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A Technique for Making Nuclear Fusion in Solids

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A technique is described for making nuclear fusion at room temperature by compressing a powder mixture comprising a deuteride and catalytic material. The result is explosive beyond known chemical reaction for the materials.
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A Technique for Making Nuclear Fusion in Solids
R. Wayte
29 Audley Way, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 8EE, England, UK.
Email: rwayte@googlemail.com Tel: (44)1344883352
Abstract: A technique is described for making nuclear fusion at room
temperature by compressing a powder mixture comprising a deuteride and catalytic
material. The result is explosive beyond known chemical reaction for the materials.
Keywords: nuclear fusion solid state
Research article submitted to JCMNS 01 October 2015 Rev.4
1. Introduction
It is understood worldwide that efforts must continue to develop nuclear fusion as
an energy source. One process involves inertial confinement fusion wherein a pellet
of deuterium and tritium fuel is compressed strongly by lasers, see
https://lasers.llnl.gov/science/icf , http://www-lmj.cea.fr/en/experimental/index.htm .
This and other techniques are being pursued in order to prevent a global warming
catastrophe and the riotous consumption of the remaining oil.
A significant number of established trustworthy scientists have pursued cold
fusion [1], and published papers in the proceedings of 18 International Conferences
2
on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science and elsewhere, [2,3,4]. However, a problem of
reproducibility remains, and the absence of expected fusion products like neutrons
and γ-rays is puzzling. Experiments point to some obscure new phenomenon
involving serendipitous trace catalysts.
In this paper it will be claimed that by strongly compressing a deuteride and
catalyst mixture, one type of nuclear fusion has been induced, [E.B., private
communication]. Repeatability is no longer a problem, and there should be a way of
making this process commercially viable using inertial confinement in particular.
Section 2 describes current experimental techniques to produce nuclear
reactions. Section 3 covers experiments with hydride in place of deuteride. Section 4
describes different mechanical designs. Section 5 offers explanations for the chemical
processes involved. Section 6 proposes ways to develop a commercial energy
generator. Section 7 summarises the work, and ends with a note of caution.
2. Experimental methods
The techniques developed for demonstrating the claimed nuclear fusion are on a
small scale, but generate strong explosions. Many varied experiments have been
performed in order to understand the effect and gain reproducibility.
[2.1] Fuel preparation. First of all, a quantity of calcium deuteride was
produced by heating calcium turnings in a flushed-out closed silica tube containing
deuterium gas supplied by a manometer assembly, see Figure 1. The used volume of
deuterium was measured in order to estimate the final purity of the calcium deuteride
at around CaD1.75 as if some CaD was also produced. The lumps of CaD1.75 were then
ground to a fine powder with mortar and pestle, and thoroughly mixed with similar
weights of red phosphorus and manganese powders, to yield the primary fusion
3
fuel. Typical particle sizes of the powders have been in the range 20 to 75 µm, while
the weight proportions of the ingredients have been varied around 1:1:1.
WATER
SILICA TUBE
Ca
D2 BOTTLE
D2
Fig.1. Apparatus for preparation of calcium deuteride from calcium turnings and deuterium gas.
Subsequent experiments using the deuteride of magnesium, strontium, barium,
lithium and sodium in place of calcium deuteride have also provided results,
suggesting that efficient deuterium fixation is the key necessity. Likewise, other
transition metals have been found to work in place of manganese to some degree; as
was confirmed by mixing the calcium deuteride and red phosphorus with each one of
the following powders: scandium, titanium, vanadium, chromium, iron, cobalt, nickel,
copper, zinc, yttrium, zirconium, niobium, molybdenum and cadmium. By inference,
a metallic particle surface is required, with its high electron density and ionic lattice.
[2.2] Early experiments. In the first experiments, about 200mg of the
primary fuel powder was put in a compression cell which consisted of two EN31
chrome steel roller bearings (12mm x 12mm) as anvils in a mild steel sleeve, sealed
4
with a lead/tin solder ring to contain generated gases, see Figure 2a. When this cell
was subjected to a vertical force of 30 tons in a press, the powder was formed into a
hard solid disc, but no ignition occurred. The force was then removed so that a thin
steel wedge could be placed underneath, before re-applying the force gradually. As a
high force level was approached this time, it appeared that some shear occurred within
the fuel pellet such that localised hot-spots [5,6,7] in the shear-plane ignited a
chemical exothermic reaction which enabled the fusion process within the enclosed
pressurised environment, causing an explosion in the cell.
