Cravens demo a puzzle for onlookers

Photo: The Neo-Coulombic booth with Dr. Dennis Cravens at NIWeek 2013.

Last year’s NIWeek 2012 was a pageant of LENR with multiple events bringing condensed matter nuclear scientists from all over the world to the Austin, Texas showcase.

This year, National Instruments chose to focus on conventional energy technologies, with one exception: Dennis Cravens‘ demonstration of anomalous heat generated by … er, well, what could that have been?

The sample sphere (L) ran about 4 degrees C hotter than the control (R).
The sample sphere (L) ran about 4 degrees C hotter than the control (R).

The device consisted of “two simple spheres, a control with a little sand (a bead “bath”), and a sample.”

The unusual thing about this was that the sample (L) ran hotter than the surrounding material it was in, or the control (R), by about 4 degrees C.

“Most people that stopped to look at it were software or electrical engineer types, and they seemed to receive it well,” says Cravens. “I would say only 2 out of the hundred+ people had negative statements – at least at the booth. Some may have laughed later, but most were very much interested and had very intelligent questions.”

Oddly, most visitors to the booth did not speculate as to the operation, but focused on a more practical query.

“The most common questions centered on marketing – what would it cost, can you scale it up, and when will it be available?”

What could be making the heat? How can a small ball get hotter than the sand it’s in?

“It was clear that something inside was producing heat. Most people seemed to be satisfied with the D + D to Helium pathway. The most pleasing response was: can you make me a charger for my Tesla?”

Not everyone was satisfied with the display.

“A few software types suggested that a single line of LabVIEW code could have given “fake” heat levels. Thus, we omitted the software and graph the second day. Instead we just read the temperature directly of the Agilent so there could be no question of sneaky behavior.”

Cutting the sphere open to show nothing inside.
Cutting the sphere open shows nothing inside.
Cravens set-up the device on Sunday, and ran it through the week until Thursday, when he cut the spheres open, and surprised the crowd by showing there was nothing inside.

“I got some applause. Many took pictures. Many came over to exam the material. A few kids wanted some of the gold-looking brass dust from the cutting.”

Cravens describes the experiment by beginning with one of the basic laws of thermodynamics: heat will only flow from a hot object to a cold one.

The small sphere was hotter than its bead bath, so it must necessarily contain a heat-producing source.

At the show, he suggested a mechanism:

You look around the exhibit floor and see hundreds of people but none are touching each other. A physicist would say that deuterium atoms in equilibrium at low temperatures would never interact.

However if some one yells “fire, fire!”, there would be massive interactions at the doors. People would be trampled. Some would be injured. There can be a lot of unexpected interactions when you have a dynamic movement of deuterium.

Here we have deuterium trying to move through the vacancies of the metal lattice that are no bigger than an atom. It is not unrealistic to think some will get trampled. Not only that, the carbon that holds the metal lattice has a size just matched to the black body radiation wavelength at the operating temperatures.

In this analogy, it is like people are having to go through a door way that is vibrating.

Hmm, a lesson with a little mystery left to figure out.

“What NI does is take complex problems and reduce them to the size of the team.” says James Truchard, CEO of National Instruments, the company he founded.

Cravens, who’s been both a research scientist and a teacher, agrees.

“My philosophy is to support and recognize those that are doing good and those that are trying to learn more. Kids live for recognition and praise. I disagree with the current trend in education that tries to cookie-cut all the courses.”

“I feel the reason that America is known for innovation is because of the range of teaching and the creative spirit teachers have had.”

Demonstration experiments that engage minds through wonder, and explanations that use common experiences as analogy, can teach both young and old.

Education should go beyond the “marginal improvement of existing development” and Dennis Cravens is using cold fusion to do it.

Related Links

NIWeek 2013 features Dennis Cravens experiment

Cold fusion-powered car engineer has history of discovery

The Doctor Is Very In: Dr. James Truchard’s Quest For Endless Innovation by Lydia Dishman on FastCompany.com

NIWeek 2013 features Dennis Cravens experiment

NIThis year’s National Instruments weeklong event NIWeek 2013 begins today and runs Monday, August 5 through Thursday, August 8 in Austin, Texas, U.S.

Dennis Cravens, a long-time researcher who pioneered laser-induced reactions and has worked on energy cells as diverse as James Patterson‘s Patterson Power Cell, will be conducting a live demonstration experiment from booth #922 under the name Neo-Coulombic.

From the NIWeek 2013 Program [.pdf]:

Neo-Coulombic is a small private research group specializing in “long shot” technology involving methods of thermal energy generation using hydrogen and metals. physicsandbeyond.com

Cravens described his device to E-catworld.com as:

spheres2… the simplest demo I could come up with at NIWeek. It is not intended to prove anything , just to something to make “Joe Six pack” take notice and give him something to about. There will be no input, no flows to measure, no HV to scramble the instruments, no calculations to explain . . . just one brass sphere warmer than the other, and the bath temperature.

I know full well I will get a lot of people that will want added bells and whistles but I hope the target audience (the average engineer type walking by with their family) can understand the system within in 30 seconds at the booth. One sphere is hotter than the other so it must have a power source of some kind inside- what is it? Come back on Thursday and see inside.

It is just two brass spheres in a constant temperature bath (80C Lab Armor aluminum bead bath). One is a sample and one is the control. The sample just stays warmer than the control (for the full 5 days of the expo). Temperatures will be monitored and displayed via a Lab View interface (after all, this is NI) during the expo.

I hope to cut open the sample on the last day to show there are no hidden items.

The theme for the 2013 summit is “Deploying the smart grid—effective deployment techniques for smart grid embedded control and monitoring systems.” and focuses on conventional alternative energies, a switch from last year’s strong focus on breakthrough energy.

NIWeek 2012 put LENR front and center, with opening remarks by National Instruments President and CEO James Truchard indicating his strong interest and support of the topic. Robert Duncan, Vice-Provost for Research at University of Missouri and organizer of the recently held 18th International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF-18) also spoke at the event and Francesco Celani, of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) performed a live demonstration of his cell. Defkalion Green Technologies, developers of the Hyperion reactor, gave a presentation, as did Akito Takahashi, of Technova, Inc. Numerous new energy researchers attended, and a panel discussion brought many to the stage for an open debate on the future of LENR.

Dennis Cravens is the sole representative from the new energy community scheduled to appear this year, but that doesn’t mean NI support has waned.

Truchard recently gave the Keynote Address at ICCF-18 and currently supports a number of new energy projects to varying degrees, with NI software, equipment, and more.