FacebookTwitterDiggStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksRedditTechnoratiLinkedin


The Martin Fleischmann Memorial Project is a group dedicated to researching Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (often referred to as LENR) while sharing all procedures, data, and results openly online. We rely on comments from online contributors to aid us in developing our experiments and contemplating the results. We invite everyone to participate in our discussions, which take place in the comments of our experiment posts. These links can be seen along the right-hand side of this page. Please browse around and give us your feedback. We look forward to seeing you around Quantum Heat.

Join us and become part of the project. Become one of the active commenters, who question our work and suggest next steps.

Or, if you are an experimenter, talk to us about becoming an affiliated lab and doing your work in a Live Open Science manner.

  • Error loading feed data

Part 1 - Mixing

Written by Bob Higgins on 9 May 2014

For those of us following reports from LENR researchers working in the Ni-H domain, it is becoming increasingly apparent that nano-scale features may be desirable for the reaction. The problem is that nanopowders, by themselves, are fragile. As David Nagel points out, the second hurdle to overcome in commercializing LENR will be to make the LENR materials durable enough to last for months or years while producing energy. Thus, it is desirable to attach nano-scale features to a more durable macro-structure. This blarticle [blog-article] summarizes the process I used to add nano-scale features to a macro-scale metal powder, but it could also be used with other macro-scale metal configurations. 

Starting materials for this example are Hunter Chemical’s AH50 nickel powder (3-8 micron particles) and Fe2O3 nanopowder (Alfa Aesar 44895 iron III oxide 20-40 nm particles). Figure 1 shows an SEM of Hunter’s AH50 powder. Notice its large “external” surface area (as opposed to an internal sponge area like Raney Ni).

Figure 1: Hunter Chemical’s SEM of AH50 carbonyl nickel powder and TEM of Fe2O3 (courtesy Nanophase)

In Figure 1, note the ~100x difference in scale between the Ni micrograph and the Fe2O3 micrograph. The intent is to “activate” or catalyze as much of this external AH50 surface area as is possible using the Fe2O3 nanopowder having nearly spherical particles.  The technique chosen is much like how a baker coats donut holes with powdered sugar: put both in a box and shake – well almost.

I should point out that the nanopowder must be handled in a dry (<8% RH) glove box of some kind for 2 reasons. First, the nanopowder would clump via hydrophilic and chemical bonding when exposed to humidity (think of dirt clods). “Clumping” would interfere with the mixing action and prevent spread of the nanopowder across the AH50’s surface area. Second, care must be taken not to inhale the nanopowder, which easily lofts into the air. The Fe2O3 is substantially less toxic than fully reduced nano-iron – one can easily be sickened by breathing even small amounts of reduced nano-metals (vs. oxides).

I cannot stress this enough: for your safety do not handle nanopowders with your unprotected hands or in open air where the nanopowder could be inhaled! Nanopowder will go right through breathing masks, cloth gloves, and even skin.

MFMP team member Alan Goldwater reported on his testing of a method for doing this in this blog, however, my mixing method begins with placing equal volumes of AH50 micro-powder and Fe2O3 nanopowder in a 100ml square HDPE bottle (Cole Parmer EW-06019-72; see Figure 2) while inside a dry glove box.

Figure 2:  Cole Parmer square HDPE bottle for mixing (EW-06019-72)

First I add 40ml of the AH50 nickel powder (~64g) to the bottle and then 40ml of Fe2O3 on top (only 6.5g).  The bottle is plugged, capped, and wired closed (to keep the cap from unscrewing). This bottle with the 2 powders is placed in a 125mm diameter rubber tumbler jar ( http://www.thumlerstumbler.com/rotary.html, tumbler and jar ~$100). The rubber jar keeps the HDPE bottle from wearing during rotary tumbling. The square HDPE bottle tumbles and bounces inside the rubber jar and provides mixing with no added ball tumbling media. The jar is tumbled for 24 hours.  While an inexpensive rotary tumbler is shown, any rotary tumbler may be used, but the rubber tumbling jar is highly desirable. The tumble mixing is done completely DRY.

