Oct 132016
 Tesla Model S on Fire

Tesla Model S on Fire

Oct. 13, 2016 – By Steven B. Krivit –

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Samsung has no idea why the lithium-ion batteries in its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones continue to intermittently burst into flames and spontaneously explode. Low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) theorist Lewis Larsen, in Chicago, told New Energy Times that LENRs may be one of several factors that can be triggering these fires.

A LENR event inside a battery could create a microscopic ball of ionized plasma at 4,000-6,000 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough to ignite any materials in the battery.

“You have everything you need in there to potentially trigger LENRs,” Larsen said. “You have a source of hydrogen, lithium, metals, and very high electric fields on the surfaces of anodes and cathodes. In advanced batteries, the electrodes are prevented from internally shorting by a plastic separator that may be only 1/1000 of an inch thick. Sufficiently high electric fields, irrespective of LENRs, can break down the separator and trigger a short.”

Larsen has been tracking unexplained lithium-ion battery fires — in planes, automobiles, laptops, and e-cigarettes — since 2010. He told New Energy Times that, as the energy-density capacity of these batteries increases, so does the risk of triggering LENRs.

“When Samsung went from the Galaxy 5 to the Galaxy 7, they increased the battery capacity 15% and changed the chemistry,” Larsen said. “They did this to increase the operating life between recharges, to compete with Apple’s iPhone.”

In 2013, lithium-ion battery fires in Boeing Dreamliner planes made headlines. The batteries are located in the front and rear avionics bays, two key nerve centers for the plane. Worldwide restrictions on transporting lithium-ion batteries by air soon followed.

Also that year, a Tesla Model S car burst into flames on a highway near Seattle, Washington. According to journalist Hannah Elliott, writing for Forbes, Tesla claimed that the fire was caused by “the direct impact of a large metallic object” lying in the roadway. Tesla said the object pierced the car’s armored underbody.

When Elliott asked pointed questions to Tesla’s director of global communications, Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, Elliott got no answers. Specifically, Jarvis-Shean declined to answer Elliot’s questions “What was the object? How was something so big able to apparently disappear from the site of the alleged crash?”

The Associated Press reported that “a trooper who responded to the scene was unable to locate any objects on the roadway, but [Washington state] Department of Transportation workers did observe some debris near the scene.” No large metallic object was ever reported found.

In August this year, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Safety Center, according to the Navy Times, issued a memo recommending a full ban on e-cigarettes, which rely on lithium-ion batteries. The Navy Times reported that the devices have led to a dozen injuries since 2015, seven of them on Navy ships.

“The Naval Safety Center concludes that these devices pose a significant and unacceptable risk to Navy personnel, facilities, submarines, ships, vessels and aircraft,” the memo reads, as quoted by the Navy Times.

Lithium has long been recognized as an important reactant for LENR experiments, which, like lithium-ion batteries, are often designed as electrolytic cells. Isotopic post-mortem analysis of the burned lithium-ion batteries likely would provide evidence to determine whether LENRs are taking place inside these chemical batteries.

Related News:
Feb. 12, 2013 – LENR, Dendrites and Perhaps Dreamliner Battery Fires
Feb. 2, 2013 – Larsen Speculates LENRs Are Triggers for Lithium-Ion Battery Fires
Jan. 17, 2013 – Are Nuclear Reactions Causing Boeing Dreamliner Battery Fires?

Larsen Slide Presentations
Sept. 25, 2013 – Battery-Field Failures Can Occur in E-Cigarettes
Oct. 3, 2013 – Brief Review of Tesla Model S Battery Thermal Runaway
Oct. 16, 2013 – Technical Analysis of Tesla Model S Battery Thermal Runaway
April 14, 2016 – Energy Density of Lithium-Based Batteries May Be Approaching Safe Limits

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Oct 132016
 Stanislaw Szpak

Stanislaw Szpak

Oct. 13, 2016 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Electrochemist and low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) researcher Stanislaw Szpak, 95, died yesterday, according to his colleague Frank Gordon. Szpak and Gordon were part of a small LENR team at the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California.

