Just as the Lithium battery was a step up from the Lead Acid battery, the Sodium Silicate (Water Glass) crystal battery is a step up from Lithium.

These new Sodium Glass batteries are meant to last 3 times longer than Lithium batteries and charge twice as quickly, which will revolutionize the Electric Car industry, and many other areas and activities.

Easy enough to make from common materials, for anyone who likes to experiment and/or who may use a lot of batteries to power their lights and so on.

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Materials to make your own:

  • Distilled or purified water (Pharmacy)
  • Crystalline Cat litter or Silica Gel (Sodium Silicate) or washing soda crystals might do, found in the laundry aisle
  • Caustic Soda or Lye Drain cleaner (100% Sodium Hydroxide) (but KOH or potash might do instead) (this is the electrolyte)
  • An old car or motorbike Lead-acid battery that has given up the ghost, may also work with a small square 9 Volt battery, or make a new battery from copper pipe and either a magnesium rod or parts from a toy battery (tech notes 4, 5 and 6)
  • Steel pot or large bowl and a steel mixing spoon
  • A funnel for pouring the water glass if necessary, and a friend to assist you
  • A steel strainer if necessary, or something to spread the water glass evenly onto a separator, depending on the type of cells your making 

Preparation:

Neutralize and empty the old car battery by soaking with baking-soda water, and ideally clean and re-set the plates if possible, or even make a completely new battery with cells of your own design using metal, scrap battery parts, molds/containers and optionally graphene plated cathodes and anodes 

Arrange electrodes inside the molds/containers, for example a drinks-can mold can accommodate long rolled-up metal sheets (electrodes), an insulator, and some kind of porous separator ready to absorb the sodium electrolyte (see tech notes 1 and 2)

Place Cat litter into a plastic bag in stages and crush it gently with a hammer, to increase the surface area and speed up the dissolving process 

Make outdoors or in a well ventilated area where you won't be disturbed and observe chemical handling safety conditions - long sleeves and pants, shoes, gloves and goggles in case of splashes, optionally a face shield and goggles, stand or sit upwind so as not to breathe the fumes 

Method:

  • Put 500ml (half a quart)  of cold Water into steel mixing bowl
  • Gradually add 200g (2/5 pound)  of Caustic Soda and stir until dissolved - the water will get hotter
  • Gradually add 300g (3/5 pound)  of Soda Crystals or crushed crystalline Cat litter - the water will get hotter
  • To make a smaller amount, use the measurements 50g water, 20g electrolyte and 30g crystal
  • Keep stirring and begin to heat gently until everything is dissolved, remove the heat occasionally to check liquid, you want the chemicals to dissolve before the water boils off, add a little more water if needed
  • Filter with a steel strainer to remove any solids if needed (the strainer may be placed inside the funnel if required)
  • Pour the Water Glass liquid (syrup) into the new battery cells as new electrolyte
  • Allow to set (Carbon Dioxide speeds up the process, and possibly blowing on the surface will produce a hard skin)
  • Experiment with both charging and not charging (tech notes 3), and also charging while still hot, and remember to observe safety rules

Videos:

  • Aussie a makes some Water Glass in his shed to use as a heat resistant glue to make fire bricks for his Forge (6 mins)  https://youtu.be/D5tCT5K-c6E

Canuck Hacker

Inventors: 

John B Goodenough (age 94) Also invented the Lithium battery many years ago.

