A relativistic interpretation of Casimir effect represents an enabling step for the numerous claims of excess heat in LENR. It provides the energy required by other theories to produce nuclear energy or ash less chemistry. One very plausible hypothesis for this 2nd step was recently presented by Jones Beene on the Vortex mailing list and is shown below. It only pertains to systems using deuterium and nickel and represents only one path of a possible multi path system to account for the excess heat.
From: Jones Beene
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2010 12:15 PM
Subject: [Vo]:Nickel O-P fusion and beta decay
The following is a continuation of a formative hypothesis for the excess energy release in one category of LENR involving nickel as the active host; and in particular the Arata-Zhang results and numerous replications. The key insight is the Oppenheimer-Phillips effect, operating within the confines of a Casimir cavity on a specific isotope of nickel.
Arata and Zhang demonstrated, in a remarkable low-powered (unpowered) experiment, a stronger excess heat effect in nickel than in palladium; but an alloy of nickel with about 15% Pd seems to be optimum. The key to his success is probably related to nanostructure – but it highlights the fact that nickel is likely to be the better choice for the host matrix in any kind of LENR, especially when alloyed, and for the reasons independent of geometry, to be outlined below.
The logic of that observation is that an essentially unpowered experiment, which has been reproduced by at least six groups to date (two yet to be published) must imply that when power is added, the gain will be multiplied. This obvious “next step” is underway in a few labs and in particular the Rossi energy amplifier, which has been rumored to be successful.
The further hope is that a combination of nanostructure, Casimir cavity optimization, outside energy input and direct energy conversion can be anticipated to push the results of a hybrid reactor closer to the level of what will be required for the long-awaited commercial application … even if that first product only involves mundane space heating. In any event, this is a wide open area of research due to the range of prior art, overlap with Mills’ hydrino theory, which is non-nuclear, and expired patents.
In a prior version of this hypothesis there was an incorrect focus on so-called “halo nuclei” which are nuclei having excess neutrons, teetering on the edge of nuclear stability. As it turns out, there is no need to invoke this modality. The well-known Oppenheimer-Phillips (O-P) effect will suffice to explain most of the experimental results, especially when it is considered to operate with an appropriate acceleration cavity – or with relativistic (time distortion) effects.
Stated simply, acceleration of any kind can increases between Casimir plates or walls because the vacuum energy-density is lower inside than outside the cavity. A “dissolved” deuteron which is exiting from a nickel matrix into a cavity experiences a strong venturi effect, and the rate of acceleration itself then increases to the extent necessary to push the deuteron into the inner shell of a nickel “target”, located on the opposite wall – from whence electron shell a “slingshot” effect can electrostatically push the deuteron close to the nucleus, overcoming Coulomb repulsion with the help of O-P shielding.
The first relevant fact is that over two-thirds of natural nickel is the isotope 58Ni, which has very high nuclear stability – but there is also a ~1% isotope: 64Ni which is 6 a.m.u. or ~11% heavier. This is the highest percentage of excess neutrons (compared to the most stable isotope) for any transition metal in the Periodic Table; but that fact alone does not imply metastability, such as in the case of true halo nuclei. From there on, “facts” fade and the explanation offered is to a large part contingent on how well it explains experimental results.
If we look into the precise mechanics of the Oppenheimer-Phillips effect, it is clear that it might not explain actual experimental results with 58Ni or 60Ni the majority isotopes – but that it does work with 64Ni as the target. The larger issue then resolves to: is there a mechanism that favors the anomalously “heavy nickel” isotope, in promoting this effect ? Whether or not there is anything special about the extra level of neutrons, such as a presumed near-field shielding of positive nuclear charge is unknown. There is some logic but no proof that a partially shielded near-field, as would be seen by an approaching deuteron in the range of angstroms, is beneficial for the O-P effect only with that isotope; or that excess neutrons do provide that close shielding which statistically favors the O-P effect for 64Ni, as opposed to the other isotopes which are less shielded.
The Oppenheimer–Phillips process, or “stripping reaction”, is a type of deuteron-induced nuclear reaction which depends on charge shielding of another kind. In this process, the neutron component of an approaching deuteron fuses with a target nucleus, transmuting the target to a heavier isotope, while ejecting the proton. An example, discovered over 85 years ago, is the nuclear transmutation of carbon-12 to carbon-13 at lower than expected energy.
The semantic distinction should be made that this is a fusion reaction, followed by beta day of the heavier nucleus. The fusion is between deuterium and nickel. The ash is a immediate proton, and eventually a beta particle and a transmuted element (to copper in the case of 65Ni). Gamma radiation, even if secondary, should be apparent. The mechanics of interaction allow a nuclear fusion interaction to take place at lower energies than would be expected from a calculation of the Coulomb barrier between a deuteron and a target nucleus.
This is because – as a deuteron approaches the positively charged target nucleus, it experiences a charge polarization where the “proton-end” faces away from the target and the “neutron-end” faces towards the target. The deuteron must be accelerated of course, but the rate of acceleration, being a function of time, is expected to be influenced by time distortion within a Casimir cavity. In this hypothesis, the Casimir cavity of 2-10 nm is a sine qua non for success. The fusion proceeds when the binding energy of the approaching neutron and the target nucleus exceeds the binding energy of the deuteron and its trailing proton. This is a QM reaction which may be statistically altered due to time distortion. The split proton is then repelled from the new heavier nucleus. This is one indicia of the reaction – hydrogen in place of deuterium which will show up in an assay of gases at the end.
Putting this reaction into the context of nickel: with the 58Ni, the O-P effect would give 59Ni as the activated nucleus – but this has a very long half-lie – thousands of years so that does not help us very much. However, with 64Ni you get 65Ni as the activated nucleus and it has a 2.5 hr half life and decays to copper. This is the range half-life that can explain “heat after death” and also the delay in heat buildup over time, and also a transmutation product which has been witnessed in prior LENR results.
This hypotheses should be falsifiable in several ways. Among them is that the copper isotope which is the transmutation product is the lesser of copper’s two isotopes, and that would be an excellent indicator. There should be a small direct gamma signature, and beta electrons will leave a predictable spectrum of bremsstrahlung radiation that should be detected, and there should be hydrogen ash in the deuterium gas after a run which is commensurate with the excess energy seen. All of these expected indicia give hope that the O-P/Casimir hypothesis will either be confirmed or falsified soon.