Response to Hank Mills’ Post “My Hypothetical Answer to the E-Cat Current Question” (Michael Lammert)

11/5/2014

 

Response to Hank Mills’ Post “My Hypothetical Answer to the E-Cat Current Question”

 

Michael Lammert (AKA Dr. Mike)

 

Hank Mills has posted his thoughts on the active current issue in the Lugano test on the Pure Energy Systems News website in a post titled “My Hypothetical Answer to the E-Cat Current Question”.   Since I asked for his thoughts on this issue in a response he made in the “comments” section of one of my recent posts, I believe I owe him a response to his post. I encourage everyone to read his post on the PESN website- maybe it will be reposted on E-Cat World. Here’s my message to Hank:

 

It is quite difficult to comprehend the theory that you have proposed. However, I do like to see individuals that look at the results of one scientific experiment and try to see how those results may be applied to a problem in another field. This is a good way to advance science. I see one major problem with your theory, that is, the theory does not fit what is observed in the Lugano data. If alpha particles were penetrating the Inconel coils, which are on the outside of the reactor (perhaps covered with a coating of alumina cement), the alpha particles also would be escaping the reactor between the wires.   If you believe the radiation results of the report presented in Appendix 1, you will see that they did not detect any ionizing particles outside of the reactor. I think the effort to detect radiation by the Lugano team was adequate so I don’t believe there were any alpha particles that escaped the reactor. Therefore, your theory does not fit the Lugano data and observations.

 

In your post you state: “there have been questions raised about the report. Many of them come from cynics and naysayers who have been overtly hostile to the technology from the start – no amount of evidence will satisfy these skeptopaths and trolls.” I believe there are very few individuals that that fall into this category. Maybe Ethan Siegel falls into the category. I felt that his comments were so negative, especially his implications of fraud, that I felt it necessary to make a response to his post. However, even with all of his negative attacks, some of his comments did have scientific merit. What’s interesting is that Siegel made no comments on the data issues in the report resulting from the reported values of the “Joule heating” in the Cu wire in the active runs relative to that in the dummy run. Evidently, he didn’t really study the report, because an attack on the report for an inconsistency in the data would have been a stronger argument against the report than his opinions of how the experiment had been run.

 

Rossi has alluded to the cause of the high active run currents as being due to the Inconel wire having a large negative temperature coefficient of resistance. I assume you agree based on your statement: “In response to questions about this issue, Andrea Rossi has indicated the resistor inside the E-Cat is doped and has unique properties that cannot be disclosed due to the need to protect intellectual property. There is no reason to doubt this, in my opinion.” Yes, Inconel is “doped” and consists of 50-70% Ni, 15-30% Cr, with various other dopants including one or more of Fe, Mo, Nb, Cu, Al, Ti, Co, Mn, and various trace elements. However, the dopants in Inconel do not act like dopants in semiconductors where the semiconductor electrical properties are totally determined by the dopants. The electrical properties of Inconels are dominated by the Ni and Cr concentrations. All Inconels have similar resistivities in a range of about +/_ 20%, and very small temperature coefficients of resistance, with resistivity variations of less than +/- 10% over the usable temperature range of the alloys. Even if you don’t have a strong scientific background, you can verify the temperature stability of the resistivity of Inconels by reviewing the manufacturer’s specs on the material they sell. Even if Rossi special ordered an Inconel wire with his own recipe of dopant elements, as long as it has enough Ni and Cr to be called Inconel, it will have electrical properties similar to the family of Inconels.

