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:
- 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.
- 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.