Widom Larsen Superconducting Hydrides and Directed Speculation

Things I do late at night when sleep evades…

It was about 1 A.M. and “laying in bed eyes wide open” time. So I reached over and grabbed the tablet. “Maybe reading some physics can put me to sleep”… I started checking the recent “news” on the E-Cat and LENR. Not much. Same story. Claims it is working, in production. But at only one secret site and nobody gets a tour or proof until the “test” is over at the end of 2015. Or maybe in 2016. Sigh.

I then wandered off to have a look again at the Widom Larsen theory. It is intriguing, but a bit dense. Mostly because it uses physics concepts that were developed after I took physics and that are new and alien to me. Things like “heavy electrons” and “plasmon polaritons” and similar things. OK, I’ll skip the details as I don’t want YOU to all go to sleep… but the basic idea of a ‘heavy electron’ is that in some atom orbital states the electron acts like it has a higher mass, and the basic idea of the plasmon and polariton is that clusters of electromagnetic wave energy can flow along the surface of a metal (if inside the metal face, it is a plasmon, outside the metal / dialectric interface it is a polariton).

In any case, the W-L theory says a blob of this energy is important in making a ‘heavy electron’ that then whacks into a proton (hydrogen ex-electron) and makes a ultra slow neutron; which can then drift into a convenient metal nucleus and cause transmutation and energy release.


That lead me to a bunch of pages about the various ways to get those SPPs to form. (Surface Plasmon Polariton). You can do it with electricity, or with light, mostly. Light doesn’t directly couple into the metal (for some odd exclusion property reason that I didn’t care enough to follow down that rat hole…) and typically takes a prism or surface grating (i.e. roughness of just the right size). This, then leads to the speculation that the difficulty of replication for things like Pons & F. and the various “works sometimes” issues could easily be related to what the ambient EM leakage in the lab might be and / or what the surface roughness was like on any given metal.

Who had Wi-Fi in their lab, or who was in the line of sight of a local airport radar (or even just a favorite radar speed trap) could change the degree of formation of such SPP critters. Heck, even the kind of lighting. Incandescent makes mostly IR, that can induce them. Fluorescent has more UV and even some soft X-rays. As some devices claim to be using what looks like microwaves (or similar range electric currents) to stimulate their “magic dust”, there is some reason to think that the ambient level of such fields could explain variation in results.

The SPPs seem to be longer lived in things that conduct well (being basically an electrical flow). From that wiki:

“An SPP will propagate along the interface until its energy is lost either to absorption in the metal or scattering into other directions (such as into free space).”

Which implies that in addition to worry about how to get the suckers to form (surface grating / roughness, light bombardment, EM field application, or high frequency current flows) one might expect materials that “conduct well” to have them hang around longer, and thus do more…

Then, as is often the case, the “directed speculation” leap happens. The question comes from nowhere. It just is. Suddenly. “Would superconductors work better?”… that then directs into “Is there a metal hydride that is a superconductor?”. The answer? Well, yes. Pd and Pd-Ni alloy form superconducting hydrides. Golly, what a “coincidence”…


Short Note

Superconductivity in the palladium-hydrogen and palladium-nickel-hydrogen systems
T. Skoskiewicz†

Article first published online: 17 FEB 2006
DOI: 10.1002/pssa.2210110253
Copyright © 1972 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA



PdHx is a superconductor with a transition temperature Tc of about 9 K for x=1. (Pure palladium is not superconducting). Drops in resistivity vs. temperature curves were observed at higher temperatures (up to 273 K) in hydrogen-rich (x ~ 1), nonstoichiometric palladium hydride and interpreted as superconducting transitions. These results have been questioned and have not been confirmed thus far.


Then this patent gives some ideas on how to get that material forming more easily via surface treatments. Might this shorten the “loading time” of LENR electrodes? Might the degree of surface oxidation or presence of some kinds of contaminants (like “metal, metal oxide, ceramic, or polymer”) explain some of the variations in loading? Perhaps the more folks tried to make things pure and clean, the worse their results?


