Brian Ahern to Start Parkhomov-Style Experiment Sunday [Update #2: Null Result with Sodium (Monday)]

Thanks to Sanjeev for posting about this on the Always Open thread:

UPDATE #2 (Mar 31, 2015)

David Nygren on the LENR-Forum provides an update from Brian Ahern who wrote: “I regard the NaAlH2 run as a null result. We load LiAlH4 tonight.” See here for full thread:

UPDATE #1 (Mar 16, 2015)

Brian Ahern has posted on the LENR Forum that they are starting the experiment today:

We have 4 6mm OD alumina tubes side by side. The outer two hold thermocouples. The inner two hold a blank and the the Ni-255 + NaAlH4

Were calibrating the tube furnace right nw

There’s an interesting post over on LENR-Forum written by Brian Ahern ( who reports that he and two other researchers (Jeff Driscoll and Andrew Anselmo) are planning a Parkhomov-style replication in an experiment which Ahern says he expect to do this Sunday, (March 15th, 2015).

Ahern says that they will be doing a simultaneous active run and control run on two reactors which will be heated in a tube furnace, one with just nickel in it, and the other with nickel plus NaAlH2 (as opposed to LiAlH4 used by Alexander Parkhomov). I’m not sure what the reasoning is behind using sodium (Na) instead of lithium (lithium was mentioned as being an ingredient found in the Lugano E-Cat fuel) — perhaps it is a safety concern.

It’s good to see an experiment ready to go — and that Brian Ahern’s team seems ready to share their results. I look forward to learning how things go with this experiment, and would hope and expect that they will post more on the thread that Ahern started on the LENR Forum. 

  • bfast

    I wish Brian Ahern would as closely as possible duplicate Parkhomov. After he has the reaction, then it makes sense to fiddle with the ingredients.

    • Obvious

      But now we have (if it is repeated enough times to be certain) a possible control that looks like a control.
      Of course, if sodium aluminum hydride was only used once, it proves nothing other than it did not work once.

    • Sanjeev

      Most probably he had nothing to do while waiting for the real powder, so he tried it.
      Its a good test for instruments etc.

  • Sandy

    An engineer at Clean Energy Technology, Inc. (CETI; James Patterson’s company) stated that sodium contamination in Patterson’s LENR reactor would prevent the reactor from functioning. Patterson obtained a U.S. patent on his “cold fusion” device. His patent cited the cold fusion patent issued to Pons and Fleischmann.

  • Obvious

    I agree in part, but consider that a current of 50 A like the Lugano test can make a pretty strong magnetic field, AC or DC. If that 50 A was flowing in an electric hand drill armature, it could break your wrist instantly.

  • Bob Greenyer

    The whole thing is described in detail in my google spreadsheet.

    Read section “The case for NaAlH4 (sodium aluminium hydride) in the low temperature E-Cat (and E-Cat HT, see commentary below)”

  • Pec Ypc

    The idea of using a furnace in Brian Ahern’s experiments as a high temperature controlled environment for Rossi-type reactor replication appears to have many advantages.

    Here is a comparison analysis of “classical” Rossi’s design of alumina tube heated by the external coil in the open air with furnace based replication experiments.

    Disadvantages of alumina tube heated by external coil in open air:

    – high input power comparable or exceeding the expected power of reaction excess heat is needed which makes it more difficult to calculate the Input/Output power ratio and lowers calculated COD

    – heating coil and additional covering materials (if any) isolate the reactor tube from direct temperature and spectrometric measurements (for example, in visual (VIS) and infrared (IR) bands)

    – temperatures required to start the reaction of 1100-1400 °C are close to being destructive for inexpensive K thermocouples and inexpensive heating elements (like Kanthal wire). Additional heat sources expected due to reaction can easily result in exceeding physical limits of thermocouples and wires used and result in their failure (much more expensive heating materials and expensive R, S
    thermocouples are needed to work in this design reliably)

    – high heat dissipation in air makes it difficult to control reactor temperature and maintain the reaction when and if it starts

    – this design does not have ability to achieve self-sustained reaction due to high heat dissipation and fast temperature drop, if external heating stops

    Furnace based reactor design:

