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Патент USA US3036152

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May 22, 1962
Filed July 18, 1958
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Patented May 22, 1962
'by anode 12, cathode 14 and spacers 16. Desirably the
>assembled battery is mounted atop an open framework
Leo Goldenherg, 900 Malta Lane, Silver Spring, Md., and
Morris Fidelman, Adelphi, Md. (1217 De Vere Drive,
Silver Spring, Md.)
Filed July 18, 1958, Ser. No. 749,408
4 Claims. (Cl. 136-100)
18 which in turn rests on the bottom of battery casing 20.
In this fashion the assembled cells are spaced apart from
the bottom of the casing 20 to provide electrolyte free
space beneath the cells.
Similarly the casing is made
oversized relative to the cell width to provide additional
free space along the side edges as shown in the draw
This invention relates to a novel primary battery based
ing. In passing, it may be mentioned that open frame
upon magnesium. More particularly this invention re 10 work or rack 18 can be omitted and instead the separators
lates to and constitutes an improvement over the mag
nesium galvanic 4cell disclosed and claimed in copending
application, S.N. 749,363, ñled simultaneously herewith.
or spacers 16 made suñiciently strong to serve as bat
tery supports, and long enough to serve as stilts.
this alternative construction (not shown) the entire bat
As pointed out in the aforementioned copending ap
tery could either be suspended from the top of the casing
plication, the reaction of magnesium with water to pro 15 by separators 16 or stand on the separators. In either
duce magnesium hydroxide, hydrogen and electricity can
be effected in a manner which produces substantial
amounts of current at usable voltages by employment of
chemically inert high surface area cathodes. The fore
event electrolyte free space 22 is provided alongside,
above and beneath the battery cells. A lateral spacer
24 may be provided as a separator between each set
of parallel-connected cells in order that a multiplicity of
going copending application is particularly direc-ted to im 20 such sets of cell assemblies may be connected in series
proved cathode materials for the individual cells. The
instant invention relates to a battery structure comprising
a multiplicity of individual galvanic cells assembled in
to provide a voltage higher than is available from one
cell or one set of parallel-connected cells. Lateral spacer
2,4 is shown to extend clear across casing 10 and may
a particularly advantageous manner.
completely subdivide the casing into a multiplicity of
It has been found that an assemblage of a multiplicity 25 cell compartments. It is, however, preferable to provide
of magnesium cells into a battery requires certain critical
at least one or more openings 26 in lateral spacer 24 to
inter-relationships in order to maintain a high relatively
constant voltage and current output throughout the life
of the battery.
The magnesium cell inherently requires a continuing
consumption of metallic magnesium and Water, with a
casing. Then should some malfunction cause one cell
to consume more electrolyte than another, some of the
concomitant continuing production of hydrogen and mag
nesium hydroxide. According to the practice of this
invention, the hydrogen is permitted to evolve freely
tions 28 may be provided between each of the cells in
series. A vent 30 is provided for liberation of hydrogen
from the battery casing, and desirably may be capped
allow freepassage of electrolyte throughout the entire
excess electrolyte can flow into the malfunctioning cell
from an adjacent cell.
Conventional electrical connec
through the electrolyte and pass out the top surface of 35 with a conventional porous ceramic spark arrester whose
purpose is to permit passage of hydrogen while preventing
should be removed promptly from the cell. Also, excess
explosion due to sparks, etc.
water must be provided in order to maintain the cell full
The advantages of the structure shown in the drawing
of electrolyte despite continuing consumption of water
ar-e based upon the particular characteristics of a battery'
by the reaction.