High Tc palladium hydride superconductor
US 7033568 B2


A palladium hydride superconductor, PdyHx where yHx is 1Hx, 2Hx, or 3Hx, having a critical temperature Tc≧11K and stoichiometric ratio x≧1. The critical temperature is proportional to a power of the stoichiometric ratio, which is stable over periods exceeding 24 hours, temperature variations from 4K to 400K, and pressures down to 1 mbar. The palladium hydride is coated with a stabilizing material such as a metal, metal oxide, ceramic, or polymer that can bond to palladium. It can be made by electrochemically loading a palladium lattice with isotopic hydrogen in an electrolytic solution, by allowing isotopic hydrogen to diffuse into a palladium thin film in a pressure chamber, or by injecting isotopic hydrogen into a palladium thin film in a vacuum chamber. The stabilizing material can be electrochemically bonded to the surface of the palladium hydride, or deposited using chemical vapor deposition or molecular beam epitaxy.

There are interesting hints that other folks have come near to noticing this ‘connection’ between superconductor materials and LENR, but they seem more “in passing” than central to their thinking. For example:


To study cluster creation, Miley has used thin Pd plates with Pd oxide layers on the surfaces. Repeated electrolytic loading and deloading was performed to create dislocation loops at the interfaces and near surface. The numbers of clusters and their density were studied using temperature controlled desorption and EM SQUID measurements. The SQUID measurement showed the cluster material was what amounted to a Class 2 superconductor, demonstrating near metallic density. More recently, Miley’s group has used a Petawatt laser to drive MeV deuterium beams out of foils containing deuterium clusters.

Miley said he was inspired to extend these thin film methods to nanoparticles when Rossi announced his gas loaded hydrogen-nickel nanoparticle power units. Nano materials have more surface area, thus have good ability to form abundant clusters. Clusters mainly form in pores close to the surface. To study this he worked on four different types of alloys—two that were Ni rich allow for hydrogen loading and two Pd rich alloys for D2 loading. To date he has mainly concentrated on D-Pd. Palladium is expensive, but he is studying ways to recycle palladium from “used” nanoparticles. He said that if they run six months or more before replacement, and recycling is used, the economics may not be so crucial.

So why not just make a batch of superconductor directly, instead of discovering it in “patches” and “clusters”? Might that not work better?

In looking for Ni based superconductors, there are several compounds that pop up. This, to me, implies that impure Ni would be more reactive as it would be more likely to have such “accidental superconductor” zones. Again, using overly pure material might “cause issues” in replication. Again, Hmmm…

One interesting example is ZrNi2Ga. If your nickel has some contaminant zirconium and gallium in it, well…


ABSTRACT This work reports on the Heusler superconductor ZrNi2Ga . Compared to other nickel-based superconductors with Heusler structure, ZrNi2Ga exhibits a relatively high superconducting transition temperature of Tc=2.9K and an upper critical field of mu0Hc2=1.5T . Electronic structure calculations show that this relatively high Tc is caused by a Van Hove singularity, which leads to an enhanced density of states at the Fermi energy N(gammaF) . The Van Hove singularity originates from a higher-order valence instability at the L point in the electronic structure. The enhanced N(gammaF) was confirmed by specific-heat and susceptibility measurements. Although many Heusler compounds are ferromagnetic, our measurements of ZrNi2Ga indicate a paramagnetic state above Tc and could not reveal any traces of magnetic order down to temperatures of at least 0.35 K. We investigated in detail the superconducting state with specific-heat, magnetization, and resistivity measurements. The resulting data show the typical behavior of a conventional weakly coupled BCS ( s -wave) superconductor.

So then the question becomes, what about Nickel Hydride systems? When do you get H into Ni anyway?


Hydrogen atoms bond strongly with a nickel surface, with hydrogen molecules disassociating in order to do so.

Disassociation of dihydrogen requires enough energy to cross a barrier. On a Ni(111) crystal surface the barrier is 46 kJ/mol, whereas on Ni(100) the barrier is 52 kJ/mol. The Ni(110) crystal plane surface has the lowest activation energy to break the hydrogen molecule at 36 kJ/mol. The surface layer of hydrogen on nickel can be released by heating. Ni(111) lost hydrogen between 320 and 380 K. Ni(100) lost hydrogen between 220 and 360 K. Ni(110) crystal surfaces lost hydrogen between 230 and 430 K.

In order to dissolve inside the nickel, hydrogen must migrate from on the surface through the face of a nickel crystal. This does not take place in a vacuum, but can take place when the hydrogen coated nickel surface is impacted by other molecules. The molecules do not have to be hydrogen, but they appear to work like hammers punching the hydrogen atoms through the nickel surface to the subsurface. An activation energy of 100 kJ/mol is required to penetrate the surface.

