Are the nuclear processes of fission and fusion the only known processes or events that release more energy than is input to create those processes? I know I am being a little vague; I do not know the exact details of energy in nuclear processes. I recently watched an old 60 Minutes clip about "cold fusion" and how the US Dep. of Defense even concluded that in some "cold fusion" experiments "excess heat" was measured. Is it possible that there is a non-nuclear process that produces this effect? Many scientists say it may be possible but the results are not constant, and we do not know how this could work, but is it possible that it does not have anything to do with fission or fusion altogether? Perhaps this is a rare physical occurrence that only occurs with palladium and deuterium. I know it is impossible until we can prove it, and I wanted to know what people think.

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    $\begingroup$ Consider a spark-plug firing in a piston full of fuel-air mixture. Using the definition of "energy input" implicit in your question the engine in a car releases hugely more energy than you put in. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ if it were only nuclear force then cars would not work, they use gasoline $\endgroup$
    – Jimmy360
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 1:52
  • $\begingroup$ Energy is conserved, so it is wrong to frame this as either energy being released or not. Energy is only ever going to be transformed from one form to another. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 2:08

1 Answer 1


No, Chemical Processes and Mechanical Processes can also release more energy than is input.

See Exothermic Process and Catalysis. Think of an explosion of, say, dynamite: for the low energy input of lighting a wick which can be done with a lighter, you can output a large explosion.


Also, Palladium is not Fissile, though it is a Fission product (aka Fission Fragment). To be fissile it needs to be capable of sustaining a fission chain reaction. Common fissile material includes Uranium-233, Uranium-235, Plutonium-239 and Plutonium-241.


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