Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Is Hydrogen Empty?

Something is troubling me about hydrogen. Phlogiston theory appears to suggest that hydrogen, or "inflammable air", is full of phlogiston. The way I've worked with the theory so far is that hydrogen is made-up in the same way as nitrogen, or "phlogisticated air". I've so far imagined hydrogen as a big bloated bag of phlogiston - but is it?

Phlogisticated air was common air which had drawn the phlogiston from burning substances. Phlogisticated air no longer had any attraction for phlogiston, or any power in supporting combustion. Air, according to the theory, was merely the receptacle for phlogiston.

After a series of experiments, Cavendish had made the deduction that "phlogisticated air appears to be nothing else than the nitrous acid united to phlogiston". He goes on to say that "nitrogen is nothing else than the nitric acid deprived of oxygen."

Nitric acid (HNO3), also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid that can cause severe burns. If we are to follow Cavendish's line of reasoning, then nitrogen is actually a compound of hydrogen and nitrogen, which if you think about it, is a little odd. It's saying that nitrogen is not simply nitrogen, but is also hydrogen.

Critics of the hydrogen economy are quick to point out that hydrogen is not an energy source, but rather an energy carrier. Hydrogen can store and deliver usable energy, but it doesn't typically exist by itself in nature; it must be produced from compounds that contain it.

I think hydrogen acts something like an anticyclonic weather system. Anticyclonic weather systems are high pressure systems. I also think hydrogen acts a bit like a bag for phlogiston. Hydrogen is therefore not phlogiston per se, but something phlogiston can be found in. So, what we percieve as the element nitrogen is actually a substance stuffed inside hydrogen. I think that substance could be vapourized carbon (phlogiston).

There already exists a compound made of hydrogen and nitrogen, and it is called ammonia. In industry, ammonia is synthesized by heating the reaction of hydrogen gas and nitrogen gas over a catalyst at high temperatures, in a process known as the Haber-Bosch process. The most important use of ammonia is in the synthesis of nitric acid, an ingredient in fertilizers and explosives.

Our bodies also make ammonia. Most ammonia in the body forms when protein is broken down by bacteria in the intestines. The liver normally converts ammonia into urea, which is then eliminated in urine. Ammonia levels in the blood rise when the liver is not able to convert ammonia to urea. This may be caused by cirrhosis or severe hepatitis.

I wanted to return to the experiment where a burning candle stands in a dish of water. When we burn the candle and then place a glass shade over it - phlogiston theory dictates that the burning phlogiston saturates the air inside the glass, which leaves no further place for more phlogiston to escape to, and so the flame goes out (this differs greatly from current theory which maintains that the flame is extinguished because it runs out of oxygen).

When the flame is extinguished, water condenses inside the glass and it pulls a vacuum - water is sucked up from the dish and up into the space underneath the glass. Something like 20% of the space inside the glass is taken-up by the water. In this experiment we find the other 79% of the air trapped under the glass is nitrogen, and 1% other gases (including CO).

Phlogiston theory maintains that the nitrogen present in the air inside the glass is air that has been saturated with phlogiston. Nitrogen was referred to as "phlogisticated air". Nitrogen is air that is full to capacity with vapourized carbon. Nitrogen will not support combustion. I don't think that because the air inside the glass is found to be 79% nitrogen, this means that the atmosphere is also 79% nitrogen. Maybe it's not quite that simple.

Another place where nitrogen turns up is in the composition and decomposition of water with an electric spark. In the reaction of oxygen with hydrogen it is not as simple as saying that they make water. In some cases it is not pure water, but a nitrous acid which is produced. Nitrous acid (molecular formula HNO2) is a weak and monobasic acid known only in solution and in the form of nitrite salts. Nitrous acid readily absorbs oxygen from the air and is converted into nitric acid. Nitric acid is highly corrosive.

I have been haunted by the following words of Priestley. They are taken from his article “Considerations on the Doctrine of Phlogiston, and the Decomposition of Water” of 1796, and can be found here thanks to:

"When dephlogisticated [oxygen] and inflammable air [hydrogen], in the proportion of a little more than one measure of the former to two of the latter, both so pure as to contain no sensible quantity of phlogisticated air [nitrogen], are inclosed in a glass or copper vessel, and decomposed by taking an electric spark in it, a highly phlogisticated nitrous acid is instantly produced; and the purer the airs are, the stronger is the acid found to be."

Priestley asserts that a "highly phlogisticated nitrous acid" is present. What is Priestley trying to say exactly? What has phlogiston got to do with the acidifying principle? Into this soup I shall add some words of Cavendish on the composition and decomposition of water, taken from his treatise of 1785, "Philosophical Transactions" :

"It may be worth remarking, that whereas in the detonation of nitre with inflammable substances, the acid unites to phlogiston, and forms phlogisticated air, in these experiments the reverse of this process was carried on; namely, the phlogisticated air united to the dephlogisticated, which is equivalent to being deprived of its phlogiston, and was reduced to nitrous acid.

In the above-mentioned paper I also gave my reasons for thinking that the small quantity of nitrous acid, produced by the explosion of dephlogisticated and inflammable air, proceeded from a portion of phlogisticated air mixed with the dephlogisticated, which I supposed was deprived of its phlogiston, and turned into nitrous acid, by the action of the dephlogisticated air on it, assisted by the heat of the explosion."

Cavendish states that the phlogisticated air is turned into nitrous acid by the action of the dephlogisticated air upon it. In other words, nitrogen is turned into nitrous acid by the action of oxygen in a heated reaction. It's a bit like the nitrogen was cracked open by the oxygen, and in doing so, phlogiston spills out to fuel the combustion. Cavendish continues to say that "it is evident that dephlogisticated air is able to deprive phlogisticated air of its phlogiston, and reduce it into acid, when assisted by the electric spark; and therefore it is not extraordinary that it should do so when assisted by the heat of the explosion."

If we follow this line of reasoning, then it appears an acid is produced due to the lack of phlogiston. If more phlogiston was available, then we would have a sample which was more like pure water. Priestley seems to confirm this by noting that the "purer the airs are, the stronger the acid is found to be". Priestley thus continues to piece these results together:

"If phlogisticated air be purposely introduced into this mixture of dephlogisticated and inflammable air, it is not affected by the process, though, when there is a considerable deficiency of inflammable air, the dephlogisticated air, for want of it, will unite with the phlogisticated air, and, as in Mr. Cavendish’s experiment, form the same acid. But since both kinds of air, viz. the inflammable and the phlogisticated, contribute to form the same acid, they must contain the same principle, viz. phlogiston."

Now I think at last I am starting to get a grasp. I think this confirms that pure hydrogen gas does not contain phlogiston. I think that once hydrogen becomes "phlogisticated" it starts to resemble nitrogen. Nitrogen without phlogiston is hydrogen. Hydrogen over-saturated with phlogiston is nitrogen.

Electrolysis of water is the decomposition of water (H2O) into oxygen (O2) and hydrogen gas (H2) due to an electric current being passed through the water. In a properly designed cell hydrogen will appear at the cathode, and oxygen will appear at the anode. I think the electric current passing through the water is made up from phlogiston in the water.

I have experimented with the idea that phlogiston is taken up by the anode, moves along conductors, passes through the battery, and then goes down the cathode where it then completes a loop by passing back through the water to the anode. I think that energy from the loop is lost in the form of heat, or in other words, phlogiston is lost in the form of heat. I think you run out of electric current when you run out of phlogiston. The electric current IS phlogiston.

I think hydrogen is produced at the cathode because the phlogiston it once possessed as one half of elemental water has been given up to supply the current. It's as if the hydrogen has been discarded as a waste product. If hydrogen is a waste product, then what exactly was it when it was previously in water? If hydrogen was phlogisticated while in water, then it is highly suggestive that it is not hydrogen in pure water, but something that is phlogisticated, something like nitrogen.

When hydrogen gas and oxygen gas are recombined to make water, I think that phlogiston is released by the spark or flame used to drive the reaction. If enough phlogiston is available we get pure water, if not, then we get nitrous acid. I found the following words of Cavendish, and his experiments appear to confirm what I am suggesting.

Cavendish states "that when a mixture of inflammable and dephlogisticated air is exploded, in such proportions that the burnt air [nitrogen] is not much phlogisticated, the condensed liquor contains a little acid which is always of the nitrous kind, whatever substance the dephlogisticated air is procured from; but if the proportion be such that the burnt air is almost entirely phlogisticated, the condensed liquor is not at all acid, but seems pure water, without any addition whatever."

In another experiment he writes "that when inflammable and common air are exploded in a proper proportion, almost all the inflammable air, and near one-fifth the common air, lose their elasticity and are condensed into dew. And by this experiment it appears that this dew is plain water, and consequently that almost all the inflammable air is turned into pure water".

When hydrogen is burnt in a combustion engine in the presence of air, water is the only product given off. There's obviously phlogiston present in the air - but is it in the proportions that we have been led to expect? Nitrogen is "air" (or at least a component of air) which has been over-saturated with phlogiston. Maybe we can expect to find 79% of the air in a glass to be nitrogen after the combustion of a candle, but perhaps the air we breath is a little less saturated with phlogiston.

