Today marks my last day at HUG, and I am told it would be useful to write up a post to share my experience.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out the "Best of Rock Crushing" a video compilation of the recorded footage. Over the past couple days I have put together a video explaining the experiment and my experiences from this summer.
For those of you who would like a bit more detailed summary, or don't feel like watching the video, here is a transcript that I worked off of. I think that it provides a decent overview while also showing a few of the pictures
An Introduction: For the past 10 weeks I have been a part of the LENR team at the Hunt Utilities Group in Pine River, Minnesota. The first half of the summer was spent going through piles of technical papers researching the field (that now clutter my desk) and coming up to speed on everything that had been done over the years until today. Reading can be hard work, but it pays off. About halfway through the summer one professor’s research stood out to me because of its unique approach to LENR. Traditionally LENR research has been done in electrolytic cells, with treated wires, or with nanopowders, however Professor Carpinteri used samples of rock and a hydraulic press to look for neutrons. I decided to take on a replication of this experiment because of it’s unique
The Experiment: Apply a force to a rock sample until failure using a hydraulic press while monitoring for neutron radiation.
Reasoning: The idea behind the original experiment goes back to plate tectonics. If you look at the distribution of iron mines around the world you may notice they are centrally located with regard to the tectonic plates. Inversely, aluminium mining occurs closer to fault lines. Carpinteri suggests that during tectonic activity, such as an earthquake, iron atoms undergo fission into lighter elements and in the process release neutrons. He cites data for a change in neutron background counts before earthquakes. Nature must be able to produce transmutations, and this might be an explanation for the mechanism.
The Equipment: Around the sample, neutron radiation must be monitored. Monitor neutron radiation using BTI bubble detectors. These bubble detectors contain freon saturated in a gel. For every few million neutrons passing through, the freon expands and forms a bubble. (show neutron bubble) These bubbles are clearly visible without any additional aids. According to the manufacturer, Bubble Technology Industries, neutron bubbles should appear randomly, they also are consistent in size, whereas shock bubbles will form in clusters.
The Major Difference: Based on the data Carpinteri has reported, his press was able to reach over 100 tons of force allowing him to use larger samples. The press on site only reaches 50 tons, however we were able to plan for the sizes of samples that our press would allow.
The Rocks: Carpinteri used samples of granite and marble for his experiment. They were cut into perfect prisms or cylinders. Based on the size of our press, our rock samples had to be smaller. I went to a local granite quarry where they manufacture countertops and went through their scrap pile pulling out some granite samples to crush. Because of their irregular shape, most were trimmed up to make more even samples, similar to the original.
Setup: The detectors took a week to arrive after being ordered and some additional setup was required. Mike and Wayne in the shop were kind enough to fashion me a set of plates for the press. This would protect the press and the load cell from the force of the press.
A Midsummer Vacation
ICCF18: The 18th International Conference on Cold Fusion was held in Columbia, Missouri this summer, and I had the pleasure of accompanying a few of my teammates down where they showed off the test equipment they have developed, and I attempted to answer questions. The 25 hours in the car were completely worth it. We met countless interesting and exciting people. I was fortunate enough to meet Professor Carpinteri and talk to him about my replication of his work. There was some good news, and some bad news. The good news was he said the experiment was very reproducible, however he also noted that he had many detectors very close to the sample. We had planned our set up around two detectors (because that was relatively affordable) and they were already on order. We knew we’d have to make due with fewer detectors.
Back in PR: Upon our return to HUG I finally had a chance to play with the detectors. Our first course of action was to attempt to create a shock bubble in the detectors. We concluded that vibrating steel could create a wave that might be able to achieve this. So we placed the detectors on a steel table and hit the table with a mallat with no positive results. To the press!
Running the Experiment: The setup was a compromise between placing the detectors as close as possible to the source while also protecting the detectors from the rock shards. We used a plastic mesh to surround the plates of the press, which also provided a support for the detectors to attach to. The press had to be aligned before the specimen was placed in, the specimen had to be centered before the press was lowered. For protection we had the mesh surrounding the plates, this held in the majority of the rock shards, and a plexiglass shield held in place by a pair of wires. Personally, I wore gloves, and safety glasses. Eventually I added earplugs and a face mask because the cracking was so loud the entire building could hear it and the crack also released a wave of dust. Originally I filmed with a set of webcams, but between software problems and quality of the video I switched to a sony video camera filming the entire setup. The dust cloud prevented the bubble detectors from being in view, the cameras served to observe the experiment and record the forces.
Results: We crushed a handful of rocks from the area to test the setup and finally 13 pieces of granite.None of the area rocks produced bubbles. In most cases with the granite we saw a powerful shock wave. In two instances we saw bubbles. The first case was a cluster at the end of the detector, outside of the counting region. Upon further analysis we labeled these as a shock cluster, the video also shows where the detector likely hit the press. The second case occurred during the same test where a detector was broken after falling off it’s mount. We encased the surviving detector in foam and from that point on were unable to observe neutrons. None of the remaining samples of granite produced bubbles upon crushing. We do not have enough data to support Carpinteri, however we must also acknowledge the differences in our experiments.
For more information about this experiment, you can follow any of these links to previous documents and blog posts.
- Experiment Document
- Experiment Spreadsheet
- My Rock Collection
- July 10 Introduction
- July 31 Update
- August 9 Update
Thanks for a great summer! Best of luck to everyone trying to figure out the mystery of LENR!