LENR / LANR in 1956?, Ponderomotive?

This is one of those “two impossible things at once” that seem to support each other moments.

On the one hand, I just learned there is something called a “Ponderomotive” force. Some Swedish folks think it explains Cold Fusion. On the other hand, a patent from 1956 that doesn’t use all the typical rigamarole of hydrogen saturated metals nor electrochemical cells nor high temperatures, but exactly that kind of wobbling EM Field that is involved in ponderomotives.

It ought to be fairly easy to validate the patent. It is, after all, 60 year old tech. Mainly a quartz tube, some metal powder layers, and a radio frequency exciter (they specify 300 MHz, that then was ‘way high’, but now I’d try just chucking it in a microwave oven…)

OK, the trackbacks…

I picked up both articles / ideas at E-catworld.com in these two articles:



That each point back up stream to their source articles:

First, the ’56 device…



This device, patented by Harold Colman and Ronald Seddon-Gillespie on 5 December 1956, is quite remarkable. It is a tiny lightweight device which can produce electricity using a self-powered electromagnet and chemical salts. The working life of the device before needing refurbishment is estimated at some 70 years with an output of about one kilowatt.

The operation is controlled by a transmitter which bombards the chemical sample with 300 MHz radio waves. This produces radioactive emissions from the chemical mixture for a period of one hour maximum, so that the transmitter needs to be run for 15 to 30 seconds once every hour. The chemical mixture is shielded by a lead screen to prevent harmful radiation from reaching the user….

This generator unit includes a magnet. a tube containing a chemcial mixture of elements whose nuclei becomes unstable as a result of a bombardment by short waves so that the elements become radio-active and release electrical energy, the mixture being mounted between, and in contact with, a pair of different metals such as copper and zinc, and a capacitor mounted between those metals.

The mixture is preferably composed of the elements Cadmium, Phosphorus and Cobalt having atomic weights of 112, 31, and 59 respectively. The mixture, which may be of powdered form, is mounted in a tube of non-conducting, high heat resistivity material and is compressed between granulated zinc at one end of the tube and granulated copper at the other end, the ends of the tube being closed by brass caps and the tube being carried in a suitable cradle so that it is located between the poles of the magnet. The magnet is preferably an electromagnet and is energized by the current produced by the unit. The transmitter unit which is used for activating the generator unit may be of any conventional type operating in the ultra-shortwave band and is preferably crystal-controlled at the desired frequency with the necessity of tuning. The quartz tube containing the chemical mixture, works best if made up of a number of small cells in series. In other words, considering the cartridge from one end to the other, at one end and in contact with the brass cap, there would be a layer of copper powder, then a layer of the chemical mixture, then a layer of powedered zinc, a layer of powdered copper, etc., with a layer of powdered zinc in contact with the brass cap at the other end of the cartridge. With a cartridge some 45 mm long and 5 mm diameter, some 14 cells may be included.

I note in passing that natural Cobalt is 100% 59 At.Wt., natural Phosphorus is 100% 31 At.Wt., and natural Cadmium is only 24% 112 At.Wt. (with 29% 114, 12% 113, 7%116, 12%111 and about 1% each of 106 and 108). So only Cadmium has any real potential of needing an exotic isotope separation, and even there the patent says “preferably”, so it ought to “go” to some extent even with natural run.

The quartz tube is packed with alternating layers of powder or granules, with Zinc as the electrode /pick up on one end, and copper on the other. Of all of this, only the Cadmium “has issues” (both in the question of isotopes and in the fact that it is horridly toxic, substitutes for Zn in various enzymes that are critical to health, and you lay in a bed dying as your bones dissolve if you ingest too much of it, as a battery factory accident in Japan proved…)

The pictures at RexReasearch make it look like a tuned 300 MHz coil picks up the RF and then converts it to a wobbly magnetic field at the tube. This speaks to the Ponderomotive aspect, but I’d try just zapping it with direct EM waves and see what happened, then build the device proper, but I’m that kind of guy ;-)

His pictures also show the Cu / Zn alternating down the tube, too, so there is likely some room for interpretation here… especially as to just which species are active where.

