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)
  • 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)

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)
  • 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..
  2. To decrease 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 to absorb 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 (should you need one), but removing it from a fridge takes a very skilled technician, there are hazardous materials to consider.
  8. A Carbon Dioxide environment can be created with a tea-light candle and a Mason jar. Light the candle and seal the lid shut, and after about 20 seconds the candle will have burned the Oxygen in the jar and extinguished itself, leaving your freshly poured battery cells in the jar with CO2.
  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

Also check out the Battery and Capacitor Group for more information http://freemanireland.ning.com/group/batteries-capacitors

Views: 147

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

I made the first prototype from scratch, as it turned out to be quite messy taking apart AA and D batteries for this.

The attempt was only partially successful and a good learning experience (I will change the original post to reflect the lessons learned).

The mixture I used was: 

200 ml purified water

80g caustic soda

120g washing soda crystals

There was way too much product so I will reduce the quantities in future.

Due to a failure on my part to heat the mixing pot properly and for long enough, there was some crystal goo left in the bottom which didn't dissolve.

The washing soda crystals did not harden in the water glass cells as expected, so I purchased crystal cat litter for the next attempt

Each cell gave under half a volt, which is unacceptable as I am looking for at least 1.5 volts each.

As you can see from the images, the materials I used were a jumbo drinking straw, graphite pencil leads, magnesium ribbon, hot glue, speaker wire and superglue.

I experimented with superglue instead of solder on the wire connecters, and not only did this result in a poor connection, but the superglue corroded into an orange shite which crept along the magnesium electrode. The reason I didn't risk soldering was because graphite is difficult to solder, and magnesium ignites at a certain temperature.

A good deal of time was spent afterwards plugging leaks with hot glue, and corrosive soapy water gets everywhere.

When this concentration of water glass gets into any cuts you may have on your hands, it stings like crazy so wear gloves.

Wear safety glasses when making the mixture as there can be splashes, dangerous gas and microscopic alkaline fireballs flying though the air like in lord of the rings except smaller.

Make your battery cells on an old baking tray, so that spills can corrode this instead of trying to eat your house.

For the second attempt, I will be using very wide jumbo straws, plastic plugs on the ends (with hot glue), soldered wire contacts, side-by-side electrodes, a better heat source and the proper silica gel crystals which should harden when finished.

Second attempt quantities to make sodium silicate (water glass):

50 ml purified water (distilled water)

20g sodium hydroxide (caustic soda / lye)

30g silicon dioxide (silica gel / crystal cat litter)

some materials in progress; straws, graphite and magnesium

A close-up picture of the corrosion on the electrode after about 2 weeks exposure to liquid water glass, which was in direct contact with the magnesium. 

The damaged part can be seen next to an undamaged part; magnesium ribbon, speaker wire and superglue.

For the next attempt I would prefer to fix the wire contacts on with water glass glue itself, or solder as a second choice.

Great work

Spirality said:

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      

I made another batch of battery cells and so far have only measured two of them, one was 0.9 Volts and the other was 1.4 Volts, acceptable enough considering there are 15 cells.

I include some pictures with captions above them.

The wire contacts are glued on to the electrodes with water glass glue.

I may put powder filler in with the next mixture to make it solidify quicker.

5 days old and the water glass is still wet, nothing can be done with these cells yet except find a way to dry them quicker.

Several cells in a mason jar ready to be exposed to carbon dioxide

Some battery cells are placed in the jar, the candle is lit and the lid sealed. After about 20 seconds the candle goes out and the jar now contains air with a lot of carbon dioxide to help cure the water glass. I leave the jar closed for 24 hours then repeat the process with some fresh CO2.

This cell has been exposed to carbon dioxide for 24 hours, notice the white stuff on the top where the water glass has begun to harden.

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