The following post has been submitted by Jamie Sibley
Carbon, The Secret Catalyst.
I theorize that there are two things needed for successful LENR fuel: Nickel powder with nanometer sized features and graphene.
1) By performing many, many cycles of oxidation and hydrogen reduction on micrometer sized nickel powder, nanometer sized cracks, fissures and prominences are formed. These nano-formations are they key to extreme hydrogen loading levels, and consequently, high hydrogen pressures.
2) By oxidizing carbon alongside the nickel, carbon monoxide and dioxide are formed, then when hydrogen is added, the nickel and iron, act as a catalyst to cause the carbon oxides to reduce and form graphene on the nickel surface.
3) since the nickel already has many nano-features, these are coated in graphene. When the reactor is subsequently ran at high temperatures, this graphene prevents the nano-features from sintering and being destroyed.
4) The nickel nano-features act as a large hydrogen reservoir, and when the pressure in the reactor is changed, hydrogen flows in and out of the nickel, but it has to pass through the graphene to do so. The hydrogen leaves the surface of the nickel particles under extreme pressure, due to being forced into the interatomic sites, and therefore, passes through the graphene in this highly compress state. The passage of hydrogen through graphene is the true trigger for nuclear reactions.
4) The lugano iron particles may have contained a notable percentage of sodium. The report did not draw a conclusion about the origin of the Sodium. This paper indicates that sodium can be added to iron catalysts to increase their effectiveness with carbon monoxide.
5) Potassium doping may be important.
6) Lithium may reduce the pressure needed for the dissolved hydrogen to become metallic.
Supportive Circumstantial Evidence for my theory:
1) Rossi was working with a biofuel company near the time of his discovery, and I remember some mention of him working with carbon monoxide and nickel. I suspect, that while performing many experimental cycles on a nickel catalyst with carbon, he inadvertently formed nano-features and graphene. The process of mixing hydrogen and carbon monoxide with a nickel catalyst is a normal industrial process.
2) Lugano reactor contains more carbon than would be expected from a carby-nickel produced powder. Possibly up to 6.6% by weight. I suspect that this carbon is actually only on the surface of the particles.
3) Replication difficulty could be explained by the exact steps needed for the features and graphene, and that some experiments, though their trial and error and long running times, are able to form small amounts of these features.
20 g Micrometer sized nickel powder
1.5 g Carbon
0.1 g Iron Oxide
0.1 g Sodium Carbonate
1) Heat fuel to a suitably high temperature ( 500C for example )
2) Repeat the following hundreds of times:
Vacuum to ~10 mb
wait 5-30 minutes
apply 300mb oxygen pressure
wait 5-30 minutes
apply 1000mb hydrogen pressure
wait 5-30 minutes
3) Load with hydrogen and look for excess heat.
The key step here is once the oxygen is added, that carbon oxide gases are formed and must not be released from the reactor until hydrogen has been added to form solid carbon compounds. Apply vacuum immediately after the oxidization step would remove the carbon gases and prevent the formation on graphene.
Using the above preparation process, the carbon maybe be deposited as both graphene and soot. However, upon subsequent cycles, the soot would be preferentially oxidized vs the graphene. After many iterations, this process will favor the formation of graphene over soot.
Graphene and atomic collapse.
Graphene causes nickel catalysts to be resistant to sintering