Top Scientist To Investigate Thermoelectric Behavior Of Metal Dental Fillings

It looks as though the scientific community may soon be no longer completely ignorant of the thermoelectric behavior of metallic dental
restorations.
At the recent XIII International Forum On Thermoelectricity held in Kiev, Ukraine, from 10 to 13 February, Professor Lukian I. Anatychuk, one of the World's leading authorities on thermoelectrics, accepted responsibility for answering questions on the subject of thermoelectric phenomena in metal dental fillings, and undertook to respond in due course to a number of specific questions on the subject which were presented to the forum on Tuesday 12th February.
The questions were posted via live Skype link-up to the forum, and the exchange of messages which lead to Professor Anatychuk's historic undertaking are recorded in Skype as follows:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ hello! type your message here [12/02/2009 12:08:10] Keith P Walsh says: Are metallic dental restorations which consist of dissimilar metals in contact with each other able to generate thermoelectric potentials? [12/02/2009 12:08:54] Keith P Walsh says: And are these potentials large enough to dissipate electrical energy through the nerves in people's heads. [12/02/2009 12:10:58] Keith P Walsh says: Remember that dentists sometimes screw a metal alloy retaining pin into the root socket of a patient's tooth and encase the head of the pin in metal amalgam. And dental restorations are subjected to thermal gradients all the time. [12/02/2009 12:11:28] XIII Forum of Thermoelectricity says: who do you want to address the question? [12/02/2009 12:11:44] Keith P Walsh says: Professor Anatychuk [12/02/2009 12:16:58] Keith P Walsh says: Volta's frog's leg experiment - for two dissimilar conductors in contact with the frog's leg - how big does the temperature differential have to be to make the frog's leg jump? how many degree K - to Prof. Anatychuk [12/02/2009 12:17:05] XIII Forum of Thermoelectricity says: Introduce yourself, please. Your question is accepted. Professor will answer, when will be in a position. [12/02/2009 12:18:56] Keith P Walsh says: My name is Keith Walsh, I am in the UK. I have read that metal dental fillings generate electrical potentials up to 350 milliviolts - is this a thermoelectric potential? [12/02/2009 12:19:41] Keith P Walsh says: my e-mail address is snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
It will be interesting to see whether Professor Anatychuk follows established scientific procedure and carries out experimental investigations to measure the thermoelectric behaviors of any metal dental restorations in order to verify his answers, or whether he will choose the entirely unscientific option of simply "declaring" that the thermoelectric properties of such dental restorations cannot possibly be of any significance on the grounds that no-one (including himself) appears to have any idea what these properties actually are.
Does anyone know when the report of the findings of the XIII International Forum On Thermoelectricity is due to be published?
Keith P Walsh
PS, in his paper, "On the discovery of thermoelectricity by Volta.", (Journal of Thermoelectricity, 2004, No.2, p5-10.), Professor L I Anatychuk cites Alessandro Volta's frog's leg experiment (see: http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/frogsleg.htm ) as evidence for suggesting that a single thermoelectric couple under an ordinary thermal gradient is able to generate sufficient thermoelectric potential to excite neurological function in animal tissue. Does anyone know of any reason why this principle should not apply in humans as well as in frogs?
PPS, readers may be interested to visit the website of the International Thermoelectric Society at:
http://www.its.org/ztforum
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Keith P Walsh wrote, On 3/2/2009 10:17 AM:

