A Remarkable Account of the Pons Fleischmann ‘Explosion’ (Russ George)

Thanks to Russ George for giving me permission to repost this article from his Atom Ecology site.

The title of the article is “The Fleischmann Singularity” which can be found here I have posted an abridged version here — there is more information and a video of Pons and Fleischmann discussing this experiment in the original article.

Some few years ago (2006) I was sitting in Martin Fleischmann’s parlour in the South of England. He had invited me to come chat with him about my work which at the time was going on under the banner of my company D2Fusion. I spent a long afternoon with Martin talking over the history of cold fusion. One particular story I was keen to hear was of the melting event in the lab in Utah that was shrouded in mystery. Over time I have come to think that mysterious event was the creation of a what must be named a ‘Fleischmann singularity’.

As Martin told me the story he and Stan had been conducting many electrochemical loading experiments with heavy water and palladium. One long running experiment was with a largish cube of palladium, as I recall about a 1 cm cube. It had been sitting for a very long time, months, in the typical electrolysis bath of heavy water into which a bit of lithium had been introduced to help the electrolyte. It was one of those experiments that explorers often have on the ‘back of the bench’ to watch over a long time frame.

As it happened over a weekend where Stan and Martin were not going to be around the lab Stan’s son was tasked with peeking in on the lab to make sure all was in order. When he did so he saw that the cube experiment lay shattered and broken on the lab bench and in the bench was a hole as if something had burned through it from the experiment. Stan’s son telephoned to report the news and Stan and Martin sprang into action to see what might have happened.

When they examined the lab bench and remains of the experiment they noted that indeed something had not only burned it’s way through the bench but had also burned down and out of sight into the concrete floor of the basement lab. The basement lab was in the large chemistry building with a massive concrete foundation at the University of Utah where Professor Pons was the chair of the department.

Much was done to try to get to the bottom of what happened and no explanation could be arrived at save that the palladium had become and sustained being impossibly hot and produced a mini ‘China Syndrome’ event. Mysteriously the palladium was gone.

What happened next?

The conditions of the experiment were seemingly quite benign. A tiny amount of DC current amounting a 1 watt or so was being used to electrolyse the heavy water. Oxygen was being produced and bubbled up at the platinum anode and deuterium, heavy hydrogen, bubbled at the palladium cathode cube. Palladium being a sponge for hydrogen was also soaking up the deuterium and that palladium cathode may have been holding as many atoms of deuterium as there were palladium atoms. This was Fleischmann’s perfect recipe for cold fusion.

Martin noted that the measure of the density (fugacity) of the heavy hydrogen isotope deuterium electrochemically loaded into palladium surely exceeded that of metallic hydrogen. Indeed he mused to me the calculations based on his measurements put the density of that heavy hydrogen as being well beyond metallic and similar to the density of hydrogen inside the center of a star!

[. . .]

Beyond Cold Fusion

I asked Martin whether he had tried to repeat the palladium cube melt down experiment. His reply was a dramatic and emphatic NO, he said he thought it far too dangerous to do so. He figured they got away with it once without dire consequences — a second time they might not be so lucky. Just what it was that destroyed that experiment he noted “was perhaps even beyond than cold fusion.” The energy required to do the damage they observed was simply beyond anything they could imagine. It was surely nuclear if not beyond so. Fleischmann and Pons dutifully informed nuclear authorities and were flummoxed when they were simply dismissed as reporting the impossible. ‘Fools’ is what Martin called them.

Martin and Stan did continue on their much smaller scale experiments with tiny palladium cathodes that were typically about 1 cm long and the diameter of a toothpick. These were producing reliable anomalous heat that was far beyond any conceivable chemical energy source. Eventually they were able to produce boiling cells that would sustain boiling temperatures for weeks on end and even continue long after the electrolyzing current was shut off!

How does a few grams of molten palladium metal burn through a lab bench and deep into the concrete basement floor of a large building?

Surely this is a question that begs for an answer. As the molted palladium was first contained in a beaker of water sitting on a lab bench something had to take place to make it rapidly get very hot. Palladium melts at 1600 degree C. At that temperature molten palladium is brilliantly white hot, as blindingly bright as the brightest search light.