40 formed from magnesium galvanic cells. . As has been
According to the practice of the instant invention, the
pointed out in the aforementioned companion applica
evolution of hydrogen and the removal of magnesium
tion, a cell spacing of from 0.1 to 2O mm. between the
hydroxide is effected by providing a top and bottom free
anode and cathode of a cell is critical. As a result even
space for electrolyte above and below each cell, and a
an electrode spacing of 20 mm. provides but a relatively
free unburdened passage for electrolyte to circulate be
small volume of electrolyte within the cell itself. In
tween the electrodes forming each cell. Thus the electro
fact the electrolyte volume is insuñicient for more than
lyte can flow up or down, `but lateral passage is hindered
a bn'ef period of operation. This can be demonstrated
in the manner hereinafter Set forth. The problem of
from a representative set of cell dimensions, namely the
water removal via chemical reaction and evaporation is
maximum spacing of 20 mm. for a cell having a square
also solved by providing space for excess electrolyte 50 electrode 200 x 200 mm. The enclosed volume is
above, below and alongside the electrolytic cells. These
200 x 200 x 20 or 800 cubic centimeters, roughly 800
basic battery features are integrated with the individual
grams of water. If this were the entire water supply,
characteristic of the magnesium galvanic cell in a manner
consumption of l mm. from the magnesium anode would
which will be better understood by reference to the
also consume roughly 100 cc. of the available liquid,
the electrolyte. Similarly the magnesium hydroxide ñoc
attached drawing and the following description.
Referring now to the drawing wherein a two-cell as
sembly forming part of a battery is diagrammatically il
FIGURE l is a plan View partially in section of the
FIGURE. 2 is an elevation taken along line 2_2 on
FIGURE l; and
FIGURE 3 diagrammatically shows the electrical con
nections in the battery.
55 thereby exposing the upper portion of the electrodes and
cutting down on the usable electrode area substantially.
This would upset the relationship of current density
to voltage. To a lesser degree the electrolyte balance
would also be upset by the consequent increased concen-Y
60 tration of the salts present. By and large at these maxi
mum spacing figures of 20 mm. and a reasonable mini
mum consumption of metal magnesium per cell of 1
mm., the total liquid loss approximates ‘15% of the liquid
available within the cell. Accordingly it is necessary for
It can be seen that each galvanic cell is made up of a 65 the proper practice of the instant invention to immerse>
magnesium or magnesium alloy anode 12 spaced apart
the cells inside a casing large enough to provide a free
from an inert cathode 14 by a pair of vertical spacer
spacing exceeding 15% of the volume of electrolyte
elements 16 disposed adjacent the vertical side edges of
originally situated between the electrodes in order to
the pair of electrodes. Spacer elements 16 extend sub
provide make-up for electrolyte consumed by operation
stantially the entire height of the electrodes. There are 70 of the battery. Peculiarly enough there is no upperl'nnit
no horizontal barriers (such as spacers) against vertical
for the amount of free space because it is within express
movement of the electrolyte inside the volume bounded
contemplation of the instant invention to construct an
open- battery for direct immersion in sea water. Such a
por-tant for conditions of low power drain because even
the smaller amount of hydrogen thus produced creates
battery. canserve` as an. emergency power source for lifeY
rafts or boats. In such instances the free space for ex
an electrolytic circulation by;> means of which the mag
cess electrolyte would consist of the entire ocean, and be
virtually inñnite. For many uses, notably where a con
nesium hydroxide product is'carried away from the
anode surface and out over the top or side edges of the
tainer ist, present, the 15% ligure need not be4 materially
exceeded because periodic addition of` water.v to the bat
tery can be madewithout imposing an undue'hardship
upon the user. In passing'it may be noted that produc
tion of the4 magnesium hydroxide by the' cellf is the reason
galvanic cell. The smaller amount of hydrogen producedV
at the anode at the` lower current densitiesV would other
wise be of itself inadequate to provide for scouring the
magnesium hydroxide 0E the anode surface.
