Journal of Power Sources 2015

Contemporary applications are changing the failure mechanisms of lead acid batteries. Sulfation at the negative electrode, acid stratification, and dendrite formation now precede positive electrode failures such as grid corrosion and active material shedding. To attenuate these failures, carbon has been explored as a negative electrode additive to increase charge acceptance, eliminate sulfation, and extend cycle life. Frequently, however, carbon incorporation decreases paste density and hinders manufacturability.

Discrete carbon nanotubes (dCNT), also known as MOLECULAR REBAR®, are lead acid battery additives which can be stably incorporated into either electrode to increase charge acceptance and cycle life with no change to paste density and without impeding the manufacturing process. Here, full-scale automotive batteries containing dCNT in the negative electrode or both negative and positive electrodes are compared to control batteries. dCNT batteries show little change to Reserve Capacity, improved Cold Cranking, increased charge acceptance, and enhanced overall system efficiency. Life cycle tests show >60% increases when dCNT are incorporated into the negative electrode (HRPSoC/ SBA) and up to 500% when incorporated into both electrodes (SBA), with water loss per cycle reduced >20%. Failure modes of cycled batteries are discussed and a hypothesis of dCNT action is introduced: the dCNT/Had Overcharge Reaction Mechanism.

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