Mr Walsh, I think that Professor Anatychuk should follow your shining example. He should not perform any tests and simply declare the results! Isn't that what you have been doing for the past 10+ years?
Perform your own tests! Don't depend on other researchers.
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Paul D Oosterhout
I work for SAIC (but I don't speak for SAIC)
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Paul,
As usual you are completely missing the point.
Professor Anatychuk has already accepted my questions.
In order to provide answers to these questions he will have to either guess or, if he wants to be more scientific, he will have to carry out his own experimental investigations to find out what the answers are. This is because, in spite of the fact that metal dental fillings are placed in children's teeth, it appears that tests to demonstrate their thermoelectric behavior have never been carried out.
To be honest with you I'm not expecting the Professor to come up with any answers at all, either by guesswork or by any scientific (i.e. experimental) method.
I think that he accepted my questions without realising their true significance.
And I suspect that, like many so-called "scientists", he will lack the integrity to acknowledge the implications of his own ignorance in the matter.
It's a common failing.
Keith P Walsh
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Keith P Walsh wrote, On 3/4/2009 3:04 AM:

Kieth, As usual you are completely missing my point. You are the one who has spent ten plus years "declaring your results" without any experimental data to back up you claims or to enlighten this discussion.
Anyone can be a scientist. Do your own experiments.
Paul O.
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Paul D Oosterhout
I work for SAIC (but I don't speak for SAIC)
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Truly Amazing!!! Just a few days ago I read an article about frogs doing the same experiment on human legs. I guess the table is turning :-) and it's long overdue.
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In Volta's frog's leg experiments the electrical potential existing between the tips of the two dissimilar metal rods causes a current to flow through the frog's leg, and this current is evidenced by the resulting muscular convulsions which are induced in the leg and which are visible to the human observer.
For a graphical representation of the experiment see:
http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/frogsleg.htm
It is often presumed that the existence of the electrical potential which causes this effect is due to some electrolytic process involving fluids in the frog's leg taking place. However, Professor L I Anatychuk of the Institute of Thermoelectricity in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, believes that this electrical potential is purely thermoelectric, and that there is no electrolytic process involving the metal rods at all, see "On the discovery of thermoelectricity by Volta.", Journal of Thermoelectricity, 2004, No.2. p.5-10:
http://ite.cv.ukrtel.net/journal/eng/con_04_2.htm
(I have a MSWord format copy of this paper which I am happy to forward to anyone via e-mail on request.)
The general principal of the thermoelectric effect is that if dissimilar electrical conductors are placed in contact with each other and their points of contact are maintained at different temperatures then an electrical current will flow in them. It is not necessary for there to be any electrolysis taking place in order for this to happen, and the current will continue to flow for as long as the temperature difference is maintained.
For an elementary description of the thermoelectric effect see:
http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/thermo2.htm
- and remember, there is NO ELECTROLYSIS involved.
Dentists place dissimilar metals in contact with each other in patient's mouths all the time.
For a start, dental amalgam is an inhomogeneous mixture of dissimilar mixtures of metals in its own right. In addition to that, dentists sometimes screw metal alloy retaining pins into the root sockets of patients' teeth and encase the heads of the pins in metal amalgams. And these structures are subsequently subjected to temperature differentials all the time.
It should be expected therefore that metal dental restorations such as these should generate thermoelectric potentials all the time, and that these potentials, according to Professor Anatychuk's pronouncements, may be large enough to excite neurological function in animal tissue.
The nerve fibers of the human neurological system which run to the pulp cavity inside the teeth are not connected immediately to any muscular tissue. This is because there aren't any muscles in the upper and lower mandibles of the human head. For reference see:
http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/innerv.htm
However there are some very sensitive organs nearby, such as the inner ear, which are only a few of centimeters from the rear molars where large amalgam fillings (lumps of an inhomogeneous mixtures of dissimilar mixtures of metals) are placed.
In view of this combination of facts it may be considered appropriate that investigations ought to have been carried out to establish whether or not the dissipation of the thermoelectric potentials generated by metallic dental restorations in teeth is a cause of any neurological disfunction, for example "ringing in the ears", a common complaint now known as "tinnitus".
It is often presumed that all cases of tinnitus are caused by the sufferer having damaged their own ears by listening to loud rock music. However, if you speak to sufferers of tinnitus, or visit the websites of their support groups, or read their testimonies in the press, you tend to find that the attribution of this condition to the hearing of loud rock music by its sufferers is noticeable only in its absence. For example, see:
http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/courier.htm
Perhaps because many people have experience a TEMPORARY ringing in the ears after attending loud rock concerts then this has been made an excuse for the lack of any real explanation for the more debilitating permanenet condition, a permanent condition which, as we can see, many sufferers appear not to accept was caused in their own particular cases by listening to loud rock music. Perhaps it only became possible for doctors to acknowledge "ringing in the ears" as a genuine complaint, and therefore give it a name, when a plausible explanation, i.e. the invention of amplified music, came about.
The Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) complained of a severe ringing in his ears. However no-one told him that he was suffering from "tinnitus" because they hadn't thought of a name for it back then. They just told him that he was crazy. One thing's for certain, van Gogh never attended a Led Zeppelin concert. (Although apparently he did have rather bad teeth - and dental amalgams were developed in France by Auguste Taveau as long ago as 1816.)
It is the natural function of the human neurological system to transmit signals in the form of tiny electrical currents.
However it is not the natural function of the human neurological system to be permanently dissipating the thermoelectric potentials generated by metallic dental restorations in teeth.
I believe that Professor Anatychuk is right, the frog's leg's convulsions ARE the result of thermoelectric and not electrolytic effects.
And I think that he will also agree (if he in fact comments at all) that we should expect such thermoelectric effects to be present in metal devices placed in the human mouth as well.
Whatever the case, I am confident that he will at least be able to see as clearly as I do that the materials used in restorative dentistry are not exempt from the laws of nature.
Keith P Walsh
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wrote:

