Microstructural comparison of positive float and trickle discharge operations on the positive electrodes of submarine storage batteries with lead-calcium alloy grids
Coyle, Michael Thomas
Perkins, A. Jeff
McNelley, Terry R.
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Lead calcium alloy grid batteries are utilized as the backup emergency power supply on non-diesel-electric submarines. Sudden and premature capacity losses have been experienced when these batteries are operated in a fleet mode while in standby conditions, hence a continuous drain, or trickle discharge, is maintained in lieu of float. This requires periodic battery charges to restore full capacity. The microstructural effects of float and trickle discharge operation on positive plates from small cells, manufactured from full size submarine battery plates, and studies with a scanning electron microscope. This is complemented with light microscopy observations and x-ray diffraction analysis. A patterned dendritic network of spiny crystals was discovered to be prevalent in the trickle-discharged plates. This network was seen on the grid surface corrosion layer and on a dense layer found in the internal active materials. It is postulated that this network may be related to lead-sulfate dissolution upon recharge.
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