So you need it cold enough to have the gas bond to the surface, but hot enough to provide energy to disassociate the H2. The exact isotope determines some of the temperature limits, and having a heavy gas in the mix might help. Shades of Xenon and the Pap Engine… Wonder if he had Ni inside the piston / cylinder / igniter systems anywhere…

Then, using high pressure gas, or having H electrolytically delivered, can get high loading:

High pressure phases

A true crystallographically distinct phase of nickel hydride can be produced with high pressure hydrogen gas at 600 MPa. Alternatively it can be produced electrolytically. The crystal form is face centred cubic or β-nickel hydride. Hydrogen to nickel atomic ratios are up to one, with hydrogen occupying an octahedral site. The density of the β-hydride is 7.74 g/cm3. It is coloured grey. At a current density of 1 Amp per square decimeter, in 0.5 mol/liter of sulfuric acid and thiourea a surface layer of nickel will be converted to nickel hydride. This surface is replete with cracks up to milimeters long. The direction of cracking is in the {001} plane of the original nickel crystals. The lattice constant of nickel hydride is 3.731 Å, which is 5.7% more than that of nickel.

The near-stoichiometric NiH is unstable and loses hydrogen at pressures below 340 MPa.

Gak! MPa… I hate those dinky non-intuitive units…made worse with gigantic non-intuitive prefixes… A bar is more rational… It’s about 1 atmosphere. It is also 100,000 Pa. So our 10^6 Pa becomes 10 x bar. OK, it’s about 10 x 14.5 x 340 = 43,500 PSI if I’ve not screwed up the conversion… So not very stable all on it’s own, and takes a lot of pressure to get it done. Thus, I would speculate, the “magic dust” powders. More surface area for absorption, and more potential for admixtures that help stabilize the hydride. Perhaps even lowering the pressure needed to get it loaded to something like a few hundred pounds. That’s the avenue I’d follow for making “magic dust”. And once again, too much emphasis on “purity” could remove the “contaminants” that make the process function…

But what about Nickel alloys and especially with hydrogen in them?


High temperature superconductors and method

US 4043809 A


This invention comprises a superconductive compound having the formula:
Ni1-x Mx Zy
wherein M is a metal which will destroy the magnetic character of nickel (preferably copper, silver or gold); Z is hydrogen or deuterium; x is 0.1 to 0.9; and y, correspondingly, 0.9 to 0.1, and method of conducting electric current with no resistance at relatively high temperature of T>1° K comprising a conductor consisting essentially of the superconducting compound noted above.

Note, especially, the use of Copper. Since one of the products of stuffing a Neutron (n) into a Nickle (Ni) is a Copper (Cu) then it makes sense that you would be slowly making more of this Ni Cu alloy over time. Now if you have a tiny contamination of Cu to start with, you have an initial active site, and as more Cu builds up, you get more activity. Might this explain the tendency for some test cells to need a long waiting time before they stared to “work” enough to detect anything? Might is also explain why folks using ultra pure Ni might get no results, while the guys doing it in the garage had better results? Hmmmm…..

In Conclusion

To me, this directed speculation seems to have reached an interesting and perhaps useful point. Searching the superconductor space for materials that can be loaded with hydrogen ought to be a productive exercise. Directly making a NiCuH alloy as in that patent ought to make a very good test material. Assuring that your Ni has at least a little Cu in it for any cell likely will help things get started. Once cell material gets “used up”, simply removing some of the copper (or adding a lot more Ni) will likely let it “go” again.

There is also the implication that many of the more exotic superconductor materials might have promise. That makes the field of inquiry much larger than just Pd and Ni (and potentially reduces the cost too). Again, from that last patent link:

The search for superconductors with higher transition temperatures has led to the discovery of various compounds with Tc ≅ 20° K. Some examples are Nb3 Ge, Nb3 Sn, PdH, PdD, and PdCuH. The highest Tc material discovered so far is Nb3 Ge with Tc = 23.2° K. As such, costly refrigeration methods must also be employed to use these compounds as superconducting wires. Also, many of the presently available high temperature superconductors such as Nb3 Ge with Tc = 23° K, are difficult to manufacture and contain relatively expensive ingredients.

It should be noted that some substances are not superconducting at all. This group of materials includes the elements Cu, Ni, Pd and compounds such as NiH.

