Leap Forward Lab Annual Report 2015, Parts 2 & 3 (Alan Smith)

The following report has been submitted by Alan Smith



Working on the HHO ‘anomalous heat mystery’ was doubly useful in that it brought a new colleague (now a friend) to LFL. Martin has his own particular interest in Hydrogen, and introduced LFL to the Hydrogen research work of Howard Phillips in the USA. Howard is a pharmacologist and owner of the world’s only non-profit pharmaceutical manufacturing company. Howard’s website with more details is at:- http://www.phillipscompany.4t.com/

Some years ago Howard became interested in the search for a suitable low-cost catalyst to facilitate the production of Hydrogen from water. His research bore fruit in the shape of ‘Catalytic Carbon’ – a means of producing pure Hydrogen from even dirty or salty water using specially processed Carbon. Since CC only removes one Hydrogen atom from each water molecule, the first problem was to sequester the highly reactive –OH radical this created. If not removed this immediately recombines with the nascent H+ atoms and kills the reaction.

Howard’s solution was to add Aluminium powder to the water/CC mix.  The –OH radical preferentially reacts with this to form Aluminium Hydroxide. Optimum temperature for the reaction is 80C, but below 50C the gas-production rate diminishes rapidly, falling to almost zero at room temperature.  This heat-dependence is convenient, since it enables the creation of systems Howard calls ‘Hydrogen on Demand’, where simply adding or removing heat controls the rate of evolution of amazing amounts of gas. The heat input required to sustain the reaction is not great, as while the H2O -> H + OH reaction is endothermic, the balancing 2Al + 3OH -> Al2(OH)3 reaction is exothermic.

You can see a short video about this produced by a very special doggy visitor to Leap Lab. http://www.drboblog.com/howard-phillips-king-hydrogen-demand-hho/


Above – Electrolysis tanks grow like Topsy, first 1 then 2, then 4 – all making CC.

At LFL we have been experimenting with this technology, making CC, discovering another completely different catalyst which works (apparently) just as well as Carbon, and developing a method of making pure Hydrogen without using high-current electrolysis or refined metals like Aluminium in the process. More on this when we have developed and refined a solid system. Meanwhile if you want to know more about Catalytic Carbon, purchase samples, or find out about the very neat Arduino multi-channel DAQ interface Martin developed as part of the programme, get in touch.


There are two ‘smoking guns’ – radiation and sudden temperature changes – that suggest that while investigating Hydrogen catalysis my colleague Martin  stumbled on something unexpected – an anomalous heat/beta radiation event initiated at close to ambient temperature. Apparently cool liquid-phase LENR that doesn’t demand exotic materials like Palladium or Deuterium.  In the data plot you see Anode and Cathode temperatures ‘changing places’ at day 7.5 while a burst of IR radiation is picked up by a remote photodiode. The red box is drawn around a sustained burst of (beta) radiation – the bottom trace – far above background. We can tell you more about the materials and the methodology when we know more ourselves. Problem with investigating these events is that they are disruptive – breaking the tank and damaging electrodes – so an ongoing investigation. But it led us to the concept of LENR as  ‘super-catalysis’.



Here at LFL we are starting to see LENR as a ‘special case’ of the more familiar chemical catalysis. Where you see a catalytic material, like finely divided Nickel, Zeolites, Platinum, Palladium etc. we suspect that there is a good possibility that it is potentially part of a host system for LENR – when placed in the correct environment.


One of the problems facing LENR investigators and replicators is not so much the shortage of theories, or  the shortage of potential systems which produce LENR effects. It is the sheer number of them. Since the early (contentious) work by Kervan et al on biological transmutation, investigation into the remediation of nuclear waste by algae in Russia is more evidence that LENR might be detected at low –or even cryo-temperatures. We call this ‘VLTNR’. And where do we see more varieties of enzymatic catalysts than in relatively cool living organisms?  More on this in part 3.




This is LFL’s version of a Rossi-type LENR reactor. Instead of an alumina ceramic tube, this one uses an optical grade ‘GS1’ quartz tube with 3mm thick walls. This has several advantages in the writer’s opinion, most notably it enables experiments that are difficult or impossible to perform when you cannot see the fuel-core.


