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Cold Fusion Experiment

Using Pressurized Deuterium, and Mercury in a Centrifuge
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

Historically, Cold Fusion experiments involve electrolysis of "heavy water", using at least one electrode made of palladium. There are a lot of people who think it can't work, and even the ones who do think it can work admit that there are significant problems in getting it to work reliably. However, in the last few years an alternate technique for doing Cold Fusion experiments has apparently been very reliable, and has even been published in a major physics journal (see link). The Idea here is to build upon that technique.

The alternate technique simply takes deuterium gas (the variety of hydrogen that makes heavy water "heavy") and directly pressurize it into palladium metal. Proponents note that in an electrolysis experiment, you have to wait for an appropriate quantity of deuterium to seep into the metal, before anything interesting happens -- but in this approach, the waiting time is diminished drastically. And certain things that were thought to be important in an electrolysis experiment, like irregularities in the crystalline microstructure of the electrode metal, become irrelevant. (Not to mention that those irregularities are difficult to duplicate and could also explain the unreliability of the original experiments.)

Now it happens that palladium is a rather expensive metal, which means that if Cold Fusion is real, and can someday be employed on a large scale, then there just isn't enough of the metal available to meet the demand that will be associated with lots of CF power plants around the world. It is very importent to find out if any other metal can work. Reports that I've encountered indicate that titanium or nickel might work, but more research is needed.

In THIS experiment, the metal chosen is mercury. It is common enough that small amounts have been used in billions of fluorescent light bulbs over the past several decades. It is also toxic, meaning that when all those light bulbs die, the mercury should be recycled, instead of being allowed to seep into the environment from a landfill. If it could be used in a Cold Fusion power plant, it would not be "used up" --a fixed quantity would simply continue to be used for a long long time.

Mercury has a particular property that would be very convenient for a CF reactor, and this is the fact that it is a liquid at room temperature. See, if Cold Fusion of deuterium can happen inside SOME metal, then the result will be the formation of atoms of helium. But inside solid metal, the helium is stuck and eventually would interfere with the fusion reaction rate, meaning that after a while the solid metal has to be removed from the reactor, and processed/purified to get the helium out. But since mercury is a liquid, any helium can simply bubble out, meaning that the mercury never needs to be repurified.

It is to be noted that if CF can work in other metals, well, at a high enough temperature any of them could be liquid, and so why use mercury? Well, this Idea is about an EXPERIMENT more than it is about an invention, and the experiment is to find out if CF can happen inside liquid metal. It should be obvious that the experiment would be simpler and less expensive if it could be performed at room temperature. (Not to mention that some of those other metals, which happen to melt at a reasonably low temperature, like sodium, chemically react with hydrogen, while mercury doesn't.)

One known fact is that while hydrogen is able to penetrate a number of metals (it penetrates palladium best of all), mercury is not normally one of them. This could simply be a result of the fact that mercury is usually a liquid, and so hydrogen can bubble out as easily as helium might --being a liquid also makes it difficult to construct a kind of sheet-metal barrier out of mercury, the way they test other metals to see if hydrogen can permeate through them. On the other hand, there is some evidence that when mercury is used as an electrolysis electrode, small amounts of atomic hydrogen (produced by the electrolysis process) can permeate the liquid metal...(see link).

Well, anyway, to whatever degree hydrogen might naturally be able to penetrate mercury, the whole point of using pressurized gas is to increase the amount that penetrates it. So, Item One in this Experiment is a reasonably strong pressure chamber, made out of materials that can effectively resist permeation by hydrogen (glass is good).

Next, we want to put a slightly special centrifuge inside this pressure chamber. The rationale for this comes from some other data that has recently been discussed by Cold Fusion researchers. There are claims being made that when CF happens, it usually happens close to the surface of the metal, perhaps no more than 25 microns (millionths of a meter) from the actual surface. If true, this could be good because even if we used palladium only, we may only need to use very thin foil (will cost less).

Back to mercury. Anyone who has seen a blob of mercury on a flat surface knows that the blob always has a significant thickness to it (about three millimeters, if I recall right). Well, mercury isn't so cheap that if all we need is, say, a 30-micron film, there is no reason to let it naturally be a hundred times as thick. A centrifuge can be used to flatten it out!

