Portland State University. Department of Physics
Term of Graduation
Date of Publication
Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics
Heat -- Transmission, Cold fusion, Palladium catalysts, Nuclear reactions, Renewable energy sources
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.
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Salas Cano, Conrado, "Comparison of Heat Output and Microchemical Changes of Palladium Cathodes under Electrolysis in Acidified Light and Heavy Water" (2002). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4616.