cold fusion


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cold fusion

or

low-temperature fusion,

nuclear fusion of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogenhydrogen
[Gr.,=water forming], gaseous chemical element; symbol H; at. no. 1; interval in which at. wt. ranges 1.00784–1.00811; m.p. −259.14°C;; b.p. −252.87°C;; density 0.08988 grams per liter at STP; valence usually +1.
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, at or relatively near room temperature. Fusion, the reaction involved in the release of the destructive energy of a hydrogen bombhydrogen bomb
or H-bomb,
weapon deriving a large portion of its energy from the nuclear fusion of hydrogen isotopes. In an atomic bomb, uranium or plutonium is split into lighter elements that together weigh less than the original atoms, the remainder of the mass
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, requires extremely high temperatures, and investigations of fusion as a possible energy source have focused on the problems involved in designing an apparatus to contain and sustain such a reaction (see nuclear energynuclear energy,
the energy stored in the nucleus of an atom and released through fission, fusion, or radioactivity. In these processes a small amount of mass is converted to energy according to the relationship E = mc2, where E is energy, m
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; nuclear reactornuclear reactor,
device for producing controlled release of nuclear energy. Reactors can be used for research or for power production. A research reactor is designed to produce various beams of radiation for experimental application; the heat produced is a waste product and is
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). In 1989 B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, chemists at the Univ. of Utah, announced that an experiment conducted at room temperature using platinum and palladium electrodes immersed in heavy water (deuterium oxide) had produced excess heat and other byproducts that they ascribed to a fusion reaction. Attempts to replicate their experiment produced initially conflicting results, but several early announcements of experimental confirmation were later retracted. Pons and Fleischmann were also later criticized for having skewed data to show the emission of gamma rays at an energy level typical of fusion.

Research into the possibility of low-energy nuclear reactions (as the field is also called) nonetheless continues, because of intriguing but inconclusive experimental results—such as claims of the production of excess heat, helium, or tritium where heavy water reacts with metals—and because of the desirability of producing relatively nonpolluting fusion energy in quantity at any temperature. Cold-fusion proponents believe that the fusion mechanism is different from that of "hot fusion" in that it encompasses some type of unusual nuclear reaction in the metal lattice involving deuterium and possibly other atoms. Several dozen models to explain the observed phenomena have been advanced, but none accounts for the full range of experimental observations.

Bibliography

See F. David Peat, Cold Fusion: The Making of a Scientific Controversy (1989); F. E. Close, Too Hot to Handle: The Race for Cold Fusion (1991); J. R. Huizenga, Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century (1993); G. Taubes, Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion (1993).

References in periodicals archive ?
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ERAB, "Report of the cold fusion panel to the Energy Research Advisory Board", Department of Energy, DOE/S-0073: Washington, DC, 1989.
In addition, the theoretical analysis on the process of cold fusion indicates high values of the probability of fusion between deuterons within a micro-crack at room temperature and with impure metals.
The field is now experiencing a rebirth in research efforts and interest, with evidence suggesting that cold fusion may be a reality," Marwan said.
Just because cold fusion has not worked out and most probably never will does not mean the world could not get lucky with something just as good.
In a 1998 recap of cold fusion work to date, Wired magazine reported that in 1994 the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a reputable research organization, had announced results that seemed to confirm the existence of a desktop fusion reaction in experiments.
Founded in 1999, Cold Fusion Foods manufactures and markets frozen protein bars to both retail and foodservice markets.
People like Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann of cold fusion fame are reviled by most of the scientific community because they refused to perform simple experiments that could have resolved much of the controversy (see, for example, Robert Park's Voodoo Science for a full account).
Cold Fusion Protein Enriched Juice Bars come in a variety of flavors, blending delicious all natural fruit juices with nature's best herbs, 100% RDA of antioxidants A, C and E, plus chromium and manganese to aid stamina and muscle recovery, enhance physical and mental performance, combat cell-damaging free radicals and boost metabolism.
There are still a number of researchers Internationally pursuing cold fusion as a kind of grail, with no clear end in sight.
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Regarding the first paragraph about professor Lewis' background, I strongly object to your statement that ``A decade ago, he led a team that handily debunked the myth of cold fusion.