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LENR Glossary

LENR Glossary

Alpha particle, alpha decay
See Radioactive decay

Amperage, Voltage
See Volt

Anode
The positive electrode in an electrochemical cell, which attracts oxygen. (See electrode;electrolysis.)

Atom; atomic nucleus, chemical versus nuclear reactions
The smallest unit of an element, consisting of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by cloud of negatively charged electrons. Most of the mass of atom is concentrated in the nucleus, which is made up of protons and neutrons. Chemical reactions affect only the electrons, leaving the nucleus unchanged. Nuclear reactions affect the nucleus, transmuting the atom into a different element or isotope.

Beta particle, beta decay
See Radioactive decay

Btu (British Thermal Unit)
The heat needed to raise one pound of water by 1ºF. 1 Btu = 1,055.06 joules.

Calibrate
In the first phase of an experiment, an instrument is calibrated by measuring a known quantity, or by comparing it against a standard, higher quality instrument. For example, a thermometer might be calibrated by dipping it into ice slurry, which is at 0ºC (by definition) and boiling water at 100ºC. Or, it might be calibrated by placing it a beaker of warm, stirred water along with two other high quality thermometers. As the water cools the temperatures shown on all three thermometers is noted, and a correction factor is determined for the target thermometer. A calorimeter might be calibrated by placing an electric heater in the sample chamber, and running 1 watt through the heater for several hours, then 2 watts, 3, 4 and 5 watts. At each power level the calorimeter stabilizes at a particular temperature, when the heat going into the water is balanced by losses out of the calorimeter walls to the surroundings. Suppose you find that at 1 watt the temperature settles 2.4ºC above the surrounding temperature; at 2 watts, 4.8; at 3 watts 7.2 and so on. You graph these temperatures to make a calibration curve, and you determine the calibration constant is 2.4ºC per watt, or 0.42 watts per degree Celsius. Later, a sample placed in the calorimeter raises the temperature 5.1ºC. You know that the sample is producing 2.1 watts of heat. This method of calibration works because the electric power consumed by the heater in the chamber can be measured with great precision and the power remains stable over time. The calibration will be less reliable with poor quality meters and a low quality power supply which produces fluctuating power. The greatest difficulty in calibrating a calorimeter is often noise introduced by changes in the temperature of the surroundings. In a cold fusion experiment, calibration and other testing of the instruments may take months.

Calorie
The energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius. This equals approximately 4.19 joules (watt-seconds). Note that a “dietary” or “large calorie” equals 1,000 calories (1 kilocalorie). The energy content of food when oxidized in the body is measured in large calories.

Calorimeter
An instrument that measures the heat generated by an exothermic process, or the heat absorbed by an endothermic process. Conventional, old-fashioned calorimeters surround the sample with water. The sample heats (or cools) and the water temperature rises (or falls). The mass of water and the temperature indicate how much heat energy was produced. In a modern electronic Seebeck envelope calorimeter, the sample is surrounded by panels containing hundreds of thermocouples connected in series — a thermopile. The net output from all thermocouples together indicates the amount of heat evolving from the sample.

Catalyst
A substance that modifies and usually increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process. In a closed cold fusion cell, platinum mesh or beads are often used as a catalyst that causes the free deuterium gas to recombine with oxygen at low temperatures.

Cathode
The negative electrode in an electrochemical cell, which attracts hydrogen. (See electrode;electrolysis.) In a conventional cold fusion experiment, the cathode is made of palladium, which absorbs the hydrogen.

Cogeneration, or combined heat and power (CHP)
Most conventional electric power generators waste two thirds of the energy they use, generating great billowing clouds of steam from cooling towers. The steam is not hot enough to run a turbine, but it is hot enough for many industrial uses or for space heating. With cogeneration, the steam is channeled into factories or buildings where it is used.

