Thursday, October 26, 2017

The lost history from TGD perspective

The third volume in " Explorations in Nuclear Research" is about lost history (see this): roughly the period 1910-1930 during which there was not yet any sharp distinction between chemistry and nuclear physics. After 1930 the experimentation became active using radioactive sources and particle accelerators making possible nuclear reactions. The lost history suggests that the methods used determine to unexpected degree what findings are accepted as real. After 1940 the hot fusion as possible manner to liberate nuclear energy became a topic of study but we are still waiting the commercial applications.

One can say that the findings about nuclear transmutations during period 1912-1927 became lost history although most of these findings were published in highly respected journals and received also media attention. Interested reader can find in the book detailed stories about persons involved. This allows also to peek to the kitchen side of science and to realize that the written history can contain surprising misidentifications of the milestones in the history of science. Author discusses in detail an example about this: Rutherford is generally regarded as tje discover of the first nuclear transmutation but even Rutherford himself did not make this claim.

It is interesting to look what the vision about the anomalous nuclear effects based on dark nucleosynthesis can say about the lost history and whether these findings can provide new information to tighten up the TGD based model, which is only qualitative. Therefore I go through the list given in the beginning of book from the perspective of dark nucleosynthesis.

Before continuing it is good to recall the first the basic ideas behind dark nucleosynthesis.

  1. Dark nuclei are produced as dark proton sequences at magnetic flux tubes with distance between dark protons with heff= 211 (approximately proton/electron mass ratio) very near to electron Compton length. This makes possible formation of at least light elements when dark nuclei transform to ordinary ones and liberate almost entire nuclear binding energy.

  2. Also more complex nuclei can from in which ordinary nuclei and sequences of dark protons are at magnetic flux tubes. In particular, the basic rule (A,Z)→ (A+1,Z+1) of Widom-Larsen model is satisfied although dark beta decays would break this rule.

    In this case the transformation to ordinary nuclei produces heavier nuclei, even those heavier than Fe. This mechanism could actually make possible production of heavy nuclei outsider stellar interiors. Also dark beta decays can be considered. They would be fast: the idea is that the Compton length of weak bosons is scaled up and within the region of size scale of Compton length weak interactions have essentially the same strength as electromagnetic interactions so that weak decays are fast and led to dark isotopes stable against weak interactions.

  3. The transformation of dark nuclei to ordinary nuclei liberates almost all nuclear binding energy. The transformation liberates large nuclear energy, which could lead to a decay of the daughter nucleus and emission of neurons causing e the decay of ordinary nuclei, at least those heavier than Fe.

    Remark: Interestingly, the dark binding energy is of order few keV and happens to be of the same order of magnitude as the thermal energy of nuclei in the interior of Sun. Could dark nuclear physics play some role in the nuclear fusion in solar core?

  4. The magnetic flux tubes containing dark nuclei form a positively charged system attracted by negatively charged surfaces. The cathode is where the electrons usually flow to. The electrons can generate negative surface charge, which attracts the flux tubes so that flux tubes end up to the cathode surface and dark ions can enter to the surface. Also ordinary nuclei from the cathode could enter temporarily to the flux tube so that more complex dark nuclei consisting of dark protons and nuclei are formed. Dark nuclei can also leak out of the system if the flux tube ends to some negatively charged surface other than cathode.

Production of noble gases and tritium

During period 1912-1914 several independent scientists discovered the production of noble gases 4He, neon (Ne), and argon (Ar) using high voltage electrical discharges in vacuum or r through hydrogen gas at low pressures in cathode-ray tubes. Also an unidentified element with mass number 3 was discovered. It was later identified as tritium. Two of the researchers were Nobel laureates. 1922 two researchers in University of Chicago reported production of 4He. Sir Joseph John Thomson explained the production of 4He using occlusion hypothesis. In understand occlusion as a contamination of 4He to the tungsten wire. The question is why not also hydrogen.

Why noble gases would have been produced? It is known that noble gases tend to stay near surfaces. In one experiment it was found that 4He production stopped after few days, maybe kind of saturation was achieved. This suggests that isotopes with relatively high mass numbers were produced from dark proton sequences (possibly containing also neutrons resulting in the dark weak decays). The resulting noble gases were caught near the electrodes and therefore only their production was observed.

Production of 4He in experiments of Wendle and Irion

In 1222 Wendle and Irion published results from the study of exploding current wires. Their arrangement involved high voltage of about 3× 104 V and di-electric breakdown through air gap between the electrodes producing sudden current peak in a current wire made of tungsten (W with (Z,A)=(74,186) for the most abundant isotope) at temperature about T=2× 104 C, which corresponds to a thermal energy 3kT/2 of about 3 eV. Production of 4He was detected.

