Nature Editorial on Cold Fusion (Again) – “Plenty Still Worth Investigating”

Thanks to Greg Daigle for posting a link to a new editorial posted on the Nature Materials website titled “Coming in from the Cold”, dated October 23, 2019:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41563-019-0530-1

The abstract reads: “Cold fusion may have a bad reputation, but the materials system in which it was allegedly achieved has plenty still to recommend it.”

As is typical with articles like this, the authors provide an overview of what went on with Pons and Fleischmann and why cold fusion was considered junk science, but then explain that a Google-funded team decided to revisit the field in the hopes of learning something new. Here are a couple of quotes:

“At the core of the project is an undeniable truth: the palladium–hydrogen system involves some fascinating materials chemistry. Palladium has long known to be capable of absorbing large amounts of hydrogen, which sits at interstitial sites in the metal lattice. . .

“Schenkel’s experiments on plasmas, meanwhile, did produce evidence of nuclear fusion . . . The amount of fusion seen so far is minuscule, and nowhere near the level needed to be of practical value in energy generation. All the same, it exceeds theoretical predictions by two orders of magnitude, for reasons not yet understood.”

They conclude by stating that despite cold fusion’s “murky” past “there is plenty still worth investigating in this unusual and potentially fertile field of metal hydrides.”

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