However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that Rossi has been able to order a “magic” Inconel with his special list of top-secret dopants that has the electrical characteristics that can explain the observations seen in the first part of the active run. Even though the Inconel is top-secret, we actually know a few things about it from the Lugano data. Here’s what we can calculate from the data:

The data for Joule heating in the Cu wires tells us the current in the first part of the active run is SQRT (37/6.7) = 2.35 times the current in the dummy run. (Don’t worry if the Cu wire resistance wasn’t calculated accurately of if the currents weren’t measured correctly. As long as the same Cu wire resistance was used and the currents were calculated in a consistent manner, even if incorrectly, the results will come out the same because only ratios of currents will be used in these calculations.) The power in the heater coils only increased from the dummy run at 486-6.7 = 479.3W to 800-37 = 763W in the first part of the active run. The ratio of the heater coil resistance in the first part of the active run to the heater coil resistance in the dummy run (assuming equal currents in all coils and all coils are equivalent) can be calculated from:

 

P1/Pd = 763/479.3 = (I1/Id)2 * R1/Rd , but (I1/Id)2 = (2.35)2 = 5.52, therefore

 

R1/Rd = 763/479.3/5.52 = 0.228, or R1 = 0.288 * Rd

 

Therefore the resistance of the heating wires must have dropped to only 0.288 times the dummy run resistance for the Cu wire Joule heating data to correlate with the data for the dummy power and the power in first part of the active run.

Now the same calculation can be made for the two active runs since we know from the active run Joule heating calculation that the ratio of the active current in the second part of the active run to the current in the first part of the active run is: I2/I1 = SQRT(42/37) = 1.065.

 

P2/P1 = (920-42)/763 = (I2/I1)2 * R2/R1, but (I2/I1)2 = (1.065)2 = 1.135, therefore

 

R2/R1 = 878/763/1.135 = 1.014, or R2 = 1.014 * R1

 

This calculation shows that the heater wire resistance actually increases as the active run temperature was increased from 1260 oC to 1400 oC. However, Rossi’s magic Inconel was assumed to have a large negative temperature coefficient of resistance. The calculated slight increase in the heater wire resistance as the temperature is increased from 1260 oC to 1400 oC is inconsistent with the Inconel wire having a large negative temperature coefficient of resistance!

We can also calculate what the Joule heating the Cu wire would have had to have been if the Inconel heating wire really had a large negative TCR. We would need more than the single data point of R1 = 0.288 * Rd at 1260 oC to determine an equation for calculating the ratio for R2/R1 , however, a ratio proportional to the temperature delta from the dummy temperature would be a good estimate absent other data:

 

R2/Rd = 0.288 *(1260-450/(1400-450) = 0.246,

 

and the Joule heating in the Cu wire can be calculated from:

 

P2/Pd = (920-J2)/(486-6.7) = (I2/Id)2 * R2/Rd = J2/Jd*0.246 = J2/6.7*0.246

 

920-J2 = J2/6.7*0.246 *479.3, solving for J2: J2 = 49.5W

 

If the Inconel wire really had a large negative TCR, the Joule heating in the Cu wire would have been calculated to be about 49.5W and the ratio of the current in the second part of the active run to the current in the dummy run would have been:

 

I2/Id = SQRT(49.5/6.7) = 2.72

 

The conclusions from these calculations are:

  1. The Inconel heater wire can not have a large negative TCR since the Lugano data shows the Inconel wire resistance increases as the temperature increases from 1260oC to 1400oC, and the calculation of the Joule heating in the Cu wires at 1400oC is not consistent with a large negative TCR in the Inconel wire.
  2. Since the TCR of the Inconel wire can not explain the higher currents measured in the active runs, the issue of how much power really is delivered to the heater wires by the TRIAC power controller remains in question.

 

Note that the above conclusions are independent of basic questions of whether any Ni-Cr alloy can have a large negative TCR or whether anyone would want to use heater wire with a large negative TCR in a system where it was desired to control the power. Some ceramics have a fairly large negative TCR, but they do not have a resistivity comparable to that of the wire used in the Lugano Hot-Cat.

 

Michael Lammert

  • Obvious

    I saw on Vortex a comment that COP = input + output / input, rather than output/input
    So does this mean that COP is calculated incorrectly in the Lugano report, and is higher than ~3.?