It is an interesting selection of materials. Most known usable in various kinds of batteries. Phosphorous with odd chemistry and many crystalline states. Several of them listed on that Matsushita patent.


A indicates at least one element selected from a group of Zr, Ti, Hf, Ta, Y, Ca, Mg, La, Co, Pr, Mm, Nb, Nd, Mo, Al and Si (Mm indicates a mixture of rare earth elements), B indicates at least one element selected from a group of Fe, V, Ni, Cr, Mn, Co, Cu, Zn, Al, Si, Nb, Mo, W, Mg, Ca, Y, Ta, Pd, Pt, Ag, Au, Cd, In, Bi, La, Co, Pr, Nd, Ta, Sm and Mm, and α is a value of 1.5 to 2.5.

So are these things just reacting to make Laves Crystal Structures under stimulation? Then maybe getting the P to fuse with something? Who knows.

BUT, of particular interest to me was the claim of radiation coming from it. Ought to be darned easy to test it and see if you ARE being irradiated…

Which brings us back to the Ponderomotive story. So what’s a ponderomotive?


In physics, a ponderomotive force is a nonlinear force that a charged particle experiences in an inhomogeneous oscillating electromagnetic field.

The ponderomotive force Fp is expressed by

\mathbf{F}_{\text{p}}=-\frac{e^2}{4 m \omega^2}\nabla(E^2)

which has units of newtons (in SI units) and where e is the electrical charge of the particle, m is its mass, ω is the angular frequency of oscillation of the field, and E is the amplitude of the electric field. At low enough amplitudes the magnetic field exerts very little force.

This equation means that a charged particle in an inhomogeneous oscillating field not only oscillates at the frequency of ω of the field, but is also accelerated by Fp toward the weak field direction. It is noteworthy that this is a rare case where the sign of the charge on the particle does not change the direction of the force ((-e)2=(+e)2).

The mechanism of the ponderomotive force can be understood by considering the motion of a charge in an oscillating electric field. In the case of a homogeneous field, the charge returns to its initial position after one cycle of oscillation. In the case of an inhomogeneous field, the force exerted on the charge during the half-cycle it spends in the area with higher field amplitude points in the direction where the field is weaker. It is larger than the force exerted during the half-cycle spent in the area with a lower field amplitude, which points towards the strong field area. Thus, averaged over a full cycle there is a net force that drives the charge toward the weak field area.

So with an oscillating inhomogeneous mag field, you can drive both positive AND negative ions in the same direction. Perhaps whacking them BOTH into the narrow end of a lattice constraint at the same time? Tiny little anvils with their EM hammers… something to warm a Smith’s heart ;-)

And, from the article about it:


Nuclear Spallation and Neutron
Capture Induced by Ponderomotive
Wave Forcing
Rickard Lundin and Hans Lidgren
IRF Scientific Report 305
October 2015
ISSN 0284-1703

It basically comes down to shaking the atoms so hard that some neutrons fall out, then they wander around until they find another nucleus to join with…

Now if you are violently driving positive and negative particles one way, and then the other, the neutral particles get less force as it all must come from protons tugging them along. I suppose with enough acceleration, you could leave behind the occasional neutron… Exact frequency of oscillation and power level would matter, IMHO. You want to just get that neutron moving and ‘catching up’ when you whipsaw the protons suddenly the other direction…

Y’all can read the PDF. It’s a bit thick on math and Greek that don’t copy / paste well…

Or this very nice write up by Mats Lewin:


Essentially no new physics but a little-known physical effect describing matter’s interaction with electromagnetic fields — ponderomotive Miller forces — would explain energy release and isotopic changes in LENR. This is what Rickard Lundin and Hans Lidgren, two top level Swedish scientists, claim, describing their theory in a paper called Nuclear Spallation and Neutron Capture Induced by Ponderomotive Wave Forcing (full length paper here) that was presented on Friday, October 16, at the 11th International Workshop on Anomalies in 
Hydrogen Loaded Metals, hosted by Airbus in Toulouse, France.

The basic idea is that ponderomotive forces at resonance frequencies shake out neutrons from elements such as deuterium and lithium, and that these neutrons are then captured by e.g. nickel, resulting in energy release by well-known physical laws.