Presumably the suddenly white hot cube of palladium flashed the heavy water in the beaker to stream and shattered the beaker. It then proceeded to burn through the chemistry lab bench-top which are typically made of heat resistant materials. Then it dropped to the concrete floor. All of the time one might presume it was cooling off as it boiled and burned its way through the bench to the floor.

Once on the concrete floor it was in contact with a very large cold mass of concrete that surely was capable of dissipating the heat from the molten metal rapidly. Anyone with experience in welding and working with molten metals knows that should have been the end of the heat as tiny amounts of molten metals even white hot metals, in this case something with a volume of less than a single cube of sugar, spilled onto concrete can never burned deeply into the concrete.

So somehow the heat had not merely appeared moments before while the experiment was running in the beaker it was continuing to be produced and under this circumstance the sustained 1600 degree C puddle of molten palladium would vaporize the concrete as long as energy was available.

No ordinary explanation of some character of palladium and chemistry can accommodate the observations. Not even I would say is even the most likely ‘out of the box cold fusion explanation’ of a mixture or palladium and heavy hydrogen. Something else must have been happening. The reacting mixture of palladium and deuterium may well have transcended ordinary matter and become a large quark mass, not for long, but long enough to burn itself out of existence.

Might such a large mass, even just milligrams being large, of quark matter have come to exist. Would it be as hot as a star and rapidly worm its way out of our space time into quantum space and dimensions.

Other explanations are invited?

Russ George

  • Kathleen Sisco

    1/2015
    Reading S Kean The Disappearing Spoon and he explains (page 264) that the researchers believed palladium fused its protons and neutrons into helium, palladium holding 900x times volume compared to hydrogen. I suspect what was created was a water maser, exactly why they announced prematurely to keep the discovery from being exclusively militarized.

  • Axil Axil

    The method of catalytic action in the Rossi reactor may be opposite to what Rossi has stated. The catalytic environment could be created by the nickel micro-particles rather than the secret sauce. The secret sauce could be the fuel of the reaction such that the nickel particles remain relativity unaffected by the reaction.

    Consider what happens during various LENR meltdown scenarios that we know about. In the Rossi reactor meltdown, the alumina burns at such a high temperature that the rubies are formed at temperatures beyond the vaporization temperature of nickel. In the Pons Fleischmann ‘Explosion’ a crater was formed in the concrete floor of the P&F lab. This points to the high temperature formation at a level sufficient to vaporize sand and steel rebar.

    A visitor to DGT related a story of how a piece of quartz glass inserted in the DGT reaction chamber glowed blindingly white before it completely vaporized.

    These out of control excursions of the reaction points to the formation of an environment in which any element or combination of elements can carry the reaction when a LENR enabling catalytic environment is setup by the nickel micro-powder.

    I speculate that that environment involves the establishment of a Bose Einstein condensation at very high temperatures in which Special form of EMF field takes hold in a low temperature dirty plasma where any element will fuel the reaction at the vaporization temperature of that element(s).

  • Fortyniner

    Some Welsh people may object to your characterisation of them, but I’ll leave them to take that up with you directly.

  • psi2u2

    Does anyone have photos of the damage done by this?

  • Julian Becker

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n09kNQ3GoA

    This videos are known? They are about 2 weeks old

    • Julian Becker

      they also mention the meltdown in the lab

      • Julian Becker

        Hey Frank is that you in the beginning of part 5?

        • ecatworld

          Yes, this was a lecture Tom Wind gave in March of this year at the University of Northern Iowa.

  • georgehants

    Lots of good and interesting speculation below of this event.
    Why then did the corrupt and incompetent scientists 25 years ago not look at it in the same way as you guys now?
    Has science improved over all these years, No, the same denial, debunking etc is going on in many areas, for example the major discovery of water memory where the brave people working on the subject are attacked in the same way as the Cold Fusion scientists.
    ——-
    DNA Sequence Reconstituted from Water Memory?
    http://www.i-sis.org.uk/DNA_sequence_reconstituted_from_Water_Memory.php

  • Axil Axil

    Please permit me to speculate on the mechanism involved in the F&P
    meltdown.

