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How Lead Acid Batteries Function - DonosHome - OBD2 scanner,Battery tester,tuning,Car Ambient Lighting

How Lead Acid Batteries Function

Invented by French physician Gaston Planté in 1859, the lead-acid battery marked the advent of rechargeable batteries for commercial use. Despite its age, lead chemistry remains widely employed today due to its reliability and cost-effectiveness. Lead-acid batteries offer unparalleled bulk power at a low cost-per-watt, making them ideal for applications such as automobiles, golf carts, forklifts, marine vessels, and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

The grid structure of a lead-acid battery is composed of a lead alloy. Pure lead is too soft to support itself, so small amounts of other metals are added to provide mechanical strength and enhance electrical properties. Common additives include antimony, calcium, tin, and selenium, resulting in battery types often referred to as "lead-antimony" and "lead-calcium."

While antimony and tin additives improve deep cycling, they also increase water consumption and the need for equalization. On the other hand, calcium reduces self-discharge but may lead to grid oxidation and plate expansion when overcharged. Modern lead-acid batteries may also incorporate doping agents like selenium, cadmium, tin, and arsenic to reduce antimony and calcium content.

Lead-acid batteries are heavy and less durable than nickel- and lithium-based counterparts when subjected to deep cycling. Each discharge/charge cycle gradually reduces the battery's capacity, a process accelerated by factors like grid corrosion, active material depletion, and positive plate expansion. Charging a lead-acid battery is straightforward, but it requires strict adherence to voltage limits to avoid performance issues like sulfation or grid corrosion.

Fast charging is not recommended for lead-acid batteries, with a full charge typically taking 14–16 hours. It's crucial to store these batteries at full charge to prevent sulfation, a condition that diminishes performance over time. Although carbon additives on the negative electrode can mitigate sulfation, they also decrease specific energy.

Lead-acid batteries have a moderate lifespan but are not prone to memory effects like nickel-based systems. Their charge retention is superior, with self-discharge rates lower than other rechargeable batteries. Additionally, lead-acid batteries perform well in cold temperatures and are preferable to lithium-ion batteries under subzero conditions. According to RWTH Aachen, Germany (2018), flooded lead-acid batteries cost about $150 per kWh, making them one of the most economical battery options.

Sealed Lead Acid

Sealed lead-acid batteries, also known as maintenance-free batteries, emerged in the mid-1970s. Despite the term "sealed," these batteries cannot be entirely airtight. They feature valves to release gases during charging and discharging, and their electrolyte is absorbed into a moistened separator rather than being submerged in liquid. This design allows for operation in any orientation without leakage.

Sealed lead-acid batteries have less electrolyte than flooded types, earning them the moniker "acid-starved." One significant advantage of sealed lead-acid batteries is their ability to recombine oxygen and hydrogen to prevent dry out during cycling, with valves serving as safety vents if gas buildup occurs. Various types of sealed lead-acid batteries have emerged, including gel and absorbent glass mat (AGM) variants, each offering unique advantages and applications.

Gel batteries use a silica-type gel to suspend the electrolyte in a paste, making them suitable for smaller applications like emergency lighting and wheelchairs. AGM batteries, on the other hand, suspend the electrolyte in a glass mat, providing faster charging and high-load current capabilities. Both types offer different performance characteristics, with AGM being more suitable for mid-range applications like motorcycles and start-stop systems in cars.

In terms of charging, sealed lead-acid batteries have lower over-voltage potential than flooded types to prevent gas generation. This necessitates setting charge voltage limits lower than those of flooded batteries, ensuring safe operation and longevity. Proper charging practices are essential to maximize the performance and lifespan of sealed lead-acid batteries.

Lead-acid batteries find extensive use in various sectors, including automotive, motive power, and stationary applications. Their versatility, reliability, and cost-effectiveness make them a preferred choice for numerous industries worldwide.

Vorheriger Artikel Comment Fonctionnent les Batteries au Plomb-Acide dans les Tendances Actuelles de l'Industrie des Batteries | FR

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