Many thanks:

The Gases of the Atmosphere - The History of Their Discovery By William Ramsay
Chemistry for Beginners By Lincoln Phelps
Researches on the medical properties and applications of nitrous oxide ... By George Jacob Ziegler

Friday, 25 September 2009


T h e B a l d w i n P r o j e c t

The Wonder Book of Chemistry by Jean Henri Fabre

There is carbon, I say, in chalk; but it is in the burnt state, and to burn it over again is impossible unless its present partnership with oxygen is first dissolved. Consequently, chalk is incombustible. But carbon abounds in numerous other substances, and in an unburnt condition; therefore it is combustible.

Once more: The black smoke of the burning paper and the black color of its charred fragments make us pretty sure, without the help of lime-water, that paper contains carbon, just as the black smoke rising from a smoldering candle-wick makes us think the candle has carbon in it; and this we infer despite the whiteness of both paper and candle. But now we come to a third substance that gives no similar indication of the presence of carbon. It is alcohol, or spirit of wine.

As soon as the alcohol stops burning I apply the lime-water test. The water is whitened. That settles it. I can now affirm with absolute certainty that alcohol, a liquid as colorless and transparent as water, contains that compact black, opaque substance called carbon.

Chalk, marble, and all limestones contain carbonic acid, an acid of little strength and always ready to give up its place to any other acid that is more powerful. In chemistry the harsh law of the strongest prevails: get out of that and make room for me. If, then, we pour some strong acid on carbonate of lime, carbonic acid is set free, being ousted by the new-comer, which takes its places and forms with the lime a new salt. Sulphuric acid, for example, turns a carbonate into a sulphate, and phosphoric acid turns it into a phosphate. In both cases the carbonic acid is set free, and its release is accompanied by a foaming on the surface of the stone.

The word 'limestone' means carbonate of lime; but there are many other carbonates, each metal giving one of its own, or sometimes more than one, as occasionally there are several carbonates for the same metal. Iron, copper, lead, zinc, to name no others, have each its own carbonate, just as calcium has, this last being, of course, carbonate of lime, or limestone. This carbonate is much more plentiful than any of the others, and plays a more important part in this world of ours; therefore I particularly call your attention to it. A good half of the soil is made of it. Great mountain-chains are blocks of this salt. Whether rare or abundant, all carbonates without exception have the peculiarity of effervescing when touched with an acid.

Here, then, is our carbonic-acid gas. It is as colorless, as transparent, as invisible as air. We have just extracted it from limestone, where chemical combination held great quantities of it captive with a very narrow compass. A piece of stone hardly bigger than a walnut will yield several liters of it. We have just driven some of it our of the rock, and are now going to drive it back and make it reenter the composition of rock,—that is to say limestone, powdered chalk. I pour some lime-water into the bottle that is filled with carbonic-acid gas, close it tightly with the palm of my hand, and shake it thoroughly. The liquid turns white and thick like sour milk. We let it stand a while, and flakes settle at the bottom in a considerable layer. You know these white flakes as carbonate of lime, chalk, the compound we obtained when we shook up lime-water and carbonic acid obtained by burning charcoal. So here we have fresh proof, to add to the others, that limestone really contains the gas produced by burning charcoal.

The gas has disappeared, being shut up once more in the stone,—or, rather, in a sort of mud that would become stone if it were dried and pressed.

Berthollet, Claude Louis (1748-1822)
French chemist who carried out research into dyes and bleaches (introducing the use of chlorine as a bleach) and determined the composition of ammonia. Modern chemical nomenclature is based on a system worked out by Berthollet and Antoine Lavoisier.

Berthollet was born in the then Italian region of Savoy. He qualified as a physician at the University of Turin, moving to Paris to study chemistry. As private physician in the household of the duke of Orléans, he carried out research in the laboratory at the Palais Royale. He was appointed inspector of dyeworks and director of the Gobelins tapestry factory 1784. He taught chemistry to Napoleon and went with him to Egypt 1798. There he observed the high concentration of sodium carbonate (soda) by Lake Natron on the edge of the desert. He reasoned that, under the prevailing physical conditions, sodium chloride in the upper layer of soil had reacted with calcium carbonate from nearby limestone hills - the beginning of his theory that chemical affinities are affected by physical conditions, in this case the heat and high concentration of calcium carbonate. In 1804 he became a senator but ten years later voted for the deposition of Napoleon.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A Lump Of Charcoal

A lump of charcoal is about 98% carbon. Phlogistonists believed that charcoal was virtually pure phlogiston. Some said that charcoal was surpassed only by hydrogen as a source of pure phlogiston. Charcoal is the blackish residue consisting of impure carbon obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. In the combustion of charcoal, temperatures of 600 to 1500 degrees C are reasonably easy to achieve. If we burn the charcoal in pure oxygen it produces only water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of ash.

Charcoal is a fuel made up of hydrocarbons. I see these hydrocarbons as anticyclonic vortices (hydrogen) which act like a bag full of carbon (phlogiston). I try to think of it as hydrogen fattened-up on carbon.

In the combustion process, I imagine it as oxygen being introduced to hydrogen to form elemental water. The hydrogen was over saturated with phlogiston (carbon) and the release of this phlogiston is activated by the hydrogen being joined by oxygen. The anticyclonic hydrogen and the cyclonic oxygen join together to form dipolar vortices, and a torus-shaped water atom is produced, which basically looks something like a ring donut. I think inside the vortex ring of this donut that the phlogiston is kicked into action, and it goes into something like a spin cycle.

A burning lump of charcoal also produces heat and light. Heat and light are waves in the aether. The movement of the phlogiston spinning around the vortex ring might also be responsible for generating waves in the aether. I imagine it as something like a little wobbling inflatable ring, or elastic band. Or even an underwater bubble-ring.

~~Photo of bubble ring courtesy of Joe Burch

I needed a gentle reminder of where we stand now, and so I'm going to lean back on a bit of text from Walter Fitzroy, below. You can find a copy of his letter here, thanks to:

"Phlogiston is present in all things that are combustible, and we are thankful that everything that contains phlogiston is not constantly in flames, and that it requires a release mechanism. I theorise that heat and fire are indeed release mechanisms for phlogiston and that it encourages phlogiston in the material to be released."

So, according to Fitzroy, phlogiston is being released by the combustion process. I imagine a hydrocarbon contained in a fuel to be rich in phlogiston. I think that as the hydrocarbon begins the combustion process it joins oxygen to form water and releases phlogiston.

We are taught that colourless carbon monoxide is formed at the surface of the charcoal, and at base of the flame. Charcoal being the remains of burned wood, contains hydrocarbons that vaporize and produce a gas containing carbon monoxide. It is then said that the carbon monoxide burns with more oxygen to produce a blue flame.

I wonder if it's possible that carbon monoxide is itself a combustion product? Rather than the carbon monoxide simply forming at the surface of the charcoal, maybe something else forms there first? This might help explain the invisible vapours which we find at the surface of the burning charcoal, and at the base of the flame.

Carbon monoxide gas apparently burns with a blue flame. I wanted to see this for myself and I managed to find a school experiment which blatantly shows the colour to be blue. My thanks to Blundell's School for the demonstration:

I wanted to take a closer look at the base of the flame on our charcoal fire. Before we see the bluish flame at the base of the fire, we find at the very surface of the charcoal that there exist invisible vapours that are in the UV range. Some flame detection scanners use ultraviolet sensors. I borrowed the following extract from a descriptive piece on "Fireye UV flame scanners":

"Choose a sighting location where the scanner will have an unobstructed view of the flame under all firing conditions. Greatest ultraviolet radiation is produced near the base of the flame in the area immediately ahead of the burner."

These sensors are especially designed for application in hydrogen fires which can burn with an almost invisible flame. Pure hydrogen-oxygen flames burn in the ultraviolet colour range. Another danger with hydrogen fires is that they emit little radiant heat into the enviroment, therefore making infrared detectors somewhat obsolete. Is it possible that there is a hydrogen fire taking place at the surface of the burning charcoal?

According to this new theory (which is based on an old theory), hydrocarbons at the surface of the charcoal join oxygen from the air to form atomic water. This atomic water is absolutely brimming with phlogiston. I imagine the invisible vapours at the surface of the burning charcoal as somekind of water vapour that is rich in phlogiston. Hang on a mo'! Water brimming with phlogiston? Well, that sounds familiar. Indeed, it sounds a lot like the discussion in the previous post about methanol! Is it possible that a methanol-like fuel is produced at the surface of the charcoal during combustion?

Next up from the invisible vapours are the bluish flames, and then we have the yellow flames. If I run my hand over the yellow part of a flame it will blacken with soot - the carbon has not as yet fully combusted. If I run my hand above the tip of the flame, my hand will most certainly get hot, but it doesn't get black because there is no soot - the carbon has been fully combusted.