  • Dr. Mike

    Hank,
    If the heating coils are not electrically isolated from the Ni powder, the coils could easily be shorted out by the Ni powder. If the Hot-Cat is generating a large number of alpha particles that can be collected and turned into current, then the Hot-Cat should be designed with one coil to heat the reactor and one coil to collect the generated current.
    All of the scientists and engineers that have been following the development of LENR want the revised report to contain no questionable data. An explanation for the the high current measured in the active portion of the experiment is needed in the revised report so that other scientists and engineers reading the revised report can not question a discrepancy in the presented data. Everyone is hoping the Lugano report will be a catalyst for getting more scientists and engineers interested in LENR. That is just not going to happen if there are unexplained discrepancies in the data.
    Dr. Mike

  • Andreas Moraitis

    It’s not at all my idea, all the claims – including the superconductivity hypothesis – have already been made by others. But you are right – LENR theory is still in a speculative phase. We need more research.

  • Dr. Mike

    Ivanc,
    They surely have the voltage logged in the PCE-830. I agree that the voltage data with the current data would permit a determination of any change in the heating couil resistance value. This data is certainly needed in the revised report. I assume they will also want to correct their current calculation of the current delivered to each of the heater coils from the 1/2 factor they used to the 1/SQRT(3) factor that you pointed out that they should be using. I believe they set a power level with the potentiometer and then let feedback from the thermocouple be the parameter for fine adjustment of the power.
    Dr. Mike

  • Obvious

    I have a quick question about the clamp test. When the I3 clamp was reversed, the magnitude of the amps measured were shown to be approximately the same as when the clamp was facing the right way, and there was no sign (+/-).
    Does this mean that this is not RMS amps displayed? For some reason I expected the reverse RMS current to read higher (~5.8*1.73 = ~10 A), due to conducting the return path of two phases.

  • Freethinker

    😀

    So my “requirements” are merely speculations.

    I would say that pretty much every thing you have presented here is not only mere speculations but rather exceptional confabulations and very much ill founded conjectures.

    I am sure they know that the clamp is not an issue.

  • LuFong

    Well thought out response by Dr. Mike. To this I cannot add anything other than to point out that the reversal of the clamp is not an assumption in this matter. It a possible explanation of an internal discrepancy with the data. It happens to be a very simple explanation and completely explains the problem. Factors against this as being an explanation is that it is reasonable to assume that the testers were competent enough and trustworthy enough to not make this type of measurement error. As a rebuttal to this is that both prior tests seem to suffer from basic issues related to electrical measurement.

    Another possible explanation, the one given by Rossi when he wasn’t shouting and calling reviewers of the data dummies, is that the TCR of Inconel wires change in a manner that explains the data. Dr. Mike and others makes a very strong case based on physics and materials that this cannot be the case.

    So if both of these explanations have been ruled out perhaps then either there is no internal discrepancy with the data or there is another explanation for this inconsistency. I eagerly await the testers response to this issue. I hope they provide additional data that supports their conclusion.

    • Andreas Moraitis

      „[…] makes a very strong case based on physics and materials that this cannot be the case.“

      No. If you had read my posts from the last days you would have noticed that there is a very plausible explanation for the observed drop of the resistance.

      • LuFong

        OK, could you repeat your explanation here? (I could have looked it up if you had a Disqus account.) Thanks.

        • Andreas Moraitis

          [Speculation mode] When the process starts, first a high-temp superconductor is created, possibly due to SPP formation. Very strong currents in the fuel – maybe stimulated by the “electromagnetic pulses” which have been mentioned in the report – generate an EM field and raise the energy of the electrons to an extent that electron capture (= inverse beta decay) becomes possible (thanks to user hunfgerh). This results finally in various exothermal nuclear reactions, which provide the excess energy. At the same time, the magnetic component of the EM field alters the resistance/inductivity of the coils, possibly transferring relevant amounts of energy to them.
          As I have mentioned earlier, very strong magnetic fields in the context of LENR have been observed by DGT, whose reactors were inspired by Rossi’s E-Cat. Besides, there are a number of hints from other sources. Therefore, this is not only speculation – although, of course, much more information would be required in order to confirm this or a similar model.

          • Andreas Moraitis

            Read “impedance” instead of “inductivity”.

