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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Crystal Batteries

Crystal Batteries

Good day all! A good friend sent me an absolute treasure the other day. After doing a bunch of reading, to refresh all of the principles involved, I present to you the Crystal Battery. This is a great little home project, to create a battery that gives close to 1.5 volts. All of the things involved are things that are REALLY easy to get. Here is the link;

 This site is proving to be an enlightening place to spend a little time. Some of the items in the 9 minute video are a little unclear. Such as the size of the copper cap used, or the diameter of the magnesium rod. There are links on the site that further explain some of the components. The anode rod ( Magnesium rod) is obtained from a hot water heater and it has a 1"/ 2.5 cm diameter. The standard length is about 32" (inches) or around 80 cm. The copper caps are around 2 1/2" diameter. ( I guessed a little on this because 2" diameter is not a very common size). I did a little digging and all of the salts involved are dirt cheap. Hardly anything required in the way of tools besides a measuring cup, a coffee grinder, a hot plate, a drill and a hacksaw. The following is a brief explanation on the process.

"Galvanic corrosion is an electrochemical process in which one metal corrodes preferentially to another when both metals are in electrical contact and immersed in an electrolyte. This same galvanic reaction is exploited in primary batteries to generate an electrical voltage.

Dissimilar metals and alloys have different electrode potentials, and when two or more come into contact in an electrolyte, one metal acts as anode and the other as cathode. The electropotential difference between the dissimilar metals is the driving force for an accelerated attack on the anode member of the galvanic couple. The anode metal dissolves into the electrolyte, and deposit collects on the cathodic metal." -- Wikipedia

    Basically the salts in contact with the magnesium and copper, create a voltage. The end result, as stated in the video, is a battery that is capable of producing a constant voltage of 1.4 volts. Capable of maintaining that voltage, without recharging, for YEARS!! Keep in mind that over time the magnesium will corrode, so it can not claim to be a permanent energy source. Although powering a light for a few years off of one battery is still a huge step in the right direction. Even more so when you consider the batteries you won't be throwing into a landfill.  Overall cost to make around 20 batteries is approximately $100, just sourcing the parts and materials from ebay.

 I will be posting more on how to use these batteries in some home applications in the next few days.

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