Alkaline battery water. Alkaline battery water

Powering Alkaline Batteries with Potassium Hydroxide

Alkaline batteries have literally become an essential part of our lives. They are used in everything from hearing aids to remote controls, toys and video games. In fact, the industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry since its inception in the 1950s. The market for alkaline batteries is expected to grow to a value of 8 billion euros by the year 2022.

However, it was not always this way. One of the first batteries to make its way into commercial use was the lead acetate battery. It was invented in 1859, but still remains the primary technology in rechargeable car batteries. The alkaline battery as we know it today was first introduced in 1959. It is this battery, with some refinements to its technology over time, that has become widely popular due to its cost and effectiveness.

How alkaline batteries work

Alkaline batteries are basically a contained chemical reaction. Each cell consists of an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte material that facilitates a transfer of electrons. In a standard alkaline battery, the cathode is made of manganese dioxide, which forms a layer on the inside of the battery casing. The anode consists of zinc powder dispersed in an electrolyte solution. Potassium hydroxide is the standard electrolyte solution for alkaline batteries. Other components in a battery include the separator to keep the anode and cathode electrically separated and a current collector to capture electrons.

When an alkaline battery is wired into a circuit, the chemical reaction takes place. A reduction reaction takes place at the cathode to produce hydroxyl ions. At the same time, the zinc anode is oxidised by consuming hydroxyl ions during which electrons are released. It is these electrons that power electrical devices.

An alkaline battery goes flat when the resources to complete the chemical reaction are depleted. The first chemical to run out is the magnesium dioxide, which means that no more hydroxyl ions can be formed, and no more electrons released.

Factors affecting the performance of alkaline batteries

It is important to note that the voltage of a battery will reduce over its life. This is acceptable because electrical devices can function normally in a range from 0.9 to 1.5 volts.

Battery manufacturers describe the operation of alkaline batteries and the factors that affect their performance as follows:

    The colder the temperature, the less efficient an alkaline battery is. Cold temperatures inhibit the movement of ions. The slow-down in chemical activity reduces the battery voltage while the current drawn remains constant.

Advantages of potassium hydroxide alkaline batteries

Prior to the invention of alkaline batteries, the most common type of battery in use was the zinc carbon battery. But, the performance of alkaline batteries far exceeds the earlier technology. They have double the energy intensity and last between four to nine times longer. Alkaline batteries also have a very good shelf life – lasting up to ten years without experiencing a noticeable deterioration in performance.

Rechargeable batteries like nickel-metal hydrogen batteries and lithium ion batteries have grown in popularity due to the reduction in waste from recharging. Lithium ion batteries are high performance batteries, which are able to deliver a significantly higher capacity than alkaline batteries. They are also much more expensive, which makes them less suitable for many of the day to day electronic uses of alkaline batteries.

Alkaline batteries waste and recycling

Potassium hydroxide alkaline batteries are not harmful to the environment. They do not contain toxic chemicals like mercury, which are controlled substances. As such, they can be disposed of as non-hazardous waste. However, it is always better to recycle materials than send them to landfills where they will slowly decompose. Each alkaline battery contains small amounts of zinc, manganese and steel, each of which can be reused if recovered.

Contact Vynova

Vynova is a leading European producer of potassium hydroxide. We have manufacturing sites in Belgium and France. Our production processes use the best available technology ensuring efficient performance and environmental responsibility. Contact one of our potassium sales representatives here or view our website to find out more about us.

Why Alkaline Batteries Are Prone to Leaking

You are searching through the junk drawer for a piece of lost treasure, maybe an old key chain. Suddenly, your fingers make contact with a substance that feels kind of wet but slimy at the same time. Don’t look now, but you’ve just discovered leaking alkaline batteries. The back corner of your junk drawer is soaked with what you believe is battery acid.

First things first, don’t panic. While the chemical that leaks from alkaline batteries can be irritating to the skin, it’s not the end of the world. Just wash your hands immediately and then clean the mess in the drawer. After that, you might want to stop and think about why alkaline batteries leak. You might also want to consider the number one way to stop leakage: buy rechargeable lithium-ion batteries instead.

The Old Standby

Disposable alkaline batteries used to be the only game in town. Then came NiCad and NiMH batteries. Today however, the undisputed champ of the consumer battery market is the lithium-ion battery. That’s not to say people don’t still use alkaline batteries. They do. Disposable alkalines remain the old standby for the simple fact that they are cheap and dependable.