Again we see a bit of clue that perhaps some copper contamination in your Pd wire might help it go… and that pure NiH might not work so well. Also a PdCuH alloy might work better…

So if this bit of speculation is valid, then the literature of superconductors can be leveraged, as can all the people working on superconductors and all the money already poured into them. It would also let you have a quick test for the probability that a given material might work well in a cell; just dunk it in some liquid He and see if it superconducts… For example, here’s a patent for hydriding a Uranium Zirconium alloy:


Now you might have no idea if that would be usable in a LENR cell. But I’d speculate that shoving neutrons into U ought to cause something to happen! ;-) and you might not want to try making a cell with radioactive materials just to ‘find out’. Perhaps just putting a chunk in the deep freeze and testing conductivity would be a bit quicker and safer…

Zirconium hydride is an excellent moderating material for a nuclear reactor core, particularly where cores of small diameter or high power density are required. Hydrogen has the greatest neutron slowing down ability of any element, and combined with zirconium, a structural metal of relatively low thermal neutron absorption cross section, the hydrogen is in a relatively stable, high density form adapted for high temperature utilization.

So perhaps some kind of NiZrH or NiCuZrH might also make a useful material. And if the “dunk test” gets you quick clue on what will fail, many things can be tested in hours rather than months. It also gives a quick “search method” to find potential candidates, such as:


Superconductivity in zirconium-nickel glasses

E. Babić, R. Ristić, M. Miljak

Institute of Physics of the University, Zagreb, Yugoslavia
M.G. Scott, G. Gregan
School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, England

The superconducting transition temperatures (Tc) and magnetic susceptibilities of amorphous Zr100−xNix alloys have been measured. Tc decreases linearly with increasing x. The results are compared to those for amorphous ZrPd and ZrCu alloys and discussed in terms of changes in the electron to atom ratio on alloying.

So ZrPd and ZrCu alloys, along with ZrNi alloys all can superconduct. Add some H and see what happens…

It’s now approaching 4 A.M., and I’m thinking maybe it’s time to try sleeping again. Then again, not sleeping tends to result in things like this… so maybe I ought to not sleep more often. ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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17 Responses to Widom Larsen Superconducting Hydrides and Directed Speculation

  1. omanuel says:

    Thank you for sharing the generation of your intriguing insight into the operation of superconductors and the release of nuclear energy.

  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    Well, for a hundred years the electrical properties of “dirty” metal crystals was studied and used before Solid State electronic parts were deliberately created. Often in scientific research it is the mistakes that revels new truths. The study of others work can only give hints as to where to look. pg

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Not in the posting, but I did some looking at Lithium systems as well after this was “up”. There is speculation (i.e. models) that show LiH6 ought to be a great superconductor. Lithium under extreme pressure is a superconductor. Lithium Hydride of various degrees of H saturation are also superconductors. The E-Cat is speculated to contain some LiAlH4 as a source of H atoms; but might also be participating in the reaction as a ‘catalyst’ when melted and spread over the Ni dust and / or absorbs neutrons into Li. I think it would be very interesting to put some of it in liquid He and see if it superconducts…

    I started looking into other Li salts and alloys that might be superconductors, and there were several listed. That has me wondering if the tendency for Li to make complexes with H and for that to be superconducting might help with loading a Ni surface and making those “clusters” of H noted above as a “class 2 superconductor” on it. Is there some LiNiH or LiNiAlH combo that is nice superconductor.

    If the above speculation about superconductivity as LENR predictor is correct, this would also offer a quick way to test what any proposed ‘catalyst’ might do to enhance things, and search the ‘catalyst’ space more rapidly.

    I’ll add a link or two on this after morning tea…

  4. M Simon says:

    Drops in resistivity vs. temperature curves were observed at higher temperatures

    There is a lot of this going around. Until I see bulk effects I’m sceptical.

  5. M Simon says:

    BTW I’m very interested in MgB11 SCs. It has a very low neutron absorption cross section. Very handy for a fusion reactor that requires high magnetic fields. Ordinary Born has enough B10 with its high cross section to make magnet life rather short (before annealing is required). I have gotten quotes (not recently) on such artifacts. High purity (5 nines) is used in semiconductor mfg. The price is probably not too bad.

  6. cdquarles says:

    EM, that’s fascinating. I wonder what the scanning-tunneling electron micrographs would look like.