A few hints on building a reactor might be useful here.   The quartz tube that holds the fuel elements was custom-made for LFL in China. Minimum order was 10 tubes, so this was not a pocket-money exercise.  The reactor tubes are precision ground and polished  so the standard 12mm plumbing compression (swagelock) fittings are a perfect fit on every one.  In the UK these fittings come with a hard copper sealing ring- known as an ‘olive’ in the plumbing trade. Initial thought was that this would need to be replaced with soft aluminium to seal properly against the quartz, but annealing the copper olive by briefly heating (red heat) with a blowtorch and then allowing to cool naturally makes it very soft indeed. The system passed a long duration 6-Bar air pressure test at ambient temperature with flying colours.

Tube end fittings are all silver-brazed together where required. The terminal fittings can be removed entirely and allow unobstructed access to the 6mm central bore.  For the curious, GS1 quartz is good for temperatures up to 1200C+, and silver-brazed brass fittings for 600C+. Since the tube is 30cms long, the potential very high temperature zone in the centre is well away from these. Aleksander Parkhomov managed with epoxy resin seals on a tube of similar dimensions.  Cooling fins (made from obsolete copper coins) are fitted to the pressure-gauge tube. Modern gas-pressure gauges often have plastic components that need to be kept reasonably cool.  On the extreme right there is a threaded insert to take a 10cm long ‘K’ type thermocouple probe. About as close to the core as we really need it to be.

The central heater element is annealed and braided 28swg Kanthal wire, and the tube assembly is held in two high-temperature vermiculite blocks. Vermiculite is handy for this application btw, since it can be readily cut and drilled – but avoid the dust which may contain asbestos! Heater current is ‘chopped and dirty’ AC supplied by a 10kW Triac. The mirror-polished aluminium heat reflector also doubles as a safety shield.



There are reports in the literature that quartz does not have good resistance to molten lithium metal in bulk, but colleagues in the LENR replicators group have yet to report anything more worrying than a loss of transparency in lighting grade –and very thin – quartz tubes after some hours of lithium exposure at high temperatures.

Interesting to note that post-mortem dismantling shows metallic lithium preferentially wets the inner surface of Alumina reactors,  almost certainly a surface tension effect. If this also occurs in a transparent reactor it might be possible to see under what circumstances this happens.

Having read quite bit of the 111 page Lithium Handling Safety Manual (LFL really should get out more!) we gleaned useful facts. Firstly, since the reactor only contains small fractions of a gram of lithium melt-through is unlikely, and secondly, if you have a lithium fire on the workbench then smothering with plenty of common salt will extinguish it. Don’t try beating out the flames with the safety manual!


In part 2 of this report we mentioned the possibility of VLT (very low temperature) Nuclear Reactions.  This is something that has not been studied in much detail – if at all. Naturally enough, the focus of most programmes has been on the production of energy in the form of thermal energy. But there is good reason to believe that at low temperatures the shape of the probability function is such as to make quantum tunnelling – teleportation if you like – through the Coulomb barrier, easier.  This is tricky in that LENR requires the input of excitation energy – provided in the Rossi system (for example) by heating coils and possibly/probably the associated EM fields. If excitation energy can be provided in other ways – by lasers, microwave RF or even ultrasonics it might be possible to create what by current standards are very low temperature systems with a direct electrical output. Something to ponder, perhaps?

Another possibility of this system is that emission spectroscopy on the light emitted by a ‘hot’ system becomes possible. Who knows what the absorption bands of such a spectrum might show?

Finally, for those with an interest in theory, we at LFL think that this guy has the most interesting ideas yet. No apology for the fact that this work has been mentioned before, it is in our opinion a key part of the theory of this emergent field of research.  Totally recommended.

Dubinko V. I. Low-energy Nuclear Reactions Driven by Discrete Breathers, J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. 14, (2014), p 87 www.iscmns.org/CMNS/JCMNS-Vol14.pdf

Alan Smith, Leap Forward Laboratory, September 2015.