Journal Archive

Platinum Metals Rev., 1989, 33, (2), 54

Nuclear Fusion Reported

As this issue of Platinum Metals Review was being prepared for the press it was reported that Professor Martin Fleischmann, of the University of Southampton, England, and Professor Stanley Pons, of the University of Utah, U.S.A., had claimed to have achieved controlled nuclear fusion within a simple electrochemical cell. The process apparently depends upon the notable ability of palladium to absorb hydrogen/deuterium. Their experiment was carried out in an insulated flask containing deuterium oxide (heavy water). Electrolysis of the heavy water using a palladium cathode and a platinum anode splits the heavy water into oxygen and deuterium, and the latter is absorbed by the palladium. In fact it is claimed that so much deuterium enters the palladium lattice structure that the deuterium nuclei begin to fuse together, releasing large amounts of heat, which could be used, for example, for the generation of electricity.

The efforts currently being made to repeat the experiment described by Professors Fleischmann and Pons will be followed with the greatest interest, as their work seems to offer the possibility of a major new source of energy, which should be environmentally compatible.

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