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Cold fusion getting hotter.

Cold fusion getting hotter

Using a simple laboratory setup at room temperature, more scientists report evidence for what could emerge as an unknown form of nuclear fusion. Last month, two independent research groups based in Utah separately unveiled evidence of a possible "cold fusion" process (SN: 4/1/89, p.196; 4/8/89, p.212). Dozens of other scientists quickly began their own tests aimed at confirming or debunking those announcements.

Last week chemists Charles R. Martin, Kenneth N. Marsh and Bruce E. Gammon of Texas A&M University in College Station announced that their efforts may indirectly support work at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, the more remarkable of the earlier claims. They used calorimetry to precisely measure heat flowing into and out of their electrochemical fusion reactor, which supposedly splits heavy water into deuterium and oxygen and causes deuterium nuclei to fuse inside a palladium rod.

The Texas researchers say they measure up to 80 percent more energy in the form of heat than they put into the system as electricity. Known chemical reactions can account for at most about 63 percent of the heat observed, and fusion reactions may yield the rest, they say. Also last week, nuclear chemist James Mahaffey and his colleages at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta reported observing an excess of neutrons sputtering from their fusion experiment -- a more direct sign of electrochemically induced deuterium fusions.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 15, 1989
Words:238
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