A New Type of Glow Stick: Holmlid Alternatives Update

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Light Stick Reactor

Glow Stick FL Reactor (Jones Beene’s design)

Jones Beene and I have continued working on alternatives for new experiments.  Jones has been running several experiments that have shown interesting results, but he is trying to rule out mundane explanations.  Our latest idea is to fix the “fuel” to a lighted surface with epoxy.  Jones’ latest idea was a clever adaptation of MFMP’s glow stick.  He painted the fuel on half of a florescent light and is comparing the performance to the unpainted side.

Jones notes the following early results:

For the “glow-stick fl” there are a few early results, which need to be repeated at increased power levels. With wall P-in of 3 watts (2 watts HV  to the 12” tube), the null side temperature levels off at 1.10 C over ambient, while the active side (with hydride) maintains a range of 2.3-2.6 C with a differential of 1.2-1.5 C.  The light-activated “paint” consists of approximately 40% hematite, 40% TiH2, 20% LiNiCoMnO2 in clear Varathane. LiNiCoMnO2 is a cathode material used in Li-ion batteries. It was a replacement spillover catalyst for KCO3 (long story).

One mundane explanation for small apparent thermal gain, not yet ruled out is that the TiH2 reacts slowly with the resin (polyurethane)… or that another light triggered chemical reaction is possible, but care has been taken to completely seal the paint so that air is not available as an oxidant. Longer term testing at higher input can rule out chemistry and determine scalability to useful levels.

I have been working on building a new conduction calorimeter, but hope to run an epoxy fuel experiment with a light box this weekend.  The fuel will be affixed to nickel foil, and we’ll compare the fuel with and without TiH2.  The only difference for the comparison will be the exclusion of the component that would be theoretically expected to be necessary for the formation of UDH (the hydrogen supply).


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  5. Jack Cole says:

    I have been able to run a new experiment.  The fuel was mixed with binder, and applied to strips of nickel foil.  The experimental foil contained a mixture of contact cement, TiH2 (titanium hydride), Fe2O3 (hematite), and KCO3 (potassium carbonate).  The control (null) foil contained all the same except for the Hydrogen containing TiH2.  The results showed an interesting pattern of possible endothermic activity on the experimental side (lower temps), followed by a cross over to higher temps.  The temperature continued to increase slowly. 

    The exploration of alternative causes for the differential led to the discovery that a nearby dehumidifier was the likely cause of the difference.  When turned on, the apparatus showed a difference in favor of the experimental side, and when turned off, it showed a differential in favor of the null side.

  6. Jones Beene says:

    Brief Update

    Looking forward to seeing Jack’s results with the conduction calorimeter. It represents an ideal kind of experimental procedure for the underfunded hobbyist — yet despite simplicity,could open up understanding of a new avenue for thermal gain… based on what we are calling “PEC hydrogen densification.” PEC= photo-electro-catalytic.

    In this type of experiment, there seems to be an initial period of endotherm (lower temperature on the active side than on the control side) followed by exotherm. The initial endotherm is a surprise. Jack’s results could reinforce or negate my early finding with the “glow-tube fl”. Ostensibly, the endotherm would represent an accumulation stage of dense hydrogen, where a population is being built up.

    As for parallel activity – having found only negligible evidence of gain in the “tanning booth” configuration, but strong hints of gain in the glow-tube fl, my latest effort has been to convert the sodium tube to a fuel-coated (painted) heater, with which to use with water-bath calorimetry. The initial dry-run has exceeded all expectation in terms of thermal emission – and hopefully a wet run will be accomplished today which will inch forward our understanding of the thermal balance of this type of system.

    BTW – the “painted fuel” technique, which was Jack’s brain-storm, could be a major breakthrough towards a simpler system. The polymer binder of the fuel-paint, as it dries most likely creates porosity – and in general polymers are good at retaining hydrogen.

    Although much of the activated hydrogen, as released from the TiH2, will escape eventually, enough of it will be retained, and the hope is that this will be adequate to show the PEC densification effect, as it reacts for thermal gain. Time will tell, but I hope it is not simply a chemical reaction which will fade away, or accumulated potential energy, which is balanced completely by the endotherm of the accumulation stage…

    … knowing full well, of course, that most of the time when you fight the law, the law wins (2nd Law of Thermodynamics, that is).

    • Jones Beene says:


      Still no sign of thermal gain, but one notable curiosity to report.

      First, several rounds of water bath calorimetry were performed. The thermal output was far less than unity at first, which is itself a surprise – but increased on every run, yet has not exceeded unity. The fact there is a steady increase over time warrants continued experimentation. The fact there was a large deficit initially indicates continuing (apparent) endotherm since a third of the input power essentially was “disappearing”. The bath needs to be redesigned to allow higher temperature of the tube.

      Next, the sodium vapor tube – which was coated with 5 layers of active paint and foil, exhibits a surprising electrical effect when connected in a circuit. There is an apparent photoelectrical output from the paint itself.

      The foil becomes charged to 130 v AC and 1+ volt DC, indicating that the DC component could be a photoelectric effect of the coating – with AC ripple coming from electric field induction through the glass. Not enough current to be useful yet, but still looking for improvement. Almost all of the ~1 amp is DC since rectification does not help. This indicates a PV effect in the 6% efficiency range.

      As it turns out – a little googling indicates this current would not be a surprise to an expert in PV; but it bodes well for the future, should thermal gain ever materialize.

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