Figure 3:  HDPE bottle in tumbler and inexpensive Thumbler’s Tumbler

When the HDPE bottle is removed from the rubber jar, the first surprise is that there is only 40ml of powder in the jar (Figure 4). Where did the other 40ml of powder go? 

Figure 4:  HDPE with tumbled powder mix

The SEM image of the mixed powder (Figure 5) reveals that the nanopowder has covered the external surface of the AH50 nickel powder (that’s where the nanopowder went).

Figure 5:  Tumble-mixed AH50 nickel and iron oxide nanopowder

The mixed nanopowder should be unloaded in the dry box as well – there is still free nanopowder that can loft and be inhaled until after thermo-chemical processing.

While the Fe2O3 is ON the surface area of the Ni particles, it has not added nano-features useful in catalyzing a LENR reaction. That’s where thermo-chemical processing (TCP) comes in. By TCP, I mean heating the mixed powder in the presence of a flowing process gas (I.E. H2, O2, or Ar) at elevated temperature(s) and in cycles. TCP will be used to permanently attach the nanopowder to the Ni particles, to reduce the size of the nano-scale features, and to activate the nano-sites as LENR catalysts. TCP will be described in Part 2 of this series of blarticles.

Part 2 - Thermo-Chemical Processing

Written by Bob Higgins on 10 May 2014

In Part 1 of this series of blarticles, I described mixing a nano-scale powder (Alfa Aesar Fe2O3) with a micro-scale Ni powder (Hunter Chemical AH50) to spread the nano-particles across the high surface area of the Ni micro-particles. In this Part 2, I will describe the Thermo-Chemical Processing (TCP) that I use to anchor these particles to the Ni surface and activate them for possible LENR reaction.

The micrograph in Figure 5 in Part 1 above, showed the almost smooth “plastering over” of the high surface area of the Ni particles with the Fe2O3 nanopowder. The only portion of the Ni particles that can still be seen in this micrograph are the points of each flower-like bud. Why did the Fe2O3 nanopowder stick?

My best guess is that the Ni micro-powder had adsorbed moisture on its surface with an H-O-H attached to a surface nickel oxide oxygen atom as …-Ni-Ni-O-H-O-H.  When the Fe2O3 is added, a loose bond comes from the dangling H atom as
…-Ni-Ni-O-H-O-H-O-Fe-O-Fe-O-Fe-O-…. Depending on the initial humidity, there could be longer chains of H-O-H-O-H … between the two surfaces.

Hydrophilic bonding is used commercially to bond flat glass plates together, for example to make hermetic crystal packages or optical interferometer components. Just take two clean, flat plates of glass, wet them, place them together, and heat. Initially each surface would look something like
…-Si-O-Si-O with a dangling oxide on the surface. The water chain between them forms


When heated, H-O-H groups drop out of the sandwich until you are left with only


and, at that stage the glass surfaces are permanently bonded. This also occurs in nature, agglomerating smaller oxides particles into larger clusters, and is one reason why nanopowder is not found in nature on the Earth.

By thermo-chemical processing (TCP), I mean heating the mixed powder in the presence of a flowing process gas (such as H2,  O2, or Ar) at elevated temperature(s), and possibly in cycles. The set of temperatures, process gas species, and flow rate vs. time is a “processing profile”.

My vision is that the TCP profile should be designed to partly reduce the Fe2O3 nanopowder and allow it to partially alloy with the surface of the Ni powder – firmly attaching the nano-particle to the Ni surface. Reduced/alloyed Fe2O3 will leave nano-scale features on the surface of the Ni.  Additionally, partly reduced Fe2Ox is a known H2 splitting catalyst. If you believe that nano-cracks are needed to stimulate LENR, then it may be desirable to go through cycles of reduction and oxidation (redox). Whenever iron is oxidized, it grows. [Ever see a rusty nail grow?]  After reduction and alloying, subsequent oxidation may cause the iron to grow and wedge open a nano-crack. If you believe that LENR needs nano-scale magnetic domains for a BEC to form … well, Ni-Fe alloys have a high/very high relative magnetic permeability (µr) that may be favorable for BEC formation.

