Reliable Batteries
Unit 4, 227a Brisbane Road
Biggera Waters

Gold Coast Queensland

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HOW DOES MY CAR BATTERY WORK

We often encounter the terms, “My car battery is dead” or “I need to recharge my car battery” when it comes to fixing and maintaining cars. However, do we really understand how does a car battery work? By understanding its functions, we can be confident you won’t take this important item for granted no more.

To understand your car’s battery, it also pays to understand a bit about electricity. Electrons are negatively charged particles that can carry an electric current. When you hear references to positive and negative ions, you’re actually hearing references to the absence or presence of electrons. Electricity, in general, will flow from a positive to a negative terminal, and with the help of electrons. These terminals are hooked up to all the components of your car that require electricity to function, including your windshield wipers, central door locks, and your engine.

Inside each automotive battery are smaller cells, each of which have their own positive and negative terminal. Each cell has 8 overlapping metallic plates for each terminal, making a total of 16 per cell. These cells are coated with lead and completely soaked in a 35% sulfuric acid bath.
Sulfuric acid is a strong acid, which ensures the steady flow of electrons, and, which can therefore conduct electricity. When the battery discharges, the plate coating is present as lead sulfate. When the battery is being charged, the plate coating is present as lead oxide.
When you start up your car, your battery sends out electricity, which allows the acid bath to react to the chemicals in the battery plates. These plates primarily release electrons, which travel from the positive, to the negative side of the plate; and then go from one cell to the next.
In the first cell, electrons carry a charge of 2 volts. As they move to the next plate, they accumulate a total charge of 4 volts. By the sixth cell, the electrons will travel from the battery and into the car, and carry a total of 12 volts.

This is the basis for auto batteries having the label “12 volts”. A 12 volt surge is enough to get your engine started, although more amps may be required from your battery when you have to use your windshield wipers, air conditioning, central locks, or a high-output stereo system. Overcharging a car battery could lead to less water inside the cells, since the electronic reaction breaks down the water.

This could lead to higher levels of sulfuric acid in the battery allowing a highly corrosive “Acid Soup” to develop. Battery maintenance is required to replenish the lost water, preferably distilled to avoid adding impurities to the electrolyte.

HOW IS A CAR BATTERY MADE

All batteries work on the same principle, whether it is for a notebook, tablet, mobile phone.  A car battery is no different.  Every battery has a positive and negative terminal, which allows the transport of electricity. This electricity is carried by negatively charged sub-atomic particles called electrons.

A vehicle’s battery allows electric current to flow through your vehicle, and therefore, allow it to come alive. Your battery powers various components, such as the central locking, your windshield wipers, and of course, your engine. Without a surge of power, your engine would not work, and your car would not run.

How is a car battery made to produce electrical energy that powers your vehicle?

One of its most important components is sulfuric acid, which provides the necessary process that allows ions to drive an electronic reaction; and lead, which conducts electricity. When your battery discharges, the plates contain lead sulfate. As the battery is being charged, a chemical reaction renders this coating as lead oxide.

An automotive battery can generate 12 volts, and comprises six cells, each of which can generate 2 volts. Each cell contains a positively and negatively charged lead plate. They start off as lead ingots. Lead is easily melted and malleable: it can be molded, flattened, and shaped according to your needs, and it can freely conduct electricity.

CAR BATTERY MADE ON THE PRODUCTION LINE

Lead ingots are melted down, and after several processing reactions, atomized. This spray of lead is combined with oxygen, producing a toxic metal called lead oxide. Resembling powdery dirt, lead oxide is extremely dangerous, it can poison all living systems. Workers need to protect themselves with face masks to avoid inhaling lead oxide.

A vehicle battery contains around 90-100 grids on which lead can be mounted. The lead oxide is pressed onto these grids, creating an extremely heavy component. These grids go through a flash drying process, which completely removes any moisture. Because of their weight, robotic machines are needed to stack the finished plates together, forming the basic cells of the battery.

The end product is a heavy automotive battery that contains around 20 pounds of lead. They are assembled on a conveyor belt: the outer polypropylene casing is fitted with the cells, and other components, such as terminals, are added to the battery. In the final process, they are filled with a solution of 35% sulfuric acid, and are charged before being shipped off to car manufacturers and battery retailers.