To understand why alkaline batteries leak, you should probably know how they work. An alkaline battery is essentially a steel case containing a number of chemical elements capable of producing an electrical charge through an internal reaction. Every alkaline battery has a liquid electrolyte that breaks down over time.

Breakdown leads to the release of hydrogen gas. Over an alkaline battery’s normal life, what we call ‘off-gassing’ isn’t a problem. But if an alkaline battery sits too long, the pressure inside can eventually rupture the case. That’s what happens when alkaline batteries leak.

Breaching the Seals

An alkaline battery’s case is generally? Not always? tough enough to withstand off-gassing pressure. A leaking battery is generally one in which the seals have been breached. Any breach allows both hydrogen and potassium hydroxide – the liquid electrolyte – to escape.

There are occasions when a battery’s case will actually corrode to the point of being breached. This occurs from the inside out, so there is no way to know the case is corroding until the battery starts leaking. At any rate, a corroded case can leak potassium hydroxide just as it does in cases of breached seals.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion are considerably less prone to leakage compared to alkaline, because the liquid electrolyte inside is not prone to off-gassing. You do not get the same pressure build up inside the case.

A Better Battery Choice

Given the fact that alkaline batteries can leak, lithium-ion batteries are often a better choice. They are also better because they cost less in the long run. Our USB rechargeable batteries can be charged a thousand times or more. Imagine how many alkaline batteries you would have to purchase to get the same amount of practical use. Our batteries might cost slightly more at checkout, but they are significantly less expensive when measured by total electrical output.

Now you know why alkaline batteries leak. When they do, they create a terrible mess that isn’t pleasant to clean up. The solution is easy: stop buying alkaline batteries and switch to USB rechargeable lithium-ion cells instead.

Alkaline battery water

Welcome to the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority’s (MCMUA) website; MCMUA.com. The MCMUA Solid Waste Division implements recycling, solid and hazardous waste programs throughout Morris County. The MCMUA Water Division sells drinking water to several municipalities and water companies. The MCMUA is Morris County’s environmental resource.

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F.A.Q. Batteries Household (Dry Cell)

The MCMUA operates one of NJ’s most comprehensive household hazardous waste (HHW) programs. This F.A.Q. page and information on hazardous materials is intended as a guide about HHW materials as well as the MCMUA’s HHW program. This information is a general guide and does not constitute official rule, regulation or law.

Hazardous Waste Materials

  • Adhesives
  • Aerosols
  • Antifreeze
  • Appliances (CFCs)
  • Art Crafts
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries (Auto Boat)
  • Batteries, Household (dry cell)
  • Cell Phones
  • Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • Driveway Sealer
  • Electronics
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fluorescents
  • Gasoline
  • Medical Waste
  • Kerosene
  • Mercury
  • Motor Oil Filters
  • Muriatic Acid (HCl)
  • Paints Stains
  • Pesticides
  • Photo Chemicals
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Propane
  • Rock Salt
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Solvents
  • Wood with Lead Paint

Figuring out how to manage batteries can be as easy as “1-2-3.” One (1), throw alkaline (non-hazardous and use-once) dry-cell batteries into the trash; two (2), recycle rechargeable batteries using Call2Recycle® drop-off boxes; and three (3), take all other types of batteries to a household hazardous waste disposal program where they will be properly managed as hazardous waste. Click here to view this information as a 2-page, downloadable and printable PDF.

Municipal Drop-Off Locations. With the 2010 USDOT change in regulations regarding the transportation of waste batteries, the MCMUA no longer accepts mixed batteries from municipal collection points and depots for recycling. Municipalities and residents are now encouraged to mange their spent batteries according to the Easy as 1-2-3 suggestions listed on this page.

