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Physics experienced molten electric battery


The new device all the key components are the hot molten metals and salts. Fully tested prototype revealed and dignity, and problems such exotic schemes.

Unusual stationary battery was invented by Donald Sedoveem (Donald Sadoway) and his colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) three years ago. Then there were only modest laboratory samples, which were to have a long way to improve.

Now Sedovey and colleagues adjusted the scheme and test the next prototype. The scientists examined how the device can withstand a series of hours of charge-discharge cycles at high loads from 50 to 200 mA/cm2.

Recall that in such a battery is three layers melt, separated only by the different densities. The top layer – it is magnesium (anode), medium – salt electrolyte (in the latest variation of the battery is MgCl2-KCl-NaCl), lower – antimony plus magnesium (cathode).


With the accumulation of energy (see diagram above) magnesium from the electric current is extracted from the molten magnesium and antimony as ions move to the anode, where the electrons and takes turns to neutral metal. At discharge the same element donate electrons and travels in the opposite direction. Accordingly, changing the thickness of the main layers.

As we see in this pack are a solid body, insulators and electrical outlet contacts (collectors). This means that the novelty is not afraid of a very high current, and potentially has a high survivability and fault tolerance.

Break down and degrade then almost nothing. And suddenly melt already melted components even emergency load fails. But it is in theory. In practice, it was not so simple.
First, experience has confirmed the durability of selected parts, despite the high temperature and corrosive environments. More than 30 cycles for two weeks resulted in no signs of corrosion or solids (and they were looking for, even with a microscope and a number of other methods of analysis.)


Second, the authors determined the battery, it has a power efficiency of 69%.
Thirdly, a few weeks of constant cycles experienced battery fails. The reason is the evaporation of salt electrolyte. But the inventors believe that this problem can be solved by revising the design of the hull.

According to scientists, the magnesium-antimony battery on liquid metals (Magnesium-Antimony Liquid Metal Battery), so it is called a full, interesting for its low cost and the ability to give more power to the network. Therefore on the basis of such batteries can be cost-effectively build large-scale energy storage.
Back in 2010 Sedovey and his colleagues – David Bradwell (David Bradwell) and Luis Ortiz (Luis Ortiz) corporation founded Liquid Metal Battery for a new type of battery, and display it on the market.

Now, after leading the experiments with a small prototype, the company has to go to the next step: to optimize the design, and possibly the composition of solid battery components (case, collectors), to conduct additional tests on the corrosion resistance and, finally, to create a large model, suitable for replication .