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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 144-147

Signal to Noise Ratios Verses Cold Fusion Student Led Experiment with High Voltage, High Frequency Discharge

Aaron Calvin, Thomas Manning,*, Russ Goddard, JimHappell§

†Valdosta State University, Chemistry Department; 3025 Hugh C .Bailey Science Center Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA31698,; ‡Valdosta State University, Biology Department; 2035 Hugh C. Bailey Science Center Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA31698; §University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science; 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL33149
Received February 17, 2014. Accepted February 26, 2014.

Published: 30 May 2014

Abstract. Many text books provide students with copious amounts of data in tables and problems. Rarely are standard deviations included with the values that were, at one point, obtained experimentally. This canbea fundamental flaw in students evaluating data to determine if some chemical or physical parameter plays acritical role in a chemical reaction. Nuclear fusion is a holy grail of science because of its potential impact on society as a source of energy. Cold fusion gripped the scientific community twenty five-years ago but erroneous data discouraged additional research in the field before it started. This experiment, given a minuscule chance of success from the beginning, is a variation on the original experiments by Pons and Fleishman. A high frequency (500 kHz) and high voltage (50 kV) discharge was arced through a D2O solution using Pd electrodes to induce the redox reaction. In evaluating the results, students learn the critical importance of statistics in evaluating tritium counts and deciding whether or not a low energy nuclear reaction involving fusion occurred.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry

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