The well-known phenomenon of pasted-plate carbonation during the manufacture of flooded lead‒acid batteries is an issue that has not been fully investigated for the production of plates used in valve-regulated counterparts (VRLAs). The fixing of atmospheric carbon dioxide to PbO on freshly-pasted plates has implications that must be identified and managed. If plate carbonation is not curtailed early in plate manufacture, it results in adverse consequences not only in downstream processing but also in subsequent battery performance. This presentation discloses how the phenomenon was identified about 35 years ago when Gates spiral-wound cells were being produced under conditions that were conducive to plate carbonation. Accordingly, it became necessary to identify clearly the magnitude of plate carbonation and to develop procedures to restrict its occurrence. Information and data are presented on the ambient conditions that lead to plate carbonation, how it was detected, and the changes in manufacturing that are necessary to minimize the degree of formation. A discussion of the consequences of not dealing with plate carbonation with regard to the cost of manufacturing and the impact on battery performance are also given.

Bob Nelson
Recombination Technologies

Biography: Dr. Nelson obtained his B.A. at Northwestern University in 1963 and his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1966 in the field of organic electrochemistry. He worked in the field of teaching and research at the university level, graduated 9 Ph.D. and MS students and published 38 refereed literature papers. He also gave various presentations at national and international conferences. In 1978, he jointed Gates Energy Products and worked with the fledgling company for 13 years in the U.S. and the U.K., as GEP developed their patented valve-regulated lead-acid technology. Following a year working with Portable Energy Products on its flat-plate VRLA product development, he joined the International Lead-Zinc Research Organization, ILZRO, for the next 3 years and was instrumental in establishing the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium, ALABC. After leaving ILZRO in 1994, he worked with Bolder Technologies before going into independent consulting in 1997. Since then, he has worked with a variety of start-up companies, including Firefly, Effpower in Sweden, Axion Power and established companies such as EnerSys in the U.S. and Banner in Austria. He is currently working with battery companies in Korea and China, in addition to several startup companies in the U.S.

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