David Niebauer on the Weak Force

An interesting article written by David Niebauer has been posted on the CleanTech blog, entitled “Is the “Weak Force” the Key to LENR?”. Niebauer is General Counsel to Brillouin Energy (among other companies), and also involved with the Fusion Catalyst nonprofit organization. In defining the weak force, Niebauer states:

Of the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force), the “weak force” is the most enigmatic. Whereas the other three forces act through attraction/repulsion mechanisms, the weak force is responsible for transmutations – changing one element into another – and incremental shifts between mass and energy at the nuclear level.

Simply put, the weak force is the way Nature seeks stability.  Stability at the nuclear level permits elements to form, which make up all of the familiar stuff of our world.  Without the stabilizing action of the weak force, the material world, including our physical bodies, would not exist.  The weak force is responsible for the radioactive decay of heavy (radioactive) elements into their lighter, more stable forms.  But the weak force is also at work in the formation of the lightest of elements, hydrogen and helium, and all the elements in between.

The article is a good introduction to what is meant by the term “weak force”, and also explains how the the weak force fits into some theoretical frameworks that try to understand what is going on in LENR reactions. Niebauer explains that he Widom-Larsen theory, Brillouin Energy’s theory, and those of other researchers rely upon the weak force in forming their models for LENR. A common thread in all these theories is that fusion is not the cause of the excess heat, but some more subtle mechanism taking place.

Niebauer proposes that researchers concentrate efforts in coming up with a firm theoretical understanding of the LENR process to inform and guide experimental work in the field in order to accelerate the implementation of this new form of energy production.


  • Jim Johnson

    The article clarified WLT for me in one respect; ostensibly the cold neutrons created from the hydrogen nuclei fuse not with the Ni/Pd, but with other hydrogen nuclei. That intuitively seems more plausible. The Ni/Pd serves as a matrix for the reaction, occasionally getting effected resulting in the trace copper, etc. Seems close enough to “cold fusion” though, to call it that.

    • Alan DeAngelis

      If the thermal neutron cross section is an indication of the size of the target a neutron would see, it would be much easier for a neutron to find a nickel or palladium nucleus rather than another proton.

      Thermal Neutron Cross section (Barns)

      Hydrogen 0.3326 Barns

      Nickel 4.49 Barns

      Palladium 6.9 Barns

  • Ron

    AR mentioned they are now using a variac instead of a triac. A variac would allow a full wave variable voltage to be applied (I guess to the heating resistors) while a triac is a solid stated device often used in light dimmers. A triac switches on after a delay during each half of the AC cycle. The problem with that is it is much more difficult to measure the actual voltage due to the distorted waveform. In any case they need to use true RMS meters for AC.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    Long before Widom-Larsen Theory, in the 1980s, Fleischmann and Pons thought heavy electrons in the conduction band of the palladium cathode might be reducing Coulomb barriers between nuclei the way muons do in muon catalyzed fusion (i.e. they thought that the heavy electron doesn’t necessarily have to react with a proton to become a neutron to initiate a nuclear reaction).

  • Stephen

    Gee… with all due respect, David Niebauer seems to be a lawyer… or at best a PR guy. Does he have any sort of relevance as a commenter about weak force?

    • Stephen

      Btw I agree with Chris comments’ on oddities expressed in the article. I appreciate the communication effort though…

  • Chris

    This guy says several rather odd things. Strikes me hardly competent.

  • GreenWin

    Even more interesting than the weak force (W-L-Brillouin)discussion is the fact that a mainstream green initiative has published a discussion on LENR. This appears to be significant. IF the well funded alternative energy movement adopts development of LENR, the road to commerce with shorten. And as LENR4you points out, The Energy Collective is funded by Siemens AG:

    “The Energy Collective’s mission enjoys the generous support of Siemens AG. Siemens is committed to serving as the steward of the community’s editorial independence and does not participate in the topic and content selection process, nor do the views expressed on the site reflect those of Siemens AG.”

    LENR commerce will phase out PV and wind as high cost and intermittent operation cannot compete with LENR energy density. So too will the central source of energy production be replaced by distributed and “district” sources. The US DOE has stepped up their support for district CHP in industrial applications. A sliver of light through the LENR blackout?

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  • georgehants

    UK Report Says Thorium Nuke Power Potential ‘Overstated’
    By Duncan Geere, Wired UK
    September 17, 2012 |
    A report into the much-touted nuclear fuel alternative thorium has concluded that many of its supposed benefits are “overstated.”
    The report, which was compiled for the Department for Energy and Climate Change by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, notes that thorium has “theoretical advantages” in the fields of sustainability, reduced radiotoxicity and lower proliferation risk, but adds: “While there is some justification for these benefits, they are often overstated.”
    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/thorium-report/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wiredscience+%28Wired%3A+Blog+-+Wired+Science%29

    • georgehants

      Eurekalert
      Dry-run experiments verify key aspect of Sandia nuclear fusion concept
      Scientific ‘break-even’ or better is near-term goal
      IMAGE: Sandia researcher Ryan McBride pays close attention to the tiny central beryllium liner to be imploded by the powerful magnetic field generated by Sandia’s Z machine. The larger cylinders forming…
      ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific “break-even” energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a Sandia research paper accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters (PRL).
      To exceed scientific break-even is the most hotly sought-after goal of fusion research, in which the energy released by a fusion reaction is greater than the energy put into it — an achievement that would have extraordinary energy and defense implications. That the liners survived their electromagnetic drubbing is a key step in stimulating further Sandia testing of a concept called MagLIF (Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion), which will use magnetic fields and laser pre-heating in the quest for energetic fusion.
      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/dnl-dev091712.php

      • GreenWin

        Not at “break even” yet?? After 60 years??

