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Date: 1991 


Question:
What type of research n and/or experiments are going on dealing with cold fusion? What is happening with cold fusion around the world? Is any of it doable in a high school? We are trying to do a fusion experiment. Is that possible?



Replies:
It seems that "cold fusion" was a hoax. Whether cold fusion is possible is another matter. The consensus of people who have examined the question have concluded that it is not possible. Can you do a fusion experiment? Possibly, if you are both rich and clever, but you and your neighbors would probably not survive the experiment. Remember that the sun runs on fusion, and that the very outside of the sun (far from where the fusion is happening) is at a temperature of 5000 degrees.


The world might wake up to some surprises after the 4th International Conference on Cold Fusion early in December on Maui. The Japanese are investing big bucks in research, having built Pons and Fleischman a new 50,000 sq.ft lab in the south of France. Research is continuing at companies like SRI International, EPRI, Lockheed, and at least one national lab: Los Alamos.

John Hawley


Yeah, and the big question is why are they wasting so much money on it? Obviously because the potential payoff is huge - if all you need to get fusion energy is heavy water and some palladium (plus electricity and a bunch of trace ions in the water) then you the worlds energy problems are solved, at least for the next 500 years or so... As far as I know there is no widely accepted theory that suggests any way in which cold fusion could potentially be possible, and NONE of the experiments has produced more energy than it took in over time. They certainly claim to for limited periods be producing a net energy output, but the system is highly complex - you have Hydrogen and Oxygen dissociation in particular going on, which involves things in the gas phase, and few of the experiments properly control these gases - when they recombine of course they will produce energy (that is partly why experiments on these systems can be dangerous - H2 and O2 can explode when combined). But that energy was originally taken in from the electrical current through the electrodes. Fleischmann and Pons have been great showmen, and seem to have won fame, money, and some small following from all this, but there really does not seem to be anything to it.

Arthur Smith



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