In combustion processes, bluish flames are indicative of sootless flames. The high intensity of the blue flame consumes the fuel without producing soot. The blue portion of the flame is the most intense part of the flame (that's why welders use it). As we move up from the blue part of the flame to the yellow part of the flame we find soot. One might suggest that the water atom is broken down at the blue flame to release its payload of phlogiston (soot).

When steam is superheated to about 1400 degrees C or more, the molecules of steam start splitting apart to form oxygen and hydrogen. That's a temperature you will find in the blue part of the flame. It appears that our newly formed water atom is being cracked open, and phlogiston is released. The released phlogiston gives us the yellow part of the flame.

Incomplete combustion of charcoal produces carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. For complete combustion we have to introduce more oxygen. Complete combustion produces carbon dioxide and water. Carbon dioxide does not combust, it is a combustion product. Water does not combust either, but rather it is a product of combustion.

The temperatures in the luminous zone can be as cool as a few hundred degrees C, whereas the temperature in the blue part of the flame can be 1500 degrees C, or higher. If we were to add more oxygen to a yellow flame it should shrink and then combust with a blue flame. Under normal conditions, it looks like the blue part of the flame is absorbing more oxygen than the yellow part of the flame.

In the combustion of carbon monoxide you have carbon dioxide and water, which are the exact same products from the complete combustion of charcoal. One might argue that there is a striking similarity between hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, but apparently there's no hydrogen onboard carbon monoxide. But I am reminded of something Priestley said about carbon dioxide.

Priestley said that "water makes up half the weight of carbon dioxide". The atomic weight of carbon dioxide is 44 grams per mole. I suppose then that Priestley is saying that water in a carbon dioxide molecule weighs in at 22 grams per mole, and is then joined by something else at 22 grams per mole. Sodium weighs in at about 22 grams per mole. Is sodium making up the other half of carbon dioxide?

Indeed, Priestley said that water was “essential to the constitution of every kind of air”. I was just thinking that carbon monoxide has an atomic weight of 28 grams per mole. If half its weight was made up with water then it would leave something else which weighed about 14 grams per mole. It just so happens that nitrogen weighs 14 grams per mole. Is nitrogen making up the other half of carbon monoxide?

Phlogistonists long suspected nitrogen was a compound. Am I then to reason that nitrogen is a compound of water and phlogiston? That nitrogen is the movement of phlogiston as it circles around the vortex ring of a water atom? Is it the same thing for sodium?

I think phlogiston is made up of tiny particles of carbon that offer a resistance to the aether field. Further up the flame is the luminous zone where free carbon burns and releases the familiar light made up with yellows and reds. This is only an idea - so just roll with me - but I thought about the fact that sodium burns with a yellow flame. Is it possible that the phlogiston takes the form of sodium before it is vapourized into something else?

The bigger the hydrocarbon, the more likely you are to get a yellow, smokey flame. That would make carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide big hydrocarbons. In industry, they make methane from carbon dioxide and water, and you could look at it like they are watering down the strength of carbon dioxide to produce a reliable, household fuel. Is carbon dioxide a fuel source?

The products from a complete combustion of charcoal are carbon dioxide and water vapour. I think of the water has having all of the phlogiston removed by the combustion process. It's as if the water vapour is the only evidence of a full combustion; that is, a water atom formed at the surface of the charcoal exits the flame after expending ALL of its phlogiston. Is carbon dioxide an incomplete combustion product?

Many thanks:

The history and present state of electricity: with original experiments By Joseph Priestley
Conduction of Electricity Through Gases and Radio-Activity By Robert Kenning McClung

John Kanzius

John S. Kanzius (March 1, 1944 – February 18, 2009) was an American inventor, radio and TV engineer, one-time station owner and ham radio operator (Call Sign K3TUP) from Erie, Pennsylvania. He invented a method that has the potential to treat cancer, inspired by his own battle with the deadly disease. He also demonstrated a device that can "burn salt water". Both effects involve the use of his radio frequency transmitter.

Later in 2007, Kanzius announced that the same radio frequency transmitter can also be used to burn hydrogen electrolyzed from salt water. The discovery was made accidentally while he was researching the use of radio waves for desalination. Kanzius said that "In this case we weren't looking for energy, we were looking for something that might do desalinization. The more we tried desalinization, the more heat we produced, until we got fire". Kanzius admitted that this process could not be considered an energy source, as more energy is used to produce the RF signal than can be obtained from the burning gas and stated in July 2007 that he never claimed his discovery would replace oil, asserting only that his discovery was "thought provoking."The details of the process are still unreleased pending the issuance of a patent.

Kanzius proposed that the flame is produced by burning of hydrogen and oxygen, released from the water by radio waves "forcing together" the "normally separated" hydrogen and oxygen in the water, a process he calls "reunification". In water (H2O), hydrogen is covalently bonded to oxygen, and thus the process must "reunite" pairs of hydrogen atoms and pairs of oxygen atoms, releasing dihydrogen (H2) and dioxygen (O2). The energy from the radio waves is absorbed by the water and splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen which then react together to reform the water and re-release the energy and form a flame. In other words, the process turns radio energy into chemical energy, which then turns to heat and light energy, but does not "take energy from water". Rather, energy is put into the water in order to break it up into its components, which now may combust. The water torch, a form of oxyhydrogen torch, is an earlier example of the process of breaking down water and then recombining oxygen and hydrogen to release heat and light energy

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


I think that hydrogen is saturated with phlogiston. I'm not saying that hydrogen is phlogiston, but that hydrogen is saturated with it. I think phlogiston is another name for the aether. I suspect the aether is an incompressible fluid made up of carbon-like particles that are much smaller than atoms. I think that hydrogen is saturated by the aether because it works something like an anticyclone, and it attracts the aether down into its centre.

I think oxygen acts as a cyclone. When oxygen is working in tandem with hydrogen, I think that oxygen draws the aether from its surroundings and then sends this energy to hydrogen; hydrogen then sends energy back to oxygen and a cycle is created. Together oxygen and hydrogen form a "water atom".

Of course this means oxygen and hydrogen are structures generated by the aether. Oxygen and hydrogen are dipolar vortices that make up a torus shaped atom. An atom appears here as a loop of energy shaped like a ring-donut, or smoke ring. In fluid dynamics it is known as a vortex ring.

The water atom is surrounded by the fluid of the aether. I imagine the fluid of the aether passing through the water atom in the same way that the fluid of the air moves through a smoke ring. The outer surface of a smoke ring is dragged backwards, while a central stream moves forwards.

If the surrounding aether is too rich in phlogiston, then it's possible that a water atom is able to absorb the phogiston, and thus become bloated by it; a bit like over-inflating a rubber inner-tube. This might be due to the cyclonic part of the atom drawing in too much phlogiston from the outside. This could then choke the passage of the aether fluid through the central stream. The motion of the aether passing through the centre of the vortex ring would ultimately slow down. In turn, this would slow down the motion of the spinning dipolar vortices, and thus reduce the speed of the energy revolving around inside the ring. You would then have a big fat bloated water atom that is full of phlogiston.

If we wanted to store energy, we would want to first fatten-up the anticyclones (hydrogen) and then store them away from the cyclones (oxygen) until such a time that we wanted to release that energy.

Now hydrogen bloated with carbon sounds a lot like a hydrocarbon. A hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons can be gases (e.g. methane and propane), liquids (e.g. hexane and benzene), waxes or low melting solids (e.g. paraffin wax and naphthalene) or polymers (e.g. polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene).

Methane used as energy comes mainly in the form of natural gas. Methane is produced mainly by bacteria that break down organic matter where there is little or no oxygen. Methane, CH4, is a chemical compound composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. It is one of the most common gases in the Universe, as well as on Earth. Methane appears to me to be the exact same stuff I've been talking about - a water atom broken down into its two componments - hydrogen and oxygen, leaving hydrogen chock-full of carbon.

Methane is a gas, making it a little awkward to use anywhere except in the household, but by adding oxygen it becomes a liquid fuel. Methanol is produced commercially by the catalyzed reaction of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Thus, it appears that the water atom has been recombined, but has managed to retain its stored phlogiston. Does methanol look something like a fat donut full of phlogiston?

The following extract is taken from an interview of George Olah, winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in chemistry, in the Technology Review magazine. They're talking about the possibility of a methanol economy as opposed to petroleum, or even hydrogen. You can find the full interview here, thanks to:

George Olah: Methanol is a very simple chemical that can be made in a very efficient way. It is just one oxygen atom inserted into methane, the basal component of natural gas; but methanol is a liquid material which is easily stored, transported, and used.

We were co-inventors of the direct methanol fuel cell. This fuel cell uses methanol and produces CO2 and water. It occurred to us that maybe you could reverse the process. And, indeed, you can take carbon dioxide and water, and if you have electric power, you can chemically reduce it into methanol.

This fascinates me; that you can make methane from carbon dioxide and water, and then by adding a little more water you get methanol. When you then burn methanol in air it forms little more than carbon dioxide and water. Under combustion, methanol produces neither soot particles nor sulphur oxides, but incomplete combustion does produce formaldehyde (CH2O).

