While we have advanced technology that can potentially fulfill almost all of our energy needs, it will take some time to implement it fully. That is why lead acid batteries are still in widespread use. However, that extensive reliance has brought with it several challenges.
The supply chain issue is one of the most significant hurdles we face today. Ever since the pandemic, there has been plenty of stress on getting things where they’re needed just in time. The issue has only compounded with severe conflicts and financial crises breaking out. So, you might be tempted to renew or build your car or inverter batteries at home once your local electrician turns you down.
Throughout this guide, you’ll learn how to make battery electrolyte solution at home.
What Is an Electrolyte?
An electrolyte is a liquid that allows current and ions to pass through it. You can think of it as a liquid transistor. It has specific ions and charges that react with the electrodes or any other components as the current passes through it. In some cases, such as fuel cells, an electrolyte can even change its state of matter.
Due to their unique properties, electrolytes are applied in various applications. You can see them used as preservatives to reduce the oxidation rate in foods and in medical procedures to supply essential nutrients to your body without reacting with the unintended organs. Still, the most prominent use of electrolytes is in batteries.
Why Do Batteries Need an Electrolyte?
The battery is a complex device that uses various non-moving parts to store and provide electricity in the form of direct current. It has two electrodes, one positive and one negative, that create the potential difference. The charge transfer occurs with the help of wires externally and an electrolyte internally.
For lead acid batteries that heavily use sulfuric acid, the electrolyte supplies the necessary ions that react with lead to form lead sulfate. The hydrogen combines with lead oxide to create water, whereas the lead ions deposit on the negative electrode. That process is reversed during the charging process.
Can I Make Electrolytes at Home?
Yes, you can technically make electrolytes at home. In fact, you may probably have some lying around without even knowing. But, you should know that the process of creating an electrolyte is quite hazardous. So, it would help to implement a few safety measures before you start building or repairing lead-acid batteries on your own.
How to Make Battery Electrolyte Solution
A battery electrolyte solution is usually a strong acid dissolved in pure water. The water stabilizes the activity of hydrogen ions. Without water, any battery can explode even with a small magnitude of the current. You can use sulfuric acid if you have lead electrodes. Nickel electrodes are best suited for nitric acid. A safe composition is 80 parts of water for every 20 parts of pure acid.
In addition to the above chemicals, you need the following equipment to carry out the process appropriately.
- Thick insulating containers (At least 3)
- Acid resistant gloves
- Drawing pipes (Preferably transparent)
- A first aid kit with baking soda to treat acid burns
Making an Electrolyte Solution
Once you have collected all the necessary equipment, it is time to start making your electrolyte solution. Remember, it may be a short process, but you must take your time to go through each step as safely as possible.
- Pour the water into an insulated container. Make sure you measure the volume and leave some in the other container if you need to dilute the solution. It is advised to use pure water to eliminate the chance of any unwanted reactions in the battery.
- Use the gripper to grip the acid container and gently pour it into the water. If you spot excessive bubbles on the surface, pause for a few seconds to let them dissipate and pour the rest.
- The electrolyte solution should be at a high temperature now. Close it with a cover to prevent any impurities from going in but allow the hot air to escape.
Making an Electrolyte Solution
- When the solution cools down, check its strength with the hydrometer and add the liquids as needed.
- Use a drawing pipe and place one end at the bottom of the acid container. The other end goes into the battery slot.
- Tilt the container at a gradually increasing angle to allow the acid to flow into the battery. Don’t fill it to the brim. If you spot that you’re about three-quarters full, stop pouring and repeat the process for the other cells.
- When the acid level is low enough in the container, you can remove the pipe and pour it directly into the battery.
And there you go! You now have a fully restored battery. Although, you should check the voltage across the terminals using a multimeter to determine that the battery is good to go.
It helps to take a few precautions to ensure that there is little risk to yourself and those around you.
- Dispose of the leftover acid after diluting and neutralizing it with a strong base. Baking soda, calcium carbonate, and bleach are a few viable options.
- Always wear protective clothing such as gloves and goggles. Don’t make the electrolyte without full-sleeve shirts and jeans.
- Ensure to make the electrolyte in an isolated and open space.
- Have a handy first-aid kit containing baking soda to neutralize any acid burns.
- When tilting the container, use a gripper to keep some distance between yourself and the electrolyte. The acid can erupt without warning to the surroundings, especially if you rush through the pouring stage.
- Use the hydrometer carefully. Only dip enough portion into the acid to take an accurate reading.
Making an electrolyte at home is something of a science project that can save you hundreds of dollars in the coming months. While it may be easier to get your hands on acid, it is a volatile chemical that can cause severe harm, so you best handle it with care. We hope this guide assisted you in how to make battery electrolyte solution. If you still have any burning questions, feel free to use the comments section below.