Lugano Fuel Analysis (Axil Axil)

The following post has been submitted by Axil Axil

A recent discussion with SLAD has forced me to look hard and anew at the Lugano report and arrive at a new perspective that will serve me well when I look at the ash analysis coming from MFMP. The analysis of the Lugano report has revealed that I have suffered from serious misconceptions about the fuel charge used in the Lugano reactor. And still there is much mystery in the understanding of that fuel and ash. I do not understand it but I love a good mystery.

My appeal for aid in understanding the particle analysis brought Bob Higgins to my aid. He knows the nature of the tests used on the ash and fuel well and also is a expert on the E-Cat nickel particles.

It starts with the sure fact that the commensally manufacture nickel particles are well mixed in the initial reactor fuel load. If the Lugano report is to be believed somehow, the 5 micron nickel particles contained in the fuel seemed to gather themselves together to form a 100 micron aggregation welded together through sintering and covered by a thin coat of lithium spread evenly on their collective surfaces with some aluminum alloy. How these particles could move themselves through a packed dust, some moving a long way to find each other is a mystery. What force could move these small particles, how do they know what direction to go in order to find the place of the meeting of the particles, and how do they swim through all the other particle types to get to where they are going? The fuel in the form of a very fine gray dust must be in siaie of constant motion more like a liquid then a solid to allow the nickel particles to swim to their gathering place.

In one part of the Lugano report in section 8. Fuel analysis it states: “The fuel contains natural nickel powder with a grain size of a few microns.” If this is true then nickel particle movement is required to produce a 100 micron particle. This movement is highly unlikely.

One item that flew complety over my head was that Figure 9 shows a large amount of lithium on the nickel particles IN THE FUEL. Rossi coated the nickel with lithium in the FUEL in a fuel preperation process. Replicators do not do this. They use untreated COTS nickel powder. Have the replicators all missed this?

What could Rossi be doing in the fuel preparation Process? A guess would be that he preheats COTS nickel powder with either lithium hydride or lithium aluminum hydride. This would coat the nickel particles in lithium and also might reduce the carbon surface content of the powder. This might get the nickel particles to weld together in the fuel mix forming clumps before the fuel is loaded in the reactor. Massive nickel Particle aggregation must be a result of some unknown fuel preparation process that allows the form large aggregates.

I provoked Bob Higgins, our most perceptive expert in nickel particle fabrication, to reread the Lugano report to answer some of the paradoxes that arise from the seeming perceived conflicts in it contents as follows:

“I spent some time re-analyzing the results of the Lugano report. Close examination of the SEM image of fuel particle 1 (mostly Ni) on page 43 indicates that the particle is unlike a carbonyl Ni starting material – it looks more like a Vale T255 powder that has been coated and agglomerated due to sintering. There is evidence of the filamentary T255 carbonyl structure in the SEM, but it looks like a composite particle. Further, the SEM image shows signs of another material being disposed on the surface area of the particle, similar to what I have seen when I dry-tumble mixed nanopowder onto the surface of carbonyl Ni powder.

Examining the EDS analysis of this particle on page 44, there is a clear peak for Al in the spectrum. The EDS is a small spot examination, so the Al peak appears to be on the surface of fuel particle 1, not a halo contamination from nearby LiAlH4. Further, the Al does not show in the EDS spectrum of particles 2 or 3 of the fuel, again indicating that the Al peak in particle 1 is not due to measurement halo and really is part of the surface of particle 1.

Al also shows in the EDS of the ash particle 1, the one that is predominantly Ni. Li will not show in EDS analysis because its x-ray peak is too low energy to be captured by the EDS sensor – so, Li could be present, but would not have been picked up.

In the SIMS analysis of the fuel particle (page 47), both Li and Al (mass 27) show. The SIMS analysis is for a 100×100 micron patch, so the Li and Al could have come from nearby LiAlH4; however, supporting evidence for the Li-Al being present on the fuel particle comes from the EDS which has a much smaller analysis area (probably less than 5 microns square) which showed evidence of Al. The SIMS analysis on page 48 after sputter cleaning still shows a reduced amount of Al on the surface at M/z=27. It is not clear why the Li peak in the SIMS analysis is so strong – it is from greater Li abundance in the ion analysis stream, but it is not clear whether that is from a greater propensity for Li to sputter from the incident Ga beam or if there is more Li on the surface.