For the purposes of this Experiment, it is not really necessary to use a centrifuge. But I wanted to describe how to do so in case there is a desire to Scale Up the experiment for power-production purposes, to the point where using thin films of mercury would reduce the total cost.

Basically, this centrifuge could be mostly shaped like a spinning barrel. Here's an ASCII sketch of PART of its cross section:
__ |__(top)
|_| | |_|
Oriented vertically, the vertical bars in the middle of the top and bottom parts of the sketch represent the axle. The |_| shape at the bottom is a ring around that axle, kind of like a cake mould that has a hole in its center, and is where we put the mercury before we turn the centrifuge on. The other vertical bars at the left are the wall of the barrel, and would be matched by more bars at the right in the sketch, if only I could use a fixed font to line up the vertical bars at the right. When the centrifuge spins up, this wall becomes the "bottom", such that the mercury will flow onto it and spread itself thin, depending on how fast the centrifuge spins. The horizontal line marked "(top)" then becomes a wall that prevents the mercury from escaping there from the centrifuge barrel.

With the entire centrifuge inside the pressure chamber, we can spin it up before we start presurizing the chamber with deuterium gas. When the mercury has spread into a thin film inside the barrel-wall, then we start pumping in the deuterium. One thing to be wary about is the fact that the extra pressure will mean that there is extra friction between the spinning centrifuge and the gas in the pressure chamber. It should be expected to complicate the energy measurements of any CF reactions that occur. (That's another reason why it might be best to not use a centrifuge in the Experiment.)

On the other hand, we could simply let the experiment run for a couple of weeks, and not worry at all about any energy production (don't even try to measure it), after which we carefully extract the deuterium gas and look to see if any helium is in there. If there is any more helium present than can be explained by the existing natural "background" (helium is a tiny part of the Earth's atmosphere), then that would be evidence that CF had occurred during the experiment. Simple!

Vernon, Mar 01 2011

Pressurized-gas CF experiment, using palladium http://www.scienced...c676c2653700ad61f25
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Mar 01 2011]

Hydrogen inside Mercury http://www.nature.c.../abs/2151165a0.html
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Mar 01 2011]

About a text from ancient India http://nitishck.multiply.com/journal
As mentioned in an annotation. This is a very long page; search for the word "Vimanas" [Vernon, Mar 01 2011]

The translated text from ancient India http://www.scribd.c...a-ShastraGREAT-BOOK
As mentioned in an annotation. This is an even longer page, and is still loading while I write this, so I'm not absolutely certain that this is what I'm saying it is. [Vernon, Mar 01 2011]

The Vimanika Shastra http://www.bibliote...anas/vs/default.htm
Vernon's link didn't work very well for me, but here's another online version of the same purported manuscript. [Wrongfellow, Mar 01 2011]

Out-of-place artifacts http://www.egydocs.com/forum/t6389/
Different from what [MaxwellBuchanan] described in an annotation. However whacky stuff like this might truly be, I personally have always considered stuff like this to simply be fun to think about. [Vernon, Mar 02 2011]

De Mirabili Potestate artis et Naturae http://books.google...w8AAAAcAAJ&pg=PT100
By Roger Bacon. See p.42 (of course!) [pocmloc, Mar 02 2011]

Google "lukewarm fusion" http://www.google.c...&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=
[hippo, Mar 03 2011]

Barnum Statements http://forum.philos...pic.php?f=14&t=1629
[hippo, Mar 03 2011]

Whacky ideas sometimes succeed http://www.physorg....superconductor.html
[4whom, Mar 04 2011]

News? http://www.exohuman...nt-flying-machines/
Here's something about those ancient flying machines...has one been found? [Vernon, Nov 03 2013, last modified Dec 11 2013]

News debunked http://skeptics.sta...ered-in-afghanistan
The claim here is that the other claim is actually a description of a movie. [Vernon, Dec 11 2013]

Documentary https://www.youtube...watch?v=A02hFfRqigM
Lots of stuff discussed, including mercury engines and vimanas (but nothing about cold fusion) [Vernon, Feb 03 2017]