The initial core SPAWAR LENR group consisted of Szpak (b. 1920), Pamela Mosier-Boss (b. 1957), and Jerry Smith (b. 1939), a chemist who worked for the Department of Energy (DOE). In the first two decades of the field, the SPAWAR group was the only U.S. government group to consistently publish the LENR research in the open, peer-reviewed literature. A primary reason for the continuation of the SPAWAR LENR work and the publication of the group’s results was the support of Frank Gordon (b. 1944), who, in 1989, was the head of the Department of Anti-Submarine Warfare at the San Diego laboratory, later renamed SPAWAR.

Szpak approached Gordon soon after Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons’ room-temperature “fusion” announcement and asked for his support to work on experiments. Gordon recognized the value and potential importance of the research and provided discretionary funding to support Szpak’s research group. Gordon also had enough clout to fend off naysayers who occasionally challenged the legitimacy of the group’s work on what many people at the time thought was bogus science.

According to Gordon, Szpak was born in the U.S., but when he was 2, his parents moved back to Poland. As a young man, he was studying chemistry when World War II broke out. At the time, Hitler’s troops were everywhere, confiscating everything they could to use for the war effort, including leather. Normally, the process of tanning leather took many days and was very smelly. It was virtually impossible for private leather industries to evade Hitler’s troops. Szpak used his chemistry know-how to develop a way to tan leather very quickly and thus evade detection. Szpak survived the era but at one point suffered a partial loss of sight in one eye and hearing in one ear when a nearby land mine exploded.

Szpak didn’t like the idea of waiting weeks, let alone months, for the necessary amount of deuterium to load into palladium, as Fleischmann and Pons had done. High ratios of deuterium and palladium atoms were a prerequisite before anything unusual would happen in the cells. Szpak’s Ph.D. dissertation had been on electrodeposition, an electrolytic process in which a thin layer of a metal is deposited on top of another metal. It was natural for him to think of using this method.

He and Mosier-Boss used electrodeposition to co-deposit atoms of palladium from a palladium-chloride solution onto cathodes (substrates) made of copper foil or nickel screens, metals that did not absorb deuterium. The result was that deuterium and palladium atoms from the solution deposited onto the substrates at a high deuterium-to-palladium atomic ratio, layer by layer, right from the beginning of the experiments.

By 2012, the SPAWAR group had published 25 LENR papers in peer-reviewed journals, more than any other individual or group in the U.S. Worldwide, only one group, in Japan, even came close and tied the SPAWAR group’s publishing record in LENRs. In two decades, the SPAWAR team, thanks to Szpak, made a wide variety of contributions to the body of experimental research in LENRs.

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Sep 272016


Sept. 27, 2016 – By Steven B. Krivit –

On May 11, 2016, New Energy Times reported that, on May 4, the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services directed the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on low-energy nuclear reactions (LENRs). The briefing was to occur by Sept. 22. Several news outlets, including New Scientist and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., have incorrectly reported facts about this briefing.

New Energy Times spoke with Nick Mikula, the press secretary for the committee today. Mikula confirmed that the LENR briefing is not part of the “Department of Defense Laboratories: Innovation Through Science and Engineering in Support of Military Operations” hearing, scheduled for tomorrow.

Mikula does not know when the LENR briefing will take place; however, he emphasized important distinctions between briefings and hearings. Briefings are informal and are not open to the public. Hearings involve significant advance preparation and are open to the public. Mikula also told New Energy Times that the briefing was unlikely to result in any public document or announcement.

The LENR directive was sponsored by North Carolina Republican congressman Walter B. Jones. New Energy Times spoke today with Allison Tucker, the communications director for Jones’ office. Tucker did not know when the briefing would take place or who would provide it.