    1. Alumina tube with ~5mm ID, 10-30 MM OD is filled with mix of Ni powder 90% and LiAlH4 powder 10%, by weight
    2. Alumina tube with fuel is sealed with high temperature cement (3000 °F cement can be bought at Lowes and Home Depot)
    3. No heating coils are attached to the alumina tube reactor.
    4. The controller/computer controlled heating of the alumina tube with a fuel is performed in a relatively inexpensive high temperature Muffle Furnace or Kiln (the kiln with digital controller, with max temperatures up to 2350 °F (~1290 °C) is readily available from Paragon and Olympic Kilns
    for ~$500-$800, see below)
    5. The kiln may have quartz window(s) which will allow not only measurement of reactor tube’s temperature with K/R/S thermocouples but also direct visual and spectral measurements of the reactor in VIS/IR bands.

    Furnace/Kiln based reactor design allows:

    – safely and reliably achieve required temperatures to start LENR reaction (1100 – ~1300 °C)
    (there are no heating coils and or thermocouples to be destroyed at this temp, as kiln is designed for these conditions)

    – reliably achieve much higher temperatures for experiments of up to 1700-1800 °C with specialized Muffle Furnaces, at a reasonable price (Furnaces with max temperature up to 1700 °C cost in the range
    of $5k-$7k)

    – maintain the temperature of reactor at needed level automatically and for as long as needed (kiln controller will switch off if and when reactor starts producing heat on its own at the set temperature)

    – easy control of reactor activation/work by monitoring on/off status of the kiln heater and kiln temperature as kilns are designed to maintain a set temperature

    – ability to maintain self-sustained reactor state due to reactor stable temperature environment

    For example, Olympic Kiln is designed to maintain ~1300 °C at input power of ~1.6-1.8 KW.

    It means that thermal isolation of the kiln will dissipate ~1.6 KW at the internal temperature of ~1300 °C after achieving thermal equilibrium. If kiln heater switched off, even without excess reactor heat the cooling of the kiln chamber will be rather slow – tens of minutes – due to good thermal isolation of kiln.

    In this case, if reactor will be able to produce about 1-2 KW of heat energy, as reported in some replication experiments, it will be comparable with kiln’s heating power needed to maintain set high temperature. The thermal isolation of the kiln then will be roughly enough to maintain the
    temperature of the working reactor at about the same level (let’s say ~ 1300 °C).

    – direct spectral measurements of reactor tube in VIS and IR band can be achieved through fused quartz windows (available options in kilns) and directly through small hole(s) in kiln’s wall(s).

    – at ~1100 – 1300 °C it will be clearly seen even with a naked eye, if reactor is producing its own heat – by comparing the light intensity of the kiln walls and alumina tube itself or comparing light intensity of two reactor tubes with and without fuel.

    – alumina tube can also be substituted by quartz tube to allow direct spectral measurements of the fuel inside (although the are some complications with quartz glass at those temps)

    – this design will allow simple repeatable experiments with different fuel mixes and temperature conditions with quick turnaround time, as reactor tube are simple to make and easy to replace or do a parallel simultaneous tests

    – it will also allow to easily control reactor temperature, should it go up on its own – by simply opening additional holes in the kiln or use forced ventilation – to increase heat dissipation’

    – with some metal tubes with circulating water inserted through the kiln chamber, it will allow the measured release of heat energy outside the reactor and kiln (if and when it comes to this stage)

    – special PID temperature controllers allow PC control of the Furnace/Kiln through RS232.RS485/USB interface

    – more expensive Muffle Furnaces allow to use vacuum or controlled pressure gas inside the chamber which may be beneficial for further experiments and research (it jumps to range of ~$20K and more though for Vacuum Furnaces)


    Tube Muffles more easily allow gas pressure controlled chamber environment but are less convenient for visual and spectral analysis of reactor tube due to lack of windows with direct view of the reactor (compared to non tube muffles of different shape).

    Fused Quartz (aka Silica Quartz) tubes and rods are much more convenient materials to operate with – for making sealed reactor tubes. After injecting fuel into glass tube, rods with matching OD can be inserted from both sides and sealed by flame from propane/butane torch

    Sources for Materials for Furnace/Kiln based experiments:

    highest temperature for Kiln is characterized by a number called “Con”. For these experiments suitable
    Kilns are “Con 10” which have the highest temperature of 2350 °F (~1290 °C).

