Tom Conover Reports on E-Cat Replication Efforts

Tom Conover today on the Journal of Nuclear Physics, in a comment to Andrea Rossi, made an interesting report on some testing in efforts to replicate the E-Cat effect. His full comment can be found here; below is the section that pertains specifically to his tests.

“During the last 16 months I have built about 200 test reactors and used the Arduino computer as the control system to run tests on many of the test reactors that I constructed. I use 26 ga nichrome with alumina tubing from Coorstek Alumina AD-998 tubing to hold the reactors, I spool the coil using a lathe and carefully screw the tubing gently into the coil to build the heater for the system. Next I mix a small amount of alumina paste using powdered alumina, and coat the coil with the paste. Finally I insert the alumina heating tube into another alumina (or sometimes Mullite) tube to shield the nichrome wire from atmospheric corrosion and burn out, making certain the the heating coil fits snug into the sheath to insure long life of the system.

“I load the fuel mixture into a titanium or stainless steel tube, and my engineer friend (who does lots of work for the infamous medical company Medtronics) laser welds plugs to seal the tube. I have had about six sessions that my buddy witnessed results from my projects, and the very first one resulted in a temperature that my friend stated was likely to have been 3000 to 4000 F in temperature at the end, and melted down. (Many, many, many of my reactors have self destructed, but always safely and always in a thermal control box that I do the test in that is lined with firebrick for safety. ) I use a mask, gloves, and safety glasses when I mix the fuel, and always read an follow instructions on the material safety data sheet (msds).

“I have tested about 50 mixtures of fuel, many of which achieved temperatures that destroyed the very high quality Alumina that I use, specifications for max temperature shown below, with computer controlled temperatures that never exceeded 1250° C, but the 1750° C alumina still melted. Hmmm … Several of the reactor tubes during autopsy also displayed a thin layer of copper near the burn out area, which my engineer buddy opined were possibly atomic changes due to the type of experiment we performed.”

There are some interesting things reported here; burnouts like Tom reports here have been reported by other people attempting to replicate E-Cat-type reactors. Later Tom asks Rossi whether he should experiment with enriching the fuel with CAS Number: 17409-87-9 Lithium-7Li fluoride. Rossi did not respond with a yes or no answer, but simply said, “Thank you and congratulations.”

I hope Tom will continue to report on his testing results, as replication efforts are probably the most important activities going on to confirm the validity of the Rossi Effect.

  • hunfgerh

    The key to understanding the effects is in the phase diagrams of the mixtures

    • hunfgerh

      To explain and illustrate the predicted:
      following examples. Taking an iron wire (mp. 1535 oC) by a molten tin (235 oC)
      separates tin on the surface of the iron. Taking other hand, a palladium wire
      mp. (1552 oC) by a lithium melt (180 oC) dissolves the palladium wire in the
      melt. The explaination gives the following phase diagram

      • Warthog

        If he is replicating Rossi, he would probably be using nickel and not palladium. I do wish that at least some researchers would try a “dry” (non-electrolytic) Pd/D2 reactor substrate, though.

        • hunfgerh

          Yes next to the price, it is precisely the reason why rossi used instead of palladium nickel.

          • Warthog

            The one thing known about palladium that, IMO, makes it a superior choice over nickel for experimental work is that “whatever” triggers the fusion effect can be initiated at room temperature. This reduces the stringency of temperature resistance requirements for apparatus (note..I used to design and do experiments with carbon furnaces for atomic absorption measurement, which involves temps up to 2800+C). George Miley found that his zirconium oxide supported palladium substrate would self-initiate at room temperature.

          • hunfgerh

            My comments are always to be viewed in the context of my theoretical and practical work on nano-scaled superconductor
            I gave here. Nano-scaled superconductors are the practical basis for the electron- / neutron capture in cold fusion. Possibilities for the production have described often here. A summary
            last in


            A discussion is meaningful only in the context of the here described theoretical and practical results. Here, lessons learned, I am happy to pass on my colleagues. So in the present case.

          • Warthog

            I’m afraid I don’t pay much attention to short or long discussions of theory.

            My concern is repeatable/replicable experimental methods. IMO, the most likely candidate for replicability is likely to be a non-electrolytic Pd/D2 system operated at moderate temperatures (which I define as 200-1000C). I also think it likely that the most suitable Pd/D2 variety is a solid powder made by grinding electrodeposited Pd/D.

            Once you get above 1000C, experimental difficulties multiply hugely just due to materials failing simply due to the high temperatures.

            Unfortunately, the case seems to be that nickel systems require temps >1000C just to get started.

  • Gerard McEk

    A question to Tom: Have you taken precautions to avoid short circuiting between the heater coils and the temperature sensor to earth when the alumina starts to conduct electricity at high temperatures?