Could it beee.... the basis for Skunkworks portable nuclear fusion? https://duckduckgo....works&t=ffsb&ia=web
[Sunstone, Jun 09 2017]

Or another attempt at refuting the Holy Grail of Existing Scientic theory in the form of publishing irreproducble results? https://duckduckgo....rong&t=ffsb&ia=news
[Sunstone, Jun 09 2017]

Updating out of place artifacts dead link with a link that won't die unless the search engine does https://www.google....s&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
[Sunstone, Jun 09 2017]

And, other low melting point liquid metals could be tried besides mercury https://duckduckgo....tal&t=ffsb&ia=about
"...to find out if CF can happen inside a liquid metal." [Sunstone, Jun 09 2017]

1 https://www.reddit....ced_in_the_us_many/
[Sunstone, Jun 09 2017]


       +1 for concept even if it doesn't work.
DIYMatt, Mar 01 2011

       Summary: No one knows if cold fusion is a real phenomenon. Current cold fusion attempts have used Palladium because the theoretical basis for cold fusion (such as it is) suggests that it's the best material. Mercury, according to these disputed theories, would be less good, but it's cheaper and more available, so this idea is to use mercury for cold fusion experiments.
hippo, Mar 01 2011

       [hippo], more precisely, the Idea here is to use mercury for THIS experiment, mostly to find out if CF can happen inside a liquid metal. The main text explains why a liquid metal would be beneficial in a CF power plant, compared to a solid metal, if it could work at all.
Vernon, Mar 01 2011

       Well, OK.   

       I have to say, the essence of the idea seems to be the replacement of palladium by mercury in a process which is at best somewhat dubious.   

       When cold fusion was first "announced", the only plausible explanation was that some peculiarity of the atomic cage provided by palladium was allowing it. Therefore, to suggest substituting some other metal (even before cold fusion is generally proven to occur in palladium, to most people's satisfaction) is a bit like saying "Maybe the space elevator would work with carbon nanofibres; I propose building it out of recycled polypropylene for reasons of convenience."   

       Yes, a liquid metal may be convenient. But how much energy is (in an ideal world) produced in a palladium electrode before it gets "clogged up" with helium? Is the cost of melting and recasting the palladium really so big? (Maybe it is, it's not a rhetorical question).   

       This seems a bit like suggesting a improved seasoning mix for unicorn pie.   

       Anyway, I'm just a curmudgeonly old git. Have this fused neutral vote.   

       [Edit - synchronous annotations! What [hippo] said]
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2011

       It occurs to me as somewhat humorous that someone has such high expectations of their audience. A bit like whistling in the dark.
daseva, Mar 01 2011

       //The main text explains why a liquid metal would be beneficial in a CF power plant// - but that's not a basis for a theory, or even an exploratory experiment. I mean, it would be great if cold fusion happens in the presence of cheese. We have lots of cheese (well, I have lots anyway). But that's not an argument to set up a series of experiments testing cheese for its ability to facilitate cold fusion.
hippo, Mar 01 2011

       Actually, [Hippo], that strikes me as a very good reason to start experimenting with cold fusion in cheese.   

       At worst, it will give access to funding routes to support the acquisition if research-grade cheeses in large quantities.   

       At best, it may lead to the development of self-toasting, helium-filled Cheddar.   

       Incidentally, if fusion happens willy-nilly in metals (or anywhere else), we ought to find rather more helium on Earth than we do.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2011

       [hippo], you know full well that the HalfBakery frowns on posting "theory" stuff. So, no theory stuff was posted as part of this Idea. I did mention various claims made, such as titanium and nickel being alternate metals for CF experiments. Well, the more that might work, the merrier.   

       [MaxwellBuchanan], the thing about the atomic cage or metal lattice is that that is an aspect of a Theory. Note that one way to test such a theory is to see if such lattice is really required. Which this Experiment can do, see? And there are other theories/hypotheses out there. One of them is linked at the Idea titled "CF+SC=DC" (upper right of this page).   