            • LuFong

              One benefit (which I use a lot) if you have a Disqus account your post is editable by you after you post.

          • LuFong

            [Ignorance Mode] OK. Rossi did mention observing an EM field external to the E-Cat. I wonder if the testers looked for this when testing?

            I really cannot speak of this EM field generation. I don’t view DGT as a credible source. It’s very easy to posit possible theories. We have a number of posters that come up with them daily. I wish I could understand them as I’m sure they are interesting.

            So this would be then fall into the category of another possible explanation: internal generation of a strong EM field which effects the resistance/impedance of the Inconel resistors through coupling. I wonder if this would effect the phase characteristics as well?

            Thanks for your response.

          • AlbertNN

            So we do not only have a new LENR reaction occurring, also at the same time we have a new record breaking high-temperature superconductor forming, and a never before heard of electromagnetic effect on the heating wires. Maybe it is a possible explanation, but it is not the simplest one.

          • Dr. Mike

            Andreas,
            Do you know of any Ni alloys that show a magnetoresistance effect of more than a few percent? It might have been a good idea to check for both magnetic fields and electric fields just outside of the reactor in the Lugano test. It may have been necessary to run the reactor in the self sustaining mode to eliminate the fields generated by the heating coils, but field measurements would have provided some useful information.
            Dr. Mike

            • Andreas Moraitis

              I did not find any information on magnetoresistance in Ni alloys. But you would have to involve this effect only if the possible field is static. A variable field would modify the apparent resistance by induction.

              • Dr. Mike

                Andreas,
                By your statement ” A variable field would modify the apparent resistance by induction”, can I assume that you mean that a current is induced in the wire?
                Dr. Mike

                • Andreas Moraitis

                  I would expect that a voltage is induced which causes a current if the ends of the coils are connected. (De facto, they are connected via the power supply, which is unfortunately a black box.) In reality, this effect would be superimposed on the existing voltages/currents in the coils. When I had this idea for the first time, I thought that this could possibly be the source of a measurement error. However, since the energy would come from the reactor, it should be counted as part of the output. It is difficult to say how the meters would react, though.

    • Dr. Mike

      LuFong,
      I also hope that they provide the data to support whatever conclusion they make!
      Dr. Mike

  • Thomas Clarke

    There are some points about this matter, both positive and negative for those still holding out hope that this experiment has correct results.

    (1) There are semiconductors, e.g. SiC that have the right shape temp coefficient curve. Resistivity goes down sharply to a minimum value and then slowly u[p. Such a material could in principle fit the data here.

    (2) negative TCR is useful in heater elements – it prevents local melting by reducing power in local hostspots. It makes global control more difficult but that is what control systems are for!

    (3) Unfortunately the material here has a positive TC between 1250 and 1400C. The part of the curve that matters for melting is at this temperature or above. So using such material would be useless at preventing melting.

    (4) Semiconductors have limited electron and hole mobility. I don’t beleive vyou could get such a low resistance out of a non-metal.

  • Freethinker

    Michael Lammert,

    Yo may be correct about the TCR as such, but things are more complicated than so:

    three points:

    A. You need to take into account some error propagation, and I would like to say that the impedance is basically the same between the two different temperatures of the active reactor.

    B. You are looking at temperature alone. You are simply ignoring the elephant in the room. There are unknown nuclear processes taking place in that tiny chamber that cause a COP of > 3 giving the reactor surface a temperature of 1260 – 1400 C . You make the mistake – like so many others – of thinking the dummy reactor is the same as the active reactor. Any comparison and conclusion you try to draw from any comparison between the two is highly hypothetical and speculative.

    C. The clamps were not wrong – the notion is far fetched and desperate – and the currents were measured correctly. If the power in and the radiative temperature of the reactor is measured acceptably, then the logical conclusion is that the claims are valid – it is the black box perspective. Next logical conclusion is that if the claims are valid, then the activity in the reactor is the source of the joule heating current discrepancy. It may not be a large negative TCR, but it must then be something else resulting in the lower impedance.