  7. cdquarles says:

    That thought prompted me to recall some spectroscopy from my University days (I did colorimetric methods using paper or thin film silica on glass, back then). People were looking at spectra of adsorbed species on solids, of which activated charcoal was common (and nearly every chem lab had it in stock). Well, look what I found: http://www.amazon.com/Infrared-Spectroscopy-Adsorbed-Species-Transition/dp/047191813X. Too bad I can’t spare some $600 for this book, but I’d not be surprised at what people would find if they looked harder for hidden variables and confounding factors.

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    Hydrogen must be enticed into close contact with a suitable atomic structure. Normally it’s electron shell field prevents this as it repels the electron shell field of other atoms. Only in close proximity will the proton absorb the energy of it’s shell and become a neutron as it raises it’s mass/inertia. In this condition it can slip through the electron shell and cozy up to the nucleus protons
    Atomic energy is released as Gama radiation during the change in size of electron shell, An EMF spike at the speed of light. The Neutron is the source of Atomic Energy from both Fission/Fusion as a firestorm of Neutrons released during the operation in modern devices as they reassert themselves as hydrogen.

    It may not be necessary to explode the atomic structure to yield energy. LENR hints that the hydrogen/neutron dance can be contained within a control device without that deadly firestorm of escaped radiation. Passivisation of unstable isotopes may well be a side effect of this process. It appears that unstable isotopes are easier to initiate in this knife edge dance with injected Hydrogen. Once the neutron is within the atomic electron shell it can change back to proton within the electron shell and become a part of a stable isotope. pg

  9. RobL says:

    I followed the Ecat closely for a long time, but after so many ‘demos’ and ‘tests’ with terrible calorimetry, that I have personally (I am an engineering thermodynamicist by trade) analysed for flaws – including the latest Lugano hot-cat tests. I’ve found that all the tests have massive unanswered flaws/errors that strongly suggest no output (Rossi claimed 3-6x in Lugano if I recall correctly).

    Possible that Rossi is fooling himself, but in this Lugano test the ‘ash’ analysis was highly suspicious with claims that natural Ni with isotopes from 58 to 64 was being burnt and resulting in perfect burn up to create pure Ni62 just at the point they ended the 30 day test (how fortuitous!) – a no-radiation LENR miracle in which both Ni fission and Ni fusion occur. But investigations also turned out that he had made a purchase of Ni62 from a specialist supplier.

    When added to the huge changes in setup and operating parameters that he has used with success every time (while there has been a conspicuous lack of success from attempted replications by more rigorous teams like the MFMP effort). I am made even more suspicious.

    He has a degree from a diploma mill, a criminal history, a pattern of claimed scientific breakthroughs that never stand up to close scrutiny spanning decades from waste-to-oil to thermo electrics to LENR and has been caught out in numerous lies and fabrications. I can no longer give the benefit of the doubt and would caution others too.

    But then again I still find it likely that there is some anomalous nuclear physics happening somewhere amongst all the noise in LENR research.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting. The description “gives ideas”…

    Included here is a summary of findings made by the author from infrared investigations of the surface chemistry of simple and complex oxide catalysts. The focus is on spectral characteristics of active sites on oxide surfaces, namely hydroxyl groups, coordinatively unsaturated cations, and surface oxygen. There is a detailed account of the method used for characterizing the oxidation state and coordination of cations on oxide surfaces by the adsorption of probe molecules. In addition, the role played by surface sites in surface-molecule adsorption is used to organize and classify data relating to the interaction of carbon, nitrogen, ammonia, and alkenes with surfaces of transition metal oxides and with supported or mixed oxides containing transition metal cations.

    Many high temp superconductors are complex copper oxides. I could easily see a copper oxide with Ni and H patch on the surface, perhaps with some Al and Li joining in.

    You might check if a library near you has the book…

    @Rob L:

    Were it not for the MIT working cell (and class you can take!) along with the folks in Japan and a few others, the Ecat and Rossi would be very uninteresting to me… I find the chain of “proof next year” that always leads to another year delay the most suspect. Like now the commercial site that was to prove all is “running”… and we can see it next year, maybe…

    For this article, my muse was more the original electrochemical cell type, though .