    • wizkid

      Yes. The sensor is isolated from the alumina.

      • Mats002

        Hi Tom,
        Good to know that you have been here at ECW for a long time.
        Having runaways should be a first sign of the Cat effect, Cat eat mice that give COP 1.2-ish. Mice is slow neutrons or H- or deuterides or… many theories about that but whatever it is, it radiates/shoot into Li to make the Cat-effect and that is the strong effect that can give a runaway.

        a) Do you share this description or have other interpretations of your experiments?
        b) What is your idea how to moderate the runaway? Which parameter(s) can throttle/feedback signals be?

        • wizkid

          I just ordered some Li7 flouride to see if this makes the device more controllable. I haven’t run any experiments for about 5 months. I am very satisfied with my fuel cell containment system, controller and software programs, temperature probes, and power measurement methods. So far, I am not getting predictable LENR events except @ 1150-1200 C. The reactor with very strong protection against oxidation by using two alumina tubes, the inner one holds the stainless steel fuel cell and the outer tubes ID is perfectly matched to the inner tube diameter with only just right amount of space to hold the coil. I want to get LENR at between 300 C and 1000 C, to avoid the runaway issues at over 1100 C. I would be very nice to just run @ 800 C for a week or two to collect a sample of data from. Thank you for your inquiry.

      • Gerard McEk

        Good, thanks Tom, so the runaways did mostly not occur near to the thermocouple, as you clearly also stated (you never measured high temperatures). Are you in contact with Bob Greenyer (MFMP)? They may advice you how to avoid runaway.

  • Mats002

    I’d like to pass on two things that relate to this experiment:

    1. Me356 reported that Lithium should be in contact with Nickel or in “a direct visibility”, see second post from Me356 that got 10 likes.

    2. Zephir_AWT reported that Lithium must be in a very narrow temp window, just above melting to be reactive, see his 7:th post down on that page.

    If those reports are a combination for success, then it seems feasible to put the extra Li some visible distance from the fuel and control it’s temp separatly. What I do not understand is that the strong effect would probably push Li temp much above the narrow temp window, maybe evaporate the extra Li and causing the strong effect to stop. On the other hand it might work iterative when temp go down again after the ‘explosion’.

    Right or wrong I do not know, just want to share those thoughts.

    • Zephir

      /* Zephir_AWT reported that Lithium must be in a very narrow temp window */

      Being more exact, this applies only to molten bulk lithium, which maintains semicrystalline layer at surface just few dozen degrees above melting point. At the case of lithium absorbed on already crystalline substrate like the nickel this temperature can be indeed higher, at the case of lithium soaked into pores of such surface even higher due to strong cohesion and limited miscibility of both metals. It may be possible, that the formation of solid solute of lithium with surface layer of nickel is the key factor at high temperatures.

  • Roland

    And if the dogbones only run at COP>3 if you get the EMF right…?

  • Andy Kumar

    I have always been skeptical. It is just too good to be true. In the beginning, I had thought, because of Focardi’s involvement, that at best Rossi may have some low level LENR. But only heat and no other nuclear signature is just too incredible.
    And all these replicators never seem to be able to tame the beast. Even evidence of uncontrolled reaction will be worth a Nobel. Why are they not lining up for the fame.

    • roseland67

      You’re not alone

    • Job001

      It isn’t too good to be true. This is the nuclear nature of the universe. That said, it is difficult to analyze, engineer and control highly exothermic processes.
      Hot fusion in 75 years has ZERO net heat yield and near ZERO chance of getting economic results before cheap RE(Renewable energy) makes Hot fusion obsolete.
      Cold fusion has many reported yields above 6 to one and uncontrolled reactor results above 100 to one since 1989 or in 27 years. Patent activities began seriously within the last 5 years with Engineering, manufacturing, and marketing considerations now seriously underway. Cold fusion has had about 500% better, faster, cheaper progress from my perspective.
      That said, energy is getting progressively cheaper with efficient use(like LED’s), solar, wind, storage, geothermal, nuclear(Now MSR Gen IV), and biological on fabulous learning curves guaranteeing future cheap energy.

      Personally, I do not care which horses win the race. Unequivocally, I can say we shall have progressively cheap energy, less than $0.03/KwHr is the latest solar cheapest designs with wind down in this range also. The learning curves do not show any signs yet of slowing down either and thus we can expect another 20 years of improvements.
      Consequently, cold fusion and Hydrino boys, get off your rumps and GET THIS DONE or forget about it.

    • Warthog

      Every other “nuclear signature” HAS been seen in LENR, just at levels much too low to account for the amount of heat evolved. The main pathway (WHATEVER it turns out to be) yields He4. NONE of this data comes from “Rossi” sources, but comes from Pd/D work. Read Melvin Miles paper(s), or watch the video by Ruby Carat.