12mm
Fig.2a. Original compression cell design consisting of two chrome steel roller bearings in a steel sleeve
with solder seal to contain the fuel powder and gases.
Figure 2b illustrates two examples wherein the generated gas pressure (ionised
deuterium and phosphorus) was great enough over a 1mm x 4mm surface area to
create a cutting wedge of steel which immediately cleaved the roller bearing anvil into
pieces. As soon as the bearings were cracked enough within the cell, the process
ceased because the gases were able to escape through the cracks. This means that the
process is not susceptible to run-away in this configuration.
5
Fig.2b Two typical results of fusion ignition, wherein the local gas pressure has forced a wedge of steel
downwards through the lower bearing, splitting it apart. One of the wedges is shown at top left, and
sitting on the appropriate bearing in the lower views. It is triangular in cross-section, roughly 4mm x
1mm x 2mm deep.
[2.3] Current experiments. The latest experiments have employed smaller
roller bearings as anvils within a bronze sleeve such that near axial compression is
adequate without the tilting wedge, see Section 2.5 and Figure 3c. Typically, 40mg of
fuel is now used per cell. The compression and explosion reaction force have also
been monitored by means of a canister load-cell placed beneath the fusion cell and a
piezo-accelerometer clipped to the side. When the reaction is great enough, the local
pressure may dent and fracture or cleave the bearing surface. Sometimes the bearings
are noisily shattered by the shock-wave. Extracted bearings show blast marks
radiating from the hot-spot position. One good example given in Figure 3a shows
6
these forces and also the explosion flash monitored by UV-enhanced silicon
photodiodes (Centronic OSD35-7XCQ). The actual fusion may only last for 8
microseconds before it breaks the anvils or cell wall enough for gases to escape. The
relatively long interval of 400s before the flash begins indicates that the flash is due
to combustion of hot expelled fuel debris (phosphorus, deuterium) in atmospheric
oxygen, after the blast wave has subsided. That is, the fuel debris does not by itself
burn exothermically. This delay interval is found to be shorter when the cell sleeve
and corresponding blast are less strong. Thus the actual ignition of fusion, lasting only
8s, is not detected by the photodiodes. An over-exposed video camera snapshot of
the very bright flash is shown. When a sleeve is able to resist bursting, there may be
no flash at all because the expelled debris is cooled by the inner surface of the sleeve
as it squeezes past.
7
Fig.3a. Oscilloscope traces for one very strong explosion, shown at s/division and s/division
temporal resolution. [Use zoom 200% to view details]. Blue trace is the load-cell output showing how
the press applied load at 20tons is increased above 40tons by the explosion lasting only for 8sec,
followed by total fall-off and strong mechanical ringing. Turquoise trace is the output from the piezo-
accelerometer, which was attached to the side of the cell until it burst. Yellow trace illustrates the
response of the direct view photodiode to the debris ignition, and red trace the output from the
photodiodes with UV scintillators. There is some cross-talk between the four channels because of
8
amplifier overload. The over-exposed video camera recording of the bright explosion flash was viewed
through a 12mm thick shatterproof polycarbonate window; see Figure 3g for mechanical layout details.
The photodiodes, shown with wires attached mounted in the centre of the polycarbonate window, view
through a hole but are protected from flying debris by a stainless steel mesh. Picture width corresponds
to 200mm by 120mm high.
Four more experimental results are presented in Figure 3b showing that the strength
of explosion is variable, although it tends to increase with applied force. In each case,
the explosions occur at pressures greater than 15tons/cm2 but unpredictably as the
pressure is further increased towards 30tons/cm2. The hotspot parameters must govern
this process. Sometimes there is no immediate explosion, and then the applied force is
held at 30 tons for two minutes before releasing and re-applying.
9
Fig.3b. Four examples of explosions at medium (left) and high (right, 10s/div) resolution showing
random variability in their characteristics. Experiments No. 244, 246, 248, 273.
[2.4] Search for nuclear debris. An extensive effort has been put into the
search for any nuclear particles emitted by the explosion, but none has been found for
10
sure. Detectors with stainless steel mesh screening were located at 10cm from the
fusion cell and repeatedly subjected to the blast which ultimately ruined a BP4 beta-
probe, a ZP1401 GM tube and a ZP1610 proportional counter. In addition, neutron
activation was sought many times using indium, lithium, copper, niobium, titanium,
aluminium, and vanadium. These materials were placed inside the cell with the fuel
then collected with the debris and tested for radioactivity, but none was detected.