       I will admit that this Idea has as one of its roots some ancient (thousands of years old) texts found in India. Those texts describe things that were literally science-fictional when originally translated in the late 1800s --and I do wonder if a new translation might be worth doing, from today's more technologically advanced perspective. See links. One of the things described is a "mercury engine" or "mercury motor" used to power various flying machines. I've always wondered why mercury was such an important ingredient --the stuff IS toxic, after all! Note that a steam engine that used mercury as its working fluid could still be called a steam engine (the name was generic even in the 1800s, I think), so why is mercury so special that the ancient description translates as "mercury motor"? Well, enter Cold Fusion --you would NOT want your power plant to fail in mid-air due to helium buildup in solid metal.... :)
Vernon, Mar 01 2011

       [marked-far-deletion] relies on ancient Indian text.
daseva, Mar 01 2011

       [daseva], you can't do that; this is a modern Experiment that just MIGHT happen to "fit" with some ancient data. And other stuff, such as mica, is also described as being part of a mercury motor. Which you don't see here. So, I could very easily be guessing wrong, about the relevance of that ancient data. For example, a completely different use for mercury in power production involves a process called "magnetohydrodynamics" (look it up, but the "hydro" part of the name requires a fluid that can conduct electricity).
Vernon, Mar 01 2011

       IF <the ancient Indians had aircraft powered by mercury- induced cold fusion all those thousands of years ago> THEN <this whole idea makes enormous sense> AND <they probably used the HgCF motor to power a Dean drive> ELSE <you are aiming to set a new threshold on the Whacko Index>
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2011

       This is one of those breakthrough ideas that alleviates the symptoms of my incurable optimism.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2011

       //some ancient (thousands of years old) texts found in India//   

       From the intro page of your second link:   

       //If you are looking for an ancient manuscript on this fascinating topic, you'll need to keep on looking. The Vymanika Shastra was first committed to writing between 1918 and 1923, and nobody is claiming that it came from some mysterious antique manuscript.//
Wrongfellow, Mar 01 2011

       [Wrongfellow], that's interesting, but not so easy to believe. The first link, after all, specifies 1875 as a date for the existence of the texts. In Sanskrit, which I think was rather out-of-fashion in the 1900s. Perhaps your comment is actually about the date of the translation.
Vernon, Mar 01 2011

       //we ought to find rather more helium on Earth than we do.// Erm, it might explain why so much of it is found underground...or not. But, no string at all in this idea so no bun from me. Erm II, cold fusion and sonoluminescence all suffer from the same lack of what physicists regard as proof, ie loads of neutrons floating about, but then again x-rays from unrolling sticky tape wouldn't have gotten much of a rating..so maybe there is something in them.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 01 2011

       [Vernon] - About this Indian text. I don't suppose, by any remote chance, that there's a possibility that somebody, y'know, how can I put this nicely?...like....made all this crap up for fun and profit?   

       I mean, I know it's more likely that a bunch of ancient Indians were zipping around in mercury-cold-fusion- powered reactionless jet-planes, but then unfortunately they forgot how to do it, and destroyed all the evidence. That's obviously the _most_ likely possibility, because this sort of thing happens all the time*. But, I'm just saying, maybe...   

       Remember - it's important to filter. If not on the way in, then on the way out.   

       *[Take my Great Uncle H.J. Buchanan** as an example. He spent the last years of his life*** learning the language of the tribes of Sarawak, and gaining their trust. After many years of patient trust-building, he was one day ushered into the house of a tribal elder. After some minutes of ritual incantation, and the application of traditional make- up****, the elder brought out a wooden casket, ornamented with the feathers of many exotic and rare jungle fish. After making H.J. swear a blood-oath of secrecy, the elder opened the casket and removed a bundle wrapped in the skin of an ocelot. For a few moments, the raucous cry of the insects and the daily noises of the village fell away, leaving only an eerie silence. Peeling back the greasy skin wrappings, the elder revealed an object which was, even upon detailed examination, completely indistinguishable from a can of 7- up. He explained that, many generations ago, his ancestors had learned to mine bauxite from an outcrop in the jungle, and to harness the power of the local waterfall to generate what they called "sitabah meni-meni oopha", which translates as "about a megawatt". They created the technology to use this sitabah meni-meni oopha to refine aluminium (which, in their language was "aluminum"), and used it also to power a complete billet-stamping and deep-drawing machine, and an on-the-fly inkjet printing apparatus hewn from local hardwoods.   