Lundin and Lidgren have made a brief successful experiment and they have verified the model through calculations against results from well-known LENR experiments such as the Lugano report with Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat. Earlier 2015 they also filed a patent application describing the process.

“We did an experiment on our own but we stopped it. We realised that we were sitting on a neutron source and that’s not something you should do in your basement,” Rickard Lundin, Professor of Space Physics at Swedish Institute of Space Physics

The scientists are now preparing for a well-planned experiment with all necessary safety measures, ideally with a transparent reactor body since the effect according to the scientists releases a lot of light.

Ponderomotive forces derive from the electrical part of oscillating electromagnetic fields, and act on all particles, bodies or plasmas. They are all characterized by a transfer of electromagnetic energy and momentum to charged or non-charged particles. One of them, the gradient force, works independently of the sign of charges.

Could it really be that simple? Shake almost unstable heavy nuclei enough that some neutrons fall out, and let them wander into an element that releases energy as it becomes more stable?

Could it really have been done, and patented, back in 1956, so now anyone can do it free of patent entanglements?

I’m left to wonder just which elements in that formula are the most important ones. If perhaps Cadmium could be swapped out for something else on the Matsushita list… or if the multiple natural isotopes of it indicates it is prone to dropping neutrons on a good shake and still being stable…

In any case, it sure looks darned easy to replicate, it looks like a couple of Swedes have done so, though they didn’t know it, it has an easy to detect signature of radiation, and nobody owns it. There is a good theoretical basis for it in established physics too.

This would also tend to explain why the NAVSEA folks saw more output when they had an impressed magnetic field. It was inhomogeneous. Then the lattice, excited, oscillates inside it.


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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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10 Responses to LENR / LANR in 1956?, Ponderomotive?

  1. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting — funny if the problem was solved 60 years ago and nobody noticed.
    (or the noticed and decided to black hole it because it got in the way of other methods of producing energy from nuclear material which by 1956 probably had some significant investment tied to it.)


    The Shippingport Atomic Power Station was (according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission) the world’s first full-scale atomic electric power plant devoted exclusively to peacetime uses.

    The reactor reached criticality on December 2, 1957, and aside from stoppages for three core changes, it remained in operation until October 1982. The first electrical power was produced on December 18, 1957 as engineers synchronized the plant with the distribution grid of Duquesne Light Company.

  2. omanuel says:

    In April 1956 Kuroda reported at the annual AGU meeting in Washington, DC that self-sustaining nuclear reactors might have burned spontaneously on Earth about two billion years ago.

    Kuroda was openly scolded by the chair of the meeting for presenting calculations that Fermi himself had already disproven.

    Sixteen years later, in 1972, the French confirmed the operation of such a spontaneous nuclear reactor in the Oklo nuclear mine about two billion years ago.

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    I suspect you are right. Then “conventional” nuclear was going to be making 1000 MW plants dumping out “too cheap to meter” electricity (and they substantially did, for a while, until Green Lobby Pressure drove their cost basis up for nothing…).

    So in that context, someone has a patent on a “toy” power maker that dumps out one whole kW and irradiates you in the process? Who cares… so it molders away into the dusty archives…

    From my POV, what I find most encouraging about it, is that the patent has run out. That means the process is free to all. IF it really is “ponderomotive”, the best someone can do is an “improvement” with different materials, but not full on ownership of the space. Which means others can make an “improvement” with other materials, or maybe a different process in the details.


    This patent says ONE material is “foo”… and that usually means others are included in the claim… It also seems to mostly claim ownership of the stimulation means, which IF ponderomotive, means ALL ponderomotive devices are free from encumbrance now… (Other than new claims on design or specific improvements).

