REVIEW: Dr Mills experimental results.

James Rogers (
Thu, 26 Feb 1998 22:28:29 -0800

At 11:42 AM 2/27/98 +0000, Damien Broderick wrote:
>I hold no brief for Dr Mills, and certainly not for `cold fusion'
>claimants. As I mentioned when I posted these urls, I think it's likely
>that he's either a crackpot or a scamster. But I find Hal's line of
>argument interesting, given the views common on this list.

I examined the documentation of the university experiment out of curiousity.

In short, the experimental results are worthless. It's been many years
since I last stepped into a chem lab, but the individual inolved clearly
has only rudimentary knowledge of laboratory processes and a laughable
grasp of the chemistry of the reaction he is observing.

In this particular case, they were using hydrogen gas as the hydrogen
source and KNO3 as a the catalyst source ( potassium is supposed to be the
catalyst ).

1. He only considers the formation of water and the formation of ammonia
as sources of chemical energy. This is clearly wrong. First, ammonia
can't be appreciably synthesized under the conditions the experiment.
Second, the formation of water is not the most energetic reaction that
would be occurring, yet he disregards the other highly exothermic reactions
in the mix. I might add that nasty nitrogen bi-products are very likely to
be present in the instance that the experiment is actually working as
advertised. This is clearly not the case (mostly likely N2 in his
experiment, which he doesn't mention despite the extreme exothermic heat of

2. Platinum is well-known to catalyze all sorts of exothermic reactions in
the presence of a hydrogen gas. I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention
at the time, but I distinctly remember a lecture during one of my former
chemical engineering classes where the professor discussed at length the
importance of keeping your gases clean/pure when doing platinum catalyzed
hydrogen reactions. In the experiment described, the experimenter appeared
to be more concerned with whether or not he had hydrogen in the mix rather
than the fact that he had a lot of other gases in the mix. Stupid.

3. Knowing nothing else, if I was going to do the experiment, I would use
solid potassium hydride in an extremely low pressure sealed system. Not
only would this eliminate a lot of interfering molecules, but would provide
much more detailed and useful results. KH also ionizes easier than KNO3.
KH in a sealed very low pressure system would eliminate the probability
that other chemical reactions were taking place.

(Note: This point alone makes me highly suspect of his claims. The
industrial synthesis of KH should have generated anomalous results if what
he says is true. The people who do industrial synthesis are maniacal
energy accountants and would have noticed something awry a *long* time ago.)

4. A rudimentary chemical analysis of the resulting mix would almost
certainly be enlightening. Interestingly, there is no indication that they
did any analysis of the residues or gases. This is important, especially
if they don't know what type of reaction is occurring.

There are a lot more nit-picky things and lots of bad lab technique, but I
think it is clear (at least to me) that these "experiments" were half-assed
at best and in no way demonstrated anything. After reading the lab reports
of the experiments that supposedly verified his claim, I have to disregard
him as being either a con-man or delusional.

-James Rogers