The US team has begun the loading phase in Cell A. We just loaded 3 Bar of H2 into the cell and turned the power on to 30 Watts. It will stay that way for a day or so while the initial absorption happens. Then we'll refresh the H2 and cycle it 6 hours on, 1 hour off. We are excited to see if our wire can achieve a similar (or better) resistance change compared to Mathieu's. The race is on and it's down to the wires!
UPDATE 21-06-13 - More troubles than I can shake a stick at
The US cell's loading has been plagued by several minor difficulties that make the data less than attractive to look at. First, we hadn't turned up the power on the active wire far enough to get a clean baseline resistance reading. Then the temperature with the hydrogen in the cell only barely got into the loading range. Then when went to turn it up, we found we had to adjust our max power limit (a hardware circuit we had installed after the last time we toasted a wire). When we adjusted that, we bumped a ground wire on the power meter, causing the reading to go wile and the power output on the NiCr wire to go to max. In that process, our output port controlling the Celani wire power was toasted, and we had to move that to a different output pin, reconfigure the software, and reload. After that, over lunch we had a power blink, which reset the power outputs. Then we found that the second tier software power limit was getting in the way of achieving full power on NiCr wire and had to reset that. Finally, we thought we had it all going and then one of the instrumentation boards started blinking out every so often and dragging the other one down with it. When they reset, the power outputs reset also, and the cell cools down. We are still troubleshooting that one. -- Update-- That was found to be a power wire issue caused by the data acquisition boards being powered from different sources. Paul and Malachi found it by watching the power chip on the board heating from 40C to 150C before it blinked out. Turns out it has been wired poorly for 8 months and has worked ok till now. Pretty resilient boards.
That is all pretty crazy for a system that has basically been up and operating for a couple months as we troubleshot the ambient environment and performed the calibrations.
While the data is not the cleanest, we are definitely seeing a drop in resistance from roughly 16.2 to 15.1, or so. Not as big a change as Mathieu saw.
The next step is to begin the cycling (35W, 3 bar H2, 6 hours on, 1 hour off) for most of the weekend. Since Mathieu has other obligations for the weekend, we should be caught up on Monday and ready to move forward nearly simultaneously.
Here are some pictures from today:
A photo of the wires in the cell. The Celani wire is looking very light and coppery colored. The NiCr wire is looking almost blue-grey.
Below: Wes has the interns helping set up to measure something on the powder reactors while Paul and Wes troubleshoot the latest instrumentation mystery.
Below: Paul and Malachi watch for an intermittent problem with the thermal camera.
UPDATE #2 SEM Pics now in Ignite Gallery
After some much-needed (and time-consuming) maintenance, our SEM was available for a closer look at what we're testing on in the US1.3 experiment. How timely!
Head over to the Celani V1.3 production gallery to get a glance.
There're also pictures of the metamorphology produced by adding acetone to the CTC Celani wire in the gallery of all things related to the hydrocarbon anomaly we've been experiencing.
Notice how poor our resolution is? I did a LOT of doctoring to amp-up the contrast and clarity of the resulting images. We are in desperately short supply of an experienced SEM technician since we lost ours to a walkabout in Australia . It seems nano-fine tuning of a 20-year-old JEOL SEM is more of an art than the technical manual lets on. If you or someone you know could be of any help in working with an SEM, drop us a line! We're exceedingly good at utilizing remote instruction and could really use the remaining 295,000X resolution this machine is capable of. It's quite dated but that's no excuse for the limits we're experiencing.