In Volta's frog's leg experiments the electrical potential existing between the tips of the two dissimilar metal rods causes a current to flow through the frog's leg, ======================================== Are you for real, you've never understood a joke before?
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Of course I have.
I'm just using my reply to RF's post to get my topic back to the top of the list again because more people will read it there and I think it's important that they do. (And that's notwithstanding RF's lighthearted contribution.)
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wrote:

Oh, ok. I've heard that one before. Have a nice day.
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Did you hear before that metal amalgam dental fillings generate electrical potentials with magnitudes of up to 350 millivolts?:
http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/dutch.htm
And that they are able to do this even when they are not in contact with any saliva?:
http://jdr.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/31/2/205
People often presume that they "know" that metal amalgam dental fillings are "safe". (You may even have presumed this about yourself.)
However, it is a simple matter to demonstrate that the thermoelectric behavior of metal dental fillings is not understood well enough for anyone to "know" any such thing.
And that includes you.
Still, thanks for your contribution in re-establishing the prominence of this thread in the topic list - you never know, there's always a possibility that someone with greater integrity and rigor in logical scientific reasoning than the likes of yourself is going to read it as a result and recognise that there remain some questions to be answered.
You have a nice day too.
Keith P Walsh
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wrote:

No interest. Any two dissimilar metals in an organic substance forms a voltaic cell. Poke a steel knife and a silver fork into an apple.
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Any two dissimilar metals in contact with each other form a thermoelectric couple - they don't need to become involved in an electrolytic reaction with any electrolyte belonging to any organic substance in order to produce an electric current - it is only necessary to maintain a temperature differential between the points of contact of the dissimilar metals - this is a law of nature, and the materials used in restorative dentistry are not exempt from the laws of nature.
The thermoelectric effect has been known for almost 200 years. I think that deep down in side you recognise that the thermoelectric behavior of metal dental restorations should have been measured by now.
But they haven't, and I suspect that your professed lack of interest in the matter is just an excuse which allows you to ignore the possible consequences of our (including your) ignorance.
Keith P Walsh
PS, for an elementary description of the thermoelectric effect see:
http://book.boot.users.btopenworld.com/thermo2.htm
There really is NO ELECTROLYSIS involved.
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wrote:

Any two dissimilar metals in contact with each other form a thermoelectric couple ===================================No interest, I'm quite familiar with constantan/iron/copper thermocouples, Peltier junctions, hot junctions, cold junctions and dental fillings. Mine's fallen out and it is not metal. I was merely pointing out that you appear to be a complete and total nerd, ranting on about frog legs after a joke was made; I was not inviting you to give a lecture. Now go away.
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Keith P Walsh wrote:

So, if it is so important to you, do you continue to refuse to do any measurements.

