The Case for Tungsten (Axil Axil)

This post was submitted by Axil Axil

Because of licensing requirements and regulation, any product using the LENR reaction will require radiation shielding against X-rays and Gamma radiation need it or not.

It is elegant from an engineering standpoint to kill two birds with one stone by using tungsten as the stuctual material in your reactor core.

This dense element is so hydrogen leakage resentant that it might be terms hydrogen leak proof. It is extremely strong and will resist LENR reaction blast and burn up conditions.

Since radiation shielding will be required anyway, get rid of the lead and use tungsten instead.

The denser the material, the better able it is to protect from radiation. That is why heavy elements absorb X-rays and gamma radiation particularly well. Lead is still the most frequently used shielding material. Because it is a very soft material, it is mostly used only in combination with support structures made of steel.

Tungsten alone can replace a combination of structural materials in your reactor comprising alumina, lead, and stainless steel.

Lead is a toxic material that is harmful to the environment and humans. The onerous recycling process makes lead expensive despite the low initial procurement costs. Many enterprises are therefore looking for a suitable alternative for providing reliable radiation protection.

Compared to traditional radiation shielding materials, tungsten alloys provide excellent value. A high-density alloy can provide the same energy absorption as lead using 1/3 less material! Unlike lead, you’ll also reduce administration costs by eliminating the need to obtain special licensing—it’s not required.

Currently in  industry that uses nuclear material, tungsten alloys are used for radioactive source containers, gamma radiography, shields, and source holders for oil-well, logging, and industrial instrumentation. High-density alloys also serve as collimators and radiation shielding in cancer therapy, as well as syringe protection for radioactive injections. Unlike Lead, tungsten alloys performs  even under extreme, high-heat conditions in LENR based applications.

Tungsten heavy alloy has high absorption rate on X rays and gamma rays. Tungsten is 60% better than lead in shielding against X rays and gamma radiation therefore; therefore the multi-material layered structure of your reactor core can be significantly reduced in size.

In your experimentation, even at a very early stage, it is wise to use tungsten to gain experience in its behavior in the core of your reactor since any commercialism product that you will develop will require top of the line radiation shielding.


  • Axil Axil

    I have noticed recently that progress in science theory is extremely slow. It takes decades for an idea in science to catch fire. The Higgs field is an example. It took half a century for that idea to become main stream. The ideas in LENR will take yet longer. Rossi is right, to make an immediate impact on the general thinking processes in people, we must produce a wizbang product that people must have. And the more types of these products, the more the pressure will mount to understand and accept LENR as a way of life.
    LENR reactor design must be directed toward product development even if that design is open source. If we want LENR to penetrate the thick heads of people before we are all dead and buried, we need to get a great product on the street as fast as possible.

    • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

      Absolutely agree.

  • Axil Axil

    Thanks, I need feedback to perfect my communication of ideas. Don’t let anything you don’t understand get by any post writer.

  • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

    Something you didn’t mention is price, the price of tungsten is not that high though, currently $35USD/kg. The main issue might be manufacturing of e-cat reactors though. without a CNC machine or similar, it makes a much harder to manufacture device, at least for experimentalists. Once we get a reliable reactor design sorted out (parkhomov or MFMP) those with the means to make one out of tungsten should get onto it ASAP.

    • builditnow

      What about using induction heating. Would it work on tungsten?

      • Axil Axil

        induction heating. of tungsten bar.

        • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

          This seems good lol. Although, 35kw is a lot of power, we want something like half a kilowatt, so it would heat much slower.

          • Andreas Moraitis

            There is perhaps a much simpler solution. Put the reactor vessel into a kiln to heat it up. Calorimetry could be done by monitoring the electric input of the kiln that is necessary to keep the preset temperature, in comparison to a blank run.

          • Axil Axil

            Gamma is produced when the LENR reaction is started quickly from a cold condition. If the function that the reactor requires frequent startups from a very cold reactor, then gamma will be produced. In a reactor that is self sustaining, we want to startup the reactor from a cold condition to save on external power requirements.
            For example, in a car, our external battery cannot be sized to heat a reactor to 1057C over four hours. Such a battery would be huge. The tradeoff is to use gamma shielding structural material to support rapid cold reactor startup. Details, details, details…

          • Axil Axil

            Furthermore, a car LENR power plant should be designed to keep the thermal mass of the plant to a minimum. A 100kilowatt reactor based on Rossi design would require 10 units each including the mass of a thermal ceramic shield and a stainless steel shell.

