A document written by Alan Goldwater of the Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project provides some analysis of the performance of the reactor that was recently tested which ended with an explosion.
The document can be accessed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BWYbi6tBHcjZ4PyQ0BaWn-G1NkdQdkirb-_Qx2HypKs/edit#
The document reports that in the fuel mix used in the experiment the ratio of nickel powder to lithium aluminum hydride was 2.5:1 (which is higher than the Parkhomov mix, which was around 10:1), and that there was no free space inside the reactor.
Alan calculates that normally the gas pressure at 1000 C should is 19861 psi., but that the tensile strength of alumina is 35244 psi, which suggest that the pressure inside the reactor was unusually high during this test, as the alumina wall of the reactor ruptured.
The document continues:
Further corrections for absorption of hydrogen into the Nickel should be considered. But even if my calculation is high by a factor of ten, the key take-away is to use much less LiAlH4 and/or allow for more free volume in the cell. Great caution should be used if the remaining cells loaded with the same mixture are heated, and inclusion of a pressure sensor in future experiments should be considered mandatory to avoid such dangerous failures.
Finally, the decomposition is apparently non-reversible, and at ambient temperature the internal pressure would still be 600 bar. This will be a problem when trying to open a cell that has been heated and cooled without breaking, like the mini-*GlowStick* that saw 500 C in the initial leakage test.
This statement indicates that used reactors need to be treated with care!
When asked on their Facebook page about how Alexander Parkhomov avoided having similar explosions due to high pressure inside his reactor, the MFMP posted:
Our Alumina tube wall thickness in that reactor core was 1.18mm compared to Parkhomov’s 2.5mm wall thickness, also he might have left a good deal more free volume. Bob Higgins is preparing to run some experiments with 2.5mm wall thickness cheap tubes purchased from China, we will message more on that tomorrow.