In this case, I think of formaldehyde as the result of methanol losing some of its carbon in the combustion process. The fat donut has lost some of its phlogiston, and has thus been reduced in size. The phlogiston circling inside the vortex ring of the water atom is now moving faster and faster.

Formaldehyde is released in the smoke from burning wood, coal, charcoal, cigarettes, natural gas and kerosene. Formaldehyde is also generated in the clean lower troposphere after naturally occuring hydrocarbons react with photochemically generated HO radicals. Formaldehyde is not only a sensitiser but also a potent primary irritant. Exposure to formaldehyde gas may cause burning sensations in the eye, nose and throat, skin rashes, tightness of the chest and wheezing, fatigue and headaches.

I seem to remember formaldehyde best as an embalming fluid. All those specimens found in glass jars in laboratories are preserved in formaldehyde. I think of formaldehyde as more of a preservative. It is also an effective disinfectant against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Hmmm?

Many thanks:

And thankyou for the donut!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009



The philosopher's stone was the name given to a
mythical theurgic powder^ which was to have the
power of fermenting millions of times its own weight
of fused base metal into gold. The strangest and
most diverse ingredients were mixed together in the
attempts to prepare this much sought for powder ;
we read of snails' slime, serpents' teeth, gall stones
taken from cats, blood, hair, white of egg, &c., in
addition to the never failing ingredient, mercury.
The philosopher's stone was generally identified with
what in more general terms was called the " One
Thing" — the perfect form of matter which was to
combine in itself all the properties of all other kinds
of matter in their highest perfection. Hence we can
in a measure account for the many and varied in-
gredients which were believed to be necessary to its

Many of the receipts for making the philosopher's
stone that have come down to us are perfectly un-
intelligible, so allegorical is the language in which
they are couched. Sometimes the directions seem
fairly explicit, till one comes to the concluding item
— "add carefully a sufficiency of you know what.'"

1 It may here be stated that some philologists find in the generally
entertained belief that the "stone" would turn out to be a hlack
powder, a derivation of the word alchemy. See article " Chemie " in
Ladenburj^'s Handworterbuch der Chemie.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Is Water An Element?

~~Water Element by jadden

The Ancients believed water was an element. Today, we say that water is made up of two different elements: hydrogen and oxygen. We think that hydrogen and oxygen are two very seperate elements with very different properties. But what if this is not quite the case? Is it possible that hydrogen and oxygen are actually two halves of the same atom?

In 1899, Thomson states that "electrification essentially involves the splitting up of the atom, a part of the mass of the atom getting free and becoming detached from the original atom." In the electrolysis of water we divide it into its two components - hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen collects at the negative electrode (cathode) and oxygen at the positive electrode (anode). What if we're actually seeing is the element of water being split into two parts - a positive half and a negative half?

An atom is considered neutral because the negative and positive forces cancel each other out. Well, what if the electron (negative) is not tiny compared to the proton (positive), as we are taught today? It could be possible that the electron is somewhere around the same size as the proton. This would then start to give us a simple atomic structure - the dipolar vortices of a torus. (I'm tempted, it must be said, to help avoid confusion by changing the name of the electron to "electrion" in honour of its new size.) The dipolar vortices can then be pulled apart to give us two seperate vortices which behave in two very different ways.

It was Newton's contemporary, Stahl, who developed the doctrine of phlogiston in order to account for combustion. I think that phlogiston is carbon. I think that the electric fluid of the aether is made up with tiny neutron particles that have something to do with carbon. I think that when Priestley referred to "phlogisticated air", one such as nitrogen, he meant that it was saturated with the neutron particles of the aether. Which leads us onto Cavendish, a contemporary of Priestley, who in 1783 said that it was inflammable air (hydrogen), and not charcoal, that was pure phlogiston. Cavendish referred to hydrogen as "phlogisticated water" or "water united to phlogiston".

Henry Cavendish (1731-1810) was a phlogistonist. He seems to have fulfilled the role of an English eccentric, leading a silent and solitary life and forming no close personal relationships outside his family. By one account (because we all love a bit of gossip), Cavendish had a back staircase added to his house in order to avoid encountering his housekeeper because he was especially shy of women. Cavendish was well respected in some circles though, and is reknowned for impressive accuracy with experiments.

Oxygen, being called "dephlogisticated air", appears to have the phogiston depleted from it. Cavendish proposed that the dephlogisticated part of common air combined with inflammable air is then no longer air, but water. Essentially then, he is describing common air as something more akin to a water vapour. It also gives the impression that water is made up with two components - phogiston (the aether) and something else without phlogiston. Therefore hydrogen is air/water vapour saturated with phlogiston. I suspect oxygen and hydrogen are two halves of the same atom.

If hydrogen and oxygen are two halves of the same atom - why is it that 2 volumes of water vapour is made up with 1 volume of oxygen plus 2 volumes of hydrogen? One might expect that it would be 1 volume of each to make 2 volumes of water, but in the decomposition of water, hydrogen occupies a space twice that of oxygen. What makes hydrogen twice the size of its partner oxygen?

If hydrogen is air saturated with phlogiston - why is hydrogen 16 times lighter than the same volume of oxygen? One might expect that the body of hydrogen - apparently bloated to twice the size of oxygen - to be the one which weighs more. As it stands, the weight ratio of hydrogen to oxygen to make water is 1:8. Therefore, if we divide up water into its two equal components, we find oxygen weighs 8 times more than hydrogen. Why?

I bumped into a letter on the web. It's a guilty pleasure as it is not addressed to me. The author talks about phlogiston theory in that delightful manner of the day. I'm not sure if these letters are real, or what, but I'm going to include some bits here because I feel they raise some interesting points. You can find a copy here thanks to :

"The attachment to water being an element instead of a compound regardless of the evidence presented to the sceptics disheartens me. Although I find small comfort in the plurality of opinions, as diversity in views can often be our saving grace, I think that the water debate has reached a point where anymore denial of its composition thus its status as a compound is illustrative of a degree of dogmatism. I take no pleasure in using this adjective in conjunction with great men like Priestly, but it seems to me that being in exile in America has not made him reflect and reassess the truth of the matter as presented by the evidence and the new theories explanatory power."

Frankly, I've always been blissfully unaware about a scientific debate of whether water is an element having ever taken place. It was never mentioned in science class, or history class for that matter, and not even hinted at in those friendly chats with the local shopkeeper when I've popped in for a pint of milk. But nonetheless, it appears a serious debate had taken place in the 18th Century.

"Dr Kinahan states that when electricity is passed through the water, it is the phlogiston in the water which is carried by the electricity. Therefore, in brief, we see inflammable air produced around the negative electrode and phlogiston being removed from the water at the positive electrode."

Now here, I think that the author may have got something wrong. Hydrogen, or "inflammable air", is produced at the negative electrode, but remember, it was Cavendish who said that hydrogen was pure phlogiston. Therefore, the phlogiston is being removed from the water at the negative electrode, and not the positive electrode. Indeed, it appears that the positive electrode is removing something of the water that contains no phlogiston - the "dephlogisticated air". Unless of course, the author is aware of something I am not.

Is it possible I am not seeing something here? But the author states quite clearly that phlogiston is "being removed from the water at the positive electrode". It's saying that it is oxygen which is phlogiston. No biggy, perhaps. The phlogiston theory can get pretty confusing at times - maybe it's a simple slip-up.

Oxygen does not burn. We tend to think of oxygen as a flammable gas but it does not actually burn. Oxygen will support the burning of other substances, but essentially, in itself, oxygen is not a flammable gas. In other words, it is an inflammable gas.

I found someone else raised the question of oxygen's ability to burn on the "Ask A Scientist" forum. I've landed on this forum a number of times, and most of the time it's been really helpful. You can see some of the issues that the scientists try to resolve about oxygen's flammability here:

So this opens a can of worms, right? We have "inflammable air" on one hand and "inflammable gas" on the other, and somehow when the two are brought together, and combusted with spark or flame - they react violently. If both substances are basically inflammable - what is it that is burning? It can only be the phlogiston - the neutron particles of the aether.

I chanced upon an 1833 edition of The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 5: "According to Cavendish, water consisted of phlogiston and dephlogisticated air; inflammable air of phlogiston and water; the action of dephlogisticated upon inflammable air when exploded with it was to unite with its phlogiston to form water, and consequently to set free the water of the inflammable air."

Normally, when I don't understand something, I write it down and then repeat it back to myself. If the words don't sink in, I write it down again. I get the feeling I could repeatedly write the above paragraph all day and I still wouldn't get it! One sometimes gets the feeling that phlogiston theory was designed by a masochist (and I'm only half-joking!)

The author of the letter clearly states that it is "phlogiston being removed from the water at the positive electrode". Maybe the author is not referring to oxygen. Maybe they are not referring to any material substance at all. Perhaps they speak of phlogiston as an imponderable fluid that is quite seperate from the hydrogen and oxygen.