    The palladium melted. Therefore, the temperature reached at least 1554C.
    Even more impressive, part of the palladium cube vaporized. The
    temperature reached more than 3000C. In addition, a hole was
    excavated in the concrete floor. The sand must have been vaporized.
    That means that the silicon vaporized at a temperature of 3265C. This
    vaporization temperature is greater than the melting point(1554C) of
    palladium and the vaporization point of palladium(3000C). Since only
    a part of the palladium(1CC) was vaporized, this tells me that the
    reaction was carried primarily in the silicon within the concrete
    since most of the mass loss was in the concrete. Also, the iron rebar
    was vaporized at 2862C. The palladium cube arrived at a position
    inside the concrete crater where the temperature was relatively cool
    to keep from totally vaporizing under the heat produced by the
    silicon plasma.

    The reaction started on the surface of the palladium cube after a long
    period of surface pitting was generated by long term low level
    electric arcing. Mizuno uses electric arcing to prepare his LENR
    active surfaces. Over the months, the surface of the palladium cube
    reached a critical level of LENR surface preparation to carry a LENR
    reaction to a point were a positive feedback took hold producing a
    plasma where the reaction became self sustaining and than gainful.

    The plasma carried by the palladium cube eventually burned through the lab
    table(Melamine?) and hit the floor. The LENR reaction they transferred to the
    silicon in the concrete where it formed nano-particles when the silicon plasma
    cooled. These nano-particles carried the LENR reaction. The hydrogen
    loaded in the palladium was long gone after the palladium melted and
    partially vaporized and could not have been the energy source for the
    reaction during the final high temperature phase of the meltdown
    event when the concrete began to burn and vaporize..

    • Andreas Moraitis

      One could speculate that the Pd-D sample was transformed into a crystal plasma (http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.73.652 ), without going through the liquid phase. The extreme EMFs within such a plasma could keep the hydrogen nuclei within the active zone, closing the latter off from the environment at the same time. LENR would provide the energy which is necessary to maintain this state. F&P might have seen something similar to a ball lightning in case that they had been present in their lab when the incident occurred.

      • Fortyniner

        Interesting that you mention ball lightning. I was once lucky(?!) enough to watch this phenomenon from close by, when lightning struck an overhead cable supplying a campsite in Wales where we were staying in our trailer tent. Immediately before the lightning storm, the intensity of the air charge was great enough to feel, and a photo I took showed tiny discharges to ground going on all around, although I didn’t see these at the time.

        We were preparing to dash to the nearby pub for shelter when lightning struck one of the insulators carrying the cable. This was about 20 feet from our tent, so a pretty close brush with a nasty end I guess. A white-hot glowing sphere formed and persisted at the point where the lightning had struck, then separated from the insulator and fell quite slowly to the ground. When I later examined the spot, after the storm has passed, I found a small crater in the tarmac below the post, and signs of great heat around it.

        The point of this tale is that the ball lightning, which must have been composed of just a few milligrams of copper plasma from the overhead cable, was able to temporarily hold enough energy to apparently vapourise maybe 200g of gravel and bitumen (there wasn’t any sign that the material had been blown away, although I suppose that is a possibility). I tend to agree therefore with the idea that P&F’s runaway experiment may indeed have created a plasma/EMF reaction paralleling ball lightning, but adding a great deal of energy to the ball of magnetically constrained plasma from some unknown nuclear reaction.

  • Achi

    These are the results I live to hear about. People encountering the unexplained, and unexpected, ideas that push our understanding of the world around past what is believed to be possible. One would never find these ideas by the process of refining known models, it is pure invention and experimentation that pushes these boundaries. The only way foward is blindfolded. Sight of the known truths only limits the encounters of the truths we are passively ignoring with our other senses.

  • Herb Gillis

    This observation may explain why the measured levels of 62Ni and 6Li were anomalously high in the ash samples from the Lugano analysis report.

    If LENR is triggered by a phase transition in the bulk fuel material then it explains the sudden and violent nature of this incident. At some point the deuterium loading in the Pd cube reached a point where the metal lattice structure broke down, triggering the LENR reaction.