1 2 3
Alkaline Batteries (non-hazardous and use-once) Rechargeable Batteries (hazardous and multi-charge) Other Batteries (hazardous and use-once)
Throw in Garbage Recycle with Call2Recycle® Take to Household Hazardous Waste Program

Managing Household (Dry cell) Batteries is as Easy as 1-2-3

Alkaline Batteries. Use-once alkaline batteries such as AAA, AA, C, D and 9-volt batteries produced by manufacturers like Energizer and Duracell as well as less common and/or generic manufacturers now fall below Federal and state hazardous waste standards and can and should be thrown out in the ordinary garbage. These batteries types account for the majority of batteries discarded. While regulations do not required these non-hazardous batteries to be individually bagged or have their terminals covered, prior to placing into the garbage, it is still prudent to do so in an effort to minimize the risk of fire, especially with 9-volt batteries. The MCMUA and most Morris County municipalities stopped accepting alakaline batteries for recycling in November 2009. Note, this category also includes carbon zinc (heavy duty) batteries which can also be disposed of in the garbage.

Rechargeable Batteries. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC) operates Call2Recycle®, a free rechargeable battery recycling program. Call2Recycle® sets up retailers and public agencies as rechargeable battery drop-off locations at no cost to the participant. Currently, Home Depot, Radio Shack, Lowe’s and Verizon Wireless all participate in the Call2Recycle® program at all their retail locations. These locations are provided with a drop-off box with small plastic bags so the batteries can be individually bagged in accordance with the new DOT regulations. The RBRC pays all the costs associated with providing drop-off boxes, including transportation and recycling. Call 1-877-2-RECYCLE or use their website at http://www.call2recycle.org to find the closest public drop-off point.

Additionally, Call2Recycle® will provide free-of-charge drop-off boxes to any non-residential entity for the collection and recycling of their own rechargeable batteries. All one has to do is sign up online at http://www.call2recycle.org. Retailers and community recycling centers open to the public will be listed on the Call2Recycle® zip code locator and toll-free help-lines to encourage residents to recycle. Additionally, public agencies and businesses can still participate in the Call2Recycle® program without being advertised as a public drop-off location if they do not want to listed as such. Since everything is free of charge, the MCMUA is encouraging every business and/or public agency to request a drop-off box for its office or work site.

Batteries covered under the Call2Recycle program must be rechargeable and include:

alkaline, battery, water
  • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
  • Lithium Ion (Li-ion)
  • Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn)
  • Small Sealed Lead. less than 11 lbs (Pb)

Call2Recycle® Retail Drop-Off Locations: The batteries listed above can be recycled at any one of the following retail locations:

  • Best Buy
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Staples
  • Other Local Wireless and Hardware Store

In addition, the stores listed below are likely to accept rechargeable batteries for recycling but please contact them first hjust to make sure.

  • Batteries Plus
  • Black Decker
  • Orchard Supply Hardware
  • Porter Cable/li
  • Remington
  • Sears
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Wireless Zone

Rechargeable batteries are found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, camcorders, and remote control toys. Rechargeable batteries sometimes look like regular alkaline batteries. The label on the battery will indicate if it is rechargeable. Note, cell phones can also be collected through the Call2Recycle® program.

Other Batteries. Non-rechargeable and large (over 11 lbs) lead-acid batteries make up this category. The proper management for these batteries is to take them to a household hazardous waste disposal program. Information about Morris County’s household hazardous waste programs can be found at the MCMUA website or by calling 973-829-8006.

  • Button Cell Batteries. Most of these batteries still contain mercury and should be taken to a household hazardous waste program for proper management.
  • Lead-Acid Batteries. While rechargeable lead-acid batteries contain lead and are often used for car and boat batteries (over 11 lbs) should also be taken to a household hazardous waste program.
  • Disposable Lithium Batteries. Use-once, non-rechargeable lithium batteries (AA, C, 9 volt and coin); mainly used in computers and cameras, are reactive with water, and can cause serious fires. If lithium batteries are non-rechargeable they must be delivered to a hazardous waste program for proper management.

Hazards of Batteries Household

  • Hazardous batteries burned in waste combustion facilities can release mercury or cadmium to the air and water, ultimately entering the food chain and posing health threats to people and the environment.
  • With the adoption of the Morris County Recycling Plan Update as of October 2007 only hazardous dry cell batteries are mandated to be source separated and recycled. Non-hazardous dry cell batteries are acceptable and are to be disposed of in the solid waste stream (trash). Keep reading below for additional information on this distinction. In addition to rechargeable batteries which are hazardous and need to be recycled, non-rechargeable, hazardous batteries such as non-rechargeable lithium, silver oxide, mercury and magnesium button-type batteries, etc. need to be brought to a hazardous waste disposal program for proper management. It should be noted that domestically manufactured alkaline and carbon zinc non-rechargeable batteries made after circa 1994 eliminated mercury content to the point that they are not be considered hazardous and therefore are not included in the list of materials mandated to be source separated and recycled. The proper management of these non-hazardous batteries is to throw them in the regular garbage.