Remark: The temperature at solar core is about 1.5× 107 K corresponding to energy about 2.25 keV and 3 orders of magnitude higher than the temperature used. This temperature is obtained by scaling factor 2-11 from 5 MeV which is binding energy scale for ordinary nuclei. That this temperature corresponds to the binding energy scale of dark nuclei might not be an accident.

The interpretation of the experimentalists was that the observed 4He was from the decay of tungsten in the hot temperature making it unstable. This explanation is of course not consistent with what we known at about nuclear physics. No error in the experimental procedure was found. Three trials to replicate the experiment of Wendle and Irion were made with a negative result. The book discusses these attempts in detail and demonstrates that they were not faithful to the original experimental arrangement.

Rutherford explained the production of 4He in terms of 4He occlusion hypothesis of Thomson. In the explosion the 4He contaminate would have liberated. But why just helium contamination, why not hydrogen? By above argument one could argue that 4He as noble gas could indeed form stable contaminates.

80 yeas later Urutskoev repeated the experiment with exploding wires and observed besides 4He also other isotopes. The experiments of Urutskoev demonstrated that there are 4 peaks for the production rate of elements as function of atomic number Z. Furthermore, the amount of mass assignable to the transmuted elements is nearly the mass lost from the cathode. Hence also cathode nuclei should end up to flux tubes.

How dark nucleosynthesis could explain the findings? The simplest model relies on a modification of the occlusion hypothesis: a hydrogen contaminate was present and the formation of dark nuclei from the protons of hydrogen at flux tubes took place in the exploding wire. The nuclei of noble gases tended to remain in the system and 4He was observed.

Production of Au and Pt in arc discharges in Mercury vapor

In 1924 German chemist Miethe, better known as the discoverer of 3-color photography found trace amount of Gold (Au) and possibly Platinum (Pt) in Mercury (Hg) vapor photography lamp. Scientists in Amsterdam repeated the experiment but using lead (Pb) instead of Hg and observed production of Hg and Thallium (Tl). The same year a prominent Japanese scientist Nagaoka reported production of Au and something having the appearance of Pt. Nagaoka used a an electric arc discharge between tungsten (W) electrodes bathed in dielectric liquid "laced" with liquid Hg.

The nuclear charges and atomic weights for isotopes involved are given in the table below.

The nuclear charge and mass number (Z,A) for the most abundant isotopes of W, Pt, Au,Hg, Tl and Pb.

Element W Pt Au Hg Tl Pb
(Z,A) (74,186) (78,195) (79,197) (80,202) (81,205) (82,208)

Could dark nucleosynthesis explain the observations? Two mechanisms for producing heavier nuclei relying one the formation of dark nuclei from the nuclei of the electrode metal and dark protons and their subsequent transformation to ordinary nuclei.

  1. Dark nuclei are formed from the metal associated with cathode and dark protons. In Nagaoka's experiment this metal is W with (Z,A)=(74,186). Assuming that also dark beta decays are possible this would lead to the generation of heavier beta stable elements Au with (Z,A)= (79,197) or their stable isotopes. Unfortunately, I could not find what the electrode metal used in the experiments of Miethe was.

  2. In the experiments of Miethe the nuclei of Hg transmuted to Au ((80,202)→ (79,197)) and to Pt ((80,202)→ (78,195)). In Amsterdam experiment of Pb transmuted to Hg ((82,208) → (80,202)) and Tl
    ((82,208) → (81,205)). This suggests that the nuclei resulted in the decay of Hg (Pb) induced by the nuclear binding energy liberated in the transformation of dark nuclei formed from the nuclei of cathode metal and dark protons to ordinary nuclei. Part of the liberated binding energy could have induced the fission of the dark nuclei. The decay of dark nuclei could have also liberated neutrons absorbed by the Hg (Pb) nuclei and inducing the decay to lighter nuclei. Thus also the analog of r-process could have been present.

Paneth and Peters' H→ 4He transmutation

In 1926 German chemists Paneth and Peters pumped hydrogen gas into a chamber with finely divided palladium powder and reported the transmutation of hydrogen to helium. This experiment resembles the "cold fusion" experiment of Pons and Fleischman in 1989. The explanation would be the formation of dark 4He nuclei consisting of dark protons and transformation to ordinary 4He nuclei.

See the chapter Cold fusion again or the article with the same title. See also the article Cold fusion, low energy nuclear reactions, or dark nuclear synthesis?.

For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

Articles and other material related to TGD.

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