connect our wattmeters, as
the inductors are mounted on the printed circuit board and external
wiring connects the circuit board to the piezos. This created numerous
problems, which turned out to be too difficult to overcome.
Photo 1.Two piezoelectric
transducer stacks are seen here with the titanium faces shown.
These were exposed to protium oxide, light water, for 19 days
under ultrasonic agitation. Note the dull appearance of the
eroded areas. In the background is a third transducer stack,
showing its detail.
Chris suggested that we remove
the Crest inductors from the Crest oscillator circuit boards and
mount them on the reactor. There are several advantages to doing
this. Primarily, the voltage and current multiplication will be
easier, as the signals will be nearly in phase before the inductors.
Secondly, a large voltage divider is no longer necessary to get
a proper signal to the integrated circuit inputs; the large voltage
divider (1:250) was plagued with reactance problems, as resistors
are not pure enough resistances for accurate operation of these
meters. Thirdly, dangerous voltages are more isolated on our test
bench; 3 kV peaks with 1 amp capability is more than deadly-it can
also start fires, and it has. One BNC bulkhead fitting with a plastic
insulator caught fire when the insulation broke down and arced.
Now the high voltage wiring will be limited to a span of about 5
cm from an inductor to a piezo element. The wiring between the reactor
and the oscillator will now be reduced to a mere 350 V peak.
Chris has taken back a pair of
wattmeters for modification. In the meantime, I have taken the opportunity
to examine a potential factor for identifying nuclear fusion. Roger
Stringham often produced visible deterioration of his exposed targets.
A recent run by me with light water, protium oxide, produced no
visible erosion of the exposed titanium surfaces. Could this be
an indication that fusion was not occurring? None of our protium
oxide runs over the last year produced any significant excess heat,
and I did not notice erosion from those tests. Titanium is a hard
metal and might not be eroded by ultrasonic energy alone. So I tested
my hypothesis by exposing a pair of titanium-faced piezo stacks
to protium oxide for 19 days, the same duration as a known pair
of transducers which were eroded and exposed to deuterium oxide,
heavy water. After 19 days, the light water did erode the titanium.
Heat measurements were not made, as the wattmeters were out of commission.
All that can be concluded from this test is that there is no difference
between heavy water and light water for its visual effects on titanium.
If there were a difference, we would investigate further. Our difficult
and inconclusive observations of excess heat could benefit from
another indicator of cold fusion occurring. We will keep looking.
The titanium erosion may be due to the formation of titanium hydride,
a stable and insoluble compound.
We have purchased a highly stable
signal generator, a Hewlett-Packard HP-33120A, and a spectrum analyzer,
a Link Instruments DSO-2102M. These instruments will allow us to
match impedance curves of each piezo transducer just in case this
is important for proper system operation. It could be that Roger
Stringham found consistently positive results because he had fortuitously
matched transducers. He used the same ones for years, and this could
be the reason for his observed high repeatability.
A Modified Reich-Einstein Experiment
Since the Correa's replication of the
Reich-Einstein experiment (see IE #37) and the demonstration
of heat flow from a Faraday cage by the attachment of a sensitive
Stirling engine, we decided to try to measure the heat flow by another
method. A Faraday cage is a metal enclosure which blocks electric
fields and is highly effective for eliminating electromagnetic radiation,
such as radio waves. A wooden Seebeck envelope calorimeter (SEC)
was built while we awaited the delivery of a commercially available
SEC from Thermonetics for use on our second sonofusion test bench.
Now that sonofusion testing is temporarily halted, the wooden SEC
is available for use. We decided to test a Faraday cage inside it.
The homemade SEC is well-suited to this test, as it is not shielded
or grounded. It is constructed of plywood, with approximately 600
loosely spaced, soldered copper-constantan thermocouple junctions.
A copper Faraday cage was made from three 8" x 4" x 0.025"
copper plates, bent in half as "L" shapes and soldered.
Photo 2. The copper cube
and wooden SEC. The SEC is open and its lid is resting on the
table, on edge. The thermocouple wires are too fine to be seen
in this photograph. The TC junctions are spaced 1" apart
in a rectangular pattern and cover all surfaces of the SEC base
and lid, inside and out, and the TC wires penetrate the plywood.
There are two wooden dowels across the two side walls which
create a mounting platform for the cube, originally intended
to cradle our sonofusion reactor. A circulation fan and a bank
of resistor heaters are mounted inside, below the dowels; they
were not connected during the testing of the copper cube. The
resistors and fan were used to calibrate the SEC. Its sensitivity
is 0.00320 volts per watt.
Our laboratory has produced notably small temperature
differentials in the Reich-Einstein experiment. This may be because
of the metal roofing of our building acting as a shield, as a partial
Faraday cage. See IE Nos. 37 and 41 to compare our temperature differentials
with those measured by the Correas. The effect manifested not as
strongly here-and under the particular conditions of our testing.
Knowing this handicap, we have begun experiments aimed
at measuring a heat flow from the copper cube with the wooden SEC.
Without resorting to statistical evaluation of the datalogger data
file, we saw no heat released over nearly a week, while weather
patterns changed. The visible noise floor for the graphically presented
data is less than 50 mW. We do not know how much shielding the thermocouple
coverage around the SEC is producing, as metal screen is often used
effectively for Faraday cages. We may be inadvertently diminishing
the effect by the presence of the totally surrounding thermocouple
The test apparatus will be moved off-site to a location
where there is a stable thermal environment and little metal to
alter the aether energy fluxes which Reich, the Correas, and others
have measured. We will report the results of this in a future issue.