    I’d love to build one of these (especially given the simple construction and that I’m skilled at building RF gear), but don’t have any place to set one up / test one. The Spouse frowns on my making neutron soup in the kitchen ;-)

    I’d particularly like to see if it could be tuned up to just make excess neutrons (minus the soaking up and making power) and then hose them over onto a Thorium sample… That would be a very interesting completely throttle-able power maker that incidentally could make small quantities of “boom stuff” via Pa reprocessing… I’d not want to make much (not liking to glow in the dark, have a lifespan measured in weeks, or have month long “sessions” with Three Letter Agencies (especially if only weeks remained…)) but it would be an interesting answer to have…

    Nuclear reactor and lab, all on a desktop… Just sayin’…

    I think I need to do more looking at ponderomotive gizmos…

    Hmmm…. Looking at that search, stumbled on a bit more about the Swedish Gizmo:


    ponderomotive Miller forces yield practical fusion of D and Ni58 at 800 — 2000 deg C with 300 W infrared input during startup, Rickard Lundin, Hans Lidgren, Sweden: Rich Murray 2015.10.15

    ponderomotive Miller forces yield practical fusion of D and Ni58 at 800 — 2000 deg C with 300 W infrared input during startup, Rickard Lundin, Hans Lidgren, Sweden: Rich Murray 2015.10.15

    “Fig. 9 same as Fig. 8, but now using Ni58 +2H as reactor fuel, and for Grad-force 0.01 N.
    Compared to the Ni58 +7Li reactor, the Ni58 +D reactor can be operated at lower input power (in this case 300 W), yet providing a higher gain.
    The gain at equilibrium is here ≈25.
    The above simulation of a Ni58 +D gives an average annual energy output/year of 69 MWh, consuming 0.7 g deuterium and 5.1 g Ni58.”

    Free full texts of key reports are available.

    Ni, D and H, Li, all “go”… Gosh. Maybe a cross check of the Swede’s design and the old one, then some more common materials and Bob’s Yer Uncle?

    Make it a Laves Lattice material, add small atoms, hit with the microwaves / hf mag flux…

    It is at times like this I wish I had about a thousand pounds of lead, some decent neutron and x-ray detectors, and 10 acres with a cave…

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…. Wants all my ID stuff to let me get the pdf, so I’ll likely pass, but…

    Kind of makes me wonder if that ponderomotive force could be used to power an air ship… Ionize an air layer, then push it magnetically….


    EHD Ponderomotive Forces and Aerodynamic Flow Control Using Plasma Actuators
    Mario Pinheiro
    Mario Pinheiro

    IF you can control aerodynamic flow, you can produce aerodynamic force, left, etc.

    Might this be how the reputed “flying saucers” move about? Pushing on air?

    With a way powerful LENR reactor inside, and using that power to push the air around outside (or maybe even push your own atoms around… just need a bit of static charge… then you wouldn’t have g-force problems…) you could theoretically get all the observed behaviours… (IF it didn’t splat you like a bug against a bulkhead or cook your metabolism… “so testing required” ;-)

    Then this one:


    Ponderomotive Barrier as a Maxwell Demon

    The possibility of efficient ponderomotive current drive in a magnetized plasma was reported recently in [Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 205004 (2003)]. Precise limitations on the efficiency are now given through a comprehensive analytical and numerical study of single-particle dynamics under the action of a cyclotron-resonant rf drive in various field configurations. Expressions for the particle energy gain and acceleration along the dc magnetic field are obtained. The fundamental correlation between the two effects is described. A second fundamental quantity, namely the ratio of the potential barrier to the energy gain, can be changed by altering the field configuration. The asymmetric ponderomotive current drive effect can be optimized by minimizing the transverse heating.

