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The Use of Pristine and Intercalated Graphite Fiber Composites as Buss Bars in Lead-Acid BatteriesThis study was conducted as a part of the Firefly Energy Space Act Agreement project to investigate the possible use of composite materials in lead acid batteries. Specifically, it examined the use of intercalated graphite composites as buss bars. Currently, buss bars of these batteries are made of lead, a material that is problematic for several reasons. Over time, the lead is subject to both corrosion at the positive plate and sulfation at the negative plate, resulting in decreased battery life. In addition, the weight and size of the lead buss bars make for a heavy and cumbersome battery that is undesirable. Functionality and practicality of lead buss bars is adequate at best; consequently, investigation of more efficient composite materials would be advantageous. Practically speaking, graphite composites have a low density that is nearly one fourth that of its lead counterpart. A battery made of less dense materials would be more attractive to the consumer and the producer because it would be light and convenient. More importantly, low weight would be especially beneficial because it would result in greater overall power density of the battery. In addition to power density, use of graphite composite materials can also increase the life of the battery. From a functional standpoint, corrosion and sulfation at the positive and negative plates are major obstacles when considering how to extend battery life. Neither of these reactions are a factor when graphite composites replace lead parts because graphite is chemically non-reactive with the electrolyte within the battery. Without the problem of corrosion or sulfation, battery life expectancy can be almost doubled. The replacement of lead battery parts with composite materials is also more environmentally favorable because of easy disposal of organic materials. For this study, both pristine and bromine intercalated single-ply graphite fiber composites were created. The composites were fabricated in such a way as to facilitate their use in a 3" x 1/2" buss bar test cell. The prime objective of this investigation was to examine the effectiveness of a variety of graphite composite materials to act as buss bars and carry the current to and from the positive and negative battery plates. This energy transfer can be maximized by use of materials with high conductivity to minimize the buss resistance. Electrical conductivity of composites was measured using both a contactless eddy current probe and a four point measurement. In addition, the stability of these materials at battery-use conditions was characterized.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Opaluch, Amanda M.
(Wittenberg Univ. Springfield, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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