Defects may be the secret to better Lithium Ion Batteries

Most people see defects as flaws. A few Michigan Technological University researchers, however, see them as opportunities. Twin boundaries -- which are small, symmetrical defects in materials -- may present an opportunity to improve lithium-ion batteries. The twin boundary defects act as energy highways and could help get better performance out of the batteries.

This finding, published in Nano Letters earlier this year, turns a previously held notion of material defects on its head. Reza Shahbazian-Yassar helped lead the study and holds a joint appointment at Michigan Tech as the Richard & Elizabeth Henes associate professor in nanotechnology and an adjunct associate professor in materials science and engineering. Anmin Nie, a senior postdoctoral researcher in his group, conducted the study.

Nie says that material defects, including twin boundaries, are naturally occurring and majority of the past research has focused on removing them from materials. "We look at the nanostructure of the battery materials that are out there," he explains. "We have noticed some defects, such as twin boundaries, that exist in these materials can be good channels that will help us to transport lithium ions."
That movement of ions is key to making better, stronger batteries.

How Lithium-Ion Batteries Work

Batteries power most of our gadgets. Shahbazian-Yassar says, "The focus over the past few years has been on rechargeable batteries -- most specifically the lithium-ion battery."  That's because lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, pack a whopping punch of energy density, and their efficiency continues to climb. Like all basic batteries, ones run on lithium ions rely on shuttling ions from one place to another. Technically speaking, that's between the anode and cathode, and an electric current coaxes ions to shuffle between them. A low battery means there is less exchange happening between the anode and cathode. Twin boundaries could help hustle that exchange along or perhaps extend it, hopefully without losing battery life.

Twin boundaries basically are mirror images, places in a material where one side of atomic arrangements reflects another. They often result while making a material, which shifts the atoms out of place a smidge.

"Without a detailed view of the atomic arrangements, one might think the structure of electrode material is perfect, but then when you pay attention at the atomic level, you'll notice that these atoms are all symmetric with one plane," Nie says, explaining that the symmetry causes problems because it creates weak spots.

At the same time, that symmetry is what provides a route for ions to travel along. Shahbazian-Yassar and his team received a grant from the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation last fall to explore this and have now shown that a twin boundary acts as a highway for lithium ion transport.

"Usually the available free space within the crystal is what ions use to move in or out of the electrode," Shahbazian-Yassar says, explaining that the space is like a crowded city with narrow streets and the ions resemble the moving cars. "If there is an accident, road construction, or simply traffic, cars can not easily pass through the streets -- similar phenomenon happens in batteries.

Lithium ions need wide and open roads in order to shuttle in and out of the battery electrodes. Any obstruction to the moving ions will reduce the amount of energy or power extracted from a battery.

The research team examined twin boundaries in tin oxides, but Shahbazian-Yassar says it's applicable in many battery materials. The next step is finding out how to optimize these defects to balance the mechanical integrity with the amount of twin structures. Finding that balance will be the focus of the researchers' next steps, and this new finding about twin boundaries lays the groundwork for improving lithium-ion batteries.

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GOLD COAST MOBILE BATTERY REPLACEMENT SERVICE

HAVE YOU GOT A FLAT BATTERY?

We can remove and dispose of your old battery and replace it with a new one. It's much cheaper than other roadside service providers.

Gold Coast Car Battery Replacement service is available for Gold Coast customers only, available during business hours

 


RELIABLE BATTERIES OPENING HOURS

Mon - Fri 8:00AM TIL 5.00PM
Sat 8.00AM TIL 1PM
Sun CLOSED

Our Gold Coast Battery Shop is located at:
Unit 4 / 227a Brisbane Road,
Biggera Waters

and is open to the public.

 

Reliable Batteries are a locally owned and operated business.

We have been servicing the Gold Coast for over 25 years and we pride ourselves on providing great customer service and quality battery products.

If you're unsure of which battery is suitable for you please don't hesitate to call us and we will help you choose the correct battery.

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