Handling Batteries Household (Dry Cell)

  • Store in a secure, dry place out of the reach of children and pets. Button batteries can be swallowed because they are small and slippery.
  • When storing rechargeable batteries for collection, keep in a vented, non-metal container. Rechargeable batteries should be placed individually in plastic bags before being stored together with other rechargeables.

Alkaline battery water

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Classify batteries as primary or secondary
  • List some of the characteristics and limitations of batteries
  • Provide a general description of a fuel cell

A battery is an electrochemical cell or series of cells that produces an electric current. In principle, any galvanic cell could be used as a battery. An ideal battery would never run down, produce an unchanging voltage, and be capable of withstanding environmental extremes of heat and humidity. Real batteries strike a balance between ideal characteristics and practical limitations. For example, the mass of a car battery is about 18 kg or about 1% of the mass of an average car or light-duty truck. This type of battery would supply nearly unlimited energy if used in a smartphone, but would be rejected for this application because of its mass. Thus, no single battery is “best” and batteries are selected for a particular application, keeping things like the mass of the battery, its cost, reliability, and current capacity in mind. There are two basic types of batteries: primary and secondary. A few batteries of each type are described next.

Watch this video to learn more about batteries.

Primary Batteries

Primary batteries are single-use batteries because they cannot be recharged. A common primary battery is the dry cell (Figure 1). The dry cell is a zinc-carbon battery. The zinc can serves as both a container and the negative electrode. The positive electrode is a rod made of carbon that is surrounded by a paste of manganese(IV) oxide, zinc chloride, ammonium chloride, carbon powder, and a small amount of water. The reaction at the anode can be represented as the ordinary oxidation of zinc:

The reaction at the cathode is more complicated, in part because more than one reaction occurs. The series of reactions that occurs at the cathode is approximately

The overall reaction for the zinc–carbon battery can be represented as

with an overall cell potential which is initially about 1.5 V, but decreases as the battery is used. It is important to remember that the voltage delivered by a battery is the same regardless of the size of a battery. For this reason, D, C, A, AA, and AAA batteries all have the same voltage rating. However, larger batteries can deliver more moles of electrons. As the zinc container oxidizes, its contents eventually leak out, so this type of battery should not be left in any electrical device for extended periods.

Figure 1. The diagram shows a cross section of a flashlight battery, a zinc-carbon dry cell.

Watch this video to learn more about zinc-carbon batteries.

Alkaline batteries (Figure 2) were developed in the 1950s partly to address some of the performance issues with zinc–carbon dry cells. They are manufactured to be exact replacements for zinc-carbon dry cells. As their name suggests, these types of batteries use alkaline electrolytes, often potassium hydroxide. The reactions are

An alkaline battery can deliver about three to five times the energy of a zinc-carbon dry cell of similar size. Alkaline batteries are prone to leaking potassium hydroxide, so these should also be removed from devices for long-term storage. While some alkaline batteries are rechargeable, most are not. Attempts to recharge an alkaline battery that is not rechargeable often leads to rupture of the battery and leakage of the potassium hydroxide electrolyte.

Figure 2. Alkaline batteries were designed as direct replacements for zinc-carbon (dry cell) batteries.

Secondary Batteries

Secondary batteries are rechargeable. These are the types of batteries found in devices such as smartphones, electronic tablets, and automobiles.

Nickel-cadmium, or NiCd, batteries (Figure 3) consist of a nickel-plated cathode, cadmium-plated anode, and a potassium hydroxide electrode. The positive and negative plates, which are prevented from shorting by the separator, are rolled together and put into the case. This is a “jelly-roll” design and allows the NiCd cell to deliver much more current than a similar-sized alkaline battery. The reactions are

The voltage is about 1.2 V to 1.25 V as the battery discharges. When properly treated, a NiCd battery can be recharged about 1000 times. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal so NiCd batteries should never be opened or put into the regular trash.

Figure 3. NiCd batteries use a “jelly-roll” design that significantly increases the amount of current the battery can deliver as compared to a similar-sized alkaline battery.

