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The original Pons/Fleischmann experiment was deeply flawed, and it seems the same errors are reproduced in followup experiments these past 30 or so years. The Pons/Fleischmann apparatus was not properly purged of He before the experiment. An independent examination of their electrodes, ‘Measuring helium in electrolyzed palladium’ precisely quantified the presence of He in the P/F electrodes, but one lab noted that this looked like the palladium contained He from a manufacturing process. Precious metals are typically processed with an induction furnace and an inert atmosphere of helium or argon.

“Induction furnaces are widely used throughout metallurgy not just because of their efficient melting abilities, but also because of their usefulness in forging new alloys. Because induction is a no-contact process that doesn’t utilize combustion, induction furnaces can work in inert atmospheres and vacuums – which is necessary when creating alloys that oxidize if heated in the presence of air. As an additional benefit, the magnetic forces in an induction furnace can be directed to stir the molten metal, which is very useful for creating fully homogenized alloys.”

https://www.mgsrefining.com/blog/2014/02/11/Induction-Heating-and-Precious-Metal-Refining

So, there really is no question of a nuclear fusion reaction without any validated reaction products. That the same errors are repeated over and over again by cold fusion proponents in search of a positive result suggests something pathological.

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    $\begingroup$ For the same reasons why there are people who believe that climate scientists are all wrong about the climate, or that medical experts are wrong about vaccines, or that biologists are wrong about evolution, etc. etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ It is amazing that even after the scandalous claims where refuted by serious scientists, a reputable company like Toyota funded a research lab for one of the original proponents of cold fusion. $\endgroup$
    – freecharly
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 1:57
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    $\begingroup$ The fact that one experiment failed does not mean it is not perfectly legitimate to research more to see if a working system can be made. I think mainstream considers cold fusion a non-starter at this stage, but it's perfectly reasonable to look for new approaches in a similar vein. As for Toyota, well they want to own IP rights, just in case - it's common for companies to research anything that has a snowball's chance in hell of working in the long run just so they have a legal argument that they "really" own it if something turns out to work for someone else later ! $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect that some big companies throw small amounts of money in the direction of some long-shot potential game changers, not because they have a large expectation of winning that way, but as insurance against being so far behind if there is something there that they get crushed under the wheels of progress. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 2:15
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because from the perspective of mainstream physics in 2018, there is no reason to take cold fusion seriously. Asking why a few people still take cold fusion seriously anyway is at this point a psychology question, and no longer a question about mainstream physics. $\endgroup$
    – Red Act
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 2:20

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I take it at least somewhat seriously, because of the arguments made by Ron Maimon on this very site.

If we come at the question from the other side and say, why do people apriori not take cold fusion seriously, it's because of the difference in energy scales between chemical and nuclear reactions. Ron had a go at bridging that gap using ionization of inner-shell electrons of palladium - see his post.

Also according to Ron, there was a folklore history of lab anomalies regarding deuterated palladium, even before Pons and Fleischmann.

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  • $\begingroup$ But no x-rays are detected either. If large amounts of energy are produced are produced on a very small scale, this should produce x-rays. Inner-shell holes must give lines that are characteristic for the element. $\endgroup$
    – user137289
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 9:00
  • $\begingroup$ Ron's idea seems to be that the energy from filling the hole is instead transferred to a deuteron in a kind of Auger effect; and that this is part of a chain reaction in which the deuterons fuse and then create more holes. He did actually predict X-rays, and cites Mosier-Boss as observing them. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ Where is the experiment that unambiguously confirms the presence of nuclear fusion reaction products? That would be of scientific interest, but it does not appear to exist. The numerous replications of a poor experiment does not make for a discovery. Furthermore, the cold fusion theorists appear to be pursuing phantoms, bending over backwards with nonsense to explain a phenomena that does not exist. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 6:45

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