Maria H Braga https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Maria_Braga4/publications

Tech Notes

  1. You will want the sodium electrolyte to cover all the area in each cell. If you have very narrow distance between your plates, you could try putting the hot cell inside a vacuum, possibly using a mason jar and a quiet fridge compressor (tech notes 7 and 8) , and when activated the vacuum should draw the air bubbles from the cell.  Am not sure if this will work with the crystal as it does with oil for high voltage coils. If your just using normal electrolyte, like salt water or lemon water, you can probably skip the vacuum part.
  2. To increase viscosity, you could heat the empty cell in an oven so that when you pour the electrolyte it will fill all the gaps more fluidly. Be careful not to melt any plastic separator or insulator you have inside.
  3. These batteries are meant to self charge, so as soon as you pour the electrolyte you should treat the battery as electrically "live".
  4. Separator material can be an unrolled strip of plastic scouring pad for example, or porous cloth (like J-cloth) with lots of gaps for the electrolyte.
  5. Insulator material can be some HDPE plastic from milk cartons, cut into strips wide enough (HDPE recycling page), or plastic sheet such as a bin bag.
  6. Electrodes (cathode and anode) can be aluminium foil, copper foil, magnesium, carbon, charcoal, sanded drink-can aluminium, nickel (from coins), graphite, zinc, etc. See the reactive metals table (tech notes 9)
  7. A fridge compressor will act as a comparatively quiet vacuum source, and also a pressure source, but removing it from a fridge takes a very skilled technician, there are hazardous materials to consider.
  8. Vacuum fixings can be inserted into a glass mason jar if necessary by melting the area with a HHO torch, but practice first to see how much area you have to heat to prevent cracking. it may help to heat the parts in an oven first. You should be sure of what you are doing if you attempt to melt things with a HHO torch, or intend to use a vacuum with glass.
  9. Table of reactive metals for making a battery (Carbon is usually next to Zinc)  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactivity_series
  10. List of battery types to compare materials and construction types for up-cycling https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_battery_types
  11. One of many news reports on this https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/plugged-in/engineers-introduce...
  12. Another report on the technology https://news.utexas.edu/2017/02/28/goodenough-introduces-new-batter...

Good Luck 

Remember safety first, you make at your own risk

Make to succeed

Views: 119

Replies to This Discussion

If you want to make your own crystal battery, the two easiest options are to use parts from existing batteries, like AA or D cells, or make one from scratch using a piece of copper pipe and some zinc or zinc plated bolts from the hardware shop.

This list of reactive metals is from wikipedia (the link is in the main post tech notes 9).

It should help if you are determining which metals to use in your battery cells.

The further apart the metals are on the list, the more voltage you should get when you separate them with the electrolyte.

Metal                Symbol            Ion 

Caesium              Cs                 Cs+     
Francium            Fr                  Fr+  
Rubidium           Rb                 Rb+ 
Potassium           K                    K+  
Sodium               Na                 Na+
Lithium               Li                   Li+ 
Barium               Ba                 Ba2+  
Radium              Ra                 Ra2+  
Strontium          Sr                   Sr2+ 
Calcium             Ca                  Ca2+  
Magnesium      Mg                  Mg2+ 
Beryllium          Be                   Be2+ 
Aluminium        Al                   Al3+
Titanium            Ti                   Ti4+  
Manganese       Mn                 Mn2+  
Carbon               C
Zinc                    Zn                  Zn2+ 
Chromium        Cr                   Cr3+ 
Iron                    Fe                   Fe2+  
Cadmium          Cd                   Cd2+  
Cobalt                Co                   Co2+ 
Nickel                Ni                    Ni2+
Tin                      Sn                   Sn2+
Lead                   Pb                    Pb2+ 
Hydrogen           H    
Antimony          Sb                     Sb3+     
Bismuth             Bi                     Bi3+  
Copper               Cu                    Cu2+  
Tungsten            W                     W3+
Mercury             Hg                   Hg2+
Silver                  Ag                     Ag+        
Gold                    Au                    Au3+
Platinum            Pt                      Pt4+
Graphite             C      

Interesting project, have you done any work on this? On the old 12 volt battery they usually become sulphanated. When a battery becomes discharged all the acid leaves the electrolyte and becomes attached to the anode or cathode, there is only water in the cells when it is fully dischared, the point being if the positive or negative are covered they need to be charged before emptying the cells in the battery, I can look this up if needed, the distilled water can be got in Halfords motor factor as deionised water for € 4.50 for 5 liters, thought this technology would be under patent

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