            The design goal for a tungsten reactor is to provide one unit with a thermal mass that only includes the mass of the tungsten used.

            Such a reduced mass tungsten power plant would result in better road handling, smaller tires, less support structure, smaller battery,… etc.

      • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

        YES, this would work well, provided that the efficiency losses are not too high. Tungsten has a (relatively) high electrical resistivity, meaning that induction works well []. Resistivity also increases as it becomes hotter, so… bonus.

    • Obvious

      China has a virtual monopoly on tungsten production. The price could escalate dramatically if it does turn out to be a best solution for widespread reactor use. This may be good for domestic miners of W, though, since a higher price may make domestic sources competitive, if Chinese supply can’t keep up with the increased demand.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    Or use tungsten as the fuel. Last year I was wondering how much energy (in tons of TNT) would be created in the Mitsubishi transmutation of tungsten (W) to platinum (Pt) if you wanted to make one troy oz of platinum from tungsten.
    If I did the calculation correctly (a big if), it would be157 tons of TNT.

    • Nicholas Chandler-Yates

      Likely Nickel, Palladium, and Platinum work for a reason, remember that they are in the same column in the periodic table (platinum group), and as a result have very similar lattice structures and electron interactions. I suspect that these elements are the best candidates for LENR for now.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    “Fusion reactor wall manages unexpected shielding against extreme heat loads,”(tungsten shielding)

  • Obvious

    I have performed a number of experiments in gamma shielding. Most materials are poor if the gammas are energetic, unless you use a lot of it. Lead barely works unless it is very thick for gammas from NORMs like elemental uranium or thorium. Without knowing the gamma energy levels, guessing with shielding is simply guessing at effectiveness, and may just give a false confidence of safety. Tungsten does work better than most things: density is good. Thickness is as important as density, if you can manage it. Tungsten or lead alternating with thicker aluminum layers is a decent mix of thick and dense that works reasonably well. Water is good, so a metal shield with air gaps that can be filled with water (so it can be transported easily, when empty) is also a decent solution for personal safety in many cases. Water layers are pain for commercial device, however, and not good for high heat unless connected to a cooling system.
    EDIT: Distance from the source is the best bet.

    • Axil Axil

      I judge that the most favorable feature that tungsten has over other LENR core structural material in it ability to hold hydrogen pressure for longer periods of time. Next, is its high temperature strength. A tungsten core can run hotter than just about any other material without losing much strength.

      Anon2012_2014 is right, radiation shielding is not important, except as a political assurance of added though unnecessary safety margin..

      • Obvious

        An experiment definitively showing radiation caused by a chemoelectrical or thermal energy, explicitly unlike typical electron braking (bremsstrahlung) and resultant expulsion and replacement of K and L band electrons like used for XRF studies would prove LENR beyond a doubt. Neutron emission is much nastier, harder for the average person to measure or identify, (because neutron counters are not readily available, without getting unwanted attention from authorities unless one is affiliated with some sort of nuclear laboratory or similar), but would be the ideal proof of the nuclear in LENR. These sort of results seem to be hidden by those that have managed them (anecdotally at least). This seems to imply that these radiations are incredibly rare: we have no dead grad students, or harmfully radiated researchers, as far as I know. So shielding does seem to a more conversational, rather than real, issue. 50 to 100 keV gammas are what Rossi has mentioned once. These are not hard to shield. If they are truly gamma emissions, then they are atomic emissions, rather than electron band photon emissions, limiting the potential causes and theories. If they exist at all. If they have been measured, then they should be able to be caused, but then almost no containment is necessary to see them with appropriate detectors, because they are easily shieldable.

  • Mike Ivanov

    There is no licensing or regulations for LENR devices as far as I know. Tungsten is expensive and hard to process.

    • Axil Axil
      The price unit is MTU of 7.43 kilograms. The cost of tungsten varies widely. The chart says tungsten’s maximum cost is about $50 per kilogram. But you cannot have just a alumina reactor, It must be encased and supported in a stainless steel shell.