    Examples of Kilns (~$500 -$800):

    Paragon Caldera

    Olympic Kiln:
    Olympic HB84E Kiln

    Muffle Furnace:

    PID Temperature controllers with PC interface:

    Alumina Ceramics manufacturing and machining companies:

    Absolute-Tek Ceramics, Accuratus, AdValue Tech, Associated
    Ceramics, Coors Tech, Kadco Ceramics, Sentra Tech

    High temperature Furnace cement:

    Fused Quartz Tubing and Rods:

    Gas Torches for flameworking with Quartz glass:

    • Sanjeev

      Pec, I suggest you submit this comment as a blog article by clicking “submit a post to ECW” at the very top of the page.
      This will be beneficial to all those who are looking for ideas.

      • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

        Except rossi has stated that it isn’t about simple heat, magnetic effects are important as well apparently

    • Eyedoc

      Very nice summary …Thanks

    • Thomas Kaminski

      Nice summary. Back in the 1960 era, Bell Labs issued a kit for kids to build a very inexpensive furnace to diffuse dopants into silicon to make solar cells. It used an inexpensive “Glocoil” heater and some refractory furnace brick to control temperature. You pushed the bricks closer to the heating element to raise the temperature, and moved them away to lower the temperature. Here is a link to the kit:

      I think it would be possible to make an inexpensive kiln for testing fueled tubes in a similar manner.

  • Barry

    I’m kind of leery of theory matching 100% of the time.

    • Obvious

      I have seen that plot before somewhere.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    The variation with NaAlH4 might be able to shed some light on Gullström’s neutron transfer theory. Sodium has only one stable isotope, 23Na. In case that it is – analogous to 7Li – able to donate a neutron, 22Na or its decay product 22Ne should be detectable. That would be a big point for Gullström, whereas otherwise the possibility that 64Ni donates 2 neutrons would still have to be considered. But then the performance of the reactor should be significantly reduced. On the other hand, equal performance in absence of mass number 22 might get Gullström’s model into trouble.

  • Ian Walker

    Hi all

    In reply to Guest who posted 3 days ago:

    Your post is a little too cryptic, for me at least, to understand.

    What experiment produced the results given in blue?
    What is the theory that expects the results in your graph given in red?

    Kind Regards walker

  • Mike Ivanov

    Do you know this for sure? If so, could you explain?

    • Bob Greenyer

      Assuming Piantelli process (secondary reaction) as independently listed by Levi in Lugano report and as listed in the work I did over the weekend here

      23Na + 1H(Elab=0.0 MeV) > 24Mg+γ 11692.69 keV

      7Li + 1H(Elab=0.0 MeV) > 4He+α 17346.20 keV

      So, if Brian gets it working, the output will be far lower. The good news is that it would operate up to the temperature of the E-Cat HT 1&2 and there is FAR more headroom in this experiment and operates well within the limit of Alumina, so more chance of long stable run.

      • Ged

        This also implies Brian could see gamma rays, if the reaction proceeds as such. I didn’t notice if he had a detector though.

  • Sanjeev

    Any news about the experiment ?

  • SteveW

    I suspect the e-cat H2 is a one shot deal- it can only be powered up once. I haven’t seen any tests where the e-cat H2 was re-activated. I suspect that once operational temperature and pressure is reached, the Hydrogen in the gas surrounding the Nickel lattice permeates the reactor tube and is depleted. However, perhaps once the Nickel lattice is loaded with Hydrogen and the reactor tube is at a proper pressure, Hydrogen is no longer needed in the pressurizing gas surrounding the Nickel lattice, even a gas without Hydrogen will maintain the loading of the Hydrogen already in the Nickel lattice.

    Under this logic, too much Hydrogen in the reactor tube gas will actually work against you because it will be depleted and the pressure will drop to the point where the Nickel lattice will lose its loading. So another gas of sufficient quantity needs to be present in the reactor tube gas that will not permeate the reactor vessel but will provide a high enough pressure to keep the Nickel lattice loaded.