Deuterium, tritium
Deuterium is heavy hydrogen. Ordinary, light hydrogen atoms consist of one proton and one electron. A heavy hydrogen atom has one proton and one neutron in the nucleus, and an electron. In ordinary air and water, approximately one hydrogen atom in every 6,200 is heavy hydrogen. A tritium atom nucleus has one proton and two neutrons. Tritium is a radioactive isotope, with a half-life of 12.3 years. There is practically no measurable tritium in ordinary air and water. Deuterium and tritium are isotopes of hydrogen. Water made with deuterium (D2O) is called heavy water. In contrast, ordinary water is sometimes referred to as “light water” but it actually contains one part in 6,200 heavy water. This ratio is the same in all natural water everywhere on earth, in ice, water, and steam.

Deuteride
Metal that has absorbed deuterium. See Hydride.

Deuteron
A deuterium ion; a proton and a neutron.

Electrolysis, electrode, electrolyte
Electrolysis is the passing of an electric current from one electrode to another through a liquid, which is called the electrolyte. Electrolysis breaks apart the molecules of liquid into positively and negatively charged ions. The positively charged ions are attracted to the negative electrode (the cathode), and the negative ions are attracted to the positive electrode (the anode). A water molecule consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. When it is electrolyzed, it breaks apart. The hydrogen atoms are positively charged so they are attracted to the cathode, while the free oxygen atom is pulled to the anode. To put it another way, oxidation occurs at the anode and reduction occurs at the cathode.

Electron volt (eV, keV, MeV)
The energy gained by an electron in passing from a point of low potential to a point one volt higher in potential. Electron Volt is abbreviated eV; kilo- and mega-electron volts are abbreviated keV and MeV. Chemical reactions typically produce a fraction of 1 eV per atom, or at most 4 or 5 eV. Nuclear reactions produce MeV levels of energy per atom. An electron volt equals 1.6 -19 joules.

Energy versus power
Energy is heat, or the capacity to do work. Power is the instantaneous measure of energy. For example, at a given moment the power level might be 10 watts. When this power continues steadily for 20 seconds, it adds up to 200 joules. Power is analogous to speed, and energy is analogous to the total distance traveled. (Speed × duration = distance; Power × duration = energy) Large amounts of energy are sometimes measured in kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hour is 1,000 watts continued for 1 hour, or 3.6 million joules.

Excess heat
Heat generated by a chemical or nuclear reaction inside a calorimeter over and above the heat input into the cell from external sources. In a cold fusion experiment where electrolysis consumes 4 watts but the cell produces 5 watts, the extra 1 watt is excess heat. At first you cannot tell whether it is caused by a chemical or nuclear reaction. If it continues for a long time, adding up to a great deal more energy than chemical reaction might produce, and if you find no indication of a chemical reaction after the experiment terminates, you know it must have been caused by a nuclear reaction instead.

Exothermic, Endothermic
An exothermic chemical or nuclear reaction produces heat. An endothermic reaction absorbs heat. An endothermic reaction occurs in a cold fusion cell when the palladium initially absorbs a great deal of hydrogen or deuterium to form a hydride. This absorbs heat and cools the surroundings. After the current is turned off, much of the hydrogen gradually escapes from the cathode, which is an exothermic reaction. The two cancel out one another; the heat absorbed by the first reaction equals the heat generated by the second if all of the hydrogen leaves the palladium. (Actually, much of the hydrogen usually remains; it is difficult to drive it all out.) Cold fusion has produced far more heat than these chemical reactions can. In some cases it has produced thousands of times more, and in a few cases it has produced hundreds of thousands of times more.

Fission, fusion
Fission is breaking apart of heavy element atomic nuclei to form lighter elements. Fusion means building up heavier elements by combining lighter ones together. When elements heavier than iron fission, they release energy. Fissioning elements lighter than iron consumes more energy than it releases. Fusion is the opposite: the lighter the element, the more energy produces during fusion. Fusing the lightest element, hydrogen, produces the most energy of any nuclear process. This energy drives the stars. Fission and fusion both result in transmutation: changing one element or isotope into another.

Gamma ray
Electromagnetic radiation emitted by radioactive decay. Gamma rays have between 10 keV and 10 MeV of energy.

Heat after death
In some cold fusion experiments, the palladium cathode has remained hot long after electrolysis has been turned off and the cell should have cooled. Fleischmann and Pons first reported this and called it “heat after death.”

