An interesting article written by David Niebauer has been posted on the CleanTech blog, entitled “Is the “Weak Force” the Key to LENR?”. Niebauer is General Counsel to Brillouin Energy (among other companies), and also involved with the Fusion Catalyst nonprofit organization. In defining the weak force, Niebauer states:
Of the four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force), the “weak force” is the most enigmatic. Whereas the other three forces act through attraction/repulsion mechanisms, the weak force is responsible for transmutations – changing one element into another – and incremental shifts between mass and energy at the nuclear level.
Simply put, the weak force is the way Nature seeks stability. Stability at the nuclear level permits elements to form, which make up all of the familiar stuff of our world. Without the stabilizing action of the weak force, the material world, including our physical bodies, would not exist. The weak force is responsible for the radioactive decay of heavy (radioactive) elements into their lighter, more stable forms. But the weak force is also at work in the formation of the lightest of elements, hydrogen and helium, and all the elements in between.
The article is a good introduction to what is meant by the term “weak force”, and also explains how the the weak force fits into some theoretical frameworks that try to understand what is going on in LENR reactions. Niebauer explains that he Widom-Larsen theory, Brillouin Energy’s theory, and those of other researchers rely upon the weak force in forming their models for LENR. A common thread in all these theories is that fusion is not the cause of the excess heat, but some more subtle mechanism taking place.
Niebauer proposes that researchers concentrate efforts in coming up with a firm theoretical understanding of the LENR process to inform and guide experimental work in the field in order to accelerate the implementation of this new form of energy production.