If hydrogen and oxygen act as dipolar vortices of a water atom - then what happens when we seperate them? One half will still act as a cyclone, and the other an anticyclone. A good example of a cyclone is a tornado which sucks up the fluid of the air at ground level and expels it upwards. An anticyclone works in reverse, as air is replaced in the centre by a downward draft. These are the vertical winds displayed by weather systems. If these two work together then it is possible to generate a loop based purely on vertical winds; into the cyclone, up and out and down into the anticyclone, down and out and up into the cyclone...

I wonder how easy it might be to confirm which one - hydrogen or oxygen - was acting as the cyclone or anticyclone? I chanced upon a paper entitled "Cyclone and anticyclone formation in a rotating stratified fluid over a sloping bottom", and it seemed to offer a big clue. It was written by C. Cenedese and PF Linden from Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, The University of Cambridge:

"While cyclones present a somewhat smaller surface area (sometimes as small as one half the size of the equivalent anticyclone) at the level of the interface, the major difference is in the depth. In fact, cyclones are well represented by cones while anticyclones are better represented by paraboloids. "

I'm not saying this is startling evidence, but at least it gives me something to work from. Oxygen, taking up half the volume of hydrogen, could be insinuating that it is acting as a cyclone. The centre of a cyclone at ground level is a low pressure area. There is an in-rush from the surrounding fluid to restore equilibrium. Oxygen is found at the positive terminal, and therefore, could be sucking up the electric fluid of the aether. This would then confirm the opinion that it is "phlogiston being removed from the water at the positive terminal". Where does the phlogiston go from there?

Hydrogen on the other side of the circuit could be gulping down the aether at the negative terminal, before being passed on to the positive terminal. We have generated a loop. This loop of the aether is only possible through a conductor - common air acts as an insulator. If we were to posit this as a DC battery, it would mean inside the electrolyte that the electric fluid would flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal. If there was no conductor joining the two terminals - then equlibrium would be maintained - and no energy would flow.

If you were to take a piece of conducting wire and to place them across the terminals, you would then have a flow of electricity from the positive terminal to the negative terminal. You would have a loop. I guess this continues until there is no phlogiston left in the electrolyte, and you are left with a flat battery.

I'm at a bit of a loss to be honest. So vertical winds could help explain electricity - oh, and heat. Hydrogen and oxygen make up one water atom, that can be seperated and put to work as motors to induce electricity. In another post I'd like to try and apply this to a cathode ray tube and see what happens.

Also, I can't help but ask whatever became of the horizontal winds that pass between cyclones and anticyclones in weather systems. If we assess a weather system as a toroidal structure, then it appears the horizontal winds are the same vertical winds of the loop, but that the horizontal winds have been squashed against the ground. Horizontal winds move from high pressure areas (anticyclone) to low pressure areas (cyclone).

If vertical winds move up through the cyclone and pass down through the anticyclone, it makes sense that in order to complete the loop, the winds then have to pass from the anticyclone to the cyclone for the circle to be completed, and so the cycle may continue.

At the start of this post I wondered why it was that oxygen weighed 8 times more than hydrogen. I don't think it's because hydrogen is a high pressure area bloated by the aether. I think that the aether practically has no weight; I think it could be the amount of work that oxygen is doing which pretty much designates its weight.

Many thanks:


I would like to say thankyou to jadden (Miguel Rita?) for the great photo to be found at the top of the page. You can catch some more of jadden's work here:

Thursday, 10 September 2009

On Radiant Matter

New York American November 1st, 1933
Device to Harness Cosmic Energy Claimed by Tesla:

"This new power for the driving of the world's machinery will be derived from the energy which operates the universe, the cosmic energy, whose central source for the earth is the sun and which is everywhere present in unlimited quantities."

Tesla's free-energy concept was patented in 1901 as an "Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy." The patent refers to "the sun, as well as other sources of radiant energy, like cosmic rays," that the device works at night is explained in terms of the night-time availability of cosmic rays. Tesla also refers to the ground as "a vast reservoir of negative electricity."

Tesla was fascinated by radiant energy and its free-energy possibilities. He called the Crooke's radiometer, a device which has vanes that spin in a vacuum when exposed to radiant energy "a beautiful invention." He believed that it would become possible to harness energy directly by " connecting to the very wheel-work of nature." On his 76th birthday at his yearly ritual press conference, Tesla announced a "cosmic-ray motor" when asked if it was more powerful than the Crooke's radiometer, he answered, "thousands of times more powerful."

In 1901 Nikola Tesla was one the first to identify "radiant energy." Tesla says that the source of this energy is our Sun. He concluded that the Sun emits small particles, each carrying so small of a charge, that they move with great velocity, exceeding that of light. Tesla further states that these particles are the neutron particles. Tesla believed that these neutron particles were responsible for all radioactive reactions. Radiant matter is in tune with these neutron particles. Radiant matter is simply a re-transmitter of energy from one state to another.

I think that Tesla's neutron particles are the most finite particle in the Universe, and I think that they have something to do with carbon; carbon particles which I suspect make up the electric fluid of the aether. Tesla seems convinced that it is these particles which turn the vanes inside a Crookes' radiometer, and which he identifies as "radiant energy".

A Crookes' radiometer has four vanes suspended inside a glass bulb. The vanes are polished or white on one side, black on the other. Inside the bulb, there is a good vacuum. When you shine a light on the vanes in the radiometer they spin, and in bright sunlight they can spin at several thousand rotations per minute.

British physicist William Crookes had invented the radiometer in 1875. It followed his early experiments on cathode rays using a cathode ray tube, also known as a Crookes tube. I think Tesla's radiant energy speaks of neutron particles which make up the aether. I wonder if radiant energy has anything to do with Crookes ideas of "radiant matter".

"On Radiant Matter" was a paper written by Crookes. I'm reading from the original paper of a lecture delivered before the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Sheffield, Friday , August 22, 1879. The original paper can be found here, thanks to:

The start of the paper makes the observation that it was Faraday, around sixty years previously in 1816, whom "first employs the expression radiant matter" :

"If now we conceive a change as far beyond vaporisation as that is above fluidity, and then take into account also the proportional increased extent of alteration as the changes rise, we shall perhaps, if we can form any conception at all, not fall far short of radiant matter; and as in the last conversion many qualities were lost, so here also many more would disappear."

Three years later in 1819 Faraday goes on to hint at what the substance might be:

"Matter classed into four states solid, liquid, gaseous, and radiant which depend upon differences in the essential properties. [..] I have purposely avoided mentioning the radiant state of matter, because, [it is] purely hypothetical.."

So, it appears that radiant matter is the fourth state of matter, or as we know it better today - plasma. It was not until August 1928, that Irving Langmuir coined the term "plasma" to describe an ionized gas. Continuing with Crookes paper though, he starts to reveal more about his findings of radiant matter:

"...The residual gas - or as I prefer to call it the gaseous residue - within the dark space is in an entirely different state to that of the residual gas in vessels at a lower degree of exhaustion [vacuum].... "

Now, Crookes is making a distinction between "gaseous residue" and "residual gas", and the importance of this shall become more apparent as we go on. When Crookes talks of the "gaseous residue within the dark space" - I wonder what exactly he is getting at. A gaseous residue? It's very suggestive of something that resides in the tube once all the gas has gone.

"Radiant Matter exerts Powerful Phosphorgenic Action where it strikes - I have mentioned that the radiant matter within the dark space excites luminosity where its velocity is arrested by residual gas outside the dark space... "

Crookes mentions the "radiant matter within the dark space". Are we to believe that radiant matter is the dark space? But we can't very well have radiant matter, if there is no matter to radiate.

"There is one particular degree of exhaustion more favorable than any other for the development of the properties of radiant matter which are now under examination. Roughly speaking it may be put at the millionth of an atmosphere. At this degree of exhaustion the phosphorescence is very strong, and after that it begins to diminish until the spark refuses to pass."

What I'm trying to drive at is that Crookes uses the term radiant matter to describe what is happening both inside and outside the dark space, but on the same token, I'm pretty sure that he is aware of there being a difference between the two.

In a margin note, Crookes goes on to mention an intriguing experiment held 100 years previous to him. It was made by one Mr. William Morgan and revealed in a paper entitled "Electrical Experiments made to ascertain the Non-conducting Power of a Perfect Vacuum". Morgan was working on electric discharges in a "mercurial gage". In the course of these experiments a crack in the seal at one end of the gauge was revealed, and "in consequence the external air, by being admitted in to the inside, has gradually produced a change in the electric light from green to blue, from blue to indigo, and so on to violet and purple, till the medium has at length become so dense as no longer to be a conductor of electricity."

It sounds a little bit like Morgan is describing the colours of the rainbow inside the gauge. The air inside the gauge is working its way through colours of the rainbow as it becomes more dense. This appears to indicate that the shorter wavelengths of EMR, such as violet, are due to a higher density of gas. Does this mean that with a lower density of gas we move into the longer wavelengths of EMR, such as red? And a further line of inquiry might be - what role does density play in the composition of a gas?