My conclusion is that the Ni fuel particles have been thermo-chemically pre-processed. It may be that this is a particle that has been ground up from the ash of a previous reactor run. It appears to have started out as a Ni powder like filamentary carbonyl Vale T255 that has been heated to a temperature in the 300-700C range while mixed with the LiAlH4.

It is also interesting to note that in Alexander Parkhomov’s experiments, he mixes the LiAlH4 powder with his carbonyl Ni powder in a mortar and grinds the two together with a pestle. This has not been done in any of the MFMP replication attempts. Perhaps Parkhomov’s grinding/mixing is a partial substitute for Rossi’s pre-processing of the Ni powder with LiAlH4.”

It seems that most if not all of the Hot cat replicators have not picked up on all the fuel preparation processes that Rossi goes through. This might be the reason why it takes so long to get the fuel load in replications to the point of reaction light off. In a replication without preprocessing of the fuel, the small nickel particles may not be properly aggregated for the reaction to light off.

Axil Axil

  • Axil Axil

    The micrograph on page 44 lends substance to the speculation that neither the nickel powder nor the old fuel spike was subject to grinding. The process of grinding would have disassembled and fragmented the larger nickel particles, shown fracture cracks on the aluminum oxide particles, and showed some softening on the edges of the iron particle and abrasive marks on its surface. There seems to be a wide range of nickel particle sizes. This type of particle can be identified by their irregular shape being of a fuzzy nature. Most small particles seem to be fuzzy. So where is the lithium aluminum hydride particles. The Lugano report notes that the fuel was a very fine gray powder. I do see some non fuzzy particle types that fit that description but their percentage in numbers seems small compared to the fuzzy particle types.

    There seems to be a wide distribution of nickel particles sized from very small to 100 microns. Most of the fuel load seems to be made up of nickel particles with some garbage, but that garbage might be important. If grinding was not used as a method of mixing, how was the fuel mixed to produce a uniform fine grained gray powder?

    • Axil Axil

      A responce frm Bob Higgins as follows:

      First off, it is Parkhomov who ground his Ni powder and LiAlH4 in a mortar and pestle in preparation (observed by Bob Greenyer). We have no evidence that Rossi uses such a method.

      When MFMP ran its first Parkhomov-like experiment the temperature was increased to over 1000C, and was cooled quickly. The SEM of the resulting ash looked a lot like the Lugano ash. I got a sample of that ash and found it to be quite crumbly. So, here was Ni powder heated with LiAlH4 and the result was a crumbly physical agglomeration. I suspect that if I just took a wire screen sieve, I could just brush this bang! ash back and forth a little and it would crumble and go through the sieve. I don’t think grinding or ball milling would be needed to get it back to a powder-ish form.

      I will probably try this experimental means of fuel preparation. I can put the Ni + some amount of LiAlH4 in a crucible inside a controlled exhaust container in my furnace and run it up to about 700C. Then take out the resulting charge from the crucible and try to crumble it though a sieve.

      To the eye, even the 100 micron Ni particles would still have “looked” like a gray powder. There is no guarantee that there was any LiAlH4 added as part of Rossi’t fuel. In none of the tests would the hydrogen have showed – only the Li and the Al. And, from the detected Li and Al it was inferred that LiAlH4 was part of the fuel. However, it is possible that all of the Li and Al in the fuel may have been on the Ni to begin in the Rossi fuel (from Rossi’s pre-processing); and may never have existed in the Lugano reactor as LiAlH4.

  • Axil Axil

    The current E-Cat design probably uses a potassium compound to release potassium at about 750C, the intermediate E-Cat temperature range. There could be any number of chemicals used to implement potassium vapor release in the operating temperature range of the E-Cat.

    Lithium operates at temperatures over 1000C. This is the highest temperature produced in the E-Cat LENR reaction by the alkali metal family. The Rossi patents circa 2011 show many elements present under Z = 19.

    The chemical compound mix would need to be ground and mixed before the nickel powder was added.

  • Gerard McEk

    Axil, the idea that the fuel is ‘prepared’ is an excellent thought! Not only the nickel particles could have ben ‘sputtered’ (or whatever other process he has used) with other metals, he could also have kept the prepared pre-fuel a long time in a hydrogen atmosphere under (high) pressure after it having evacuated first. Loading of the nickel is probably the most important step for a successful LENR process.

  • Zack Iszard

    My take on agglomeration of metal micro-particles is that it’s quite natural. The mere act of pouring the fuel powder would impart enough static charge separation that particles would agglomerate until static had discharged by conduction. Once sitting next to each other, sintering with heat is expected.