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Sep 142016

Sept. 14, 2016 – By Steven B. Krivit –

A LENR report titled “Investigation of Nano-Nuclear Reactions in Condensed Matter,” with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) logo on the cover page, is circulating on the Internet. The report itself is factual. But it’s only connection to DTRA is that the agency was one of several government organizations that had sponsored research cited in the report. The report was written primarily by low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) researcher Pamela Mosier-Boss. The full story requires historical context.

Mosier-Boss is an analytical chemist who worked at the U.S Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego from 1989 to 2015. In 2012, she was abruptly ordered to immediately terminate all of her LENR research, return any unused funds, and cease all further publications on the topic of LENRs. The full story about why she was ordered to terminate her LENR research is explained in my book, Hacking the Atom, Explorations in Nuclear Research, Volume 1.

Mosier-Boss’ report “Investigation of Nano-Nuclear Reactions in Condensed Matter” is a summary of the LENR research at SPAWAR. After her LENR research was terminated, she had to fight to write the report and to win its public release, as she explained to me in an e-mail last year.

“Admiral Brady didn’t want us to accept money to write the final DTRA report,” Mosier-Boss wrote. “In the end, I was allowed to write the report. I can’t share it with anyone who is non-DOD. My department head had me release it DOD only, even though the sponsor ultimately decides the distribution.

“The sponsor tried to get it released, but his superiors required a technical review of the report. We got it reviewed, and the reviewers recommended full unclassified distribution. The report is still in limbo and has been since 2012.”

On April 4, 2016, I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to DTRA for the report. I received nothing, not even an acknowledgment letter.

On Sunday, I contacted Mosier-Boss again to find out more about the report. She and her colleague, Larry Forsley, a researcher with JWK International Group, who is a co-author of the report, worked for four years to get permission to release the report publicly. Forsley, Mosier-Boss wrote, did most of the heavy pushing.

“The project was unclassified, and the DTRA program manager William Wilson agreed it should have public distribution,” Mosier-Boss wrote. “But he had problems at DTRA getting it released. He had to get it reviewed by three reviewers, which is unheard of for a final report. They said it should have public distribution. … We included the distribution statement on the last page in case we get any grief from SSC-Pacific.”

I wrote to Mosier-Boss that the DTRA logo on the cover page on her report looked strange; it is pixilated, and the aspect ratio is wrong. I asked her who put the logo on the report.

“I did,” Mosier-Boss wrote. “I downloaded a copy of it. I thought DTRA would replace the front page with one of their own. But they didn’t. When we wrote technical reports at SPAWAR, they had their own standard cover page. I assumed DTRA did, as well. Apparently, they don’t.”

On Monday, I contacted Ron Lovas, a public information officer at DTRA. After I explained that I had received no response from my April FOIA request and that the document was now showing up on the Internet, he sent me a copy immediately.

I asked Lovas additional questions. Here is our discussion:

Krivit: Is this, in fact, a DTRA report?
Lovas: The documents are authentic.

Krivit: Did DTRA have anything to do with the authorship of this report, and if so, what role did DTRA play?
Lovas: The report was drafted by U.S. government-funded scientists and delivered to DTRA as the final report when the effort was closed out.

Krivit: Did DTRA have anything to do with the release of this report, and if so, where did it release this report?
Lovas: The work done by U.S. government-funded scientists, which is detailed in the final report, was reviewed by the agency and cleared for public release.

Therefore, the document is a SPAWAR report written for DTRA. The minor exception is the single-page DTRA distribution statement that the authors appended to the end of the report.

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Sep 132016


Sept. 13, 2016 – By Steven B. Krivit –

My new book, Hacking the Atom, Explorations in Nuclear Research, Volume 1, about low-energy nuclear reactions (LENRs), is available for sale on Amazon now.

Paperback and hardcover versions will be available in U.S. bookstores through Ingram soon. The e-book will be available in a few weeks.

Volumes 2 and 3 will be published in October and November.

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