Heavy water, light water
See Deuterium.

Helium
The second lightest element, with two isotopes: helium-3, with two protons and one neutron, which is unstable, and helium-4 with two protons and two neutrons, which is stable. Helium-4 is the by-product of many nuclear reactions. There is good evidence that the cold fusion reaction produces it.

Hydride
A metal that has absorbed hydrogen, the way coffee absorbs sugar. A deuteride is metal that has absorbed deuterium. More generally, this means a compound of hydrogen with a more electropositive element or group.

Ion
An electrically charged atom or group of atoms. A positive ion is an atom that has been stripped of one or more outer electrons. A negative ion has extra electrons.

Isotope, isotopic ratio
An atom with the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons. One element may have several isotopes. For example, copper atoms always have 29 protons, but some have 34 neutrons and some have 36, which makes some copper atoms heavier than others. The two isotopes of copper have atomic masses of 63 (29+34) and 65 (29+36). These isotopes are designated copper-63 (63 Cu) and copper-65 (65Cu). Some elements, like gold, have only one isotope. Most isotopes have the same gross chemical properties, but subtle differences in behavior have been observed, such as better conductivity with different isotopes of iron. There may be many more undiscovered differences between isotopes, but the subject has not been researched in detail because it is difficult and expensive to separate out isotopes and prepare pure mono-isotopic samples. Different isotopes of an element are found in different ratios, and these ratios are fixed. For example, 69% of copper is copper-63, 31% is copper-65. With other elements the isotopic ratios are more extreme: 99.762% of all oxygen is oxygen-16; oxygen-17 is 0.038% and oxygen-18 is 0.200%. When an element is found with unnatural isotopic ratios (also called unnatural isotopic distribution), it can only have two origins:1. It might be man-made, using a chemical or physical separation technique. Ontario Hydro produces purified heavy water for CANDU fission reactors. Uranium isotopes are separated to make atomic bombs. 2. It might come from a nuclear reaction, in which one element is transmuted into one or more other elements. Cold fusion can change isotopic ratios, which proves it is a nuclear reaction.

Joule
A measure of energy; one watt of power maintained for one second. 1 calorie = 4.2 joules.

Kilowatt (kW)
A measure of power; 1,000 watts.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)
A measure of energy; 1,000 watts of power maintained for one hour. 1 kilowatt-hour = 3.6 million joules (megajoules)

Neutron
A neutral (uncharged) particle in the nucleus of all atoms except light hydrogen. A neutron weighs almost exactly as much as a proton.

Palladium, Platinum, Platinum Group Metals (PGM)
These precious metals have similar properties, and the ores are often found together. Palladium absorbs a large amount of hydrogen, so it is used in hydrogen filters, hydrogenation catalysts, and cold fusion cathodes. Platinum is often used for the anode in a cold fusion cell, or as the cathode in a control run; that is, in a test that is not supposed to produce excess heat, used to calibrate the equipment in preparation for a test with palladium. Platinum group metals include iridium, osmium, palladium, platinum, rhodium and ruthenium.

Plasma
Atoms broken into protons, charged atoms, neutrons, and electrons in a highly ionized gas-like state. Plasma is electrically neutral.

Power
See Energy versus Power

Proton
A positively charged particle in the nucleus of an atom.

Radioactive decay
In radioactive decay, a particle is emitted from the nucleus of an atom, and the atom converts from element to another. There are three forms of naturally occurring (spontaneous decay) in  which atoms convert themselves with no outside influence. An alpha particle is emitted by one form of natural radioactive decay. The alpha particle is a helium nucleus: two protons and two neutrons. Alpha particles are positively charged. Alpha decay occurs with heavier elements, those above the middle of periodic table. Two other forms of radioactive decay occur with uranium and heavier elements: spontaneous fission and beta decay. Spontaneous fission occurs when a heavy element splits into two nearly equal fragments, forming two atoms of lighter elements. Beta decay involves electrons emitted from or captured by a nucleus. Since electrons are much lighter than protons and neutrons, the mass of the atom changes only a little, the mass number remains the same, but the element is transmuted into another element. For example, tritium (super-heavy hydrogen) consists of a proton and two neutrons, mass number 3. When tritium undergoes beta decay, a neutron converts into a proton, one electron is emitted, and the atom transmutes from hydrogen into helium-3 (two protons, one neutron), still with mass number 3. There are three kinds of beta decay:

1. Negative electron beta decay, in which a neutron converts to a proton, an electron is emitted, and the element transmutes to the next higher element. 2. Positron emission, in which a proton converts into a neutron and a positive electron (a positron) is emitted, and the element transmutes to the next lower element. 3. Electron capture, also called K-capture. An electron from the lowest orbit (the K shell orbit) is captured by a proton, which converts to a neutron, and the element transmutes to the next lower element. These are natural forms of radioactive decay, meaning the atoms change by themselves, in contrast to nuclear changes which occur when a mass of material is gathered inside a reactor or a nuclear bomb, or when neutrons from a reactor bombard material. In this case, neutrons from one reaction cause another reaction in another atom.

Radwaste (radioactive waste)
Waste left over from uranium mining, nuclear power generation, or nuclear weapons production. The disposal of radwaste is a major problem.

Thermoelectric Chip
A thermoelectric chip converts heat into electricity without moving parts, similar to the way a photovoltaic chip on a calculator converts light into electricity. Thermoelectric devices are reversible heat pumps. When you expose a thermoelectric device to heat, it generates electricity (the Seebeck effect), and when you run electric current through a thermoelectric device, it draws heat from one side to the other, acting as a heat pump or refrigerator (the Peltier effect). Present day thermoelectric chips are inefficient, so they are seldom used to generate electricity. They are mainly employed as refrigerators. These are typically beer cooler sized boxes powered by the auto dashboard cigarette lighter connection. When you run power through them, one side of the chip gets hot and the other gets cold. Actually, they work as either refrigerators or heaters. Press the power switch in one direction and the contents of the beer cooler stay cold. Press the power switch the other direction, reverse the current, and the inside of the box grows warm, because heat from outside the box is pumped into the box.

Transmutation
The conversion of one element into another by fission (breaking apart the atomic nuclei) or fusion (bringing together and combining nuclei).

Tritium
A hydrogen atom with two neutrons. Tritium is radioactive, with a half-life of 12.3 years. See Hydrogen.

Volt
Voltage is a measure of electrical potential or electromotive force. Direct current electric power is measured in volts multiplied by amperes. Increasing either will increase the amount of work the electricity can do. In a rough analogy to a river pushing a water wheel to perform work, voltage is the height the water falls, and amperage is the volume of water.

Watt (electrical, thermal)
A measure of power. In direct current electricity, watts = volts × amps. A thermal watt is the level of heat produced by a heater that consumes one watt of electric power.

Waste Heat
Strictly speaking, this is: “heat energy produced in an energy conversion or transfer process that is lost during conversion or transfer and is not available for useful purposes” (as defined by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory). For example, a typical automobile engine is 20% efficient, meaning that 80% of the heat from the burning gasoline goes out of the exhaust system, and 20% converts to vehicle propulsion. With electrical transmission, conversion losses and transmission and distribution (T&D) losses end up as waste heat. All forms of energy ultimately degrade into heat. Vehicle propulsion, for example, ends up warming the air, the tires and the road. However, the 80% of the waste heat from an automobile engine is not all necessarily wasted in the literal sense. As explained in Chapter 15, in wintertime, you move a lever to open a baffle, directing a stream of fresh air across the hot engine block into the passenger compartment. In other words, you use waste heat to keep yourself warm. At a typical electric power plant, 66% of the heat is wasted. This leftover heat is not hot enough to generate electricity with conventional  turbines, but it can be used for space heating and other purposes. See: Cogeneration

Glossary written by Mizuno, T., Nuclear Transmutation: The Reality of Cold Fusion. 1998, Concord, NH: Infinite Energy Press, and Eugene Mallove and Jed Rothwell of Lenr-Canr.org.