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No. 69: May-Jun 1990

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The hot topic in cold fusion research is now fracto-fusion; that is, the inducing of deuterium fusion by means of the electric fields established along microcracks developing in substances charged with deuterium or tritium. Back in 1986, Soviet researchers reported the observation of neutron emission when they violently crushed lithium deuteride in the presence of ice made from heavy water. More recently, they saw the same phenomenon when milling several deuterium-containing metals. Conceivably, deuterium nuclei accelerated by the electric fields along the cracks could be fusing, producing neutrons.

(Amato, I.; "If Not Cold Fusion, Try Fracto Fusion," Science News, 137:87, 1990.)

Pouring cold water on the Soviet results, two American scientists described negative results in the February 15 issue of Nature. They fired small (0.131-gram) steel ball bearings at an ice tar-get made with 99.9% deuterium. Despite the violent shattering of the deuterated ice, no significant numbers of neutrons were measured.

(Sobotka, L.G., and Winter, P.; "Fracture without Fusion," Nature, 343:601, 1990.)

Comment. Whatever the fate of fractofusion, several labs around the world are still pursuing cold fusion. The sci entific mainstream, though, considers cold fusion a dead issue, even though anomalous neutrons and heat emission have been found in several experiments. We are happy to report, however, that cold fusion has definitely generated its first book: Cold Fusion: The Making of a Scientific Controversy, F.D. Peat.

From Science Frontiers #69, MAY-JUN 1990. � 1990-2000 William R. Corliss