    @M Simon:

    Why bulk effects? Many processes are surface chemistry driven. Waiting for bulk effects would mean never seeing surface catalysis, for example…


    It was an Ah Ha moment for me to look up the atomic radii and bonding lengths of some metal hydrides. Seems to show H bonded closer than the outer electrons… I.e. embedded in the electron cloud. Once you have 2 nuclei sharing one e- cloud, it is a much easier leap… get the collective force of that cloud, enhanced by outside volts and “heavy electron” motion to shove an inner electron inside the capture radius of that bound proton… now it is a free neutron inside most of the electron shells of the metal and can just drift on in…

  11. omanuel says:

    @E. M. Smith

    RE: Your Ah Ha moment

    Atomic radii and bonding lengths of some metal hydrides indicate H bonded closer than the outer electrons… I.e. embedded in the electron cloud. Once you have 2 nuclei sharing one e- cloud, it is a much easier leap… get the collective force of that cloud, enhanced by outside volts and “heavy electron” motion to shove an inner electron inside the capture radius of that bound proton… now it is a free neutron inside most of the electron shells of the metal and can just drift on in…

    The mental image portrayed of atoms and nuclei in modern textbooks of physics and chemistry is deceptive: Every atom is a mix of two forms of one fundamental particle:

    1 . The hydrogen atom (an extremely expanded electron-proton pair)
    2. The neutron (an extremely compacted electron-proton pair)

    The mix is somewhat like a mixture of fine-grained sand with giant boulders, or perhaps asteroids and apples!

    Fe-56 is, for example, 26 gigantic H-atoms merged into one atom with 30 additional tiny neutrons added to the nucleus. An atom of Fe-56 might be viewed as a 56-times heavier, but more than a 1000-times smaller than the original H-1 atom.

    Fusion – the release of energy from the strongly attractive force between neutrons and protons – may be inhibited by the gigantic electron cloud surrounding the positively charged nucleus of every atom.

    The volume of the H-atom is 10^15 times bigger than that of the neutron.
    The mass of the neutron is 0.08 % greater than that of the H-atom.

  12. omanuel says:

    I apologize for the excess bold.

    [Reply: Fixed it for you. Looks like wordpress added a gratuitous bold flag after your close-bold. It does that some times… -E.M.Smith]

    Every atom is a mix of hydrogen atoms with neutrons. To visualize a mixture of gigantic, low-density H-atoms with tiny, high-density neutrons, imagine mixing a pound of helium gas with a pound of tiny iron filings.

    In fact, as mass and atomic number increase by about a factor of 100 across the periodic table, the atomic volume (except for the noble gases) generally decreases by a factor of 1,000:


  13. p.g.sharrow says:

    @omanuel, Very nice set of word pictures. If people can grasp them, then a great advancement can take place in understanding of atomic energies.

    The electron shell is a force field of charge units. Negative charges or electron units. Each created by it’s proton. Protons, less their electron shell, have a low charge or are Positive. Positive repels positive and is attracted to negative. Neutrons have a negative charge skin that masks their proton core and appear to be nearly neutral to the negative charge electron shell and will therefore fall through to attempt to find a position between the nucleus protons while avoiding other neutrons. Or can can restore itself to become another proton with electron shell as part of the upgraded and more stable atom. All a matter of like charges repelling and unlike attracting.
    Units of charge in 3 dimensions of motion that exhibit mass/inertia due to their resistance to changes in motion. pg

  14. M Simon says:

    Why bulk effects? Many processes are surface chemistry driven. Waiting for bulk effects would mean never seeing surface catalysis, for example…

    I was speaking of superconductors only. Twitches in graphs are information. I’m interested in conducting electricity and making magnets. For that you need more than twitches on graphs.

  15. omanuel says:

    @pg sharrow

    Thank you for your kindness. After having been “educated” it is almost impossible to grasp reality!

  16. Joe F says:

    Great post and comments as usual.
    @E.M. Smith: I worked in a chemical plant in college that made and packaged metal hydrides. These are usually pyrophoric, able to spontaneously burn with no source of ignition at room temp. I once spilled some LiAlH4 on my shoe while repacking it and it started smoking and almost caught fire, getting hot enough to expose the steel toe guard. So any use of hydrides needs to be done in an extremely dry environment (purged hood) or even a vacuum.

    @Omanuel: Love the website periodictable.com. However, the size of an atom is the atomic radius not the molecular volume. Mol volume includes the density of the material which is why all the gases are at the top of the graph. You should look at atomic radius graph: http://www.periodictable.com/Properties/A/AtomicRadius.html (not sure how to make it a link, sorry)

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