      A tungsten alloy with some nickel improves workability.

      The price on stainless steel is $7 per kilogram but the alumina tubes must cost far more than tungsten per kilogram.

      For comparison, Nickel cost about $15 per Kilogram.

      A tungsten reactor would be dumb with no computer controls, that would save a lot of cost.

      The determination of cost of materials in a design of a reactor is a complex issue.

      • Axil Axil

        “Since the Lugano and Ferrara tests worked without strong containment, I urge people to avoid strong containment vessels, unless a compelling requirement for them emerges.”

        Why do you think that Rossi gave the testers spare reactors…just like in the experiments of the Russian, these reactors explode all the time. Only by luck do you get the unit to function correctly.

        • Axil Axil

          MFMP documents gamms from LENR.

          By Francesco Celani

          [New Energy Times received the following first-person report from Francesco Celani, a physicist with the Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, INFN (National Institute of Nuclear Physics). His report has been edited for clarity.]

          On Jan. 14, I attended the demonstration of Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi’s experiment.

          I brought my own gamma detector, a battery-operated 1.25″ NaI(Tl) with an energy range=25keV-2000keV. I measured some increase of counts near the reactor (about 50-100%) during operation, in an erratic (unstable) way, with respect to background.

          I decided to change the gamma detector from “counts” to “spectra” mode. After a few minutes, Rossi realized that I was trying to identify something secret inside the reactor. I was forced to stop the measurements.

  • Axil Axil

    Rossi’s design includes a shipping container, miles of copper bus cables, miles of copper water pipe, a ceramic heat shield in each of 100 reactor subunits, hundreds of computers, support electronics, and three people to operate the reactor complex. And the reactor does not generate electric power…it just produces steam.
    Trade that off against a hot pressed tungsten heat pipe.

  • Axil Axil

    Rossi’s current reactor design is a Rube Goldberg Machine. In engineering, KISS is the rule. keep it simple. The best route to a functional LENR reactor is the fuel cell technology that uses ions to produce electricity directly from the LENR reaction through the use of ionic membranes.

    Tungsten heat pipe technology is commercial off the shelf (COTS) design and is a direct fit with fuel cell technology.

    • bachcole

      Although a slight exaggeration, I like your comparing Rossi’s current reactor design to a Rube Goldberg Machine. I think that the problem may be that there is something about the reaction that requires it to take place in a certain sized container. Remember that this phenomena is new to the human race. Hopefully someone will figure out a way to do the reaction in larger containers.

      • Axil Axil

        I think that the parameter that limits the reactor size is the speed that heat can be removed by convection from the reactor. If heat could be removed 10,000 faster, the reactor could be 10,000 time bigger.

        A heat pipe design can remove megawatts of heat almost instantly.

  • Axil Axil

    Details, details… A cold reactor will produce gamma. Rossi and the Russian require at least 4 hours to heat up their reactors before the reaction starts. If you want to put a LENR reactor in a car or a house, you cannot take 4 hours to warm the reaction up before you can use it. When Rossi did a cold reactor startup, he got 250,000 counts from a gamma radiation detector. Rossi says that he has produced positron/electron based gamma.

    Not having radiation protection means at least a 4 hour startup or shutdown delay before and after use. This is only acceptable for industrial steam heat. Why do you think Rossi is producing a industrial product first?

  • Obvious

    IMO, the alumina is not simply the vessel for the reaction, it is a critical working part in the reaction.

    • Axil Axil

      In the first reactors that Rossi produced he used copper pipe, then latter he used stainless steel.

      • Obvious

        Copper and stainless steel are next to useless at containing hot H gas. Rossi must have known that right from the beginning. These were the low temp cats, because they had to be. They certainly wouldn’t last long, especially with a poor control system. Later hot units all use ceramics of some sort. Not only do they last longer, they withstand the heat, hold the gas, and get much hotter. For all we know, there could have been alumina in the fuel compartment of the metal enclosures in early devices, perhaps as powder. ( the secret catalyst?)
        Edit: ceramic coatings on steel can reduce H permeability by several orders of magnitude. Perhaps while attempting to use this, Rossi had his Hot Cat breakthrough, since it might have serendipitously improved the overall reaction.