    Full pdf here: http://www.osti.gov/scitech/servlets/purl/827931

    The ponderomotive force plays an important role in the dynamics of natural (cosmic) plasmas (see, e.g., Refs. [4–6]),
    yet its properties often come in useful in the laboratory as well. The practical applications include isotopes separation
    in plasmas composed of multiple ion species [7], as well as stabilization of low-frequency modes [8, 9] and rf plugging
    in magnetic confinement devices (for review, see Ref. [2]). For all of these effects, it is sufficient that drift particle
    dynamics follows the “adiabatic” model describable in terms of a reversible potential (1). However, for a reversible
    potential, it is required that rf and dc field profiles vary slowly compared to the particle oscillations and the beat
    frequency ω − Ω changes little in a period. In a certain vicinity of the cyclotron resonance, where Ω(z) ≈ ω, this
    condition is violated and the approximation of a ponderomotive potential (1) fails. In this case, nonadiabatic effects
    come into play.
    As proposed in Refs. [10, 11], the ponderomotive force can be used drive electric current in a magnetized plasma
    through an rf barrier asymmetry: As the potential (1) experiences a singularity at the cyclotron resonance, a resonant
    rf field can operate essentially like a Maxwell demon (MD), reflecting particles incident on one side while transmitting
    those incident on the other side of the ponderomotive barrier, and hence producing a current (see Sec. II for details).
    Unlike a true Maxwell demon, particles experience collisionless heating while passing through the resonance, and the
    amount of energy they receive stochastically appears to be linked tightly with particle acceleration along the magnetic
    field. The asymmetric ponderomotive current drive (APCD) effect has many uses, and could be competitive with
    other means of rf current generation [11].

    Curiouser and curiouser… A Maxwell’s Daemon has many interesting uses / properties… Then there is that isotopic separation line…

    So it can make air flow in a given direction. It can sort isotopes. It can generate a directed energy beam… Wonder if it can make coffee ;-)

    I think I’m going to need a pot to get through more of this…

  5. A C Osborn says:

    E M I said this to you a while back, it is staggering how much you are digging up “that has been lost or forgotten”.
    It really does make you wonder how all this stuff, which appears to have been in plain sight all these years has never been followed up.
    Or has it?

    Especially when they use words like “ponderomotive Miller forces yield practical fusion of D and Ni58 at 800 — 2000 deg C with 300 W infrared input during startup, ” and “The ponderomotive force plays an important role in the dynamics of natural (cosmic) plasmas”.

    Just what has “SCIENCE” been doing for the last 50 or 60 years?

  6. E.M.Smith says:


    I can’t help myself… once an interesting idea has grabbed hold of my fancy, I just have to keep digging at it until I “have it all”… It’s an Aspe thing…. The flip side is that once I’ve “got it”, and there is no new answer to find, the interest wanders off to something else (Squirrel!) and so it goes.

    I do have “general categories” that never seem to be satisfied, though. one of them is “Old stuff with meaning”. Religious connections to now. Tech Connections. Genetic paths. Plus more. It is a picture so large I think the canvas can never be complete; so I keep going back to the pallet to add a bit of blue here, some magenta there, an occasional orange blaze…

    FWIW, I’ve got a 1/2 formed posting on how to make an Egyptian Lightbulb and power system using only the tech they had in hand then. I think I’ve worked it out… just a bit more ponder needed… On the topic of this posting, I think I have a handle on “how” and “why P, Co, Cd with Cu and Zn layers?” At least, as of an hour ago ;-) I still want to do another pass of the “unconnected bits” and see if I can order them properly, without too many new loose ends… (Hint: CuP and ZnP form semiconductors. So do some of the other X-P compounds, one of which is a photocell material… while another has a nuclear decay path that emits light…) All started because I couldn’t let go of the question “Why those elements? And what does P do in it?”.

    But yeah, one really wonders why in the 1800s and up to about 1960s we had astounding leaps forward, and since then an awful lot has been thrown away / forgotten and a lot of trash created (global warming…). I suspect it all comes down to Government Funded Education and Research… and the attached political agendas. But that’s a muse “for another day”… Today is for “slaving over hot electrons and the neutron stove” ;-)

  7. A C Osborn says:

    Someone else has the same kind of bug, he also digs up lots of “old” but “good” stuff, I assume you are aware of Tim Cullen’s Malaga Bay?

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Yes, I am. Interesting stuff at times, but I’ve been too busy lately to read it much. Maybe I ought to again ;-)

    I’m presuming you mean: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/

    Lots of fun stuff, though IMHO a bit prone to “Only I have the One Truth that other-throws all!” behaviour. Like claiming to have proven Newton’s Gravitation Law wrong… (I’ll admit it ‘has issues’ at Galactic scale, thus that whole Dark Matter fantasy, but overthrow it with a mid-scale logic syllogism? Really?) But still, fun to read and makes you open the mind a bit at times. Just make sure the “maybe junk filter” is up and running on some of it…

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    Now you’ve done it! I’m going to be several hours behind schedule now… and enjoying it… ;-)

    But here’s an example of what I mean about needing the filters on:


    Postulates that the Sahara could not have formed by the usual geologic processes since it takes millions of years to erode rock to sand, yet the desert is only 6,000 years old, so it must have come from… (And then The Great Leap Off The Cliff Of Conclusion…)

    Mars boiling and evaporating rock that precipitated from our atmosphere in a near collision a few thousand years ago.


