Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cold fusion confusion

My latest study was of the muon catalyzed fusion and it appears to me to be somewhat doubtful proposition for commercialization.  The reason being that producing the muons is a bit of a challenge.  In fact, that is indeed the problem in a nutshell.  If muons could be produced in quantity and at low cost, this type of fusion would be feasible.  This has known that for decades, however.  It doesn't make sense to withhold that invention, should economical muon production had been achieved.  It is not like cold fusion, in that the science is pretty much mainstream.   You can't get a patent for cold fusion devices in the US, but you could get one for muon production, provided that you can prove it.

The thought that cold fusion is impossible is a bit of a semantic argument.  If muon catalyzed fusion is possible, it is already "cold" because it can take place at room temperature.  Maybe even below room temperature.  Therefore, the problem is in the semantics, not the facts.  Cold fusion is possible in this instance.  The question should be this: is there some other way around the coulomb barrier?  Somebody has thought of a way- or should I say many people have thought of ways in which this might be accomplished.  Yet, for some reason, mainstream science doesn't even want to consider the possibility of cold fusion.   How do you resolve this contradiction?  Perhaps you can start by agreeing upon a definition of what cold fusion actually is.

Being somewhat more careful than average about word meanings, if I am not sure about what the word means, I'll go look it up.  Okay, so let's do that for cold fusion and see what's out there:

Wikipedia isn't too sure about it, so there's a disambiguation page to clarify it.  Cold fusion seems to have more meanings than the ones I usually think of.  My understanding of cold fusion relates to the science.  But there are other meanings, which are not anything like the science.  Let's not go there and just stick with the scientific meaning. 

Even there, the wiki has four different meanings
  1. The low temperature low energy type usually associated with Fleischmann and Pons
  2. Muon catalyzed fusion
  3. Pyroelectric fusion , which is something I've never heard of before
  4.  Nuclear fusion at high energies  [ comment: that doesn't exactly qualify, does it?  It does break down this further into something called "generally cold but locally hot fusion"]
 The most controversial one is no doubt the first one.  The others seem to be well within the bounds of mainstream science.

A lot of the confusion seems to have started with a misunderstanding between Fleischmann and Jones at the time that they had agreed upon a joint submission for publication of their respective work.   Jones was working on muon catalyzed fusion:
"Cold nuclear fusion" that had been published in Scientific American in July 1987
Perhaps the confusion and controversy could have been avoided if the agreement had been kept.   It would seem that the whole thing deteriorated from that point on until "cold fusion" became known as a pathological science.  Any scientist caught working on this could be punished.

The curious thing about it all was that there were anomalies which should have been a good enough reason for continued study.  The unfortunate thing about it was that this continued "pathological scientific research" had to continue under a cloud of controversy.  The controversy continues to this very day.  Shouldn't the cold fusion confusion be laid to rest?

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