       The tribe had thrived for many generations, creating many wondrous artefacts of "aluminum" (aluminium, if you were following). But then they discovered this really cool hallucinogenic plant called "katoum", and decided to jack it all in.   

       H.J. was no fool, mind. He was not some gullible anthropologist who might be easily deceived by a wiley tribesman. Yet the thing that convinced him of the authenticity of this wrinkled old man's tale, and which still raises the heckles on the back of my neck when I think if it, was this: the can was ... *unopened*, and the ring-pull was still in place.]   

       ** {actually you can't; he's dead and, in any case, was a ward of the State before that; we have to wait for 6 half- lives before we can bring his ashes home}   

       ***(not that he realized this at the time.)   

       **** <actually, it was a small selection of Avon products, and H.J. did wonder about the strange insistence of the old man on using a good foundation.>
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 01 2011

       I like it!
daseva, Mar 02 2011

       [MB] He was right about the importance of a good foundation; government funding's scarce these days.
mouseposture, Mar 02 2011

       [MaxwellBuchanan], that text describes more stuff than flying machines, including descriptions that could not have been written in 1920, but today we would immediately associate with the effects of nuclear explosions. I should mention that while the texts themselves are supposedly a few thousand years old (originally set to paper from oral tradition; copies of copies after that don't count), events that are described are supposed to have occurred thousands of years earlier. Like, a war with Atlantis, heh! Well, if Atlantis got sunk as a result, and India got bombed back into the Stone Age, then for the past 12,000 years or so, humanity has been recovering from that, and rediscovering stuff.   

       I'm not saying the above is true, but I am saying it is not inconsistent with various evidence (including an archeological dig in Iraq that found large sheets of trinitite). There is, of course, also MISSING evidence for the claim, such as, if a technical civilization existed only 13,000 years ago, then where are the mines? One possibility is that unlike today's civilization, in that one only the rich and powerful had access to technology, so there would have been no need for mass production (and mass resource extraction).   

       Another possibility, probably very high on your whacko scale, is that the technology was imported by aliens (as popularized by von Daniken), so the technical base to create it never existed on Earth. Have you heard the joke that leprechauns are actually aliens, since everyone knows they are "little green men"? (And their magic, of course, was simply Clarke's Third Law in action.) I added a new link, just for the fun of it.
Vernon, Mar 02 2011

       [Vernon] You've got Atlantis, leprechauns, aliens and von Daniken all in the same annotation.   

       You win. Off-scale.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 02 2011

       Don't go all subtle on me, Ian.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 02 2011

       We really need the Nemitz index MB. Get back to work on it or I'm going to sneak acid into your coffee.
WcW, Mar 02 2011

       Long as you don't sneak coffee into my acid.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 02 2011


       The French didn't invent everything??
Ling, Mar 03 2011

       And [Vernon] leaps off the weird index in a simultaneous thundering crash of weird science and weirder hoaxes, and hits the ground with both feet running towards the outer limits of Implausible.   

       In all honesty, though, cold fusion effects do appear to be real. They're just not entirely reliable yet (although repeatable), and the big "Cold Fusion is a hoax" thing that happened after Pons and Fleischmann very publicly screwed up on replicating the really finicky conditions to get it to work has slowed research to a crawl. There does seem to be some effect though, and it may indeed be fusion.Whether it's even /vaugely/ practical to harness it for any kind of energy production is as of yet unknown.   

       Antigravity reactionless cold-fusion ancient Indian UFOs powered by bullshit are probably actually fake, though.
Hive_Mind, Mar 03 2011

       It's weird isn't it how these ancient texts are always sufficiently vague that they can't be used for prediction or getting detailed instructions for building something cool? Instead, they are vague enough to allow you to recognise just about any wacko theory in them. In the same way, people claim that Nostradamus predicted 9/11 and so on, but only after the event.
hippo, Mar 03 2011

       Well, I'll be diluted if cold fusion works - I love being proven wrong. I'd be even more so if reactionless drives work.   

