Storage Batteries

Description & Discussion

The same being brought to my notice, by experiences with that one
now on board the

Submarine Torpedo Boat Holland

Negative Plate

The negative plate, is essentially, a number of pastilles about one
inch square & 3/8 inch thick.
It is necessary to hold these pastilles in place, which is
done by means of a grid or frame, of antimonious lead, surrounding
and firmly binding them.

The Pastilless, are intended, to be subject to chemical change, due
to charge and discharge.            They are then the active element
of the Plate.

The grid is not intended, to be subject to chemical change,
but is intended to be solely a grid or frame. It is therefore
made of antimonious lead.

The process of Manufacture

Lead Chloride, mixed with a little Zinc Chloride, is received
at the Factory, in the shape of a white powder, which is very
deliquescent, and hence is used up at once.

After testing, it is melted & cast into squares
about one inch square & 1/4 thick which constitute the pastilles.
A Cast Iron Mold provided with suitable gates, and vents
is made ready, into which these pastilles are arranged.

The cover to the mold, is clamped down, which binds the
pastilles in place.

The mold is then placed into an oven, of suitable temperature,
and connection is automatically made, between the gate of the
mold, and the nozzle of the melting pot, containing melted
lead under pressure, of about 100 pounds per square inch.

Negative Plate

Communication being established, the lead is forced by the
pressure into the mold, surrounding the pastilles.

The mold being released; after cooling sufficiently, is opened
and discloses the pastilles firmly bound in a leaden grid
of predetermined size and shape, constituting one Negative Plate.

After scraping and trimming, the Plate is "Formed".

That is to say, the plate is put into a bath of Zinc chloride,
between two Plates, and electro communication is made.

This eliminates the Chlorine in the pastilles, leaving
then, in a state of pure lead, but of such extraordinary porosity
that a needle may be passed through them almost without effort.

After this, the plate is made the cathode
of a battery. This removes the last trace of Chlorine
and the plate is finished.

It is known as the Chlorine Plate.

The Positive Plate

The Positive Plate is essentially, a number of Rosettes, circular,
about 13/16 inch in diameter & 3/8 or more thick.

It is necessary to hold them in place, which is
done by means of a grid, of antimonous lead, surrounding
and firmly binding them.

The Rosettes, are intended to be subject, to chemical change,
due to charge and discharge.

They are therefore, the active element of the plate.

The Grid is not intended to be subject
to chemical change but is intended solely as a frame, and is
therefore of antimonous lead.

The Process of Manufacture

The Grid is cast, in an iron mold, the lead being forced in under
pressure.    Afterward, it is bored with a large number of holes
13/16 inch, diameter, to receive the Rosettes.

The Rosettes, are made in a machine, from a take
of pure lead, about 1/16 inch thick.

In passing through the machine, it is corrugated
upon one side, then is cut off, into proper lengths, and
rolled up into convolutions which form the rosette.

The corrugations, have the effect of making the rosette very
porous, and also gives very great surface.

They are then entered, into the holes in the grid
then placed in an hydraulic press, and simultaneously, all
the rosettes are pressed into the grid, & the plate then
hand finished except the forming.

The Positive Plate

Forming the Plate

The process is exactly the same as in the old Plante Process
excepting, that on account of the great surface exposed in each
rosette the time required for formation is reduced from
many days, to from 36 to 48 hours.

Also instead of using the negative plate a dummy plate is
used as follows:

The positive plate is put into a bath of sulfuric acid
diluted, the dummy being used as the negative pole.

The action of the battery thus formed is to
charge the surfaces of the Rosettes from pure lead to
Red Lead, when the plates are finished ready to be

This form of positive plate is called the Manchester

Exciting Fluid

The exciting fluid is of Sulfuric acid diluted with pure
water, until the density is 1700 Beaume.

Freshwater is a poor conductor of electricity.

If however a little acid is added it improves the conductivity
until a density of 1200 Beaume is reached, a further addition
of acid again reduces the conductivity.

The solution then is at the maximum conductivity when it is
used in the Battery.

The water used must be pure, especially must it be free from
any trace of salt, the presence of which is fatal.

The solution must also be free from iron & from nitric acid.

The maximum capacity of the plate is 2.8 volts per cell or element.      The Battery must not be discharged
below 1.7 volts.

Instructions for setting up and using the
Storage Battery or Chloride Accumulator

(1) Unpack the elements & containing vessels carefully, & see that
    they are free from dirt or any foreign material.
(2) Place cells in position on battery stands
(3) Scrape the lead lugs before connecting up. So that both surfaces
    present a bright metallic appearance
(4) See that all bolt connections are well screwed up, otherwise resistance
  and consequent heating will result.    Always be sure that the cells
are connected up in series, - ie, positive of one cell, to the negative of the
adjacent pile.                There is always one more negative plate
than positive in every cell.    The negative (pole) plates are a grayish
colour & the positives generally brown when new.
The free pole at one end of the series will, in consequence of this, be
a positive & the other end a negative.
(5) When all the cells are connected up in this manner, the electrolyte
may be added; provided, the charging current is available.

