Tom Conover's Multiple Reactor Meltdowns (Hank Mills)

The following article has been submitted by Hank Mills

Another individual has emerged who seems to be producing anomalous heat while utilizing combinations of fuel similar to that used in Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat. Tom Conover has reported performing close to two hundred test runs utilizing nickel powder, lithium aluminum hydride (LiAlH4), and sometimes other lithium compounds. Although he has not claimed to produce quantifiable excess heat over any significant period of time, he has witnessed dramatic surges in temperature that have repeatedly destroyed his reactors.

His setup is powered with alternating current from the wall socket. He uses an Arduino computer to monitor the temperature of the reactor, and to trigger an Ac Solid State Relay, which then allows A/C to pass through a thyristor circuit that powers the heater coil, somewhat similar to Alexander Parkhomov. The Arduino adjusts the input power according to the temperature of the reactor; hence, he does not have to continually observe an experiment and adjust input by hand. This power is fed into a coil of nichrome resistance wire that is covered in alumina paste and sandwiched between two alumina tubes — protecting the resistor from oxidations and rapid failure at high temperatures. Inside of the innermost alumina tube, fuel is placed and the ends are sealed. Optionally, a stainless steel or titanium tube may contain the fuel. If a metal chamber is used, caps are laser welded onto each end to seal the chamber. The Arduino computer is powered with a separate low voltage d/c power supply, and is used to measure and control the temperature ranges, and to provide a 5v signal to the Ac Solid State Relay to turn on and off the A/C that passes through the heater coil.

Conover expresses enthusiasm for the methods described in the charts published by Alexander Parkhomov and supported by in the “Thermal decomposition” section of this article that states that when heated LAH decomposes in a three-step reaction mechanism. Comparison of these three steps and graphs of temperatures published by Alexander Parkhomov during his experiments disclose time periods and temperatures that are pre-programmed into his Arduino computer, in order to assure that the LAH is properly broken down by the three-step reaction mechanism and during the process properly loads the nickel with hydrogen from the LAH.

Conover repeats that this section of the software is always present and operates in his experiments, and that additiona, custom changes that measure other areas of the experimental run are pre-programmed into the Ardruino before running each new experiment. If the computer idendentifies that additional energy is obtained from the fuel cartridge, it adds no power to the coil until the temperature needs more stimulation.

By comparing active runs to control runs, Tom Conover has observed no detectable excess heat before “ignition.” However, at a temperature that can vary between 850C – 1200C but most often above 1150C a massive burst of heat will make the reactor soar in temperature. Although he has not precisely measured the temperature at the time of burnout, he and a friend who is highly experienced in high temperature material science proposes the temperature could very likely be over the melting point of the alumina, which is 1725C. This would be explain the melt down and failure of his high purity alumina tubing.

His experience of observing massive bursts of excess heat fits well with many other accounts of how the earliest “hot cat” reactors operated. One of Andrea Rossi’s associates, “Cures” on the Cobraf forum, reported that hundreds of reactors melted down in a matter of seconds once an “ignition” temperature was achieved. After extensive testing of various fuel combinations they were able to find a compromise that allowed for both high temperatures and high COP. There are many other claimed E-Cat replicators who also have reported meltdowns that destroyed their reactors. Three that come to mind immediately are N. Stepanov’s group who reported a number of meltdowns, Alexander Parkhomov, and Me356. Sometimes excess heat is produced for a length of time before “runaway” takes place and other times it does not appear. But I would say that achieving runaway is a good first step towards producing measurable excess heat.

Tom Conover’s goal is to measure excess heat over a length of time before a runaway happens or to eliminate runaway all together. To accomplish this, he hopes to lower the operating temperature at which excess heat begins. One possible way of doing this is to add elemental lithium to the fuel mix.

Alan Smith of Looking for Heat — the only shop on the internet dedicated to offering supplies to LENR researchers — has graciously offered to a small sample of Nanoshell Passivated Lithium powder for him to test. Adding the lithium to the fuel mix may lower the operating temperature via a couple different mechanisms.

Two additional interesting aspects of Tom’s testing is that he bakes his nickel powder at 500F for one hour in a conventional oven. This may super heat any water inside of the nickel structure, convert it to steam, and allow for the creation of microcavaities and smaller nickel particles.

The evidence that a combination of nickel powder, lithium, and hydrogen can produce enormous quantities of excess heat continues to mount. Although we have a long way to go when it comes to making the reaction a hundred precent repeatable and controllable, the fact that obviously nuclear reactions can be induced on the table top for ridiculously small sums of money (compared to hot fusion research) is encouraging.

In the near future Tom Conover will begin testing a new design of reactor (smaller) along with additional fuel combinations. I feel optimistic that he will be able to measure excess heat for a significant period of time before runaway.

I’ve included the information he has provided me identifying his nickel powder and LiAlH4 at the end of this article. What we’ve seemed to learn over the past couple years is that a number of different brands of LiAlH4 will “work” along with different varieties of nickel powder. However, the results can often be hit or miss. Some researchers can achieve fantastic results quickly, but the majority see low level or no excess heat. My hope is that over the next several months that someone will figure out and publish a base set of guidelines that would represent a “guaranteed to work” formula. This would include fuel baking, cleaning, possibly pre-hydrogenation, fuel ratio, pressure profile, and optimal electromagnetic stimulation. Once such a recipe emerges, scientists, engineers, and qualified individuals across the world will be able to produce the massive excess heat produced by the Rossi Effect (beyond 1000 watts per gram of nickel).

