Article 4727 of sci.physics:
From: email@example.com (Vincent Cate)
Subject: Muon-catalysed fusion vs newer cold fusion
Keywords: muon catalysed cold fusion palladium
Date: 31 Mar 89 23:40:42 GMT
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI
Posted: Fri Mar 31 18:40:42 1989
I have already received several responses to my post saying that there is
a difference between muon catalyzed cold fusion and the new type of cold
fusion that uses palladium. I realize this!
However, both types of fusion are based on the idea of getting deuterium
nuclei close together so that the quantum mechanical probability of them
ending up in the same place and fusing is increased. In the more common
approach to fusion the idea is to get the atoms HOT enough that they are
moving fast enough that some of the nuclei overcome the repulsion from the
electron cloud and run into each other.
In palladium type of cold fusion some metal is used to bring the deuterium
nuclei close together. Palladium can hold 1000 to 3000 times its volume
in deuterium, so the deuterium atoms are as close together as they would
be if they were under 1000 to 3000 atmospheres of pressure. Since the
nuclei are closer together and the probability of being in the exact same
place is increased, thus the increased fusion rate. Its not yet clear to
me if the palladium is doing more than concentrating the deuterium. Does
In muon fusion one electron in a deuterium molecule is replaced by a muon
which is much heavier. This causes deuterium molecule to get about 200
times smaller. It then takes about 10ee-12 seconds, on average, for the
nuclei to end up in the same place and fuse. The problem is that it takes
energy to make the muon, it has a short life, and so far we have only been
able to get about 150 fusion per muon. If either making muons took less
energy (its not at all efficient now) or each muon catalysed more
reactions this could make energy.
It seems that we (and the press) could have been just as excited by muon
fusion if it had generated energy. Also, we could have ignored the
palladium type of fusion if it did not sound like it had commercial
potential. It also seems that what was learned while working on the
muon type of fusion lead to the palladium type of fusion.
I am not a physicist and would not bet my life on the accuracy of the
above, so you should not either.