Secondary Cells in Tropical Climates


ALL who have used batteries of small secondary cells in the tropics will have experienced the difficulty of keeping their cells in efficient working order, and especially in preserving the junction of separate cells from rapid corrosion. The difficulty, appreciable in Europe, becomes very serious in a climate where the laboratory temperature lies between 30° and 40° C., and for this reason—it is probable that practically all accumulators sent to tropical countries by European manufacturers are filled by their recipients with dilute sulphuric acid of a density (1,190) which corresponds to a 20 per cent. mixture in north Europe at 15° to 20° C., but at a temperature of 30° to 35° C. indicates a mixture which is far too rich in acid for the health of the cells. Some simple experiments recently carried out in this laboratory exhibit quite clearly how large a deviation from the standard 20 per cent. mixture is caused by filling cells at 30° with dilute acid of density 1,190. It is found that a density of 1,190 at 30° corresponds to a composition of 23 per cent., whereas the value of the composition accepted as giving the best results with cells of this type is 20 per cent. The difference is as much as half the total change in composition due to chemical action during the process of charging the cell.

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HARRISON, E. Secondary Cells in Tropical Climates. Nature 82, 488–489 (1910).

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