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and please continue to give your support to replicators who are sacrificing their time, resources, and money to advance the LENR field.

– Lithium Aluminum Hydride Reagent Grade 10 Grams
– Nickel Powder (Ni) 100Mesh 99.9% Purity, 50g CAS: 7440-02-0

  • Ophelia Rump

    If I might be so presumptuous as to suggest, start by building a reactor with tremendous heat sink mass.
    I am not suggesting making it explosively strong, just thermally absorbent and massive. If the tube were large and massive and you submerged it in a tank of water, you should be able to design so that runaway heat is wicked away before it can reach a destructive level, that will save you rebuild time and give you longer observation time to try and manipulate the other variables to gain control over the out of control variables.

    You need to provide sufficient surface to dissipate the heat.

    • wizkid

      Thank you Ophelia for this suggestion. My talented buddy has offered to build me a custom cooling system (like a car radiator) if my experiments become more predictable with the results.

      • Ciaranjay

        Nuclear physics is way outside my comfort zone so pardon the naive question.
        If Lithium is so important to LENR then how come Brillouin say they do not need it?
        They just seem to use Hydrogen and Nickel.
        Is there more than one method of LENR and if so what is the attraction of the Lithium mechod?
        By the way, well done Tom. Nice to be one who can do, as opposed to a watcher on the sidelines.

        • many LENR experiments don’t involve any lithium, even NiH.

          for well characterized condition to trigger LENR

          but NiH is not enough replicated to be sure.

          some, who disagree with Rossi’s last theory, says that Li like K, or Ca, is a catalyst modifying the chemical context…

        • Axil Axil

          Nickel bonds compress hydrogen in microcavities to very high pressures. This compression produces metalized hydrogen, a solid crystal of hydrogen that is superconductive, but the rate of production is very low; its a probability type of thing.

          Lithium increases the production rate of metalize hydrogen by 400%. Lithium makes the LENR reaction more vigorous because it create more active agents.

          Lithium sets up rydberg blockade that transforms hydogen into a metalized high temperature superconductor via quantum mechanics.

          Metallized hydrogen is what Jupiter and Pluto use to produce internal heat.

        • Chapman

          1. “LENR” does not involve, or require, Lithium.

          2. Lithium does not contribute, in any way, to the LENR reaction.

          3. LENR produces only a marginal positive energy product, max appears to be about 1.5 or so.

          4. The LENR reaction DOES release particles that may interact with Lithium, if present, and set off a secondary chain reaction that produces much more energy than the initial LENR reaction itself. Such as we see in Rossi’s high COP E-Cat devices and other DogBone experiments.

          Your barbeque requires charcoal, some newspaper, and a match. But after it’s lit, pour some gas on it! The Gasoline is not required – it is a secondary accelerant, and the energy released is separate, and greater, than that of the charcoal…

    • Thomas Kaminski

      One other option in addition to a heat sink mass is to design a “heat pipe” to conduct the heat away from the sites where extreme heat is generated. Heat pipes are formed from a combination of a liquid/vapor phase material with a particular range of operating temperatures. Heat at the hot end is absorbed and “boils” a liquid that then moves very quickly to the cold end where it condenses, releasing the heat. Usually some mechanism returns the cooler, condensed liquid back to the hot end to boil off again. It could be returned by capillary action, or even gravity.

      Is it possible that a material could be added that has a melt/vaporization temperature near that of the critical temperature to move heat from the hot reaction to the heat sink?

    • Rene

      Something like a heat pipe is necessary because it seems that fast control of core temperatures is needed both for ignition and controlling runaway (much of this discussed throughout the years). Heat pipes move heat away from a source much faster than bulk materials.

  • Lars Lindberg

    So Lithium in LENR is like Boron in a fission reactor?

    • Brokeeper

      I think so, however the Boron doped control rods have more control by its movement, whereas Li is more constant.

  • wizkid

    @ Lars
    It appears there may now be information from Uppsalla University that implies that 6Li and 62Ni isotopes are increased after an extended period of operation (one year) and this is at the expence of 7Li and (58,60,60 and 64Ni) respectively. On the surface, it seems likely that 7Li operates in harmony with the NiH LENR process, and results in more robust results. See article “Report: E-Cat Plant Isotope Analysis Data Came From Uppsala University” at:
    Rossi got very excited when I asked him about this in a private email, and asked me to repost the email to JoNP. The Uppsala isotopic analysis appeared to very relevant to his request.

  • Axil Axil

    How can 7Li absorbs a proton through the coulomb barrier?

  • Zephir

    I don’t support A. Rossi’s theory of cold fusion in any particular way – I just tried to explain, why the Rossi got so interested – if not thrilled – with Wizkid’s results. According to my reviews the reaction of Li with hydrogen can run completely without Nickel involvement, so I can just agree with You, that the results of isotopic analysis are still inconclusive if not unreliable and that we have not enough of data for to decide the exact route of nuclear reactions yet.

  • wizkid

    @ Chapman
    It was a kindness that Andrea offered in his encouragement! Thank you Andrea Rossi! I am in the process of scheduling the manufacturing to begin the tests, should be running several tests starting within the next 30 days.