The reason no one cares it that it is of no consequence.

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The reason why people presume that it is of no consequence is because otherwise they would have to admit to their own ignorance.
That's not a scientific reason.
It isn't just me who hasn't done the experiments. It's everyone. (Or, if someone has done them, then they haven't told the rest of us what the results were.)
So neither you nor anyone else is in any position to know whether it is significant or not.
And in presuming to be in a position to declare that it is not significant you are being at best mistaken and at worst dishonest.
The reason why I asked Professor Anatychuk about this matter is because he is a recognised expert in the thermoelectric behavior of materials.
I think that he will be at least honest enough to recognise that in the absence of any experimental evidence either way, then he is not in any position to say whether the thermoelectric behavior of metal dental fillings is of any consequence either.
Unfortunately I am not so confident that he will have the courage to admit it.
Keith P Walsh
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Keith P Walsh wrote:

The numbers are too small. Study some physics.

Do the experiment you want or pay to have it done or shut up. Not doing one of these three means you are just playing games and have no interest in the science.
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According to Professor Anatychuk the numbers add up.
You haven't read his paper have you?
Professor Anatychuk believes that the thermoelectric potential generated by a single thermoelectric junction at only ordinary temperature differentials is sufficient to excite neurological synapses in animal tissue.
And when a dentist screws a metal alloy retaining pin into the root socket of a patient's tooth and encases the head of the pin in metal amalgam then what you have right there is (at least) a single thermoelectric junction.
Are you saying that Professor Anatychuk is wrong?
Are you saying that you know more about the thermoelectric behavior of mrtallic materials than he does?
Because if you are then I would have to say that I don't believe you.
Ans I don't know why anyone else should either.
Keith P Walsh
PS, "On the discovery of thermoelectricity by Volta." by L.I.Anatychuk is referenced at:
http://ite.cv.ukrtel.net/journal/eng/con_04_2.htm
If anyone wants a Word doc copy of it I'll be happy to forward one by e-mail
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Keith P Walsh wrote, On 3/16/2009 1:36 PM:

Keith, We are more interested in reading your paper. Do your own experiments
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Paul D Oosterhout
I work for SAIC (but I don't speak for SAIC)
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Keith P Walsh wrote:

If you do not believe me, do your own experiments. You have been here a long time whining like a baby. If you would get up off your rear end and actually do something, you would have your answer. Why are you even here when you have no interest in the truth?

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The reason why you need to believe that I'm "whining like a baby" is because what I'm actually doing is exposing your own ignorance, and you're too arrogant to acknowledge it.
Instead you're just making excuses for ignoring the whole point of this thread.
You say, "Do some physics"?
Where thermoelectric phenomena are concerned Professor L I Anatychuk wrote the book on it!
L.J. Anatychuk, Physics of Thermoelectricity, Ed. Institute of Thermoelectricity, Kiev, Ukraine, 1998, ISBN 966-738-00-1.
http://ite.cv.ukrtel.net/book/index.html
He's already done the physics for me. And he tells me (not just me, but anyone with the gorm to listen) that Volta's frog's leg effect is caused by a THERMOELECTRIC PHENOMENON.
You say, "The numbers are too small".
I say you're just making up any old garbage that you want to believe and convincing yourself that it must be true simply because it's you who made it up.
Can't you see?
It isn't me who's the idiot.
IT'S YOU.
"The numbers are too small"?
Prove it.
Keith P Walsh
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