A LEAD ACID BATTERY DESULFATION TUTORIAL
While there are many battery chemistries today, and new types becoming commercially
viable over time, we deal with the lead acid types, flooded, AGM, and true Gel, as they
are widely used in the applications we specialize in. A typical lead acid battery
cell has two plate types, one of lead and one of lead dioxide, both in contact with the
sulfuric acid electrolyte as either a liquid, absorbed in a mat (AGM), or a gel. The lead dioxide
) plate reacts with the sulfuric acid (H
resulting in hydrogen ions and oxygen ions (which make water) and lead sulfate (PbSO
on the plate. The lead plate reacts with the electrolyte (sulfuric acid) and leaves lead sulfate
), and a free electron. Discharge of the battery (allowing electrons to leave
the battery) results in the build up of lead sulfate on the plates and water dilution of the acid.
The specific gravity of the electrolyte as measured with a hydrometer in flooded batteries,
indicates its relative charge (strength), or level of dilution (discharge). The reversibility
of this reaction gives us the usefulness of a lead acid battery.
Charging the battery is reversing the process above, and involves subjecting the battery to voltages
higher than its existing voltage. The higher the voltage, the faster the charge rate, subject to
some limitations. There is a gassing point to consider, and true gel batteries have a lower peak charge
voltage, because bubbles can occur in the gel which don’t dissipate, and result in battery damage.
More on this in the charging tutorial. The lead sulfate crystals are broken down (more or less
successfully) in the charge cycle. Sometimes some crystals remain, or sometimes a battery is
left partially discharged where the crystals of lead sulfate harden, and reduce the capacity
of the battery to be charged. This is what desulfation (desulphation)is about.
Batteries are subject to an internal discharge, also called self-discharge. This
rate is determined by the battery type, and the metallurgy of the lead used in its
construction. Wet cells, with the cavities inside for electrolyte, use a
lead-antimony alloy to increase mechanical strength. The antimony also increases
the internal discharge rate to between 8% and 40% per month. For this reason, wet
cells should not be left unmaintained or uncharged for long periods. The lead used in Gel
and AGM battery construction does not require high mechanical strength since it is
stabilized by the gel or mat material. Usually calcium is alloyed with the lead to
reduce gassing and the internal discharge rate, which is only 2% to 10% per month for
the AGM and Gel batteries.
Any battery discharge, including internal discharge, produces sulphation on the
battery plates as part of the chemical cycle, and given enough time, this sulphation
hardens, causing diminished
battery capacity at best, or total loss of function. Routine charging after use, or
use of a “floating” charger for long periods of storage (boat batteries, ATVs, etc.)
reduces this diminished capacity and maximizes battery life. A large portion
(approaching 50%) of lead acid batteries have diminished capacity or become unusable
due to sulphation, and never reach their rated lifespan.
PulseTech Desulfation Technology
Lab and field tests by individuals, companies and government agencies around
the world have proven that Pulse Technology works. It is literally the most effective
method available for ensuring lead-acid battery performance, increasing battery
efficiency and reducing battery-related costs. In 1995, PulseTech™ applied their
technology to a full line of innovative and unique products designed to make batteries
stronger so they will work harder and last longer than ever before. Today, they offer
over 60 products designed to help you reduce battery-related problems and costs. While
we don’t carry all 60 products in stock, we have access to them.
To get an idea of exactly how important pulse technology is to the performance of all
your vehicles, consider this: The main cause of vehicle failure is battery failure due
to sulfation buildup on the battery plates. And Pulse Technology prevents sulfation buildup.
In most cases, your battery is still good. You just can’t reach the energy inside. That
means you have to buy another battery even though the one you have may still be usable.
PulseTech products help prevent this problem.
How PulseTech™ Products Make Batteries Stronger
PulseTech products connect directly to the battery. They emit a pulsating dc current that
removes the sulfate deposits from the plates and returns them to the battery acid as
active electrolyte. When installed permanently, these products also help keep sulfates from
building up again so your battery is in peak condition all the time. In most cases, some of
these products even help renew dead batteries already suffering from sulfation buildup and
help bring them back to life.
Here’s how it works :
Figure A: Lead-acid batteries work by releasing energy through an interaction that occurs
between the positive and negative lead plates and the lead sulfates in the electrolyte.
Figure B: Sulfation buildup occurs as lead sulfates form on the battery plates during the
normal charge/discharge cycles. During this process, some of the sulfates enlarge to the
point where they won’t accept energy so they stay on the plate. Over time, these sulfates
can build up until they reduce efficiency and the battery dies.
Figure C: Pulse Technology works to prevent sulfation buildup by removing the sulfate
deposits from the plates through a unique
process. The lead sulfates
then return to the battery acid as
electrolyte. When connected on a regular
basis, our battery maintenance systems will also keep the sulfates from building up again.
Figure D: Clean plates help the battery will perform at peak efficiency and battery life
extends dramatically. Charge acceptance is greater so the battery recharges faster and with
better quality. That means the battery charges to full capacity so more energy is available
to your vehicle.
Get TRUE Battery Power
Pulse Technology works with all types of lead-acid batteries including sealed, gel cell
and AGM. By keeping the plates clean, a battery charges faster and deeper so it works harder
and lasts longer than you ever thought possible. It also has greater charge acceptance to
recharge faster and release all of its stored energy. With more available energy, your vehicles
last longer between recharges and your electronic accessories work better. You get the true
power of your batteries. Some of these patented products also prevent the normal loss of
battery power on stored vehicles and equipment, no matter how long they sit unused — even
months at a time.
These systems even help protect the environment. Longer lasting batteries reduce the danger
of contamination caused by lead and sulfuric acid dumped from prematurely discarded batteries.
What makes Pulse Technology so unique and so effective is the distinct pulse waveform that
defines it. This waveform has a strictly controlled rise time, pulse width, frequency and
amplitude of current and voltage pulse. No other battery maintenance system in the world
has this specific waveform, which means
system can provide the same exceptional
benefits as PulseTech products. PulseTech supplies many of these products to the U.S.
military, and has for some time. We have used the patented pulse technology (as opposed to
some charging companies that promote a generic ‘pulse’ stage) for years, and when properly
selected and applied, it does what they say it will. So check out our selection, or call
with specific applications.