Morgan also states that in a perfect vacuum "neither the smallest ray of light, nor the slightest charge, could ever be procured in the exhausted gage". He appears convinced of the "non-conducting power of a perfect volume", and that this is because "the particles of air may be so far seperated from each other as no longer to be able to transmit the electric fluid".

In section II, Crookes presents an experiment in which it is demonstrated that "radiant matter exerts strong mechanical action where it strikes." Built around 1879, and obviously influenced by the radiometer, the "railway tube" was a cathode ray tube with a paddlewheel inside. Supposedly, under the influence of cathode rays, the paddlewheel rotated and rolled down the rails from one end of the tube to the other. It was found that the paddlewheel turned in a direction away from the cathode. Crookes himself asserts that "the molecular stream from the negative pole is able to move any light object in front of it."

In 1903, J.J Thomson supposedly proved that the motion of the paddlewheel was actually caused by the "radiometer effect". I'm sorry, but I'm not totally convinced by the radiometer effect, because I don't hold with kinetic molecular theory. If I'm totally honest, I think these pioneering scientists purposefully pulled the wool over our eyes in order for that which is hidden to remain hidden. I believe that their reasons for doing this were destined to be for the greater good of humanity (and at times, I should imagine, this must have been very frustrating for them).

Humour me if you will, but let's all imagine that we're tapping our top-hats and polishing our monocles and that it's drawing to the end of the 19th C; let's all whip our moustaches into shape, take a horse-carriage to the lecture hall, nod and grumble to one another as we take our seats, and let's all gasp with childlike astonishment as we pretend the paddlewheel is being turned by radiant matter.

My thanks to all those down at the Physics Club in the Phyics Lab of Schmidt Schule - Jerusalem, for their Youtube video of a working Crookes railway tube:

I'm still trying to ascertain what exactly is turning the paddlewheel. Crookes tells us it is radiant matter which provides the force - but is it the radiant matter inside the dark space, or is it the radiant matter of the "molecular stream from the negative pole"? One hint perhaps is that the vacuum tube is "highly evacuated". Is it suggesting that inside the tube we have "gaseous residue" rather than "residual gas"? I also wanted to consider if this "molecular stream" could be particles torn off at the cathode. Are cathode rays physically made up from cathode particles?

In that old treasure trove known as Chestofbooks.com (where I quite often happen to chance upon some fabulous old worldy papers), I found sections belonging to the "Scientific American Supplement", which were entitled "Electricity In Transitu - From Plenum To Vacuum", and "Properties of Radiant Matter". These were written by Crookes, but I'm unsure which year. Inside, Crookes was determined to prove that cathode rays "are caused by the radiant matter of the residual gaseous molecules, and certainly not by the torn-off particles of the negative electrode." You can see the experiments he used to achieve this proof, here:

I think that this is a very important point that Crookes is making. Radiant matter is not made up of cathode-electrode particles. Therefore cathode rays are not made up of cathode-electrode particles. If there's little residual gas inside the tube, and cathode rays are not emitted physically from the cathode - what then is moving out from the cathode and pushing the paddlewheel?

I've returned to Crookes and his paper, and the two radiometer experiments which follow the railway tube experiment. Crookes clearly states that it is when the "dark space extends to the glass" that the "rotation commences". So it would appear that it is radiant energy, rather than radiant matter, which is turning the vanes.

"The thickness of the dark space is the measure of the length of the path between successive collisions of the molecules. The extra velocity with which the molecules rebound from the excited negative pole keeps back the more slowly-moving molecules which are moving toward the pole. The conflict occurs at the boundary of the dark space where the luminous margin bears witness to the energy of the discharge."

So, it is in the boundary between dark space and molecular matter that we have conflict. It is in the "luminous margin" which one might perhaps deem more fit of the moniker "radiant matter". I think that the energy inside the dark space needs to be more closely identified.

The only place where there was no luminescence was just in front of the cathode. It is called “cathode dark space”, “Faraday dark space” or “Crookes dark space”. Continued reduction in pressure causes the dark space to expand, and the color at the electrodes to fade until the tube is dark, except for a faint green or violet glow around the anode. The sides of the tube fluoresce (usually green).

Cathode rays are so named because they belong to the cathode dark space. So that the cathode rays are able to emerge from the window, the cathode dark space has to reach the window. In order for the dark space to expand it has to be highly evacuated. Literally, there is nothing in the dark space but vacuum.

In 1892, Heinrich Hertz had found that a thin foil of aluminium could be penetrated by cathode rays. It was a student of Hertz - Philipp Lenard - who designed a tube with an aluminium "window" through which cathode rays could dart out into the open air. We are then told that the cathode rays outside the window are exactly the same as that to be found inside the dark space. I'm not so sure.

Indeed, I think a lack of terminology surrounding the cathode rays has led to a lot of confusion. It's like the term "cathode rays" is used as a blanket expression to describe energy inside the tube, and energy outside the tube, whereas perhaps, the two energies are different. A mix-up that might be better explained by saying that the cathode rays inside the tube belong to the vacuum, while the rays passing through the window are a property of matter.

Just as the glass converts the cathode dark space into X-rays, maybe the aluminium window is converting the dark space into what we percieve as cathode rays. Another way of writing it could be that the dark space converts the aluminium window into cathode rays, and by implication, it could be the paddlewheel which converts the dark space into cathode rays, or "radiant matter".

I'm now referring to a copy of Lenard's Nobel Lecture, May 28, 1906 - "On Cathode Rays". I hope I can gain some more answers on the nature of the dark space.

"I am pleased to fulfil my obligation as a Nobel Prize winner to talk to you here on cathode rays. I assume that you would prefer me to tell you what others could not tell you.

The start takes me back 26 years to Crookes. I had read his lecture on "radiating matter" - his term for cathode rays - and was greatly impressed by it.

It must be noted that the rays are not directly visible; it would be useless to put one’s eye to the window, as this organ is not receptive to cathode rays. On the other hand, materials that are capable of becoming luminous without heat, phosphorescent materials as they are called, are suitable for making the rays visible.

Straightaway we can decide whether cathode rays are phenomena that take place in matter or in the ether. When we completely evacuate a chamber by means of an air pump, it then does not contain any matter, only the ether, as present in the heavens. Now it has long been known for instance that sound cannot pass through such evacuated chambers, while light, and electrical and magnetic forces can. Thus there is no doubt that sound is a phenomenon in matter while light and electrical and magnetic forces are phenomena in the ether."

To try to prove cathode rays were a phenomenon of the aether, Lenard attached another evacuated tube to the window to collect any emitted cathode rays. This second chamber would allow Lenard to see if cathode rays could propagate in a vacuum:

"We had been unable to carry out the corresponding test in relation to cathode rays in the ordinary discharge tubes, because once all the air is removed the production of the rays in such a tube ceases. But, without interfering in the least with production, we were able to completely evacuate our observation chamber on the other side of the window and see whether despite this the cathode rays spread in this chamber."

Lenard's statement that cathode rays are not produced in a tube with all the air removed both surprised and confused me a little. Thomson's work on cathode rays involved using tubes with a near perfect vacuum; indeed, the less air the better. The reason that Lenard's statement is conflicting is because he is talking about the electrical properties of cathode rays. Cathode rays which make up the dark space need a perfect vacuum.

"We found that the propagation of the rays is particularly good in an extreme vacuum; all absorption and turbidity due to the gas molecules disappear, the rays attain lengths of several meters and are of such rectilinear sharpness as we are accustomed to find only in lightrays. Thus cathode rays are phenomena in the ether. In particular, on the basis of the hypotheses which we have mentioned, it could be stated that cathode rays were not radiating matter, nor emitted gas molecules, as they had come to be regarded, especially in England."

I'm starting to get some sense of what is happening. I don't know if you are confused, but I sure was for a while. I think it will help to make a clear distinction between cathode rays which belong to the dark space, and cathode rays which fulfil the properties of electricity in motion. I have started to think of the rays inside the dark space as "radiant energy", while those rays we see emerging from the luminous margin as "radiant matter".

I think those rays which appear from Lenard's window are radiant matter. I think the window is vibrating under the constant applied pressure of the aether as it passes through from inside the tube. I think that the aether tears apart atoms and rattles particles out of the aluminium window; it is these particles which we describe as being negative electricity.

"The smallness of the inertia determined - 1/1,000 of the inertia of the hydrogen ion, at an equal charge - and the other behaviour of these parts of the ether, made it easier to identify them with what had long been known as the "electrical fluidum"".

For the cathode rays to exist as the medium of the aether, they can't very well be the same size as something which makes up half the mass of an atom. Lenard chose to reduce the size of the cathode ray to represent something more affable in terms of his theory regarding the aether. A tiny cathode ray with a tiny charge would define the tiny component of the aether he was looking for. I might add that by implication this also reduced the size of the electron. Unfortunately though, this gives us the mis-guided idea that electricity is simply a flow of negatively charged atomic particles.

