Cold Fusion
By: Garrett and Mike
Mr. Schmit and Mr. Rowzee
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Cold fusion is considered the holy grail of modern science, however most physicists are skeptical of most claims as to its success. However, in this article of Snopes, we will identify two major claims for cold fusion, and take a deeper look into the importance of scientific integrity.

1. Claims in the 1980's by Fleischmann and Pons
Claim: In 1989, two physicists out of the University of Utah claimed that they had produced the world's first cold fusion reactor. They claimed that it had been produced using platinum and palladium electrodes that were immersed in "heavy water" (better known as deuterium oxide), and that they had produced excess energy. They reported seeing gamma rays, and excess neutrons, which lead them to believe that the reaction was nuclear, rather than chemical.

Example: [Martin Fleischmann is an electrochemist famed for his 1989 claim to have discovered cold fusion. At a press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Fleischman and co-researcher Stanley Pons reported that a table-top, glass cell filled with heavy water and fitted with a palladium electrode radiated so much more energy than originally pumped into it that it had to be the result of a nuclear reaction -- a cold nuclear reaction, given that it was not accompanied by huge emissions of harmful particles]-

Status: False. Fleischmann and Pons have been unable to guide their peers in a replication of their experiment, which is critical for the credibility of the experiment. This inablility to reperform the experiment, and the lack of publication in a peer-reviewed journal prior to the press announcement of their success, has led to the general concensus that the experiment is illegitimate, and cold fusion is inaccessable for the time being.

Status of investigation: The exact results of the experiment have not been replicated, and the reason as to why the experiment generated excess heat has still not been identified. According to the Department of Energy, the Electric Power Research Institute has tried to determine the reason that the experiment produced excess heat. They have said that the conditions are favorable when 1) The atomic loading ratio is about .9, 2) There is an initiation time of 8 to 23 days, and 3) The current density is more than 0.1 amperes per cm squared of cathode area. Most physicists have determined this experiment to be unreliable, and therefore have focused on other studies other than the alleged cold fusion.

2. Recent claims in 2011
Claim: On January 15th of this year, Sergio Focardi and Andrea Rossi introduced to the world that they had successfully produced what they consider to be cold fusion. They say that by putting 1000W of energy into their experiment, they are able to fuse the atomic nuclei of hydrogen and nickel, which they say produces copper and a large amount of energy. Every minute, their experiment can convert 292 grams of 20o C water into steam. Because heating this much water would usually require 12,400 W of power, they provide a net gain of 12,400/400, or about 31 units of power output per power input. For the costs of their experiment on a large scale, they say that it would be about 1 cent per KW of energy that they generate, which is significantly cheaper than coal or natural gas plants.

Example: [Andrea Rossi with Sergio Focardi consulting made news in January with a demonstration of the Rossi design of a nickel hydrogen fueled low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) reactor.]

Status: Plausable. While their experiment seems to have produced excess heat, no one has yet to replicate their experiment. Also, the two Italian scientists have yet to explain exactly how the process works. As puts it, "The problem is, they haven’t provided any details on how the process works. After their paper was rejected by several peer reviewed scientific journals, it was published in the Journal of Nuclear Physics—an online journal apparently founded by Rossi and Focardi. Further, they say they can’t account for how the cold fusion is triggered, fostering deep skepticism from others in the scientific community"

Status of investigation- There is very believable evidence that their experiment produced excess heat, assuming that the video evidence can be believed. However, because of their inablility to explain their findings, and the lack of duplication of their findings by others, has led to the general consencus that their results are either fraudulent, or that there is an outside force that is not being accounted for. The two scientists applied for a patent, and according to the preliminary report that was released, "As the invention seems, at least at first, to offend against the generally accepted laws of physics and established theories, the disclosure should be detailed enough to prove to a skilled person conversant with mainstream science and technology that the invention is indeed feasible". As can be seen in this report, the lack of explanation and inability of others to repeat their findings is enough to discredit the findings of these two scientists, even though they provided the hard data of what their experiment actually accomplished.

3. A word on Scientific Integrity: Within science, integrity plays a key role in having the support of others. Without being able to replicate your alleged results, you are neither believed nor credited with the true value of your inventions. The experiments of Fleischmann and Pons, and Focardi and Rossi have reminded the scientific community of the importance of being scientifically accurate. While the two examples above may have shown the world a brief display of ingenuity, the inability to replicate these results has rendered the results of two possibly brilliant scientists uncredible. The absence of publication in peer-reviewed journals, and the immediate release to the press of their alleged successes, has led to the general belief that their results cannot be believed.

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