The electrolyte must never be allowed to stand for more than two
hours, in new cells, before the charging is started.
(6) "Oil of Vitriol" is of much higher specific gravity, than that
required for the cells, and must never be used unless diluted.
It must be free from impurities, such as arsenic, nitric, or
hydrochloric acid & must be diluted with pure water to a
specific gravity of (1200) or 25 Baume, as shown by the Hydrometer
at a temperature of 60 Fah. In mixing the electrolyte,
the acid must always be poured into the water, and
never the water into the acid.

Salt water is fatal to these Batteries & must be carefully
guarded against.
(7)  Always see that the electrolyte is cold, before pouring into
the cells. It is advisable to mix it, at least 12 hours
before using.
(8)    The initial charge, must be commenced immediately
the cells are filled with electrolyte, at about 1/3 of the normal
rate for 4 hours, then increased to the normal current, at
which it should be continued for 20 hours, if not longer, until
the positive plates are of a dark brown colour, and the voltage
of the cells is 2.6 volts per cell while charging at the normal
rate.        If possible, do not stop charging at the above
period, but continue at a lower rate, gradually reducing
the charging current, until 1/4 of the normal rate is reached,
at which rate, it should be continued, until the cells read
a voltage of 2.6 volts per cell.
(9)  In subsequent charging, and in general use, it is only
necessary to charge until the voltage is 2.5 per cell while
charging.            It is advisable to charge the cells once per
week, until the voltage per cell is 2.5 volts on about 1/3
the normal charging rate.
(10)  The cells may be discharged down to 1.8 volts per cell
on closed circuit at normal rate, but their efficiency & life
will be improved, if the discharge is not regularly carried
to this point, but is stopped before the cells are to nearly emptied.
The cells must never be allowed to stand idle, if more than 75 per
cent of the capacity has been used.

(11) If a battery is to remain idle a long time, it should first be
fully charged, & then given a recharge, enough to bring it to a boil,
at least once a week.
If for any reason, this weekly charge is impossible, the battery should be
thoroughly charged, then siphon the electrolytes from each cell, being sure
to refill each cell with water immediately thereafter.

Then start discharging the battery at its normal rate, which will only
last a few hours, then decrease the resistance in the battery circuit
until it is almost short circuited. The Battery should be in the
water about 36 hours, the acidulated water being then drawn off.
(12) To put the cells in commission again, replace the electrolyte
& proceed as per the instructions for the first charge.
(13) The specific gravity of the electrolyte should be 1700 of 25
Baume when the cells are fully charged.
(14) Always see that the plates are well covered with electrolyte.
(15) The cells should be individually tested at regular
intervals with a low reading voltmeter and a hydrometer.

It is very essential that the voltage of each cell, should be
recorded at the end of every charge & discharge.
If any cells read low, give them immediate attention, as otherwise
serious results may ensue.

Read these instructions carefully.

If any further information is desired, communicate with the company.

Storage Battery Design

As a preliminary it is necessary to understand, that the hourly output
must not exceed 5.53 amperes per square foot of one element.
If this limit is exceeded, it will be at abnormal cost.

Required a Storage Battery capable of furnishing a Power IHP
for h hours, at a voltage of V volts.

The current A

The total voltage of the battery is determined by considerations of
outside the battery, consequently V is to be considered a known quantity.

Therefore A = IHP x 746; amperes.                  (1)


Surface S of one element

One square foot of element, will yield a normal output of 44.24 ampere
hours, per hour, consequently for h hours and A amperes

S = (IHP x 746) h                             (2)

(    V x 44.24)

Number of elements n

The individual voltage of each element is (v) and the total voltage
required is V, Consequently     n = V     n = V                    (3)

v      2.25

Weights G

The weight of the element is 11 pounds, per square foot, consequently

for one element G = 44(IHP x 746) h    pounds                (4)

(V x 44.24)

while for V/n elements

G = 82.439(IHP) h    G = 44 (IHP x 746) h                    (5)

( n x 44.24 )

including electrolyte & lead lined vessels

G = 172.37(IHP) h    G = 20 (IHP x 746) h   pounds           (6)

( n x 44.24 )

Cost    $

This is a subject of various aspects, but at 75/8 cents per
one ampere hour,   it will be for one cell

$ = (IHP x 746 x 0.75) h   dollars for one cell only

( v x     8 )

For V/n cells and adding 12 per cent for lead lined

tanks and the electrolyte    Then the cost will be

$ = 1.12( IHP x 746 x 0.75) h   = $ = 34.813(IHP) h

( v x   8 )

In the Holland v = 2.066+ volts

Roughly speaking the cost per IHP is 300 dollars for 8 hours

normal rate


In casting about to find the number of lights which can be maintained; in the absence of better information reckon 10, 16 candle lamps to one IHP.

In estimating the value of v1 it is fair to contemplate the maximum value 2.8 volts and the minimum allowed being 1.7 volts   the mean of which is 2.25.

Therefore   v = 2.25

John Lowe Manuscript, Library of Congress