"The rays are not emitted electrically-charged molecules but simply streaming electricity. Thus, in cathode rays we have found under our very noses what we never believed we should see: electricity without material, electrical charges without charged bodies. We have, in a sense, discovered electricity itself, a thing whose existence or non-existence and whose properties have puzzled investigators since Gilbert and Franklin."

But what if the cathode ray is not the fundamental building block of the aether we have been looking for? We could toy with the idea that the electron is not tiny when compared to the atom, but rather, it is the size of something which is about half that of an atom. This gives the electron an enormous electric charge when compared to a hydrogen ion of the same mass.

In 1899 Thomson said "electrification essentially involves the splitting up of the atom, a part of the mass of the atom getting free and becoming detached from the original atom." I think he is hinting at what makes up the true shape and structure of an atom. Splitting the atom? That would make one half of the atom a proton, and the other half an electron.

In this new picture, the proton (hydrogen ion) and electron become two halves of the same atom. The proton and electron become dipolar vortices of an atomic torus; a smoke ring. Now a smoke ring has the fluid of the air moving through it - what then is the fluid which is moving through the atomic torus?

I'm suggesting that the electric charge becomes a property of matter only by being rubbed-up by the electric fluid of the aether. The high speed of the aether is slowed down by turning these vortices. The dipolar vortices offer-up a resistance to the aether, and in exchange they gain energy; of course, I think a singular vortex does the same thing.

The speed of light in a vacuum is not actually a speed, but is an applied constant pressure of the Universe. This is why whenever we examine isolated quantities of electricity they are always integral multiples of the electron. Everything turns under the same applied constant pressure - 300,000 cubic km per sec.

If the electron is actually half an atom, then I'm afraid that Lenard is still missing his "electrical fluidum" particle. But I don't think the particle of the aether is too far away. I don't think the aether particle is the electron leaving Lenard's window. I think that the aether particle is to be found on the other side of the window inside the cathode dark space, and it is this which is the residence of Tesla's "radiant energy".

Another reason Lenard was so convinced that the cathode ray was the same entity inside and outside the tube was because the velocity remained the same for both rays, around one third the velocity of light.

In 1898, Willy Wien finalised the results from his experiments on cathode rays outside the Lenard's window in his article "Annalen der Physik". Wien determined the velocity of the cathode ray particles and their mass-to-charge ratio with the help of crossed, electric and magnetic fields (Wien filter). This m/e ratio coincided with the m/e ratio discovered by Thomson for those cathode rays inside the tube.

The charge to mass ratio was the same for both rays, so it was assumed that the size of the rays was the same throughout. Well, perhaps the size of the ray does change. Maybe inside the tube we really do have the finite, and tiny particle of the aether - Thomson's "corpuscle" - Lord Kelvin's "electrion" - Tesla's "neutron" - making up the dark space inside the tube. And maybe outside Lenard's window we have large negative particles of matter; the negative half of an atom. A stream of these negative particles would explain how we manage to find "an electric current in the empty ether" inside the observation chamber. The aether is not completely empty, there is a stream of negative particles. The only thing which is constant throughout the observation of the rays is the applied constant pressure of the aether.

If the aether is splitting the atoms of Lenard's window, and we are seeing a stream of negative particles as electricity outside the tube - then what of the positive particle which makes up the other half of the atom? What's happened to the proton? If the (fat) electron appears outside the tube - is there evidence of protons inside the tube on the other side of the window? If the proton does dissolve into the dark space - why?

Also, shouldn't the velocity of the aether particle be faster than light, rather than one-third the velocity of light? According to Lenard, the variable velocity of the cathode rays is due to the "magnitude of the voltage". So increasing the pressure gradient between electrodes increases the cathode ray velocity. I don't know if it's relevant - but in regards to a weather system, an increase in the pressure gradient produces stronger winds.

So I think the ionized gas which we call "plasma" is the same thing that Crookes referred to as radiant matter. When negative charged particles pass through a gas they make it a conductor. The radiant energy of the dark space however produces no light or electricty without matter being present. The cathode dark space in itself is not a plasma.

I wanted to close this post by returning to Crookes paper "On Radiant Matter". Crookes ends his lecture talking about how many molecules from the air are needed to fill the vacuum inside the tube. He describes perforating a hole in the vacuum tube with a spark to allow the in-rush of air to destroy the vacuum. The hole is of such a "microscopial fineness" it only allows a hundred million molecules to enter ever second! At this rate, Crookes calculates that it would take a few hundred million years for the vacuum tube to be filled.

This leads Crookes to pose an interesting free-energy hypothesis, in that the "in-rush of air impinges against the vanes and sets them rotating after the manner of a windmill". Imagine that! Crookes though is quick to point out that it does not take hundreds of millions of years for the quadrillion molecules to fill the tube, but only a matter of minutes. It reminds me of an inflated rubber dinghy that is squashed and compressed, pushed through a hole and the cord pulled and the thing inflated again. Still, I think his idea can give us plenty of food for thought; speaking of which, I like what he says next:

"In studying this fourth state of matter we seem at length to have within our grasp and obedient to our control the little invisible particles which with good guarentee are supposed to constitute the physical basis of the Universe"

You may notice the startling similarities between this quote and the one laid down by Tesla at the top of this page. Crookes "fourth state of matter" appears to be the exact same thing as Tesla's "radiant energy".

Crookes himself ends the lecture with greatest of hopes for the future. It feels like Crookes understands that we stand on the precipice overlooking something monumental; that we stand on the border of ultimate understanding...

"Here it seems to me, lie ultimate realities, subtile, far-reaching, wonderful."

Many thanks:


Sunday, 6 September 2009

Way In, Way Out

The two termini of a discharge are at different potentials. The higher, or positive, potential is at the anode, while the lower, or negative, potential is at the cathode. These electrodes are often conductors, but need not be. In a thunderstorm, a cloud electrode may simply be a region of excess charge distributed over a volume. These names were given by Michael Faraday, with the help of the classical scholar William Whewell, when he began to study electrochemistry and electrical discharges in the 1830's. The word "anode" is from the Greek "aná-hodos" or "way in," while "cathode" is from "katá-hodos," or "way out." Electrode is a later creation for "electro-hodos" or "electric way," and is noncommttal as to the positive direction of the current.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


Here's something written by JJ Thomson on the "rays of positve electricity" which got me thinking about isotopes:

Proceedings of the Royal Society A 89, 1-20 (1913) [as excerpted in Henry A. Boorse & Lloyd Motz, The World of the Atom, Vol. 1 (New York: Basic Books, 1966)]

With regard to the sensitiveness of the positive ray method, I have made, as yet, no attempt to design tubes which would give the maximum sensitiveness, but with the tubes actually in use there is no difficulty in detecting the helium contained in a cubic centimetre of air, even though it is mixed with other gases, and I have not the slightest doubt a very much greater degree of sensitiveness could be obtained without much difficulty.

I will illustrate the use of the method by some applications. The first of these is to the detection of rare gases in the atmosphere. Sir James Dewar kindly supplied me with some gases obtained from he residues of liquid air; the first sample had been treated so as to contain the heavier constituents. The positive-ray photograph gave the lines of xenon, krypton, argon, and a faint line due to neon; there were no lines on the photograph unaccounted for, and so we may conclude that there are no heavy unknown gases in the atmosphere occurring in quantities comparable with that of xenon.

The second sample from Sir James Dewar contained the lighter gases; the photograph shows that, in addition to helium and neon, there is another gas with an atomic weight about 22. This gas has been found in every specimen of neon which has been examined, including a very carefully purified sample prepared by Mr. E. W. Watson and a specimen very kindly supplied by M. Claud, of Paris. ... The substance giving the line 22 also occurs with a double charge, giving a line for which m/e = 11. There can, therefore, I think, be little doubt that what has been called neon is not a simple gas but a mixture of two gases, one of which has an atomic weight about 20 and the other about 22. The parabola due to the heavier gas is always much fainter than that due to the lighter, so that probably the heavier gas forms only a small percentage of the mixture.

Thomson was also joined by Aston. They went on to develop Soddy's ideas on isotopes.

The two forms of neon were called isotopes by Frederick Soddy. One of Thomson's students, Frederick Aston, developed Thomson's idea of multiple species of an element, and in 1919 Aston produced the first mass spectrograph (an instrument that determined isotopic ratios), ancestor of today's mass spectrometer.

In 1908 Aston's father died, leaving Aston enough money to travel around the world. The following year Professor J.J. Thomson invited Aston to move to the Cavendish Laboratory and work as Thomson's assistant. Aston had been recommended to Thomson by his former teacher Poynting, and was happy to accept the Cambridge post which would leave him more time for research. Since his discovery of the electron Thomson had been analysing positive rays, and had developed a method of measuring atomic weights by using combinations of magnetics and electric fields to produce curves on a photographic plate. Aston helped to further refine these experiments.

Thomson and Aston found an unexpected effect when they investigated the element neon. Instead of showing only one curve on the photograph, it showed two, suggesting that the element was made up of two different types of atoms which were chemically identical but of different mass, named isotopes. This interested Aston, and he devoted the rest of his career to developing the mass spectrograph capable of accurately measuring these chemical isotopes.