Lithium ion batteries (Figure 4) are among the most popular rechargeable batteries and are used in many portable electronic devices. The reactions are

With the coefficients representing moles, x is no more than about 0.5 moles. The battery voltage is about 3.7 V. Lithium batteries are popular because they can provide a large amount current, are lighter than comparable batteries of other types, produce a nearly constant voltage as they discharge, and only slowly lose their charge when stored.

Figure 4. In a lithium ion battery, charge flows between the electrodes as the lithium ions move between the anode and cathode.

Watch this video for more information about lithium ion batteries.

The lead acid battery (Figure 5) is the type of secondary battery used in your automobile. It is inexpensive and capable of producing the high current required by automobile starter motors. The reactions for a lead acid battery are

Each cell produces 2 V, so six cells are connected in series to produce a 12-V car battery. Lead acid batteries are heavy and contain a caustic liquid electrolyte, but are often still the battery of choice because of their high current density. Since these batteries contain a significant amount of lead, they must always be disposed of properly.

Figure 5. The lead acid battery in your automobile consists of six cells connected in series to give 12 V. Their low cost and high current output makes these excellent candidates for providing power for automobile starter motors.

alkaline, battery, water

Watch this video for more information about lead acid batteries.

Fuel Cells

A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Fuel cells are similar to batteries but require a continuous source of fuel, often hydrogen. They will continue to produce electricity as long as fuel is available. Hydrogen fuel cells have been used to supply power for satellites, space capsules, automobiles, boats, and submarines (Figure 6).

Figure 6. In this hydrogen fuel-cell schematic, oxygen from the air reacts with hydrogen, producing water and electricity.

In a hydrogen fuel cell, the reactions are

The voltage is about 0.9 V. The efficiency of fuel cells is typically about 40% to 60%, which is higher than the typical internal combustion engine (25% to 35%) and, in the case of the hydrogen fuel cell, produces only water as exhaust. Currently, fuel cells are rather expensive and contain features that cause them to fail after a relatively short time.

Check out this video to learn more about fuel cells.

Key Concepts and Summary

Batteries are galvanic cells, or a series of cells, that produce an electric current. When cells are combined into batteries, the potential of the battery is an integer multiple of the potential of a single cell. There are two basic types of batteries: primary and secondary. Primary batteries are “single use” and cannot be recharged. Dry cells and (most) alkaline batteries are examples of primary batteries. The second type is rechargeable and is called a secondary battery. Examples of secondary batteries include nickel-cadmium (NiCd), lead acid, and lithium ion batteries. Fuel cells are similar to batteries in that they generate an electrical current, but require continuous addition of fuel and oxidizer. The hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen from the air to produce water, and is generally more efficient than internal combustion engines.

Exercises

  • What are the desirable qualities of an electric battery?
  • List some things that are typically considered when selecting a battery for a new application.
  • Consider a battery made from one half-cell that consists of a copper electrode in 1 M CuSO4 solution and another half-cell that consists of a lead electrode in 1 M Pb(NO3)2 solution.
  • What are the reactions at the anode, cathode, and the overall reaction?
  • What is the standard cell potential for the battery?
  • Most devices designed to use dry-cell batteries can operate between 1.0 and 1.5 V. Could this cell be used to make a battery that could replace a dry-cell battery? Why or why not.
  • Suppose sulfuric acid is added to the half-cell with the lead electrode and some PbSO4(s) forms. Would the cell potential increase, decrease, or remain the same?
  • What is the reaction at the anode and cathode?
  • A battery is “dead” when it has no cell potential. What is the value of Q when this battery is dead?
  • If a particular dead battery was found to have [Cu 2 ] = 0.11 M, what was the concentration of silver ion?

Considerations include: cost of the materials used in the battery, toxicity of the various components (what constitutes proper disposal), should it be a primary or secondary battery, energy requirements (the “size” of the battery/how long should it last), will a particular battery leak when the new device is used according to directions, and its mass (the total mass of the new device).

