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Sulfuric Acid Battery – Charging, Concentration and Refill
Lead-acid batteries are among the most common battery types in the world. They contain lead plates and sulfuric acid as the electrolyte. The sulfuric acid used in the batteries is diluted with pure water to make the most reactive electrolyte. The electrolyte is responsible for converting electrical energy to chemical energy and then doing the reverse again.
Although the acid is helpful in the battery, it can be pretty dangerous when misused. Therefore, we need to know some of the ways that we can make the acid useful for an extended period. The acid might spill out of the casing during charging, or the electrolyte level might go down, and you do not know what to do.
Therefore, we will look at the methods of charging sulfuric acid batteries, the concentration, and ratios of the electrolyte, and refilling the battery. Therefore, you need to be keen because you might face difficulty in the future concerning sulfuric acid batteries.
Therefore, stay tuned and follow me through this article for exclusive information on sulfuric acid batteries.
Sulfuric Acid Battery Charging
To get optimal performance and long service life of your lead acid battery, you must always ensure that you follow the proper procedure of charging your battery. Correct charging plays a vital role in the lifespan of a battery.
Using inadequate charging tools can significantly reduce your battery's service life and lead to the battery's poor performance. Four techniques can be used to charge lead-acid batteries. These techniques include constant voltage, constant current, taper current, and two-step constant voltage.
The most common and recommended charging technique is constant voltage –current limited charging. It guarantees you maximum battery service life, capacity, and acceptable recharge time.
In order to charge a sealed lead acid battery, a direct current voltage ranging between 2.30 volts per cell and 2.45 volts per cell is applied to each terminal of the battery. The cell voltage might be temporarily lower after discharge than the applied voltage depending on the State of Charge (SoC).
At the time of lead-acid battery charging, the lead sulfate from the positive plate changes to lead dioxide. However, as the battery achieves full charge, the positive plate starts generating dioxide, causing an increase in voltage due to reduced internal resistance.
Therefore, a constant voltage charge allows detection of this voltage increase and controls the current charge amount. The tips for charging your lead acid battery include:
Start the day when the battery is fully charged. It is always advisable to charge the battery to its state of full charge before using it on the next day. Failure to do that diminishes the life of your battery.
Do not overcharge your lead acid battery. Do not charge your battery for a more extended period than the recommended time. Also, do not charge your battery more than once a day.
Frequently check the electrolyte level before charging. Lead-acid batteries require frequent watering because the electrolyte level reduces over time. The electrolyte level should be above the battery plate's level.
Please do not charge the battery for a short period, then unplug it. It is good to charge the battery to full charge before unplugging the charger. Charging the battery for some minutes then unplugging it before it achieves full charge can harm your battery.
Sulfuric Acid Battery Concentration
Many people have always been asking about the content of sulfuric acid in a battery. Some people think that the concentration of sulfuric acid is higher than that of water. When the battery accumulator is completely drained, the concentration of sulfuric acid is low. In a fully charged battery, the density is 1.28, but for a discharged battery, it is 1.15.
The density of sulfuric acid that we purchase for use in accumulators is about 1.25 at 20 degrees Celsius. However, the electrolyte consists of 38 percent sulfuric acid and 62 percent water. The concentration of sulfuric acid cannot drop unless otherwise.
Therefore, during refilling, we usually add distilled water into the battery and not sulfuric acid. Adding sulfuric acid to the battery will alter the concentration, meaning that it will not function normally.
The lead-acid batteries have individual cells that are responsible for the voltage of the battery. The lead alloys are immersed into the electrolyte. The Concentration level of the electrolyte should be well checked for optimal functionality of the battery.
Sulfuric Acid Battery Refill
In lead-acid batteries, the electrolyte level drops as time goes by due to spillage and evaporation during charging. Therefore, it is essential to check the electrolyte level frequently before charging the battery. Every plate in the cells should be submerged into the electrolyte, but this doesn't mean that the cells should be filled.
It is important to note that batteries do not consume sulfuric acid during charging or battery use. However, batteries will only consume water during normal operations of the battery. Battery owners are warned against adding sulfuric acid to their batteries.
The process of refill a battery is as follows:
Before starting the process, it is vital to adhere to the safety measures recommended. Wear protective glasses, gloves, and protective clothing when handling batteries.
Place the lead-acid battery on flat ground and remove the cap for each cell. For a sealed battery, remove the two battery caps by lifting them with a screwdriver.
Push in the perforated tab located at the top of the acid pack. Do the same to the large tab and pull out the dispensing hose. Insert the hose's end into each cell, then pinch with the thumb and forefinger the hose to control the flow.
Pour the distilled water into each cell of the battery until the electrolyte fully covers all the plates. Ensure that you fill all the cells equally because failure to do that might lead to the battery's poor performance.
It is essential to note that overfilling the battery can be dangerous. Also, thoroughly wash your skin if it meets the electrolyte.
Therefore, battery refilling is one of the maintenance practices done to sulfuric acid batteries. It is good to ensure that the acid does not spill out of the casing. This might lead to corrosion of terminals as well as the skin of the person handling the battery.