       Oh, no, wait!! I forgot!! I'm supposed to be a "real" scientist!!   

       Obviously, what I meant to say was "I'll be horrified if cold fusion works, because it will upset our present understanding of things, and will threaten the oligarchic brotherhood of scientists."   

       There - was that more like it, [Vernon]?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 03 2011

       //...sufficiently vague that they can't be used for prediction or getting detailed instructions...//   

       That's what I thought. Even if by some miracle it is the remnants of a long-dead technical manual, it's so badly mistranslated as to be completely useless.   

       //I'll be diluted if cold fusion works - I love being proven wrong//   

       I'm fascinated by cold fusion. Of all the "fringe science" ideas I've seen, I think it's probably the one that's most likely to turn out to have something real behind it.   

       It's just a shame all the wackos are so fascinated by it too.
Wrongfellow, Mar 03 2011

       [Ian] see link - lots of hits for "lukewarm fusion".

As a side issue, I think that ambiguous translations of ambiguously written 'ancient texts' turns them into a collection of "Barnum Statements" (see link) which can easily be twisted by anyone to refer to whatever modern idea or technology they choose.
hippo, Mar 03 2011

       One thing in common between the Bacon text and the cover of the Vimanaka Shastra is that they both seem to refer to ornithopters - that is, to wing-flapping flying machines. Wing-flapping is how people (right back to Icarus) *imagined* human flight, right up to that point in history where human flight became real. Afterwards, not so much.
pertinax, Mar 03 2011

       That Out-of-place-artifact link is very cool.   

       Probably doesn't help the case, but I don't care what anybody says, I like [Vernon] ideas. I can almost never figure out the whole idea in a single sitting.   

       I could imagine [Vernon] saying that soaking exotic ceramics in alcohol would allow for ambient temperature superconduction, by doping the crystals with negatively charged oxygen ions. Then I can imagine a litany of comments deriding his viewpoint. Then I can imaging someone posting a link (see link).   

       I enjoy these Nimitz class thought experiments, but with friends like me who needs enemas?   

       This one, however, would not work.
4whom, Mar 04 2011

       Vernon should try conducting ferrofluid as an electrode - that is one of his favourite magic ingredients.
neelandan, Mar 04 2011

       //soaking exotic ceramics in alcohol would allow for ambient temperature superconduction//   

       I followed the links from that page, to arXiv, to the original paper, which says:   

       //Although the onset temperature of the superconducting transition for all the heated samples exhibits almost the same value of 9.9 K, the zero resistivity temperature (Tczero) of the samples slightly depends on the variety of alcoholic beverages. The samples heated in red wine and in white wine show a sharp superconducting transition with Tczero = 7.8 K. A similar transition is observed for the samples heated in beer, Japanese sake and whisky, showing Tczero around 7.5 K. The sample heated in shochu exhibits Tczero around 7.1 K.//   

       Personally I like my ambient temperatures to be a bit warmer than this!
Wrongfellow, Mar 04 2011

       [Wrongfellow] you didn't need to follow the link, the annotations on that very page made the same points.   

       My point being made was that not all wacky ideas deliver what is in the title or sub-title, but can still have some relevence and could possibly contribute further to understanding a process. In the superconductor instance it has illuminated the fact that something other than pure water and/or pure alcohol dopes the crystal. Further research needs to take place. Success, of sorts. It opens up an avenue that allows "warm" superconductors to become warmer and still superconduct.   

       But someone needs to think thoughts like, "Maybe I should put this stuff in my drink..." or, "Maybe contaminated metal crystals could be decontaminated if they were liquids instead of solids, in the first place...".   

       In the mean time I am trying to ignore all the ancient tech baiting. I think the 'bakery has figured out how to push [Vernon]'s buttons, and do so regularly.
4whom, Mar 04 2011

       //how to push [Vernon]'s buttons//   

       That is so old-fashioned. We ought to be able to do it by Bluetooth at least.   