[2.5] Detailed design features. For other investigators to confirm this
work, some detailed practical design information is included in Figures 3c-g. Many
configurations have been tried but currently the fusion-cell shown in Figure 3c is
good for ignition under near axial compression up to 30 tons force. The cell consists
of two hardened (60-67 Rockwell Scale) chromium AISI 52100 steel roller bearing
anvils inside a sintered bronze sleeve. The bearing ends are pre-roughened with
coarse sandpaper in order to grip the fuel powder to cause shear within the bulk fuel.
It is understood that during initial compression, the malleable solder ring (pre-formed
from 1.6mm diameter solder wire) is squeezed inwards so as to compress the fuel
powder. Then as the compression force is increased, the sleeve bulges due to outward
pressure from the solder, while the fuel is crushed generating internal shear friction
hot-spots wherein the fusion occurs. The cell lower anvil sits upon a canister load-cell
(a 16mm x 16mm steel roller bearing with 4 strain-gauges wired in series) to measure
the applied axial compression and explosion reaction force. This load-cell is held in
place by the pre-formed square stainless steel tube housing. Figure 3d shows circuitry
for the strain-gauges, the piezo-accelerometer, and silicon diodes, coupled directly to
the oscilloscope. A general side view photograph of the press with its bottle-jack and
strong location clamps for the fusion-cell assembly is shown in Figures.3e, f. The
11
corresponding plan view schematic, with overall safety enclosure and detectors is
shown in Figure 3g.
Fig.3c Fusion cell on canister load-cell assembly
12
Fig.3d Circuit diagram for Canister load-cell bridge, Piezo-accelerometer (ex-gas igniter), and Silicon
detectors (one direct view, two with scintillators).
13
Fig.3e,f. Left: photograph of bottle-jack press assembly. Right: close-up view of fusion cell standing on
load-cell assembly (Fig.3c), which is securely clamped to the movable work plate, (Fig.3g).
14
Fig.3g General assembly
3. Experiments with calcium hydride
Experiments have also been done using calcium hydride in place of calcium
deuteride, and unexpectedly found to produce good explosions, see Figures.4a, b. Can
it be possible that the Coulomb force between the freed hydrogen protons is screened
within the hot-spots, leading to deuterium production and energy release?
15
Fig.4a. Calcium hydride in place of calcium deuteride: Oscilloscope traces for one strong explosion at
low (2ms/div), medium (50s/div), and high (10s/div) temporal resolution. Blue trace is the load-cell
output showing how the applied load at 20 tons increases rapidly to more than 40 tons during the
explosion, which lasts only for 10sec, followed by load fall-off and mechanical ringing as the cell
disintegrates. Turquoise is the output from the piezo-accelerometer attached to the side of the cell until
it burst. The blast propagates for 200sec before the hot ejected debris can ignite in the air, as detected
by the photodiodes: yellow trace illustrates the direct view photodiode output, and red the photodiodes
with UV scintillators. The video snapshot includes burning tracers which reveal shaking of the
assembly. The photodiode detector assembly with wires attached is mounted in the centre of the
polycarbonate window as usual, see Figure 3g. Experiment No.196.
16
Fig.4b. Four more experiments with weaker explosions, using calcium hydride in place of calcium
deuteride. Oscilloscope traces shown on the left at 50s/div and on the right at 10s/div temporal
resolution. Experiments No.282, 284, 285, 288.
17
For both hydride and deuteride, many experiments have emitted weak
ignition reports as the applied load is increased above 15tons, but the strong
explosions occur over 25tons such that the anvil bearings are dented, cracked or well
shattered. Sometimes a small wedge is found in the debris, which was the root cause
of an anvil splitting in half directly under the source of ignition. Figure 5 illustrates
four extreme cases of explosion debris in which the anvil bearings and/or HSS spacer
happened to shatter. On average, a 32ton bottle-jack only survives for 15
experiments because the fast explosion shock-wave damages its input valve before
the internal overload valve can operate.
18
Fig.5. Debris from four strong explosions using calcium deuteride and calcium hydride, which shattered
the anvil bearings in three cases and the upper HSS spacer in two cases.