    There are so many things wrong with that I don’t know where to begin. It is entertaining, but on the edge of insanity.

    First, we know the Sahara was a shallow sea millions of years ago. Mountains erode and deposit their sands into shallow seas. The bones of proto-whales are found in those deposits in the Sahara. They can be dated, and have been. Millions of years ago there were mountains that eroded and made those sands. (IIRC, the Atlas Mountains are stumps of some of them). We also know that periodically a thin layer of life sprouts over those sands during wet times.

    Then the world goes cold and dry and the Sahara forms as the thin soil life layer blows away (it is deposited in the Atlantic and some of it reaches as far as Florida. Sahara dust fertilization of the Caribbean is well established). As that layer blows away, the sand is exposed and the desert returns. We can show the layers of dirt and dust there and in the Americas and watch the cycle turn…

    Then there is Mars. Vaporizing rock from a molten Mars just a few thousand years ago? While closely passing Earth? Now in a nice stable orbit with ancient geologic features on it? AND Polar ice caps? The thing would still be a molten rock had it been vaporizing rock 6000 years ago and there would not be any water left to make polar ice caps and not enough time to erode the features seen on the surface and no way to make the various rock types on the surface and on and on it goes…

    I’ll stop here, but you get the point. It is great fun to read and test your critical thinking skills, enjoy the fantasies, test your limits…. BUT: Do not, for a moment, think you can swallow the stuff there whole. It is full of Magical Thinking and Logical Inconsistency and Factual Cherry Picking and a host of other ponder-faults… (Don’t know if that’s a word or not… I think the normal term is “logical fallacy or maybe logic faults).

    So I like the place, and sometimes read it. But then I hit an article like that one all full of itself and spouting absolute fantasy as God’s Own Truth and I reach my “B.S. Limit”… So it goes.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Then they turn right around and have a good one like:


    which generally has decent geology in it… (Though it does wonder off into a bit of questionable ideation that riverbeds were caused by electric discharge events… but that, at least, is quasi-tenable…)

    The author is amazed that flood events in an incredibly flat landscape are not acting on sediments like described in geology texts, largely based on much more tilted landscapes… OK, I’ll give him is local limited POV bias… For those who don’t know, most of Australia is Dead Flat. We’re talking something like 400 ft average elevation. They have what are locally (and humorously, from a California Sierra Nevada or Colorado Rockies POV) called “Mountains” that are about 4000 foot tall (at best). I’ve driven through them. Literally… I was in the outback and wanted to get to Melbourne… that path goes through the “mountains”. Beautiful place and well worth it. Somewhere I have an old chemical photo of me, standing next to a red mini-something-car, on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere scratching my head, shirt tide around my waist. Posed by me, as I explored a bit “off the main road” there. I was sort of ‘seat of the pants’ navigating through the mountains and to some extent “guessing” where minor roads might cut the length down, even if not quite shown fully on the map ;-)

    But go to the Outback, and it is a pancake flat place. Punctuated by protrusions and the occasional ditch they call a ‘river’…

    So, IMHO, a lot of what the guy calls unexplained or in conflict with text books is just a consequence of trying to match theory from a 7000 foot drop in 80 miles (Sierra Nevada) to a place with 400 foot drop in 2000 miles (outback to the sea…).

    A lot more is a consequence of trying to explain the formation of now extant features based on now extant weather and geology when many of them first formed during a few million years ago geology in a few million years ago weather…

    But those are minor nits in an otherwise interesting story of a real geologist marveling at the strange and wondrous character of things in The Outback. A place I’ve been, and loved, and would spend a year or two on “walkabout” if the spouse would let me ;-) So he has his limits on what he can see of millions of years ago geology, I’m OK with that… what he does see is fascinating.

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