  • Hank Mills

    The boiling point of LiF is 1,676 °C (3,049 °F; 1,949 K) which makes it very difficult to vaporize at temperatures obtainable in typical setup (1300C or less). Ordinary Li has a boiling point of 1330C which is somewhat more obtainable especially if the hydrogen pressure in the reactor is reduced to allow the lithium to vaporize at a lower temperature.

    • Mats002

      Hi Hank,

      For the record: Experiments do get reduced hydrogen pressure, MFMP manage pressure by a valve and pressure meter.

      Parkhomov got 0.5 bar as a minimum at 1150 C:

      If the phase of Li is a critical parameter it makes sense to push the melting point to the sweetspot of reaction using alloys.

      It is hard to get all parameters right at the same time, better if each parameter can be controlled separatly, ie control Li temp separate from NiH temp cycling.

      EMF is probably also a parameter still to be defined.

  • Rene

    Well, if Rossi discloses the novel fuel and method process before patenting it, he kills his chance at a patent. Remember, he is going the route of IP. Like it or not, that’s his rightful choice.

  • Roland

    Me356 is now in the grip of the same dilemma, granting his self reported results are reasonably accurate, and has apparently come to the same conclusion.

  • Chapman


    I am nobody – I don’t claim to be. My opinion is of little worth beyond the limits of my own private universe…

    BUT, I just reviewed the full exchange you have had with Rossi on JONP.


    I do not know who you are, but I am impressed, and inspired. I loved your specific text reference, and so did Rossi, Obviously. I had not scanned over there recently, as I have been distracted and spending my little free time here instead, and I had no idea what I had missed! I am so glad you brought a reference to it here.

    You have inspired me to read the full source of your quote this evening. That’s why I thought I would mention it. Just to let you know… 🙂

  • Mats002

    In the scenario that Rossi is not a fraudster and telling the truth then I agree with Chapman below that the “mouse” effect is the big mystery. Cat should be known physics.

    Is this a description of the mouse effect?
    Is it possible that high electric current of 0.2 – 0.5 kA can be induced locally between cluster of metal lattices with the known experiment setups? I include EMF stimulation in this scenario.

    • Mats002

      The conclusion of this 19 years old Stanford report is that this phenomena is one of

      a) the lower threshold of the well known pinch effect
      b) a dense H not yet verified (Mills hydrino or likewize)

      c) Rydberg matter (also a dense H thing)

      They do not mention Mills hydrino or Rydberg matter, but call for:

      “The paper also suggest that the observed X-rays could originate, at least partially, from a new process, where energetic free electrons enter ions, and are captured on the DDL levels [ref 8-12], radiating the Bremsstrahlung spectrum involving many photons”

      DDL = Deep Dirac levels which correspond to electron orbits close to the nucleus.

      • Ted-Z

        My vote is for the Rydberg matter.

  • Chapman

    Good question! Lets think it through…

    Full Ni enrichment will not hinder the primary LENR reaction, so we still generate the trigger for the Li chain.

    Li shift/depletion continues to produce Alpha particles.

    Alpha Absorbtion by 62Ni continues, but the result would push up to 66Zn, so lets check the decay schedule for 66Zn… Ah! STABLE!!!

    So, we would expect the reactor to go into a kind of Red-Dwarf stage once the Ni enrichment phase has completed. You would still have the Li cycle pumping energy, but it would transmute 62Ni directly to 66Zn and produce no further secondary reactions.

    A WONDERFUL observation Sir!!! What you have directed me to is an indication that the reactor should go through a Stellar Sequence type state evolution. Nifty! It also points out the futility of salting a reactor with 62Ni, as though it was a desired operation condition. You would rather prep it with as pure a source of 58Ni as could be obtained.

    Hmmmm….. So, we would want to calculate the exact nucleon count involved, in order to predict the optimum Li ration, as attempting to operate beyond the Ni enrichment phase will, regardless of continuing Li activity, result in a reduced energy output.

    HEY! Didn’t Rossi report an output drop at the end? I wonder if it was a gradual decline, or fairly abrupt? And what was the secondary phase output level? I may have to go over him and pester him about it at JONR. It’s your fault if I get yelled at for asking sensitive questions!

    A fascinating question, friend! Thank you for giving my brain something to chew on. 🙂

    Also, I give you an “A+ for subtlety”. I am sure you had thought this through already – and asking that one loaded question lead me to resolve it for myself. Excellent Instructional Technique, sir! Excellent! I am in your debt.

    • Frank Acland

      He said there was a loss of efficiency in at least one reactor towards the end.

  • Mats002

    Hi Tom,

    If you see this, can you please comment about this thread here at ECW:

    It is about runaway control and input voltage to the heater coil.