'A significant feature of the instant invention is that the
for providing some of the excess electrolyte space below
battery should be completely immersed in electrolyte in
order to provide maximum utilization of the available
magnesium. Obviously anypart of the magnesium anodes
theelectrolytic cells. Were the magnesium hydroxide al
lowed. to` remain in the electrolytewithin the cell there Y
wouldbe a tendency forA ittopack between the-plates atV
extending above the surface of the electrolyte is not
the bottom of the cell. This solid product would dis 15 available for consumption in the battery. Thus even
place elcctrolytic upward and would eventually pack suf- .y
though the side spacers need not extend to the top edge
ñcientlyétoîcausethe lowermost portion of the electrodes
torbe unavailable for electrolytic action. According to
ofV the'electrodes, there is little point in wasting potential
power by permitting the electrode to emerge from the
thepractice ofthe instant invention a substantial portion
electrolyte. _The excess electrolyte'standing above the
of-:fthe free space is provided below the galvanic cells. s V20 uppermost levelv of the electrolytic cells serves as the
While 'the` foregoing explanation has been given in
principal source of electrolyte. The displacement of the
terms> of- maximum electrode spacingit should be borne
electrolyte in the bottom free space by precipitated mag
nesium- hydroxide serves to provide a secondary supply
ordinarily be provided. As-a general rule of thumbthe
of electrolyte; The actual-'amount of excess electrolyte
electrode spacing provided should about equal the thick 25 to be provided inside the'battery-container depends upon.
nessof Ymagnesiuml anodev to be consumed. Thus to giveV
the frequency with which waters-can beA addedduring-the
a specific examplefof preferred practice: A magnesium
life of the battery;
in mindfthat a much lower spacing than 20 mm. wouldV '
sheet Ms” thick is employedv and consumed from both
surfaces, in a cell’ with an electrode spacingY of abou-t Y
The following is a` specific example of a -battery con
structed' according to the practice of the instant inven
With these dimensions, consumption of l mm. 30
approximately .04"»)> of’ magnesium. would require more
waterßforrthe reaction than the total electrolyte initially
contained'f between the »two electrodes.V Thus the need
Forty 6" x 6" squares of pure magnesium Ma” thick
(about l() pounds of Mg) were used for anodes, and fifty
6" x 6" mild steel sheets about l() mils thick, each elec
for excess electrolyte is readily-apparent.
troplated to a matite finish with about one mil of nickel
Moreover «the» reaction of magnesium with Water toV 35 (at v25_ amps. per square foot using the “Watts” electro
produce current isaccompanied also by evolution of heat,
plarting bath) were employed as ca_thodes to make up a
and; electrolyte losses attributable to vapon'zationj rnust,_V
ten cell battery. For each cell, four-magnesium> plates~
therefore, also be overcome. In fact, overheating can
become'somewhat 'off a problem. A more important
i and‘ñve ofthe cathode plates were placed face to face
factor,'however, is the` desirability of'attaining a high
degree of V`electrolyte circulation and ¿turbulencebetween
theÍelectrodes. Aside from therprevention of overheat
40 longand 1A” wide, the cells being separated by a thin
separated only by polystyrene side spacers JAQÍ' thick, 4"
polystyrene` sheet.' The l0 cellswere electrically hooked
Y up inY series to give a ten-cell battery 6” x 6" by about
ing, there' are many reasons- forthe desirability ofgelectro
lytercir‘culation. Firstly, and "foremost,v tests-have shown
that'. a-'highdegree of turbulence improves the current-u
voltagecharacteristics of theV magnesium galvanic'cellì
12".' YA containerhavin‘g internal dimensions of 7" Vx
10’_,’_x 12” had*> placed therein an open box-work plat
45 form? which stood’ three inches above the bottom.
Another-¿important reason is that a highv levelÍofLelectrrolyte movement can» be- used to remove/the magnesium
hydroxide product from-»the cell. lFrinally the-rapidrcir
culationfdoesprevent local overheating andminimizes
loss» of" electrolyte.l through evaporation. A-l-l of these;
desirableïobjects are attained bypQsitiOning spacer ele-V
50 velopedgö'volts at 40 amperes (24() watts) drain.
maximum power> drain of this battery was l0() amperesY
' at 3.5jvolts (3_50`watts).
ments adjacenttthe sideïedgesof the electrodes'. These
Whatjis claimed is:
spacerf elements should, of-courselbe longitudinally elon
gated soras- to provide a- barrierfagainst v lateral ilow of '
gelectrolyteginto orcut of the Yside ofthe cell‘atmid regions s
of1_'the¿celîl.¿ The-spacer elements need not extend com_
pletelyy top. tov bottom ofthe electrodes, butlbyV and large
Y "they should-extend more than half- the vertical heightÍo'f
the.= electrodes.