This whole thing has got me thinking about oxygen. Under standard conditions, one volume of oxygen gas is 16 times heavier than the same volume of hydrogen gas. According to the Periodic Table this gives oxygen an atomic weight of 16. When decomposed to make water though, it is one volume of hydrogen plus a half-volume of oxygen. I think that this suggests that oxygen with an atomic weight of 16, is actually made up of two components each with an atomic weight of 8. Oxygen has the atomic number 8, and I wonder if oxygen's true atomic weight is also 8, and not 16. Is it possible that the oxygen gas we see with an atomic weight of 16 is actually made up of two equal isotopes?

Many thanks also:


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Theory of Orgone Energy

Theory of Orgone Energy

Reich developed his theory of orgone energy over several years and expanded it throughout his lifetime. His theory was the result of experiences with his neurotic patients and his biological experiments, which he felt provided concrete evidence for the existence of orgone. Orgone energy can be thought of as organic or "life-energy." Reich first observed this energy while studying the bioelectric nature of pleasure and anxiety. Using a galvanometer, he discovered that in pleasurable situations skin has a charge, while in displeaurable ones it does not. He initially called this phenomenon "bioelectric energy."

Later, while attempting to research the origin of life, Reich discovered what he termed bions. These globules of energy seemed to give off a certain radiation, such that when objects were left near the cultures containing bions, those objects became highly charged. Reich later observed that this radiation was the same energy he had observed in his skin conductance experiments, and that indeed, this energy surrounded all living things and was free in the atmosphere. He renamed this energy "orgone."

After conducting an experiment in which Reich believed he had succeeded in developing protozoa from bions, he began to investigate the formation of cancer cells. He believed that cancer cells formed in the same way, and supposedly produced a motion picture in which cancer cells did indeed develop from the breakdown of living tissue. Reich felt certain that this "biopathy" was the result of sexual repression.Continuing his cancer research, Reich developed the orgone accumulator (ORAC), which was intended to produce a concentration of orgone energy. The device itself was simply a large box constructed by alternating layers of metal (preferably iron) and organic material, often wood.

He experimented with the ORAC by keeping both healthy mice and mice with cancer in the accumulator and comparing their lifespans with control mice which were not kept in the ORAC. Reich found that even the mice with cancer lived longer than the controls who had not been kept in the ORAC.

Reich continued his accumulator experiments, moving on to work with humans. He found that the ORAC helped cure a variety of ailments. These ailments were assumed to be due to a lack of energy within the organism which the ORAC replaced. Subjects who already had high levels of orgone energy were not able to tolerate the accumulator.Believing that orgone energy might be used to combat nuclear radiation, Reich undertook what would be called "The Oranur Experiment." As part of the procedure, 1 mg. of radium in a lead container was repeatedly placed in a 20-fold accumulator in a metal-lined room. The results of this experiment were disastrous: the mice died and the laboratory had to be evacuated.The Oranur Experiment led to Reich's discovery of what he termed "deadly orgone" (DOR), which was supposedly the result of the interaction between nuclear radiation and orgone energy.

DOR has been described as a toxic, black, lusterless substance which carries a high charge and is attracted to water and oxygen.In order to combat DOR, Reich developed the cloudbuster, an instrument consisting of five hollow pipes grounded in water. Reich believed that this "cloudbuster" was able to draw DOR out of the atmosphere and into the water. He later modified this device for use on humans. The modified instrument, the medical DOR-buster, was intended to moved energy which was blocked by muscular contractions (see "character armor" in the glossary) in order to release the energy and pent-up emotions from his patients.

Reich became increasingly concerned about what he believed to be an increase of DOR in the atmosphere coming from outer space. After several UFO sightings, Reich became convinced that space ships were responsible. He felt it was his responsibility to combat these DOR-producing space invasions with the use of cloudbusters, fearing that the excess DOR was causing the increase in the development of desert conditions in the United States.

A majority of the information on this page was distilled from Baker, 1968.


Contrary to what some of you may believe, I have a very suspicious mind regarding those theories which are less than mainstream. (I should imagine that there are plenty of those reading this blog whom will be suspicious of me, and quite frankly, I don't blame them!) Though I am suspicious by nature (I guess that's human nature) - I do try and keep an open mind.

It's like my belief in God. My relationship with God is something I have had to work at - even though I'd always had faith - I feel in the past I lacked belief. The more I have come to understand God, the more I have come to understand the way God works. And sure, there have been times where I have had my faith tested, and so much so, that I have looked upon the world and have struggled to find any works of God there. Is this normal? I certainly hope so. With perseverance though, the more I have learned to trust God, then consequently, the more I have come to believe in God.

I was watching a TV programme where the comedian Billy Connolly is being interviewed by his wife, Pamela Stephenson. Pamela just happens to be a clinical pyschologist, so the discussion was highly intimate regarding Billy's outlook. There was something Billy said that really struck a chord with me - the whole room practically resonated. He said something along the lines of "there is no such thing as disliking something - only things which you don't yet get." And that's it. There's just all this stuff that I don't get yet.

The more I have learned about the somewhat irrelevant luminiferous aether, the more I understand it is highly relevant to everything going on around me. What I try to do is not so much hang my faith on something, but more suspend my disbelief in something that I don't fully understand. I leave the door open.

I don't know much about the "orgone theory". It seems orgone is another name Reich had for the aether. But I think the "oranur experiment" could be interesting. The experiment is describing an interaction between radioactive emissions and the aether. The following is taken from"A Skeptical Scrutiny of the Works and Theories of WILHELM REICH - As related to The Oranur Experiment" by Roger M. Wilcox. The first paragraph is part of a report made by Reich.

"At 16:30h when I came down to the lower laboratory, the air was sticky and heavy. The background count ran up to 80 CPM 50 feet away from the Ra-needle, and amounted to several hundred CPM on the outside of the walls of the OR room. The workers were immediately ordered out of the hall. The inside of the OR room was unbearably charged. The walls felt 'glowing' 10 to 16 feet away from where the Ra needle was located. The portable survey GM meter 'jammed' when I approached the 20x accumulator." — The Oranur Experiment, First Report, p. 281 [emphasis in original]

After that, all hell broke loose at Orgonon. Removing the radium needle to a garage 150 feet away, and airing out the whole building with the orgone room in it, failed to remove the "high orgone charge"; the OR building still felt "active" four months later, when Reich wrote The Oranur Experiment, First Report. This despite the fact that the slightly-elevated background radioactivity count in the building came back down to normal almost immediately after the radium was removed. "Everybody" could feel the heaviness of the air, the oppression, the pulling pains here and there in the body, headaches and nausea whenever they stepped into the OR building. Even 50 feet away from the building, everybody experienced a salty taste in their mouths.

Observers developed conjunctivitis, had cold shivers and hot flashes, got mottled skin on their palms, felt pressure in their cheek bones and around their eyes, became nauseous, lost their appetite and felt weak (even to the point of losing their balance), and had all manner of ill symptoms. Reich called this litany of maladies "Oranur sickness," and attributed it not to the radium itself, but to the radium having changed the once-beneficial orgone energy in the accumulator room into Deadly ORgone, or DOR.

Did the oranur experiment really happen? Quite simply, I don't know. But it's possible. I can't help but notice that Roger Wilcox has a field day pulling Reich's experiment apart. Imagine what would happen if he was to lay his eyes upon the theoretical heresay to be found throughout this blog - the poor guy would get giddy!

I spotted the following news story at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. I don't know if the ray-gun is related to the oranur experiment in any way, shape or form, but I love to stir up a bit of intrigue....

January 30, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A bacterial cocktail that transforms jet fuel into useless jelly. A chemical spray that turns enemy soldiers into homosexuals. A ray gun that shoots invisible beams of heat, dispersing crowds in a few seconds.

Science fiction? Not entirely. All three are concepts for so-called nonlethal weapons considered by the U.S. Defense Department.

For years, the Pentagon has spent millions of dollars to develop a new generation of weapons it calls nonlethal or less lethal, to reduce casualties in war.
No international rules govern the use of electromagnetic weapons like the Silent Guardian.

The bacterial cocktail and since-derided “gay spray” remained on the drawing boards.

But the ray gun was actually developed and this month, the Pentagon demonstrated it to journalists in the United States. Its name is Silent Guardian.”Developed by the Raytheon Corporation, the “gun” looks like a satellite dish.

Burning Sensation

It can be mounted on a truck and it works by firing off beams of high energy for up to 500 meters. Anyone in the path of the beams is zapped with an instant burning sensation that forces a retreat.

Physicist Juergen Altmann, of Germany’s Dortmund University, says the weapon works on a similar principle to microwave ovens.

"You know about microwave ovens. There, you use microwaves for heating," Altmann says. "This is a system where one uses so-called millimeter waves, where the wavelength is much shorter, so that the radiation penetrates into flesh and skin for a tenth of a millimeter -- 0.4 millimeters -- and heats only there, instead of being like a microwave oven, where [the waves] penetrate several centimeters."