       Anyway, it's sort of ordeal-by-fire. As someone once said, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary tolerance of ridicule."
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 04 2011

       Call me old-fashioned, but when I see claims of ambient temperature superconductivity or such, my first thought is "Wow! That's interesting! I must read the paper", not "Wow! That's interesting! I must read what every twit on the internet is saying about the paper".
Wrongfellow, Mar 04 2011

       [neelandan], stop lying. I've never specified using "conducting" ferrofluid in any of my Ideas. That's somebody else's notion.   

       However, I do know how such a substance MIGHT be made. Look up "galinstan", which is a liquid metal alloy developed as a substitute for mercury. It's density is 6.44 grams/cc. The density of iron is 7.86 g/cc. It happens that while mercury dissolves quite a few other metals (like water dissolves sugar) and forms amalgams/alloys with them (gold and silver are popular examples), it does not dissolve iron.   

       I don't know if galinstan can dissolve iron, but IF it does NOT, then a bunch of iron filings dumped into galinstan would sink, but could be agitated into suspension, since the density difference is moderate. Since galinstan and iron are both electrically conductive, you now have a conductive ferrofluid.   

       A better way to do it is to start with iron-filing particles of a certain physical size, and then specially oxidize the surfaces of those particles to form "black oxide", also known as hematite. With the particles initially having a certain special size, this addition of an oxide layer will lower the average density of the particles to become the same density as galinstan, making suspension of the particles easy! --and probably also completely prevent any tendency for the galinstan to dissolve the iron.   

       It happens that hematite is also an electrical conductor (albeit a rather poor one), but even without worrying about electricity passing through the suspended ferric particles, you still have a conductive ferrofluid, thanks to the galinstan.   

       I will note that I deliberately did not mention galinstan for use in this Cold Fusion Experiment, because the ingredients of galinstan are gallium, indium, and stannum (tin), and of the three, global supplies of indium (used a lot in the electronics industry) are starting to run dangerously low. Not suitable for widespread use in power plants, therefore. Also, all three of those elements are much more chemically reactive with hydrogen, than mercury.
Vernon, Mar 04 2011

       Couldn't you just make more indium using cold fusion?
pocmloc, Mar 04 2011

       indium is selling at 280$us/lb on the retail market direct to consumer. I'm guessing that we aren't in the sort of crisis that would impede research.
WcW, Mar 04 2011

       I've been condicting some esperiments.   

       I've found that when I am soaked in verious alcohilic beveredges, I become highly conducive.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 04 2011

       I'm not deck-tiled. I'm jest a little malleable. Learned today that I probably have a job for at least another six months, so am celibating.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 04 2011

       I'm constantly celibate.
rcarty, Mar 04 2011

       Isn't Indium used on some car shell bearings?
Ling, Mar 05 2011

       Since 2011, mobile phones, laptops and automotive batteries have all got smaller and more powerful. This idea, however...
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 03 2013

       //This idea, however...   

       The Earth's gravity hasn't changed much either. Some things take time.
not_morrison_rm, Nov 04 2013

       Hey, all I did was add a link about something that seemed relevant to some of the annotations here. I thought it was interesting, regardless of whether or not the "news" is just a rumor.
Vernon, Nov 04 2013

       Do you consider Coast To Coast AM to be a reliable news source?
Wrongfellow, Nov 04 2013

       That was just the first link I happened to come across. But there are plenty more that Google can find (they mostly all say the same stuff, as if cloned from each other).
Vernon, Nov 04 2013

       More hot air?
neelandan, Jun 04 2017

       I really, really hope that cold fusion can be proven to work and that Pons and Fleischmann can point fingers and laugh at their detractors whose failures were simply caused by dissimilar lab environments.   

       Well, ya see Orville and Wilbur, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. " Arthur Schopenhauer (my favorite grumpy old man philosopher)
Sunstone, Jun 09 2017

       "...you know full well that the HalfBakery frowns on posting "theory" stuff."   

       I for one am endeared to crank science theories such as using stream engines for transportation, link 1 .
Sunstone, Jun 09 2017

       // using stream engines //   

       Upstream or downstream ?
8th of 7, Jun 09 2017


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