Key take-aways: 

  • Partly reduced Fe2O3-x is a known H2 splitting catalyst
  • Cyclic alloying/redox of Fe2O3 nano-sites could induce nano-cracks [for E. Storms]
  • Ni-Fe alloy spots have high µr which could help form magnetic domains to support BECs [for Y. Kim] 

Figure 6 shows a schematic and photos of my TCP system. It consists of a porcelain 100ml crucible in a sealed stainless steel canister, inside a small box furnace (ThermoScientific Blue M Muffle Furnace with 150x150x230mm chamber), plumbed to the outside with coaxial fittings to provide for the flowing process gas and a cover gas. The H2, Ar (large), and O2 bottles are seen in the photo in Figure 5B behind the furnace anchored to the wall.

Figure 6: TCP system

Inert “cover” gas (Ar) is flowed around the canister inside the furnace box to insure any H2 leakage will not form an explosive mix (the furnace is only rated for inert gas). Manual valves and flow gauges are used to implement the processing profile in the present system.

In the future, computer coordinated temperature, gas selection, and mass flow control would be far more desirable. This development is currently underway.

The inert cover gas and the process gas mix in the chimney (at the top), where the gas is cooled in a coiled copper tube and exhausted to atmosphere.

While the described TCP vision is pretty simple, reality is more complex. Nickel oxide strips easily – before the oxide is stripped from the iron. Even at 400°C, the clean nickel particles will begin to sinter together. The Ni particle surface area is already coated with the nano-catalyst; as long as the sintered Ni form that results still remains porous enough for the H2 to get to the nano-coated area, it will retain its activity. Also, at the nano-scale, alloying and melting happen at about half the normal macro-scale particle temperature. This suggests processing at temperatures below ~750°C to prevent melting of the nano-scale features.

Figure 7 is a graphic representation of a processing profile that I found produced desirable features in the resulting nano-activated nickel.

Figure 7:  Processing profile

When this profile was used, sintering of the nickel did occur and the result in the crucible was 1 particle – a seemingly solid chunk that came from the crucible in one piece (see Figure 8A&B). However, this chunk is brittle because it sintered only at the particle edges, and produced a solid body only connected internally by a porous 3D web. This chunk was readily pulverized in a homemade steel pulverizer (Figure 8C). 

Figure 8: Thermo-Chemically Processed powder

Figure 8C shows relatively large powder pieces which were screened and re-pulverized until a mean particle size of ~250 microns diameter (but with a large spread) was achieved. Reports suggest that a mean particle size <15 microns is desirable. The normal way to reach smaller particle size is to take the pulverized powder and put it in a ball mill (ceramic jar with large ceramic balls, on a rotary tumbler) for 24-48 hours (this has not yet been done).

Other experimental processing profiles have been tried. The ones having longer reduction in H2 produced chunks that were too malleable to be pulverized. For this technique, it seems better to leave more oxide during the TCP, pulverize the powder, mill it to the desired particle size, and do any further reduction in-situ in the test cell.

Figure 9 shows a micrograph of the powder produced by TCP with the Figure 7 profile. 9A is a wide view. For those that follow descriptions provided by Andrea Rossi for his LENR powder, could the larger scale features seen in 9A be the “tubercules” he spoke of “growing”? [He never said that these would be nano features, only that you had to “grow” them.] Figure 9B is a zoom of the center of 9A showing Ni dendrites growing 100-300 nm long. The dendrites are only an observation about the material – there is no indication that these participate in LENR.

Figure 9: SEM of Thermo-Chemically Processed powder

Despite seeming to be a solid chunk, this material is highly porous – ambient H2 would be able to get to the activated area. Also, I can say from personal experience pulverizing this material – it is mechanically robust. If it also proves to be an active LENR material, it stands a good chance of answering David Nagel’s challenge to make the LENR powder durable.

Early testing of this powder showed what appeared to be LENR outbursts. To find out more, read my full paper available at: Surface processing of Carbonyl Nickel. Future information on testing of this powder and similar replications will be posted to MFMP’s Blog.