4. Other cell designs
Another type of cell design which easily produced the required shearing action is
shown in Figure 6a. The fuel powder was put around a case-hardened steel piston rod
with a shoulder that compressed the powder as it was pushed through a shaped mild
steel sleeve. Upon applying several tons of force, shear in the powder produced hot-
spots wherein ignition of fusion broke many pieces off the rod shoulder, see Figure
6b. This allowed the local gas pressure to subside and prevented the fusion from
progressing. Clearly, extreme pressure pulses must have been generated to do this
amount of damage on hardened steel. Inspection of the steel sleeve adjacent to the
hot-spots revealed a melted appearance.
Fig.6a Long shear cell consisting of a case-hardened steel piston with shoulder in a shaped steel
sleeve to contain the fuel powder.
Piston
=15mm
Accelerometer
19
Fig.6b. Enlarged view of two typical results of fusion ignition wherein the explosion gas pressure has
broken pieces off the piston shoulders, in order to escape upwards.
Other methods of inducing fusion with this fuel have been tried, and need
further experimentation. For example, externally heating the pressurised cell sleeve
caused it to split open and show the burnt interior as a sign of fusion. Therefore,
heating the fuel in a container pressurised with deuterium may be one way of
producing controlled fusion for energy generation.
5. Proposed chemical processes
First of all, phosphorus, calcium and manganese compounds have catalytic
properties, [8,9,10]. For example, some primary fusion fuel (CaD1.75 + P + Mn) was
heated in a test tube and found to decompose readily yielding deuterium gas.
It is hypothesized that chemical and nuclear processes occur within the
compressed fuel shear-plane hot-spots [5,6,7], which are high pressure plasma regions
up to 1000oK. Here, ionised manganese and phosphorus may combine exothermically,
yielding 104kJ/mol of MnP [11]. Nearby calcium deuteride, bound by 180kJ/mol
20
during its production [12], may now be dissociated by energetic phosphorus ions.
Deuterium is thereby freed and calcium phosphide formed exothermically at
543kJ/mol [12], adding further energy to the hot pressurised plasma. Under pressure,
freed deuterium atoms will occupy interstitial positions between surface atoms of
manganese grains [13] where they are dynamically constrained while being
bombarded by energetic deuterons in the plasma. At the same time, bombardment by
energetic free electrons adds to the environment of manganese conduction/valence
electrons and results in enough screening of the Coulomb force to enable fusion of the
free and constrained deuterons.
To support this theory, the transition metal powders listed earlier in Section 2.1
were found to behave like manganese in producing explosions; and deuterides other
than calcium were also successful. However, no activity could be induced when pre-
formed manganese phosphide was substituted for the elemental manganese and red
phosphorus powders. As might be expected, there was no activity in control
experiments employing a (Ca + P + Mn) mixture, or dry Ca(OH)2 powder.
This has proved to be a self-restricting technique and there is a residue of
unconsumed fuel around the cell after the explosion because the fuel confined alone
does not burn easily. A sharp smell of impure phosphine is always apparent.
6. Further developments
The experiments described above are clearly limited to fusion demonstration only,
to prove it is possible in the solid state. For commercial energy generation we need a
continuous high energy process, as already tried by various groups [14]. A pellet of
fusion fuel would be compressed and heated by powerful laser beams, or heavy-ion
21
beams, or electron beams, or a Z-pinch cell. An alternative process for continuous
energy generation may be to heat the source compound in a controlled manner.
When trying these different techniques, the fuel compound could be varied by
substituting other chemical elements in part, to get a controllable reaction. For
example, calcium hydride has already been substituted for the deuteride and produced
explosions.
7. Conclusion
A large number of experiments have been conducted with powdered material
comprising a deuteride and catalyst. The technique is understood in terms of
pressurised shearing hot-spots within which exothermic chemical reactions facilitate
enough Coulombic screening for nuclear fusion of deuterons. Even a mixture of
hydride and catalyst produces explosions, so this is a noteworthy phenomenon. In a
separate paper, theoretical models will propose how soft X-rays are generated and
convert to heat in the material. From an engineering point of view, this discovery may
be developed immediately using inertial confinement or other techniques, [15].
Safety shielding has been necessary in all experiments with pressurised solid
state compounds. The manual compression technique used here is slow enough to
allow time for the fusion gases to escape. Impact techniques might strongly confine
the gases, resulting in a dangerous fusion avalanche [5].
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Imperial College Libraries and H. Bowtell for typing.
22
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Four more experiments with weaker explosions, using calcium hydride in place of calcium deuteride. Oscilloscope traces shown on the left at 50s/div and on the right at 10s/div temporal resolution
  • Fig
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