    • Axil Axil

      Back to the drawing board. Appendix 3 of the Lagano report shows no hydrogen absorption what so ever. Some oxidation is happening, however . This tells me that some oxygen is not harmful to the LENR reaction. But a large amount of nickel oxidation would kill the reaction.
      If hydrogen was absorbed in the nickel lattice, SPPs would not develop since SPPs need a strong metal dialectic gas interface to develop in.

      • SteveW

        Axil, I guess I’m not quite working off the same drawing board as you are. I will be going over Appendix 3 of the Lagano report to see if I can fit it into my hypothesis or scrap my hypothesis. Thanks for the input.

        • Axil Axil

          It is possible that the lack of hydrogen absorption witnessed in the Lagano test results (appendix C) is a result of the nature of nickel micro-particles. In such particles, there are few lattice imperfections and grain boundaries present in such small particles for the hydrogen to accumulate.

          The perfection in the lattice of such small particles might be an advantage of using micro-particles. This protection in the lattice of nickel micro-particles might work against abortion of hydrogen in these type of particles.

    • Obvious

      Did you solve the partial pressure problem? I’ll stop looking for the answer to it if you have a good solution.

      • SteveW

        Obvious, thank you for your effort and I look forward to your input if it sparks your curiosity. As far as a solution, it’s all speculation at this point and I will be looking into it further- I just have a very limited amount of time for this right now. I make inferences and put them on this board to get responses that let me know if I’m getting hot or cold- I appreciate your effort.

        • Obvious

          The simple limits to the partial pressure are temperature and pressure, where the gas phase becomes vapor or liquid.

  • Dr. Mike

    If my calculations are correct, using 1gr of Ni and 0.1gr of NaAlH2 will yield a H:Ni ratio of only 0.22. My guess is that there may not be enough hydrogen in the reactor to achieve a LENR effect unless the effect is primarily a Ni surface reaction. It will be interesting to see if LENR can be achieved with only heat. Did I remember correctly that Rossi once said that the Hot-cat would not work when the reactor is heated with dc used in the heater coil?

    • Axil Axil

      The LENR effect is a reaction centered on the nano-particles produced in the hydrogen and in this case the sodium ions carried by the hydrogen when there is a nucleation of those elements into nano particles. In this experiment, that nucleation event in the supercritical hydrogen gas will come when the hydrogen is cooled at the surface of the alumina tube.

      IMHO, alkali elements including hydrogen, lithium, potassium, and sodium will produce nano-particls capable of carrying the LENR reaction.

      The question that bares upon the amount of hydrogen that is released as a gas in this experiment is as follows: Is there sufficient hydride gas pressure produced that is capable of reaching the supercritical conditions in the gas that will carry nano-particle production?

    • Andreas Moraitis

      I think Ahern meant NaAlH4, thus the atomic ratio would come to 0.435. However, I read somewhere (unfortunately, I do not remember the source) that the loading ratio in Ni-H systems is not as important as in Pd-D systems. This could indeed mean that the reaction occurs in the former case on the surface and in the latter case in the lattice. One could further speculate that it makes a difference if atoms or ions (that is, in the case of hydrogen, nuclei) are involved. Both light hydrogen atoms and deuterium ions (deuterons) are bosons, whereas protons (light hydrogen ions) and D atoms are fermions. Maybe the reactions require bosonic hydrogen and that’s the reason why it possibly occurs at different locations. I am nevertheless not sure about the deuterons in a Pd lattice, since they may be loosely connected to the surrounding electrons. So take this as a very speculative guess.

      • Axil Axil

        Gas loading in nickel in the Ni/H system does not occur.

        • Eyedoc

          Why do you say that? Can you be so sure ?

          • Axil Axil

            See appendix C in the Lagano test report. No hydrogen is detected in the nickel particles.

            • Eyedoc

              OK, so now the more I know , the more I know I don’t know 🙂

              • Axil Axil

                It is possible that the lack of hydrogen absorption witnessed in the Lagano test results (appendix C) is a result of the nature of nickel micro-particles. In such particles, there are few lattice imperfections and grain boundaries present in such small particles.

                The perfection in the lattice of such small particles might be an advantage of using micro-particles.