The answers are as follows:

  • The reactions are: [latex]\begin\text\left(s\right)\longrightarrow ^\left(aq\right)^_^=\text\\ \text2\times \left(^\left(aq\right)^\longrightarrow \text\left(s\right)\right)_^=\text\\ \\ \text\left(s\right)^\left(aq\right)\rightleftharpoons ^\left(aq\right)\text\left(s\right)_^=\text\end[/latex]
  • (b) Using the Nernst equation with n = 2: [latex]_=_^-\frac\textQ[/latex] [latex]0=\text-\frac\textQ\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\text\,\,\,\,\,\,\,Q=^2\times \text\text\text=^=3.5\times ^[/latex]
  • (c) Using the value of Q just calculated: [latex]Q=3.5\times^=\frac\left[\text^\right]\left[\text^\right]^\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\text\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\left[\text^\right]=\sqrt\frac\left[\text^\right]3.5\times^=5.6\times^M[/latex]

Batteries are self-contained and have a limited supply of reagents to expend before going dead. Alternatively, battery reaction byproducts accumulate and interfere with the reaction. Because a fuel cell is constantly resupplied with reactants and products are expelled, it can continue to function as long as reagents are supplied.

Ecell, as described in the Nernst equation, has a term that is directly proportional to temperature. At low temperatures, this term is decreased, resulting in a lower cell voltage provided by the battery to the device—the same effect as a battery running dead.

Glossary

alkaline battery: primary battery that uses an alkaline (often potassium hydroxide) electrolyte; designed to be an exact replacement for the dry cell, but with more energy storage and less electrolyte leakage than typical dry cell

battery: galvanic cell or series of cells that produces a current; in theory, any galvanic cell

dry cell: primary battery, also called a zinc-carbon battery; can be used in any orientation because it uses a paste as the electrolyte; tends to leak electrolyte when stored

fuel cell: devices that produce an electrical current as long as fuel and oxidizer are continuously added; more efficient than internal combustion engines

lead acid battery: secondary battery that consists of multiple cells; the lead acid battery found in automobiles has six cells and a voltage of 12 V

lithium ion battery: very popular secondary battery; uses lithium ions to conduct current and is light, rechargeable, and produces a nearly constant potential as it discharges

nickel-cadmium battery: (NiCd battery) secondary battery that uses cadmium, which is a toxic heavy metal; heavier than lithium ion batteries, but with similar performance characteristics

primary battery: single-use nonrechargeable battery

secondary battery: battery that can be recharged

  • Chemistry. Provided by: OpenStax College. Located at: http://openstaxcollege.org. License: CC BY: Attribution. License Terms: Download for free at https://openstaxcollege.org/textbooks/chemistry/get

How To Neutralize Battery Acid and Clean Up Battery Acid Spills

Battery acid and battery electrolytes, in general, are chemicals that should not come in contact with skin, clothes, and other everyday materials.

Also, their vapors and fumes can be rather dangerous. when battery electrolytes come in contact with other materials, they can react in unpredictable ways creating perhaps even more dangerous compounds.

When a battery starts to leak, the battery acid must be neutralized, and the battery must be considered as dangerous and must be replaced and properly recycled.

Published: October 19, 2022.

Fortunately, smaller battery spills can be cleaned up using common household items like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and similar. However, to neutralize larger amounts of battery acids, one needs professional products.

How To Neutralize Lead-Acid Battery Acid

Although AGM and Gel-Cell lead-acid batteries are rather popular types of lead-acid spill-proof batteries, wet/flooded lead-acid batteries are still very popular.

Since wet/flooded lead-acid batteries are NOT maintenance-free and they are NOT spill-proof, many people, unfortunately, come in contact with the smaller amounts of diluted sulfuric acid (H2SO4), which can be quite dangerous and can cause skin burns, damage the clothes, objects, car parts and similar.

So, how to neutralize and clean up small spills of lead-acid battery acid?

If You don’t have time to make a baking soda/water solution, but You (skin, clothes) came into contact with a small amount of sulfuric acid, wash the skin and clothes with a generous amount of plain water. water will not neutralize the acid, but diluted it to the point where it cannot cause acid burns or burn through the clothes.

Also, the washed-away amount of sulfuric acid is very small, and its environmental impact is negligible.

If the amount of battery acid is substantial (not just a few drops), mix one cup (240 ml, ~200g) of baking soda with a gallon (~3.8 liters) of water and wash your hands, clothes, and affected surfaces with this mixture.

Baking soda is a weak alkali and is safe for skin and most car parts and clothing.

After neutralizing the acid (no more fizzling, for example), wash everything with plain water to remove any baking soda residue.

If your skin was exposed to the battery acid, and especially if your eyes or mouth were exposed to the battery acid, after neutralizing the acid and washing soda, contact your doctor immediately.

