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Lots to report from the last few days

1- Difference between sensors

We learned from all the additional sensors we installed this week that our temperature control int eh room was very good at controlling the temeprature at the one point of the sensor.  The other temperature sensors shows some variation throughout the day, though.  At least that explains some 12 hour trends we saw during our previous runs.  Going forward we will be more careful about that.  

The graph below illustrates this point.  The cell temps all dropped (no power applied to cell at all), while temperature where the T_ambient sensor is located stays in a tight range.

Here we see the Air temps at the top of the hood run warmer than the cell temps and the T_ambient sensor.

We were suspicious of the new, very inexpensive thermocouples we were using to read the air temps.  This is what Malachi learned about them:


To gauge the accuracy of our new thermocouples we took T_A3 and submerged it into a hot water bath and boiled the water.  This took place around 10:05 AM local time.  The resulting temperature was 100 C (+-0.05 C).

Then, to gauge the precision we took all three ambient thermocouples (T_A1-3) and brought them to the same point. We isolated them from each other in 1 inch by 1/4" diameter individual copper tubes. These three tubes were then put in a larger copper tube with tape on the ends to restrict air flow. Then we waited and the resulting temperatures were within 0.05C of one and other. We can safely say the new thermocouples have an accuracy of +-0.05C and a precision between sensors of +-0.05C.

2 - Installing cells vertically with air flow

Per suggestions from Celani and Ed Storms and a few others on the blog, we are trying some runs with the test cells oriented vertically. The idea is that the air flow outside the cell and the convection cycles inside the cell with make the inside glass and outside glass temps more consistent and usful for indicating actual heat flow. Dr Storms would like to see us using the temperature difference across the glass as an isoperibolic calorimeter. 

Much work was done.  More pictures and video to come below.

3 - Repaired pass through, cracked wire support

Yesterday, as we installed fresh NiChrome wires and Bare Isotan wires into the cells, one of the copper wires glued into the passthroughs broke.  It broke right up close to the pass through so we couldn't solder or attach to it. We decided to attempt a repair.  We heated the passthrough with a propane torch to break down the epoxy.  It worked, but it was a very stinky success and there was black gooey epoxy all over that came off only with acetone and a tiny buffer wheel.  We also cracked a Macor support, but it was only a tiny piece of the corner that came off. We added a dot of epoxy where it meets the flange and called it good.

4 - AFC - Getting ready to test - Insulated stainless cell

Early test are looking promising on the air flow calorimeter.  They are mostly informal, so far.  We have been very busy getting the two cells mounted in the vertical apparatus, but we did manage to put together another core that will serve inside a stainless shell for inside the Air Flow Calorimeter.  The one on the right will be in the calorimeter.  We will insulate the stainless shell of the shell in 2 inch (5cm) of mineral wool insulation so it will require very little energy input to get up to working temperature.

Here are the details of the wire pass throughs.

5 - New wires arriving next week

In the reworking process, we decommissioned the first Celani wire we had used.  We will try to take some pictures of it soon.

Next week we will receive some new Celani wires to put into these fun toys.  More on that when they get here.  We're hoping to have enough calibrations done to be able to pop them in and have some active runs over New Years.

6 - The Monster-Twin-Cell-Vertical-Apparatus and the Calibration Routines

Here is the groovy stuff going on right now.  We just assembled and commissioned this dual cell apparatus.

Cell 1.0 - The Mica/Quartz glass cell with NiChrome on the blue power channel and Isotan wire on the red power channel.

The Macor/Pyrex cell with NiChrome on the blue power channel and Isotan wire on the red power channel.

Isn't that an intimidating mess of sensors?  

The data collectors are set on this new shelf under the hood.  This isolated their heat output from being directly on the cells.

The data is streaming.  We are doing a 7 step up, 7 step down calibration.  Both cells are at 0.5 bar and will do this calibration cycle twice.  Then I will up the pressure to 1 bar and perform that calibration 6 times to get a good idea of the variability and error bars.

Update #1

Happy holidays and happy data watching.

Update #2/3 (now with video)

Just in case the world did end, the EU team wanted to have a bit of fun on their last full day together in Switzerland, so, in a break from the normal schedule, they did a Mizuno type experiment.

On a serious note, we decommissioned the first EU active 360 layer Celani wire from its cell and Mathieu will be taking that back to France to, as planned, see if anything can be seen under the Scanning Electron Microscope and other tests.

Removing the wire

After which, we drank "LA FIN DU MONDE" beer at the university bar - which is French for "The end of the world"

The end of the world

If tomorrow comes - we hope you can join us in our continuing journey.
Happy Christmas Everybody!



