First Advisor

John Dash

Term of Graduation

Summer 2002

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics






Heat -- Transmission, Cold fusion, Palladium catalysts, Nuclear reactions, Renewable energy sources



Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 220 pages)


Two experiments have been conducted to ascertain if a cell with a palladium cathode, a platinum anode, and a solution of H2SO4 in D2O can produce excess heat under electrolysis compared to a similar cell with H2O. In each experiment, two cells were connected in series with constant current. The two cells were identical except for the fact that the heavy water cell used D2O instead of H2O in the electrolyte. Both cells in each experiment employed Pd cathodes, Pt anodes, and H2SO4 in the solution. On a piece of Pd foil that had been cold-rolled and cleaned like the cathodes but had not been electrolyzed, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) failed to find any traces of unexpected elements.

In the first experiment the indication was that the light water cell was slightly warmer despite receiving slightly less power. Small amounts of silver were found on both cathodes after electrolysis.

In the second experiment, the D2O cell produced an excess heat relative to the H2O cell that was too large by at least an order of magnitude to be explainable by chemical reactions or mechanical artifacts.

After electrolysis, it was found that Cd was present on the surface of the H2O cathode at levels of concentration that were variable but generally no less than 4% relative to Pd (above 3σ). The H2O cathode of this second experiment finished electrolysis very straight.

The D2O cell cathode finished severely arched (~30o), with its convex side facing the anode, and covered in a deposit of powdery black substance which was most likely PdS formed accidentally on the first day of this experiment when the D2O cell had been run with the wrong polarity. On this D2O cell cathode, no statistically significant traces of Cd were detected but Ag was present in 2-5% concentration relative to Pd. In some spots, the Ag abundance surpassed 20% that of Pd. The most likely explanation is neutron-induced nuclear transmutation of some of the Pd nuclides with direct release of heat into the solid-state lattice.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


This work was supported by the New York Community Trust.

If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Physics Commons