Can Baking Soda Safely Neutralize Large Forklift And Similar Lead-Acid Battery Spills?

Short answer, with no math or chemistry: No, baking soda is not suitable for neutralizing spills of battery acid from large batteries.

And here comes a little bit longer answer.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate with a chemical formula of NaHCO3 and a molar mass of 84.0066 g/mol (~84 g/mol), while the battery acid is diluted sulfuric acid with a chemical formula of H2SO4 and a molar mass of 98.079 g/mol (~98 g/mol).

The equation of neutralization of sulfuric acid with baking soda is:

This means that one needs 2 moles of sodium bicarbonate to neutralize 1 mole of sulfuric acid and to create 1 mole of sodium sulfate (more or less neutral), 2 moles (36g) of water, and 2 moles (88g) of carbon dioxide.

Or in grams, one needs 168g of baking soda to neutralize 98g of sulfuric acid.

Forklift come in various dimensions, and so does their battery packs. But, very often, a battery pack consisting of four 8D lead-acid batteries is used to power such and similar vehicles and is used in industry to power various electric tools and devices.

A typical 8D lead-acid battery weighs ~150 pounds (~68 kg) and contains ~25-30 pounds (~11.3-13.6 kg) of electrolyte, which is diluted sulfuric acid.

Note: these values vary and are dependent on a battery model, remaining battery charge, and similar. this is just an example to show why baking soda is NOT suitable for neutralizing and cleaning up of large lead-acid battery acid spills.

The amount of sulfuric acid in an electrolyte varies from 30 to 50%, but it is safe to say that a fully charged, 150 pounds lead-acid battery contains between 3.4 kg and 6.8 kg of sulfuric acid.

If the battery pack consists of four such batteries and all four batteries are leaking (the forklift had an accident, for example), that means that the spill contains between 13.6 and 27.2 kg of acid.

Such an amount of acid requires at least 23.3 to 46.6 kilograms of baking soda for complete neutralization.

First of all, this is a small battery pack for an electric forklift, with some models having 3-4x heavier battery packs.

Second, such an amount of baking soda is hard to work with, requiring plenty of water to make a safe mixture for cleaning (again, one cup of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water).

Third, if baking soda is directly mixed with battery acid (who has time to mix it with water, right?), chemical reactions between baking soda in powder form and diluted sulfuric acid can be rather energetic, with plenty of CO2 being produced, not to mention acid vapors, droplets, etc.

In short, complete and very dangerous mess.

That is why warehouses and industrial plants using or manufacturing lead battery acid must have trained personnel, protective gear, and professional acid absorbents to be used if something goes wrong.

How To Neutralize Alkaline Battery Electrolyte

Alkaline batteries are much smaller than car and similar lead-acid batteries, but they nonetheless contain electrolytes that can leak out and cause chemical burns and damage the equipment.

Fortunately, they are much easier to neutralize.

If your hands come into contact with the electrolyte of an alkaline battery, put some vinegar on the affected skin and then wash your hands with plenty of water and some mild hand soap.

If there is some battery electrolyte left in the battery compartment of the device, use a toothbrush with some vinegar or lemon juice and scrub the affected parts of the battery compartment.

After the fizzling stops, clean the vinegar or lemon juice with some water, and that is all.

Since alkaline batteries are used even in standby devices that don’t operate for years but must operate at the moment of notice (EDC flashlights, for example), it is highly recommended to power such devices using high-quality alkaline batteries from reputable brands that are guaranteed leek-proof.

How To Clean Up Lithium Battery Electrolyte

Lithium batteries are generally leak-proof, but from time to time, they may get damaged, and their electrolyte may leak out.

If that happens, the battery is considered dangerous since it can overheat, catch fire or even explode. damaged lithium batteries should be placed in fireproof bags and recycled properly.

Their electrolytes are washed away using plenty of plain water, diluting any aggressive liquid that may cause damage or injuries.

Long Story Short: If the battery leaks, regardless of the actual chemistry, consider the leaking electrolyte dangerous to touch and breathe.

When working with the battery electrolytes, always wear protective gear (gloves, goggles, mask, etc.) and try to stay safe.

If a big lead battery acid spill happens and You don’t know what to do, leave the area immediately (go out, get some fresh air) and let the certified professionals deal with the spill.

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