Observation of a substructural network in the positive plates of lead--acid storage batteries
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A detailed scanning electron microscopy investigation into the substructural evolution of Pb--Ca positive plate microstructures is reported. The observations are based on cycling of lead--acid cells in a trickle-discharge routine. An extensive substructural network evolves throughout the active mass. The mechanism of formation of the network is based on the transformation of fairly large PbSO/sub 4/ crystals formed during the trickle-discharge routine. These are transformed in a typical preferred crystallographic sequence, with the edges of the polyhedra transformed more slowly than the planar faces, so that the crystal faces and interior are consumed first; a ''framework'' structure is left behind. This framework eventually converts to PbO/sub 2/, but forms a denser array of whiskers arranged in cell walls that correspond to the prior PbSO/sub 4/ crystal edges. The extensive fine-scale whiskerlike network of PbO/sub 2/ is considered to impart both favorable electrochemical characteristics and structural integrity to the active material of the positive plate. 6 figures.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1149/1.2133340
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