With „this Yabove-described- construction al pluralityjof>
lbattery reste'dlon:` the platform. ' The top edges‘of the cells
werevone inch below the toprof the container. The elec
trolytre employed inV this instance was a saturated'solu
tionV of’srodium chloride in tap water. The battery de
lli.VA'mjagnesium basedV primary battery comprising a
casingenclosing-a plurality of electrolytic cells, in each
celly the electrodes therein being spaced apart from the
side walls,„theV bottom wall and the top edge of said
casing sufficient to provide an electrolyte free spacerex
ceeding. about 15% of the volume of electrolyte original
ly situated between the-electrodes, thenormal liquid level
of electrolyte Vin each cell being above'the topvedge of
galvanic cells assembled into a battery vaccording tothe>V
the electrodes, each-*cell having a magnesium anode elec
.Y practicelrof ¿the instant¿invent_ion can be directly immersed
trodeY spaced apart from an inert cathode electrode a dis
in--sea water. The hydrogen evolying from the'reactiodV ' Y tance -of 0.».1 to 20mm. by` elongated spacer elements posi
createsîa‘; gas lift» which forces electrolyte from beneath
tioned adjacent the side edges of 'the electrodes, each cell
theY cellfbottorrr up through the celli-tself, _then overthe
beingopen top toY bottom~forf cyclic continuous passage
top; ofthe cellxQor atri-leastV over the~ top edgeof the elon
Vg’atedzspacerf~ elements)'and-ñnally'latcrally away from the. v Y of electrolyte from the free space beneath the’electrodes
cell.à '['hl'sñow of: electrolyte carrieswith it the ñ'occulent; up through theïelectrodestfo'thelfree space above the
magnesium hydroxide produced by the" battery action; 70' electrodes
' Moreoyer, fresh ,electrolyte _is always >flowing `up through;
back down between the'electrodes and the
casing sidewalls.
llleïêellgrtherebvavcîdins Qverheatina VAt thesame time
Y aidesiredîfurlmienceis maintaìnedin. each galvanicrcell;
tlîlîekïrelaïtivelyÍ narrow electrode spacing» -i_s'¿ particularly im’->
24:7„A’r'nagnesiurn based primary battery made from a
pluralityl of cells, each,_.cell` comprising: a magnesium
anode,}an inert cathode positioned face» to face» and
75 Yseparated¿by afpair offelongated spacer Velements one ad->
jacent each side edge of these electrodes and serving to
spacer elements extend at least half the vertical height
of the anode.
4. A magnesium battery as in claim 2 wherein the
spacer elements extend at least half the vertical height
of hydrogen from the top, said battery being adapted for 5 of the anode.
total immersion in a volume of electrolyte exceeding the
References Cited in the ñle of this patent
volume of electrolyte originally situated between the elec
trodes by at least 15% with the normal liquid level of
the electrolyte being above the top edge of the electrodes
Edison ________________ __ July 8, 1902
and the top, bottom, and side electrolyte bounding walls
Wood _____________ __ Sept. 13, 1904
separate anode from cathode a distance ranging from 0.1
to 20 mm., each cell being otherwise open top and bottom
for entry of electrolyte up through the ‘bottom and release
being spaced apart from the electrodes, whereby elec
trolyte can cyclically circulate from ‘beneath the cells up
through the cells, down outside the cells, and yback be
neath the cells.
3. A magnesium battery as in claim l wherein the 15
Beechlyn ____________ __ June 28,
Taylor ______________ __ Mar. 25,
Rappaport ____________ __ July 27,
Lucas ______________ __ Apr. 12,
Costa et al _____________ __ Aug. 2,
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