"Peer Pressure" is the name of an open-source reactor being developed for the "Open Catalyst" project. The Open Catalyst project is a crowd science project where many scientists globally can contribute to the search for the catalyzing material that enables low energy nuclear reactions (LENR). We design and build a simple calorimeter reactor vessel that is automated and connected to the web. Scientists all over the world are invited to use this calorimeter and scan through potentially LENR-active materials. In this process, data is uploaded and shared in a completely open database. Every scientist in the world can slice and dice the data anyway he wishes. We envision that the power of the crowd can speed up the daunting task of searching for the secret catalyst.
But first let’s go a few steps back. There is a lot of controversy and skeptisism about LENR. Even within the field there exist many competing theories and no consensus about the basic working of LENR. This project is not for the skeptics. It’s not designed to deliver results that may convince them and we don’t expect them to bother with experiments based on ideas they reject in the first place. Skeptics should start here: What is Cold Fusion.
We propose to measure potential cold fusion reactions occurring in mixtures of various solid and gaseous compounds by using a small pressurized cylindrical vessel with an electrical heater in the center and a temperature sensor on the outside. This reactor vessel or calorimeter is able to measure anomalous heat, provided that the experimenter pays special attention to possible side effects. This reactor is small and simple enough to be able to build large arrays of, enabling the scanning of large material and composition classes.
The idea is to enable installation of large arrays of the same reactor, locally in the same lab, and globally by combining all labs. Scanning through the catalyst parameter space can then be done by loading multiple reactors with different catalysts and performing standard recipes for the initiation and measurement of LENR reactions. For that to be possible, we need a cheap, small form-factor reactor that is fully automated, a cell that is equipped with its own data-logging and internet connectivity hardware.
Central in the computer control of the Peer Pressure is a BeagleBone single-board computer. The BeagleBone is a low-cost, fan-less single-board computer based on low-power Texas Instruments processors featuring the ARM Cortex-A series core with all of the expandability of today’s desktop machines, but without the bulk, expense or noise. Monitor I/O, valve control and heating power control as well as pressure control is provided through this board. Direct connection to the internet makes the Peer Pressure truly scalable and suitable for crowd science.
The BeagleBone runs on the Angstrom distribution. All basic operations such as pressure measurement, feedback and PID control, heat control and data logging will be stored and running on the BeagleBone. The experimenter can log into his Peer Pressure reactor with a browser through the internet (or intranet) and setup the details of the recipe to be run. When a run is started, temperature and pressure are automatically logged and stored locally. After a complete run the experimenter can again log in using a browser and evaluate the data, add metadata to it and upload it to the central sharing database or download it to his own computer only.
This github repository is all about the Peer Pressure software that runs on the Beaglebone and controls the Peer Pressure actuators and logs the Peer Pressure senses. Hardware interactions are all programmed in Python supported by the Linux Angstrom operating system where possible. Web access and interactions are designed in the Djiango framework. For the aquired data we use SQLite to store and serve. To present the data we are going to use a graphical package such as GNUplot or R-language but no definite dessision has been made on graphics support yet.
This software is distributed under the BSD open source license and as such freely available to anyone to use. We invite you to help us build it for the good cause of the much needed research in the field of LENR.
author: Bastiaan Bergman