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Author Topic: Carbonfiber Alufoil selfmade DIY battery with NACO3 or Ashwater electrolyte  (Read 20699 times)

Offline hartiberlin

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Hi All,
in the last few days I have been working and published a few videos about my latest Carbonfiber and
aluminiumfoil battery cells.

Using Carbonfiber sheets and alufoil as the electrodes you can get in an alkaline electrolyte
a voltage of around 1.4 to 1.7 volts as the open circuit voltage.

Well the carbonfiber also itsself has a pretty low ohmic resistance,
only around 5 to 15 Ohms per cm distance.

So using carbonfibersmakes it easy to build such a cell, cause then only the alufoil will be consumed.

For the electrolyte you can use several different salts, like Pottassium Carbonate ( K2CO3) , Sodium Carbonate
or also called Washing Soda ( NaCO3) or also firewoodahes  or coalashes in water. The latter are mostly K2O or Na0 or CaO
salts and give mixed with water also some KOH NaOH and when the CO2 from air enters, these are converted to Carbonates,
so you get free Carbonate salts.

So if you don´t have access to any Washing Soda, which could be got in any bigger supermarket and it is cheap ( around 1,50 US$ per 500 Gramms)
then you can just make a firewood and collect the ashes from it and put them into tap water to get the desired alkaline electrolyte.

Be careful not too make the concentration too high with the ashes in the water, cause then the KOH concentraion  will be too high
and zje electrolyte will eat away your alufoil pretty fast and produce flammable hydrogen gas ! So be careful !

Also be very careful, that you will not get any of the ashwater or other electrolyte into your eyes as it can easily blind you !
So please wear safety goggles when you handle the electrolyte !

Well, as I did not yet have built a Joule Thief circuit, I had to put 4 cells in series to be able to light a 1 Watts LED chip reasonable well,
so you could still read a book during nighttime !

These cells runs now already since more than 48 hours and the voltage is still at around 2.55 Volts on the LED chip and the current is still
at around 4 milliamps !

Surely the inner resistance of the cells are pretty high compared to the standard NimH AA cells.

Standard NiMH cells have an inner resistance of around less than 1 Ohm.
My carbonfiber cells unfortunately have an inner resistance of around 150 to 300 Ohms,
depending on their age and some other factors.
So the power output is much smaller...

But it can be increased with different methods I will still try.

At least you can easily build with these methods your own battery cells that are able
to light up LEDs.

Here are the Videos:

Carbon fiber sheet Aluminium foil Selfmade DIY High Output battery

1 Watt LED Light bulb testing

Measuring ohmical resistance of different carbon fiber sheets

Despeckle Salt cell testing - carbon fiber aluminium cell

Carbonfiber alufoil cell - building up a rollup cell

pickup electrode for the carbon-fiber-alufoil cell and measurements

3 cells in series - carbon fiber alufoil cells lighting up LED

4 carbon fiber alufoil cells in series running LED

Evening light from the 4 carbonfiber-alufoil cells

24 hours runtime later - carbonfiber alufoil cells raised voltage on LED

Hope this helps.

Regards, Stefan.

Offline hartiberlin

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Toay I measured the inner resistance of the cells.
These have now an open circuit voltage of around only 0.77 Volts
when you disconnect the LED load and let them stay for half a minute or so...

The shortcircuit current through an ampmeter was 5.5 milliamps and the voltage across the ampmeter was then 9 MilliVolts.

So the Inner resistance of such a cell has:
0.77 Volts - 0.009 Volts / 5.5.milliamps = around 138 Ohms.

So this is why these cells are so much less powerfull then the NiMH type batteries.

The inner impedance is just too high.

So this can be fixed by either using more conducting lampblack or graphite powder on the surface of the carbonfiber
and additionally putting a silverwire or stainless steel mesh onto the carbonfiber to make the electrode resistance smaller
and  make a better conducting electrolyte.

Regards, Stefan.

Offline hartiberlin

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Today I also tested, if I can not just take stainless steel dish scrubber wool
instead of the carbonfiber sheets and Voila, this also works in an alkaline electrolyte.

Although the open circuit voltage with Washing Soda - Water electrolyte  is then only around 1.15 to 1.20 Volts,
the shortcircuit current, when the cell is new, also begins over 100 milliamps, from a water glas type sized cell.

So as Carbonfiber sheets are pretty expensive and not so easy to get  we can now also use
just stainless steel scrubber dishwashing wool, which si also available in every bigger supermarket.

So we have 2 very cheap electrodes, where only the Alufoil is consumed and the electrolyte is also free
from firewood or coal ashes..

Next I will first build a much bigger single cell now to have more surface area and thus less inner resistance
and then also build a fitting Joulethief circuit, that is able to power some good LEDs that will work from under 1 Volts
SO you only have to build one bigger cell which is also easier to handle and care about.

Regards, Stefan.

Offline Pirate88179

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Nice work.  I have been following your videos and, I do believe that just a simple, basic JT circuit will get you a lot of usable light from your cell.  The greatest thing about your design is that it is so simple, and cheap, to replace the anode as it is consumed.

Have you thought about taking the al. foil and fold a bunch of it together and hammer it into an almost solid block to see how long that lasts?

In other words, you could take an entire roll of that foil and keep folding it and hammering it into a very solid square form that should last quite a while.

