more burning water

April 2, 2008 at 10:58 am | | literature, pseudoscience, science and the public, science@home, stupid technology

We here at EDS always love a good ol’ combustible-water story. I don’t know if you remember a while back, but there was a great YouTube video about running boats and cars on salt water. All you need is salt water (oh, and a huge RF energy source).

Now they’ve published a paper about the burning salt water: Roy, R.; Rao, M. L.; Kanzius, J. Mat. Res. Innov. 2008, 12, 3. There are some “real” scientists who wrote this: Rustum Roy is an emeritus professor at Penn State! But why Roy chose to publish in MRI, his own journal that uses “super peer review” (if you’ve been published in a peer-review journal, you can publish in MRI), is the big mystery: if he wanted people to take this seriously, why didn’t they publish in a peer-reviewed journal?


Go Figure. I’m not really sure what we’re supposed to see here. There’s no discussion in the paper, just a claim that the figure demonstrates a change in the water structure. But it’s just an intensity change!

And there’s this great footnote on the first page of the paper:

It was perhaps this distortion [by the media] that may have misled Philip Ball … in his rather unwarranted critique in Nature (published online Sept. 14, 2007.) No claims have ever been made by Kanzius of getting out more energy than was put in, etc. He only reported a unexpected observation, a forgotten art in modern laboratory practice, which could be pursued for a variety of possible applications. His observations, fortunately for science, unfortunately for his ‘unscientific’critics who did not delve into the facts first, as in normal science, appear to be correct.

Man, go watch the YouTube video and then try to take this guy seriously. A reasonable scientist would have denounced the media analysis, not the skepicism of the scientific community.

And, unfortunately for Kanzius and Roy, this “unexpected” result has been published before: Roychowdhury et al. Plasma Chem. Plasma Process. 1982, 2, 157. In 1982, this paper reports using the same frequency to split water, producing H2O2 + H2. Of course, Roy et al. fail to cite this in their “scienfitific” paper on the Kanzius effect.

Here are links to Phillip Ball’s excellent original analysis of the claim and his response to the recent paper. And here’s a C&EN article about it.


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  1. clearly you are part of the military-industrial complex and are trying to keep this important research under wraps. ;)

    Comment by selenized — April 2, 2008 #

  2. Saltwater! I am going to be SO rich! Think of the savings! And also, I will never have to buy fish again!

    Comment by fiona — April 13, 2008 #

  3. […] just love writing about water hoaxes at EDS (here and here). And what about running your car on […]

    Pingback by Everyday Scientist » more HHO — August 8, 2008 #

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