0 #12 cialis 2018-01-12 22:13
No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing, thus he/she needs to be available that in detail,
so that thing is maintained over here.
0 #11 FirstAddie 2018-01-03 09:29
I have noticed you don't monetize your page,
don't waste your traffic, you can earn extra cash every month because you've got hi quality content.
If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Boorfe's tips best adsense alternative
0 #10 michael kors 2015-01-23 13:37
Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly
useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.
0 #9 Alain Coetmeur 2014-05-16 07:20
@bob higgins
about nanomaterial endurance, one solution is not to fight destruction but enforce regeneration.
Reaction may be organized so that it create craters that allow LENR... key is understanding the condition for NAE...
another idea is to regenerate the powder continuously.
As a joking idea, why not make the reactor like the powder mixer shown, maybe with something that generale nanodust, so that it is glues on micropowders...

that is engineer problem. the problem of engineers is that they have to know what is require for the reaction... once they know the goal, you can trust them to make regenerative powder.
0 #8 Robert Greenyer 2014-05-15 20:49
@Neil Farbstein

Hidetsugu Ikegami, another Japanese national and a guest lecturer at Uppsala university sweden is one of the leaders in Chemonuclear reactions. It has been suggested that he has met with Rossi and that he may even be working on theory with Rossi or helped him achieve higher yield following exposure to Ikegami's experiments with molten lithium.


Hidetsugu Ikegami has a description of how Rossi's reactor may work with a combination of nano-micrometri c Ni clusters in combination with MgH2 and LiH - which both become molten at well below the melting point of Ni.

Hydrogen dissolves in liquid Lithium, effectively a metal metal liquid.
0 #7 Bob Higgins 2014-05-15 17:51
@Neil Farbstein - One of the chief problems with nano-particles as a LENR medium, particularly for reduced nano-metal-powd ers, is durability. To be useful, the LENR reactor must last for months or years; nanopowders can be fragile. David Nagel discusses LENR durability in his talks. Using liquid metal in your reactor (other than for cooling) is a LENR area where I have seen no other reports. It might be worth contacting Jed Rothwell, who maintains the big LENR database of papers at http://lenr-canr.org/, to see if anyone else has reported a liquid metal system. You may be in uncharted waters.
0 #6 Ryan Hunt 2014-05-15 15:00
The biggest problem with nano nickel catalysts is that nobody can make LENR happen predictably or repeatably. If you can do better than that, then you will really have something!
0 #5 Neil Farbstein 2014-05-15 14:28
I'm researching and developing a chemonuclear fusion reactor that uses liquid metal instead of solid nano particle catalytic particles. I'm convinced it will overcome some of the problems of nano particle catalysts.Can you recommenced an article about the problems of nano nickel catalysts. My e-mail is
0 #4 Bob Higgins 2014-05-13 23:31
@Oliver - Thanks for the interesting URL call-out. Contamination by P sounds like it would be a problem if using Ni nano-particles. No P showed in EDAX analysis of my powders. It may become a concern as MFMP begins testing nanopowders of Ni.
0 #3 Bob Higgins 2014-05-13 23:28
@Ecco - Yes, when I took the first mixed sample out of the tumbler, I was afraid some of the nanopowder got lost. Actually there was a lot of interstitial space in the Ni powder – that’s where the nanopowder went. A little text got left out and the article is being updated.

" … how deeply the Fe3O3 nanopowder penetrates …"
These Ni particles only have "external" surface area. Based on the SEMs, ~80% of the available surface of this Ni powder was coated. This mixing process would work poorly for a sponge-like particle with deep pores.

"… replacing the Fe3O3 nanopowder with nickel and porous nickel micropowder with copper …?"
The answer depends on the nature of the surface area of the powder you substitute for the micro-scale Ni. Rossi and DGT use (or have used) carbonyl micro-scale Ni powder - they show it in their photographs and it is consistent with their word descriptions. You could add nano-Ni to a micro-powder, but handling the nano-Ni is more dangerous. It may be easier and safer to start with NiO nanopowder and then reduce in hydrogen at elevated temperature.

Add comment

Here is your generous contributions so far towards our $500,000 target, thanks everyone! : $45,020   Please Donate
See the current state of our booked costs here

MFMP Facebook Feed