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Further development of the lead gel battery
Disadvantages of the lead acid battery
- The biggest disadvantage is the unfavorable current-voltage characteristic. The terminal voltage normally remains approximately constant in a certain range as the current drawn increases. With lead accumulators, the terminal voltage drops constantly with increasing current consumption. Therefore, use with high currents is not recommended.
- The lead accumulator is also very maintenance-intensive. Since water is constantly being electrolyzed as a side reaction, it must also be refilled.
- The battery is relatively heavy due to the lead
Lead gel accumulator
To minimize maintenance, the electrolyte can be made gel-like by adding silicon dioxide. This has the advantage that fine cracks appear in the gel between the anode and the cathode when the gas is formed. The anodic oxygen diffuses to the cathode, where it is immediately reduced back to water. The hydrogen ions required for this are taken from the electrolyte. After a short time, an "oxygen cycle" is created, which minimizes maintenance on the accumulator, since no more gas can escape. However, lead-gel accumulators are technically more complex to design than lead-acid accumulators, which contain liquid sulfuric acid as an electrolyte, and they are two to three times as heavy.
Accumulators with glass fiber separators
Accumulators with glass fiber separators are even more complex to construct. They contain a network of capillaries that soak up sulfuric acid. An oxygen cycle builds up during operation, as the electrolyte is immobilized in a manner similar to that in the lead gel accumulator. However, this construction is no heavier than a normal lead-acid battery.