        • Garry

          Where’s Krivit and his bag of snakes?

  • http://www.electric-sailing.fi Pekka Janhunen

    Andrea Rossi
    September 17th, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    DEAR GIO:
    I WANT TO ADD THAT SO FAR THE MEASUREMENTS MADE BY NEW SYSTEMS HAVE CONFIRMED, SUBSTANTIALLY, THE DATA PRESENTED IN THE REPORT OF ZURICH. IN PARTICULAR: WE HAVE ELIMINATED THE INTERNAL CYLINDER, TO MAKE EASIER THE MEASUREMENT OF THE ENERGY, BEING NOW ALL THE ENERGY EMITTED THROUGH THE EXTERNAL CYLINDER SURFACE, AND WE ARE USING A VARIAC INSTEAD OF A TRIAC, TOGETHER WITH CERTIFIED INSTRUMENTATION.
    NEVERTHELESS, MORE MEASUREMENTS ARE CARRIED ON BY THE VALIDATORS TEAM.
    WARM REGARDS,
    A.R.

    Apparently it was faster for AR to redesign the whole thing than to have the measurement team solve the problem how to measure the infrared from the inner cylinder openings accurately… His system appears to be robust and possible to tailor for different purposes.

    • daniel maris

      Thanks. V. interesting.

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Peter Roe

      “September 14th, 2012 at 4:28 PM
      Dear Sven Gudmundsson:
      The charge is inside the toroidal section, but in a sealed room. The putty has nothing to do .
      Warm Regards,
      A.R.”

      Speculation mode ON: Three options occur: (1) Rossi has simply now blanked off the ends of the (twin?) interior tube and buried the whole thing behind a layer of putty, or (2) the ‘charge’ is now in a co-axial sealed metal tube at the centre of the assembly, possibly a thick tube occupying the whole available space and with a narrow centre bore, or (3) the outer wall is now composed of twin concentric tubes with the ‘charge’ between them.

      3 would be my intuitive guess. It doesn’t correspond exactly to Rossi’s comment, but we’re fairly sure that he doesn’t always tell ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’ … The greater surface area available would massively increase output, and the charge would be close to the heating coils, and any magnetic field they produce, if that is a factor.

      • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Peter Roe

        Such a design (no centre tube) would presumably be produced purely in order to demonstrate the workability of the hot cat, as the centre tube version was necessary for the vertical boiler design that Rossi suggested shortly after the Zurich meeting, and was probably designed with that in mind. This, as well as the change to variac input control, seems to indicate that Rossi really does want to prove the device, and the shortfalls in the demo were not deliberate, as has been occasionally suggested.

        • Ged

          Could also be this removal of the inner tube was done prior to the “short fall” measurement test, as a way to deal with the inner tube issue dropping the calculated heat out from the radiative method (Rossi is terribly under selling the device with the Zurich report). Since, the language was making it sound like it was a new version of the hot cat that had been tested. So wish we could get a picture of the new configuration.

    • http://www.health-answers.co.uk Peter Roe

      Here’s a very interesting idea posted on JONP: essentially the commenter is suggesting that the ‘hot cat’ is using the heating wires just as Celani does, i.e., the anomolous heat is actually generated in the (pre-treated) wires, not in any separate ‘charge’:

      ‘Leena Peters
      September 17th, 2012 at 1:09 AM
      Dear Andrea Rossi,

      Even if you cannot unveil the inner secrets of the Hot-Cat at least we can speculate. We know from the thermographic imaging that the surface temperature of the outer cylinder is fairly even, about 800C. Due to the fairly poor heat conductivity of ceramics that means that the heat must be produced fairly close to the inner surface of the outer tube, otherwise the ceramic would be destroyed. This is exactly how the bobbin that carries the heating spirals is designed. But, as I just proved, the anomalous heat must be produced in the same volume as the regular electric heat. So then I came to think of Francesco Celani’s recent demonstration of anomalous heat generation. He uses a specially prepared but still rather standard wire for electric heating. Take for instance Nikrothal 80, it contains 80% Nickel that could be fused with Hydrogen! At the elevated temperatures inside the Hot-Cat the catalyzer(s) that break up the hydrogen-hydrogen bonds could not be a chemical compound, it would break up. I imagine that the elementary catalyzer(s) and the hydrogen could be stored in the ceramic body itself, not in a sealed chamber. When the electric heating is turned on the ceramic starts releasing Hydrogen that already before leaving the ceramic is made mono atomic by the catalyzer(s). The Hydrogen atoms penetrate into the nearby red hot heating wires where they fuse with Nickel atoms and anomalous heat is generated.

      Best regards, Leena Peters’

      Actually a catalyser as such might be unnecessary as Celani says that the copper in nickel/copper wire acts to ionise H. I’m not sure about the ‘loading time’ required for H, but the suggestion sounds feasible. I rather doubt there will be any reply other than perhaps ‘this is confidential’.

  • Gerrit

    in other news, the german Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has just announced that they will stop the funding for (hot fusion) ITER.

    The reason is that German companies didn’t get enough of the funding pie, most of the money goes to french companies.

  • LENR4you

    The article “Is the “Weak Force” the Key to LENR? By David Niebauer | 13 September 2012″
    was now also re-published at theenergycollective.com – a highly reputable platform sponsored by Siemens. (thx to HHR)

    http://theenergycollective.com/cleantech-blog-neal-dikeman-and-richard-stuebi-et-al/112566/weak-force-key-lenr

    LENR4you

    • http://www.lenr.tk/blog/?page_id=45 barty

      This implies they are very well informed about the potential of LENR ;)