    The fuel material in the Lugano test was a particulate rather than solid. If reaction is triggered by phase transition in each particle and then went rapidly to completion once initiated, then only those particles which underwent the phase transition would be expected to have undergone complete (or nearly complete) fuel exhaustion. Those which did not reach the point of phase transition would be expected to have the same composition as the fuel.

    If the ash particles that differed in physical appearance from the fuel where selected for analysis then it stands to reason these were particles that “exploded”- – hence the high isotope ratio changes.

    This should be fairly simple to verify.

    If it turns out that LENR is indeed triggered by a phase transition in bulk solid, then the nature of the transition and the mechanism of how it triggers events on the nuclear level need to be investigated.

    • Axil Axil

      The phase transition is from solid to plasma then to nano-particles. LENR is produce by nano-particles.

      • http://www.russgeorge.net/ russ george

        There is a trail to follow… it seems that once matter goes down the rabbit (or worm) hole into the realm of bags of quarks strange states clearly exist. That our view of quarks comes largely from high energy collider data does not mean that those peculiar observations relate back to the common cooler state and world(s) of quarks.

        Cold fusion has always been a threat to the radiation detection guilds and their rapacious appetite for more and more expensive machines.

        We are like fish who suddenly discovered we are living in water. http://atom-ecology.russgeorge.net/2013/06/16/we-are-like-fish/

  • Anon2012_2014

    While assuming it has an LENR explanation this is confirming evidence, it is also bad news for commercialization safety.

  • J Storrs Hall

    The real point of interest in the story is the foot wide hole in the tabletop in Kevin Ashley’s account. If the hole had been simply burned by the Pd on its way down, you would exprct a one-inch or so hole. The only story that seems to make sense is that after it hit the floor, it sent up a column of superheated air that burned the wider hole, at the same time it was burning deeper into the concrete. That would imply that it continued reacting for hours after the initial meltdown.

  • J Storrs Hall

    There is no reason to speculate about the quark stuff. The ordinary fusion of the amount of deuterium that would fully load 1 cc of palladium, into helium, would release the same energy as 31 tons of TNT. Fleischmann was extremely wise in not trying that particular experiment again.

  • J Storrs Hall

    It turns out that for some time at least, they left the lab and the hole in the floor undisturbed, trying to figure out just what had happened. When I gave my cold fusion talk at the local science / philosophy seminar, one of regulars, a personal friend who is a retired professor from a major Virginia university, volunteered that he had been there doing field research at the time and saw it. The cc of palladium had managed to burn its way at least 4 inches into the concrete, melting through a rebar in the process.

  • Sanjeev

    So we can call it low energy quark reactions – LEQR. Intoxicating….

  • Warthog

    SURELY they took photos??? One wonders what happened to those.

    • Daniel Maris

      My though exactly, although I guess back then having a camera on your person wasn’t v. likely, but you would have thought the exceptional nature of the event would lead them to take pics…or were they concerned about the possible repercussions? – health and safety and all that. Perhaps initially it was hushed up.

  • Gerard McEk

    I wonder how deep the hole in the concrete was.
    Maybe an interesting test for MFMP?

    • Ophelia Rump

      I wonder how deep it went into the Earth?

      • Obvious

        I always wondered about that.
        I suggest finding the repair, cutting out a big chunk around it, cleaning the newer cement out, and putting it on display at the Smithsonian.

        • Omega Z

          It melted it’s way to the earths core.
          Now our magnetic poles are about to flip. “””

      • Gerard McEk

        Axil above thinks it is 4 inch, so the Earth is not damaged. I do not know where he found this.

  • Ophelia Rump

    How real is this last bit? If they do not know the nature of the event, how can anyone make this speculation, is this just a dramatic fluorish?

    “Might such a large mass, even just milligrams being large, of quark matter have come to exist. Would it be as hot as a star and rapidly worm its way out of our space time into quantum space and dimensions.”

    • Axil Axil

      A quake/gluon plasma is possible when magnetic field strength gets near 10^15 tesla. Lower magnetic field strengths produce electron/positron pair production, and more magnetic power produce excited electron states that being mesons/pion into existance. The pion is the LENR active particle.