0 #54 Eric Walker 2013-01-01 06:51
Concerning error, @AlanG, from your graphs I estimate a rough scatter of +/- 3.5C for cell 1.1 (comment #49) and +/- 0.5C for cell 1.0 (comment #33). I believe you did some filtering on the data in order to compensate for the possible mismatch in sampling with respect to the power step? To get a better sense of the actual recorded scatter, it would be nice to see the same graphs without any kind of filtering.

Is there a way to indicate the error bars on the live feed somehow? I'm not sure exactly how this would be done -- perhaps the usual error bars, spaced every one or five minutes?
0 #53 Chuck 2012-12-28 19:13
I'm not a physical chemist, so I don't have any training or knowledge in this aspect, but do we have a way of tracking the hydride content of the wire during operation? Is there a way to do this?
0 #52 David Roberson 2012-12-28 16:24
I need to have a run with the pressure held as constant as possible and at the same level as the calibration to verify these results.

Also, it is important for a calibration run with an inactive wire that is guaranteed to not generate excess power in order to prove that the vertical system follows the same non linear differential equation.

We may be getting the results that we seek, but it is a bit premature to celebrate. It is too bad that we are only seeing 1 watt or so, but the actual level needs to be more accurately determined.

I will be out of the office for the next few days.
0 #51 David Roberson 2012-12-28 16:18
Ok, I took the very latest calibration step test for the cell FC0101 and used that to obtain the latest coefficients. These were then used with the latest full rising waveform step in power and I can say that the results are definitely different than I have seen in the past with earlier time domain runs.

I am unable to make the temperature versus time waveform match the non liinear differential equation solution as before and the difference is not trivial and apparent.

I am concerned about the fact that the pressure seems to be differernt for these two intervals of time so that might be an issue, but if not, there is definite evidence of something unusual with the latest test.

If the Celani wire is loaded, then I suspect that we will be able to verify that extra power is being generated after more careful calibration. I estimate that the excess power is in the vicinity of 1 watt from a quick look at the fit.

Dave Roberson 12/28/2012
0 #50 Ecco 2012-12-28 14:26
I'm noticing that the 1.1 cell is slowly gaining pressure although it's currently turned off. Wouldn't this imply a risk of air contamination when operating the reactor below 1 bar of pressure?
0 #49 AlanG 2012-12-28 04:56
Final chart of cycles 5-8 for cell 1.1. Something changed during the down ramp of the 7th cycle. Looking at the source data I can see that peak T_GlassIn dropped 8 degrees from the previous cycle, but none of the other parameters offer a clue why.

Two adjacent data points are shown for each power transition, to show the range of measurement error with the current setup. The chart source data is from 12/21/2012 21:22
to 12/25/2012 21:32 PST
0 #48 Ryan Hunt 2012-12-28 04:44
The valid calibrations for the vertical cells all started about 21:00 gmt on Dec 21. The first two were at 0.5 bar H2. The next 8 were at 1 bar starting pressure. Yesterday we turned off cell 1.0 and then turned it back on. Today we turned off cell 1.1 and turned it back on. Then, tonight, we started with another 0.5 bar calibration cycle. The details are all in the experiment log.
0 #47 David Roberson 2012-12-28 02:12
@Ryan, I took a quick look at the cell data for cell 102 and it is a bit different than the earlier calibration I obtained from the up/down stepping. The fit was not perfect, but a good start.

Could you list the times during which calibration data is valid for the vertical cell? I am a bit confused about what I have at the present time.

My model is suggesting that the high level drive is at 106.5 watts which I assume is a bit high. The data I obtained did not state the power levels or times of change.

Also, is the Celani wire used during any of this data run?
0 #46 AlanG 2012-12-27 21:45
The two recent charts are extracted from 1 minute data. I then filtered the data by looking for delta power above a threshold and selecting the third sample back from those. I observed many cases where two adjacent samples had significant power changes, and in some cases also significant delta temp change even three minutes back. Some of this is undoubtedly jitter in the thermal environment, but there are enough that I wonder if there isn't something going on with the power measurement as well. Perhaps the problem is in how the raw data is averaged for HUGnet.

Quoting Ryan Hunt:
Thanks for the attention to detail, Alan. Have you looked at the 1 minute data or the 30 second data? The power jumps within one of the 2 second raw "History" reads. I wonder what the same data would look like if you took the previous five 1 minute reads before a power change.
-1 #45 charlie tapp 2012-12-27 18:12
i have a question i realy want this thing to work but even when you are seeing exess power it is very small. could the extra heat be from the wire being wraped around and around turning it into a chock coil? because a choke coil will put off heat. also if i am wrong which i am alot could the wire acting as a choke coil be holding up the results we are looking for?

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