  • Tracy Tynsky

    My name is Tracy Tynsky and I have been following Mr. Rossi and the E-Cat for several years now. I would like to say first that yes, I am a believer of this technology and I won’t be following up on critical posts and responding to them. I will brook no argument on this topic. If you think me a fool, that’s your business. But I Just. Don’t. Care. Ahh, now that that’s out of the way, I want to express my gratitude for everything in my life. I count myself an incredibly lucky individual. I am not a rich man, but I have a wonderful family, a good job and a cozy home, along with many other things I probably don’t deserve, too numerous to post here. I feel as though I am luckier than most, which brings me to the point. As soon as it was announced that pre-orders for the E-Cat home version could be placed, I took the opportunity to reserve four units. I PLEDGE that when I recieve my order, one of these units will go to a local homeless shelter. I believe that this act is in line with the ideology of clean and abundant energy for all. What is good for my brothers and sisters is good for me. If you feel the same way, make your own pledge. Post your intentions so that they may be seen, giving even more incentive for Mr. Rossi and his Team to see their good work through. Thank you in advance. I hope to see positive responses!

  • nammfats

    Just had an idea… is there any way to test the emitted IR for specific wavelengths? If the effect could be a type of IR fluorescence, looking at the wavelengths emitted may identify that possibility.

    • Robert Ellefson

      Bob Higgins is including an optical window into his reactor chamber, so that various sensors can be placed to detect photonic emissions. Photodiodes are available that span the whole IR spectrum, and then various other detectors can pick up other spectra. I don’t know what specific detectors he is planning to use at this point, but would be interested to know.

  • Alain Samoun

    I think that the formula is not NaAlH2 but NaAlH2(OCH2CH2OCH3)2
    It is an Hydride more stable,it doesn’t ignite in air or react with moisture, like NaAlH4 or LiAlH4

  • Gerard McEk

    I am not sure that leaving out the heating coil is a good idea. As you know LENR causes also EM fields at very high frequencies (THz level). The coils can initiate LENR by causing magnetic fields, but also damping LENR runaway when you ‘snubber’ the induced currents caused by the LENR effect and dissipate it in the coil. For that you need a low impedance coil. The used three phase coils in the Rossi reactor, connected in triangle, may have had the sole purpose to damp LENR runaway.

    • Sanjeev

      So are you using 3 phase coils in your experiment ? I’d love to see some pictures/videos etc. Perhaps you can start a new page about your experiment on the KB and post a link here.

      • Gerard McEk

        The project in which 4 University students may do the replication tests is in a very early stage. Monday 16th I have my first talks with the professor and the students. Then I will know if we will go ahead with it. I will probably not advice to use the three phase coils, but to use a capacitor over the single coil to short circuit currents induced by LENR with the purpose to damp it.

        • Sanjeev

          Great !

  • Bob Matulis

    What a great idea to use a tube furnace to control temp going in for both baseline and test reactors. If they are able to hold the hydrogen and maintain pressure any excess temperature will be a very convincing sign of LENR.

    • bachcole

      Yeah, very difficult to deny.

    • Sanjeev

      A tube furnace can be a very good test rig. One can test many powder samples at the same time. Even if only one of the sample is “active” it will show up on the meters on the furnace.
      It also has nice instruments built in already, to measure input power and temperatures etc and also some control of it.

    • Ted-X

      If you are running an experiment, my suggestion is to try a toroidal reactor, where the nickel would be the receiving coil, short circuited. Induction of the type of the welding apparatus will cause more controlled heating than convection heating. Of cause, AC current is a must, but you could consider the direction of the current pulses just in one direction.

  • builditnow

    Cool, a tube furnace could look something like the following diagram (the diagram, which hopefully will not disappear like it has in the past … Frank. It’s my diagram if that’s the concern.)

    • ecatworld

      Sorry, I can’t see the diagram — do you have a link to it that might work?

    • Sanjeev

      Try signing up for Disqus. Or use image hosts such as imgur etc.

    • builditnow

      Ok, let’s try a link to the tube furnace concept. Consider this an open source idea, free for all to use.
      (Thanks Frank for taking a look at the disappearing images)

  • US_Citizen71

    Sounds like they are looking for a fuel to patent.

    • Kevin O

      Well, this is bizarre. I’m able to respond on this thread but not onthe one I originally wanted to respond to Also, none of my keyboard entries show up until several seconds later.