      A system that produces elements heaver than lead through transmutation do it by producing a quake/gluon plasma. LeClair’s cavitation system is an example.

      See how the mass of the subatomic particle that condense out of the vacuum relates to the magnetic flux quanta that excites the vacuum.

      http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V18NO1PDF/V18N1CAM.pdf

  • ecatworld

    It would be a source of great satisfaction to me if somehow ECW could help to rehabilitate the good names of Pons and Fleischmann.

    Here is the only recent statement of Stanley Pons I know of — reading the first page is sufficient to get an idea of what he endured.

    https://www.scribd.com/doc/117759549/Biberian-s-Book

  • ecatworld

    It would be wonderful if Dr. Pons could comment on ths.

    • Buck

      And . . . it would be good to hear what he thinks of ITPR2 and all the subsequent events.

      Frank, do you think he might submit a post to ECW?

      • ecatworld

        I think it would take a lot for him to do that. I would be honored of course, if he would.

        • hempenearth

          Has he registered? Apologies if that is confidential and you can’t answer.

      • ecatworld

        From what I am told, it would take a lot to get Dr. Pons to come forward publicly and comment.

  • Buck

    Russ,

    thank you for sharing this incredible piece of history. Ever since I first heard of this unbelievable but true event, I’ve wondered what P&F had to stay. And, now here it is. It would have made an incredible addition to a Selfie.

  • Bob Greenyer

    Fascinating. Could this be an indication that Ni + H + Li could function in the molten state?

    • http://www.russgeorge.net/ russ george

      Once the conversion occurs into the quark matter state many of the rules of chemistry and physics go out the window… bags of quarks have their own rules. My own observations of micro-volcano eruptions as seen in SEM photos in the early 90’s in cold fusion metals demands reactions in materials far beyond physical states of matter. It’s not all about low Z nuclei though they are the critical seeds. Curiously silver as I showed 20 years ago is so nuclear active as to be to nearly impossible to work with fusing itself into oblivion before the thermal data could be captured.

      • Bob Greenyer
        • Axil Axil

          I believe that the volcanos seem on the surface of many electrolysis electrodes were produce by cavitation bubble collapse on the ouside of the electrode. The electric arc form the cavitation bubble. Cavitation will produce a quark/gluon plasma and associated heavy element transmutation of elements heavier than lead.

          You should try to replicate LeClair’s cavitation fusion reactor. The equipment cost about $250 complete. DogOne did it with a washing machine motor and pump. But the reactor produces extreme levels of gamma emissions due to the absence of a protective Bose Einstein condensate due to the very low temperature of the water.

          See for details

          https://nanospireinc.com/Fusion.html

          • Bob Greenyer

            We are aware of this work and given the sickness suffered by the original researchers, it is not something we wish to suffer.

            LENR that is at least emission containable is preferable.

            • Mr. Moho

              Speaking of accessible but potentially dangerous experiments, on Cobraf there have recently been comments about neutron emissions from deuterium-loaded metals through thermal shock by Prelas et al.. That looks like something MFMP could easily replicate too. I believe I’ve also read somewhere on your blog that loaded Celani wires could be a good candidate for such experiment.

              • Bob Greenyer

                I like those experiments, I remember the young scientist from Texas taking about dunking D loaded Pd into liquid nitrogen or something. Lots of Neutrons.

                These are good, if dangerous party tricks, but they are a distraction from finding something practical and safe / easy to replicate.

                • Mr. Moho

                  If it’s what it takes to convince the mainstream scientific community that nuclear reactions can take place in a lattice at low temperature, it might be worth it.

          • http://www.russgeorge.net/ russ george

            Bzzzt! I have personally stood with Griggs next to his operating cavitator while it produced prodigious amounts of steam… and I had operating with me my Aware Geiger counter feeding data into my laptop… no change of signal above background with the pump not operating.

    • Ged

      Really looking forward to the Li experiments with the MFMP equipment. Seems to be the bridging theme. I know, slightly impatient, but this is exciting! Can’t blaim a guy too much ;D

    • Axil Axil

      No not liquid, but vapor. The Rossi meltdowns points to a reaction carried in a plasma of alumina. Rossi states the stainless steel containment vaporized and condensed to form a powder.