    Microparticles (nanoparticles especially) are much freer to move than larger particles. Unless truly packed tightly into the cylinder, hydrogen gas pressure waves during warming would constitute another means to agglomerate micro-particles. There ought to be a size distribution in these agglomerates related to the rate balance between sticking together and flying apart during “active” (movement) conditions.

    My experience with very small particulate is that keeping them from agglomerating is actually quite hard, be they metallic or polymeric.

    • Nigel Appleton

      I can heartily endorse this about problems in keeping small particles from agglomerating! The bane of my life for many a year.

  • Nicholas Cafarelli

    Axil: You use the phrase “packed dust”. What evidence is there to support the idea that Rossi tamps/packs/compresses fuel?

    • Axil Axil

      None, the fuel and ash were poured in and out. No packing.

  • Ian Walker

    Hi all

    I hope that now MFMP and other replicators will consider doping their fuel with seeds of fuel from those reactors that failed by reactor explosion.

    Kind Regards walker

  • Axil Axil

    I looked at The report again. Figure 3 deals with FUEL. The picture in figure 3 shows FUEL particles. There is a 100 micron fuel particle in the fuel and also a huge iron particle also. The aggregation of the nickel happens in the preprocessing process. The testers wuld have selected like size particles between the fuel and the ash to ensure that the resolution of the test processes were the same: 100X100 microns.

    Particle 2 is aluminum oxide and is assumed to be some contamination from a high temperature sealer. But that is a fuel particle, so the chances are excellent that the fuel came from a previous reactor run where particle two was a part of the sealer that was broken from that previous reactor run.

    The iron particle mighr well be garbage from the previous preprocessing reactor run.

    Maybe what Rossi learned from the Lugano test is that using old fuel ash is great for his reaction.

    • GreenWin

      The Lugano Report ash analysis shows depletion of Ni58, Ni60 isotopes and an abundance of Ni62 – isotope with the highest binding energy per nucleon of any known nuclide (8.7945 MeV). The cosmic mechanism for production of Ni58 is neutron capture in supernovae. The possible addition of Li (per Axil) to the Ni fuel in pre-treatment, suggests a chemonuclear process similar to Ikegami’s ultradense fusion in liquid Li. This may be an extremely damped version of supernovae “burn” due to the relative low Li7 fuel content.

      Somewhere in stellar-type reactions we should find the mechanism for the missing ~50% energy as noted by Mike McKubre in his Lugano Report analysis.

  • Omega Z

    My 1st clue that Rossi had to pre-process the fuel was from Rossi stating such. Also according to a post on Cobraf by Cures long ago was that Rossi had to go to the U.S. to obtain his fuel.(That is where it was processed).
    Obviously, If it were just Nickel(Or lithium), there were local suppliers in Italy. But Rossi always went to the states to process his fuel… This is just a small overlooked detail that likely has Much importance.

    • US_Citizen71

      Could it be to obtain Lithium that is near pure Li7 since TPTB like to deplete the Lithium that is available here of Li6?

  • AlainCo

    the idea to use mortar like A Parkhomov is interesting for replications. This is the kind of details that is important in material science.

  • Ian Walker
  • Mats002

    We have discussed this before with the analogy of baking a cake. First phase is about co-deposition of LiAl onto Ni, and loading of H into the lattice of Ni. Then consume the cake by balancing the temp within the right range, possibly also some EM stimulation needed by chopping input power. Thanks for sharing your insights at the deeper level, I very much appreciate it! I hope to see a conclusive live experiment with XH and good-enough exemplet of control soon 🙂

  • builditnow

    Preprocessing of the fuel could be a good possibility. For instance, the fuel could also be preloaded with hydrogen. This preloading could be done at lowish temperatures and high hydrogen pressures over enough time to fully load the nickel. A guess is that the lithium treatment would be done first. Fuel preprocessing could be a multi step process.
    After all, why not preload the fuel with hydrogen regardless?
    What would be the ideal temperature, pressure and time?

  • Ian Walker

    Hi all

    Axel re-read up on chaos theory particularly strange attractors and self-organizing systems. This may give you some of the answers but as I have said on several occasions I think Rossi cheats by doping his fuel with pre reacted fuel to act as a seeds to speed up the initiation of the reaction, by analogy it is similar to starting a fire with some charcoal mixed in.

    Kind Regards walker