I look forward to seeing your results with these experiments.


Offline Magluvin

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Nice work Stefan. I like it.

I work with carbon fiber from time to time. Car projects.

Ive taken a strip of the fiber and put it across a 12v battery and it glows like a space heater. So its fairly resistive.

I tried some hydroxy experiments with it as a plate. I found that making a connection to it is better done across the cut ends of the sheet, using a thin metal folded over long ways and insert the cut edge of the carbon sheet and crimp the metal down so to make contact with all the individual threads of the weave.  If you connect to just a corner of the sheet, the output(or input in my case) is limited through all the resistance of the carbon. And maybe with reactions in the cell, the physical connection between the weaves might be compromised over time. The hydroxy cell turns black fairly quick, I suppose carbon coming apart in the process.

To think about it, maybe there is a good conductive glue or epoxy and glue a bare wire to the .edges of the strip, providing more current output capability. Or in my case more input.  ;D You can use solder braid a a wire as it is very flat and flexible, for rolling one together.

Also once you layer the cells, you will be using both sides of the materials an produce even more. Like if you roll what you have, laid out flat, and roll it into a cylinder, the layering will happen naturally and more output. Spiral cells. Havnt tried to solder carbon.


Have you tried applying a charge to the cells to see if they can be brought up to a higher potential?

Offline b_rads

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Although the open circuit voltage with Washing Soda - Water electrolyte  is then only around 1.15 to 1.20 Volts,
the shortcircuit current, when the cell is new, also begins over 100 milliamps, from a water glas type sized cell.
Regards, Stefan.

What is the ratio of your Washing Soda mix.  The SS Scrubbers are great since they have so much surface area to work with.  I would also think that the Aluminum Foil should be crumpled up into a nice fairly dense electrode, again to increase surface area.  Even with a lot of surface area, these cells tend to polorize after a while limiting their long term output.  Sometimes, just draining of the solution and rinsing the electrodes will clean up the cell and make it function much longer.  The electrolyte can even be reused.
Recently reproduced Lidmotor's SS and Epsom Salt Rechargeable cell and I am getting 7 to 11 days on a blinking oscillator circuit before needing to recharge the cell.
Please inform on the Washing Soda mix so I can have a baseline to work from.  Much appreciate all the sharing with this build.
Brad S

Offline Magluvin

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One thing about stacking the cells is for example....

If we have 2 individual square flat cells, sitting side by side, not touching each other, and they both produced similar potential and currents, when paralleled, the current capability should be 2 times what 1 cell produces. But if we stack the 2 cells, more surface area, the back side of 1 cell to the face of another will account for more current capability using the same 2 cells.  Rolling them is probably the best as there will only be some of the rolled cell surface not being used, the outer side of the roll.
But if stacking many cells, the top and bottom not being used, the more you have in the stack, the less the top and bottom surface area not being used will matter, like the rolled version.

I wonder if like  the first batteries, the piles were squeezed down, if this would do better with pressure being applied like the screw on the top of the pile?
Maybe fiberglass cloth instead of paper towels would be better if applying lots of pressure. To reduce the possibility of a short in the cell. Just an idea.


Offline hartiberlin

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Okay, here are some quick answers.
The cells are still running contineously and still ighting the LED although the brightness have decreased.

The cells also dried out a bit and I will tommorrow water them again and see, if the brightness of the LED gains this way again.

Well, surface area is still the most valuable in these cells and could be made big.

Well you could also use a silver coated copper wire to reduce the resistance of the carbon fiber mesh
but this then has to be folded a few times around the carbonfiber so it will pickup lots of current from the
carbonfiber strands and probably the copper beneath the silver will begin to decompose
after a while.
Also you can add lampblack to the carbonfiber electrodes and thus increase very much the surface area and the oxygen
input capabilities. Remember it is an aircell, where the O2 is converter into ions at the carbonfiber electrode.

Also stainless steel mesh plates could be added to the carbonfiber together with lampblack or graphite powder
grinded into the mesh holes of the stainless steel mesh. This would give the most powerful cell,
as this principle is also used in NiMH cells.

For price reasons you can also only use stainless steel mesh with grinded lampblack or graphite powder into it as one electrode
and as the other electrode aluminiumfoil.

As the electrode you can use 3 to 5 teaspons of NaCO3 or K2CO3 into 100 milliliters of destilled water.

If you can´t get these electrolyte salts you can also use ashwater from a firewood, but it has to be the right concentration
as there is much KOH in it, which will justz decompose the alufoil on its own.

Use a straw to blow your used breath (CO2) into the ashwater ( Wear safety goggles as the KOH-water can blind you !)
so you convert the KOH with CO2 into K2CO3 and it will not eat anymore so fast your alufoil away !
Easy trick to convert KOH into K2CO3 inside the solution.

You can of course also use other CO2 sources like selfmade gazed water  bottle units..

Be always sure to wear eye protection as the KOH can easily blind you if you get it into your eyes !

Hope this helps.

Regards, Stefan.

P.S: The Nickel Zink Accumulator cells could also be selfmade very nicely  like this:

These have so much more power !
Aslmost 2 amps shortcircuit current.

You can also galvanically coat carbonfiber sheets with Nickel metal , so this wll be also very interesting to try !

Offline markdansie

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Nice work I am enjoying this thread
Batteries are so much fun

Kind Regards