        • Axil Axil

          The early Rossi design used bottled hydrogen gas so gas leakage was not a problem. But this does say that the material used for gas containment is not important in the function of the LENR reaction.

          • Obvious

            My preliminary investigations suggest that alumina prevents H leakage by catalytically returning atomic H back into H2′ which then becomes large enough that it cannot penetrate the pore spaces in the alumina easily. This is of course in materials designed to prevent H leakage.

          • Axil Axil

            To test your theory, a non porous material like tungsten should be used in an experiment to contain the hydrogen to see if H to H2 to H transitions impact the reaction.

          • Obvious

            It would likely be an interesting set of experiments. Shades of Langmuir.
            In general, metals tend to assist the disassociation of H2, but oxides tend to do the reverse. There are notable exceptions, though. I can see that it should possible to promote H disassociation within the reactor cavity, and recombination in the reactor walls, with the right mix of ingredients. This should improve the reaction rate, and maintain H containment if done with a certain level of finesse.

          • Axil Axil

            Did you see this


            Hot electrons do the impossible in catalytic chemistry

          • Obvious

            Certainly hairy surfaces promote reactions in a multiude of ways, including, but not limited to, strong “point” charges, charge gradients, thermal gradients, greater surface areas, greater chances of local lattice defects, etc. Keeping the surface hairy after multiple reactions is important if these structures are neccesary for the reactions to proceed. Either these hairs must be very strong, or regenerated continuously.

          • Axil Axil

            From the Lugano report, the hairs or tubercles on the nickel micro particles were in tacked after 31 days of operation.

            The hairs made of tungsten will be extremely strong compared to any other material.

          • Obvious

            The MFMP tests seem to show that a porous sinter is developed. This is consistent with some other tests I found on the Internet not related to LENR. I wonder if the Lugano powder came out as powder, or if was powdered somehow in order to obtain grains for ash testing. If the Lugano ash came out as powder then something different is happening with the MFMP reaction. Perhaps the sinter breaks apart in a successful reaction. I will have to have another look at the Parkhomov photos. I though he had a sintered lump also.

          • Axil Axil

            The Lugano repost states on page 6

            “Bianchini evaluated the possible presence of alpha, beta and gamma radiation by applying his instruments directly to the powder that was subsequently inserted into the reactor. The same operation was repeated after the end of the test on the powder extracted from the reactor”

            At the end of the test, the ash was extracted as a powder.

            On page 8

            “After cooling, the E-Cat was again opened by breaking one of the caps, and the powder was collected and put in a test tube.”

            On page 28

            “The ash has a different texture than the powder-like fuel by having grains of different sizes, probably developed from the heat”

          • Obvious


          • US_Citizen71

            Sounds like the Lugano Reactor had a larger void and the powder was disbursed evenly around that void, so it couldn’t sinter into a lump just a coarser powder. I think the MFMP boom reactor was packed too tight.

        • Axil Axil

          Coating a metal with ceramic cost money that need not be spent if tungsten is used.

          You can coat tungsten with tungsten carbide (WC) by using carbon based heat paint on it and heating it to 600C. Cheap.

          • Obvious

            Probably wash coats of alumina could be deposited similarly.

          • Axil Axil

            Wash coat on what metal? The chemistry of the coating reaction depends on many things. These details are important. If you are interested in a design choice based on reality, research the process to support your argument.

            I guess you support alumina coating on stainless steel? Is the coefficient of expansion the same for alumina and stainless,? I don’t believe that it is. This will result in either distortion of the metal or flaking of the coating. Also, the coating process must be tested over many heating cycles. That costs money.

          • Obvious

            The expansion coefficient problem is an important one, which can be modified by dopants. This is already a semi-mature technology. It does introduce probably too many extra elements with unknown effects to the problem if being used for LENR experiments.
            I intend to continue with solid state electrolyte research, followed by some experiments that might show some promise of utilizable results. If I am lucky, there may be some success that could be applied to battery technology, if not CF problems.
            Everything costs money. But there are grants available for battery research. Knowing how to ask is almost as important as knowing what to ask sometimes.

  • Axil Axil

    Gamma radiation emmissions stoped when Rossi added a secondary heater to his design to preheat the reactor at startup. I am sure that a cold reactor will produce gammas. The experiments of Piantelli also show gamma production from cold nickel bars.


