Cold Fusion Research Paper

3547 words - 14 pages

Cold Fusion Research Paper

As the world becomes more aware of the growing need for a more abundant energy supply, one energy source has been swept under the carpet and virtually ignored. This source is cold fusion. Cold fusion is:

“A reaction that occurs under certain conditions in supersaturated metal hydrides (metals with lots of hydrogen or heavy hydrogen dissolved in them). It produces excess heat, helium, and a very low level of neutrons. In some experiments the host metal has been transmuted into other elements. Cold fusion has been seen with palladium, titanium, nickel and with some superconducting ceramics.” (Infinite)

In 1989 Stanley Pons and Martain Fleischmann announced to the press that they had discovered cold fusion. This announcement sent the scientific community in an uproar and the public news media went crazy. The public saw a new source of clean energy that had very little environmental effects. The scientific community saw a paper, which was not peer reviewed, of a scientific principle go out into the public without their consent. While the concept of cold fusion is contrary to the accepted views of physics, this small fact is not what had the community outraged. It was the way Pons and Fleischmann presented the experiment that caused problems.

The accepted way of presenting research results within the scientific community is to first publish your experiment to the rest of the scientific community, have other scientist verify your results, and then only after your results have been tested and verified should you go to the press. Science often has experiments that are contrary to the current theory, when these experiments are observed the theory is changed to allow the results to happen and be predicted. Pons and Fleischmann's results were not only contrary to accepted theory but the fact that they went about their presentation of the results has created a great divide in the research field. If they had gone to the community before the press, a new scientific discovery might have been developed and researched, however there are only a few believers in cold fusion that are still researching it today.

A general way physicists determine if a reaction is nuclear or chemical is via tritium (an isotope of hydrogen) production. Chemical reactions do not produce tritium, while most nuclear reactions do. It is important to note that some forms of fusion (nuclear reaction) can occur where tritium is not produced. (Matejowsky) Pons and Fleishmann claimed to produce a few tritium atoms, but their claimed results were never replicated because they did not publish their experiment. The exact method they used was not replicated until it was too late and cold fusion already had a bad name and been renounced. Even once the method they used had been reproduced the results were not consistent enough to convince the community. This resulted in the scientific community believing the entire idea and concept of cold fusion to be a...

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