    • Dr. Mike

      Freethinker,
      It is certainly possible that that there is something in the active reactor causing higher current to flow in the heater wires, However, one would expect that that phenomena would increase in magnitude when the nuclear reaction rate increased as was evident by the temperature increasing from 1260C to 1400C. If the authors were aware of this phenomena during the test, that is, the currents through the coils were 2.35-2.5 times higher than expected from the power measurements, they could have verified the reactor was generating its own current by turning off the power supply at the end of the test, shorting the ends of one of the coils. and measuring the current flow. Just a few minutes of running the reactor in a self-sustaining mode would have answered the question of whether the reactor itself was contributing to the current flow through the heater coils.
      The other key issue is why the authors did not address the higher active currents in their report. If the Hot-Cat is generating it’s own current, the logical conclusion is to add another Inconel coil to the outside of the reactor and have the E-cat deliver electricity directly.
      I agree that it a reversed clamp is error that we would not expect the authors to have made, just as I would have not expected them to fail to address the high active coil currents in the original report. However, a reversed clamp does explain the measured data better than any other theory that I have seen thusfar.
      Dr. Mike

      • Andreas Moraitis

        „However, one would expect that that phenomena would increase in magnitude when the nuclear reaction rate increased […].”

        Not necessarily. I think that the nuclear reactions would not be the cause, but a consequence of the hypothesized magnetic effect. The latter could work according to an on-off principle, thus being of constant influence on the wires, while the nuclear reaction rate would rise together with the temperature.

        • Dr. Mike

          Andreas,
          It’s your mechanism so I surely can’t argue against the phenomena behaving with an on-off principle. Do you believe it turns on slowly, then maintains a steady “On” value or does it rapidly reach a steady “On” value? I wonder if the data from the PCE-830’s was saved for the ramp=up portion of the active run?
          Dr. Mike

      • Freethinker

        Making assumptions how the impedance should behave in a coil in high temperature in an environment where an unknown nuclear process is running is shaky.

        To me it is likely that they have seen and pondered the impedance diff between the dummy and the active reactor – after all these people are no fools and they are charged with a unique task to analyze the ECAT, and they did use the joule heating as a correction term in their output calculations, so some thought must have gone into the numbers.

        BUT: There would have been no real use in speculating on it to much as there is no answer to be found as to it origin. It is also outside the scope of the black box test. Likely that is why it did not find its way into the report.

        The reverse clamp theory requires that two PCE-830 instruments have a clamp wrongly placed, that is after they have been correctly placed for the dummy run. If you look at the clamps, you will see that it is quite obvious if one is inverted. Also, reading the manual, there would be a audible warning from the device, it would likely be evident by checking logged data and evaluating the numbers.

        How that could be the best bet at this point, I fail to see.

    • Warthog

      “You make the mistake – like so many others – of thinking the dummy reactor is the same as the active reactor.”

      The report specifically says that the “dummy reactor” is identical in every detail except for the “active charge”, which was added by Rossi. It sort of has to be, because IT IS THE SAME REACTOR.

      This is why all the hoopla about “erroneous electrical connections” is ludicrous. As long as the connection is not changed (and there is precisely zero information that it was), then the “error” cancels out. It may mean that the precise values for the electric heating current is “inaccurate”, but it HAS to be “precise”. And it is the difference between the runs that is of main interest.

      • Freethinker

        Warthog,

        The sentence you cite is to be taken not literary. I mean exactly what you state. Same physical device, but with or without fuel.

        And I agree about the hoopla. It is indeed ludicrous.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    Alpha particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper. They would never be able to escape from the reactor. On the other hand, they would likely not penetrate deeper than some tens of micrometers into the wires.

    • Thomas Clarke

      The active powder was in the inner 4mm hole. The heater tape is very close to the outside of the cylinder (you can see from the pictures).

      Therefore the Al2O3 between active material and heating coil is roughly 10X thicker than the Al2O3 coating on the coils.

      • Andreas Moraitis

        Then no alphas would reach the coils, provided that the reaction is restricted to the powder and its immediate surroundings.