    Evidence of electromagnetic radiation from Ni-H Systems

    • Robert Ellefson

      So, in other words, you are saying that Rossi found a way to *avoid* emissions through a re-design of his reactor? My point exactly.

      • Axil Axil

        My point is that this design change makes the design untenable in a situation where frequent startups and shutdowns are required in many applications like home and especially car power plant use.

  • Obvious

    Much like pure research, you never what side benefits might develop from conversations. Sometimes a subject sparks a smouldering germ of an idea, which leads to new ideas, or new ways of looking at things. I don’t always agree with Axil, but I do value his input regardless.

  • Omega Z

    I note in many posts, a concern about the cost of using Tungsten.
    Do you want to save a few dollars or be safe from radiation exposure. The Bottom line is it takes what it takes. Is your health & possibly your life worth saving a few dollars.

    Rossi has mentioned the use of Tungsten on a few occasions in his responses on JONP. Don’t bother looking. Those mentions have been expunged from JONP. I know. I’ve looked with the intent of taking screen shots. They are no longer there.

    Should you recall, There was a lot of discussion & analysis of the Flanged Hot cat internal images on Cobraf after the 1st TIP report. Those images shown a very thin outer shell around the stainless steel reactor & many thought that it may be tungsten.

    Having had much experience working with metal fabrications & assembly, I completely concur with their speculations that there was in fact an outer shell. But, Without hands on, I can’t say whether it was tungsten or not. The tungsten speculation was based on color & as many who follow know, color images can be deceptive. Much more so having the metal just been cut.

    Rossi has been steadfast that No nuclear materials are used & that No nuclear waste are created. He has also stated on multiple occasions that certain radiations are present internally during the process(Rossi Effect), tho at a very low level & these are thermalized & no longer present within (about 10?)minutes after the reactor is turned off.

    He has mentioned Gamma, Beta & 1 or 2 others, tho without any clarification & IMO these may vary according to the specific technic employed. Or not.

    Even tho these radiations may be low level & present little danger in short periods, If I were Rossi & working around this everyday for extended periods of time, or installed in my home 24/7, I would use some type of shielding. Even at low levels, they can have an accumulative effect.

    NOTE: It is best to error on the side of caution. This can always be “undone”. Tragic side effects & death can not.

  • Omega Z

    Rossi has stated many times & still that low level radiation is present throughout the Rossi effect & that it continues for a short period of time after the device is turned off. Some minutes…

    It is better to error on the side of precaution. It excess precaution can be undone once we better understand the process. Unknown side effects can’t. The harm can be permanent. I can also see that it would only take a few accidents where people are seriously hurt before the Government would step in. Where research in this field would be banned outside of Government sanctioned laboratories.

    As to building stronger reactors, we know that Rossi sent spare parts to Lugano. We have learned since then that those spare parts were actually additional reactors. And this was in allowance that “Rossi” would be the one starting them up. From this you can conclude that the Rossi reactor also experiences catastrophic failure just as MFMP’s dog bone.

    It is My Opinion that these Alumina reactors that Rossi uses are strictly for R&D. Cheap 1 time use & disposable. I’m imagining that the steel flanged Hot-cat that melted down is quite expensive if this happens very often in the R&D stage. Note the (Off the Shelf)DIN flanges on the original steel Hot-cat likely costs more then these alumina reactors. $30-$40 each… Those could be salvaged but little else.

    I imagine the final product will be similar to the original steel Hot-cat once the R&D is completed enough to produce a marketable product.

    • Obvious

      Of course we are mostly guessing, but my suspicion is that something similar to the Lugano device is inserted into one of those steel housings, and the housing is the heat transfer media to the fluid to be heated. The device then is insulated from a severe thermal gradient, and if it melts down, the parts stay contained. This keeps the detritus from entering the fluid system, which undoubtably would be very problematic for many reasons. The large ends of the Lugano dog bone are likely the centering and support structures for the device within its container. Probably a nested cylinder is inside the flanged, larger cylinder, which would allow complete removal of the device, or broken parts should a failure occur, in one operation, without impacting the fluid seals. This design also allows intimate monitoring of each device, irrespective of the outer fluid and adjacent reactor temperatures.