SILVER

Battery Performance Analysis Under Different Weather Conditions

Application of different temperature conditions to evaluate its effect on the life and exhaust rate of batteries.
Barry Gu Shawn Wang
Grade 9

Hypothesis

If the surrounding temperature of a battery's operating conditions is increased, then the exhaustion rate of voltage in the batteries will be magnified because battery output capability is dictated by the chemical reactions within the cell, of which heat acts as a catalyst for.

Research

Effect of MVs on batteries

  • Effect of temperature on battery life and capacity
    • Battery capacity is enhanced under a higher temperature, meaning it exhausts its energy at a more vigorous rate. However, battery life may shorten under prolonged exposure. 
      • This is likely because chemical energy’s conversion to electricity takes place with chemical reactions to bridge the two. Increased temperature serves as a catalyst to increase the rate at which this occurs, but also does so at a more dynamic rate which pumps out more power.
  • Effect of moisture on battery life and capacity
    • Higher levels of humidity are a prerequisite for chemical deterioration. However, this is often an independent outcome of poor battery construction—meaning our results will also provide an idea of whether construction is a factor independent of  differentiating battery types.

How do batteries work

  • Stored chemical energy converted into electricity
  • Utilizes electrochemical cell
    • Two electrodes separated by an electrolyte
  • The electrons created through a chemical reaction flows from one negative anode to a positive cathode 
  • This electron flow creates energy that can be used to do work 
  • The anode reacts with the electrolyte to create electrons, and another reaction occurs in the cathode, allowing it to receive electrons. This is called a reduction-oxidation reaction. 
  • In order for circuits to work, there is a necessity for potential difference. 

Types of batteries:

  • Non Rechargeable
    • Alkaline batteries
    • Coin cell batteries
    • Lithium ion batteries
  • Rechargeable
    • In these batteries there are reverse cell reactions that allow for the battery to recharge
    • For the cathode, the reduction reaction is: 2MnO2(s)+H2O(l)+2e−→Mn2O3(s)+2OH−(aq)
    • In the anode, the reduction reaction is 
    • Lead-acid batteries
    • Ni-Cd batteries

Battery Capacity

  • How much energy is in a battery
  • Maximum amount of energy that can be extracted from the battery
  • Can fluctuate
    • If battery discharge is faster, then the amount of energy discharged is lower, and thus battery capacity is lessened
  • We measure battery capacity in Ahr (ampere-hours) 

Volts, Ohms, and Amps

  • Volts are the unit of measurement for voltage
    • Voltage, otherwise known as potential difference, is the potential energy of charges
    • It is necessary for a circuit to be functional
    • The capacity for the chemical reactions within a cell to push charged electrons around a circuit in order to power it
  • Ohms are the unit of measurement for resistance
  • Amps are the unit of measurement for current
  • They make up Ohm’s Law, where voltage is resistance times current

Variables

In the experiment, the MANIPULATED VARIABLE is the temperature of the conditions surrounding the battery while running. (-18°C, 4°C, 20°C, 50°C).

In the experiment, the RESPONDING VARIABLE is the rate at which voltage exhausts in the batteries across 20 minute intervals. (V, multimeter)

In the experiment, some of the CONTROLLED VARIABLES were:

- The type of battery holder used (Brand: Fedlink)

- The brand of batteries (Amazonbasics batteries)

- The motor rigged to the battery holders (Brand: Fedlink)

- The fans rigged to the motor (Brand: Fedlink)

- The brand of multimeter used to measure voltage (AstroAI Digital Multimere)

- The length of the wires linking the motor to the cell 

- The setting on the multimeter when measuring (1.5V)

- The type of leads on the multimeter (Prongs)

 

Procedure

-18°C Experiment Procedure:

Preliminaries

  1. Gather materials
  2. Ensure that freezer is regulated to correct temperature
  3. Remove substances such as fluids from freezer that may interfere with the experiment

Experiment

  1. Check voltage using a multimeter to estimate the number of hours the experiment will run and to make sure both motors run at a constant rate. 
  2. Place empty battery containers in freezer 
  3. Place batteries into containers
  4. Rig motor to battery container
  5. Close freezer 
  6. Stand by to record when the motor stops running on 20 minute intervals

- 20°C Experiment Procedure:

Preliminaries

  1. Gather materials
  2. Set up the experiment by creating the circuits and set room temperature using thermostat 

Experiment

  1. Check voltage using a multimeter to estimate the number of hours the experiment will run and to make sure both motors run at a constant rate. 
  2. Check for voltage every 20 mins. 
  3. Do the experiment until the battery runs out of energy (motor stops running). 

- 50°C Experiment Procedure:

Preliminaries

  1. Gather materials
  2. Set up the experiment by creating the circuits and use the sous vide to ensure the water is at the constant temperature of 50°C. 

Experiment

  1. Place both batteries into plastic bags and place the bags into the water. 
  2. Check voltage using a multimeter to estimate the number of hours the experiment will run and to make sure both motors run at a constant rate. 
  3. Check for voltage every 20 mins. 
  4. Do the experiment until the battery runs out of energy (motor stops running).

Observations

Qualitative Observations:

There was minimal observation to be made on qualitative means, especially given that the battery cells were out of sight and reach when running. However, there a few small notes to be made:

1. There appeared to be a louder sound output of the motors which operated off of cells in higher temperatures.

2. The batteries were warm, even right after being taken out of the cold environments of the fridge/freezer for measuring.

3. There is a faint metallic scent that is given off when the circuit is running.

Quantitative Observations:

Battery A @ 20°C
Time Rechargeable Non-rechargeable
Minutes Volts Volts
0 1.292 1.593
20 1.241 1.33
40 1.221 1.286
60 1.18 1.272
80 0.996  

 

Battery B @ 20°C
Time Rechargeable Non-rechargeable
Minutes Volts Volts
0 1.295 1.591
20 1.242 1.336
40 1.224 1.288
60 1.184 1.276
80 0.934  

 

Battery A @ 50°C
Time Rechargeable Non-rechargeable
Minutes Volts Volts
0 1.291 1.591
20 1.261 1.384
40 1.255 1.322
60 1.227 1.29
80 1.009 1.273
100   1.265

 

Battery B @ 50°C
Time Rechargeable Non-rechargeable
Minutes Volts Volts
0 1.295 1.593
20 1.263 1.39
40 1.255 1.329
60 1.232 1.299
80 0.983 1.281
100   1.273
     

 

Battery A @ -18°C
Time Rechargeable Non-rechargeable
Minutes Volts Volts
0 1.301 1.497
20 1.252 1.421
40 1.211 1.372
60 1.186 1.321
100 1.072 1.271
120 0.851 1.212
140   1.145
160   1.112

 

Battery B @ -18°C
Time Rechargeable Non-rechargeable
Minutes Volts Volts
0 1.295 1.505
20 1.252 1.384
40 1.207 1.322
60 1.19 1.29
100 1.081 1.273
120 0.83 1.265
140   1.152
160   1.121

 

 

Analysis

- The battery life of secondary cells averaged 87.383 minutes across the -18°C, 20°C, and 50°C conditions.

- The battery life of primary cells averaged 117.02 minutes across the -18°C, 20°C, and 50°C conditions.

1.3/1.5 (The voltage of the secondary and primary cells, respectively) = 0.87 

87.383/117.02 (The average lifespan of the secondary and primary cells, respectively) = 0.74

- It appears from the data above that the difference between lifespans is reduced when the battery operating conditions are modified. 

- Median and mean are not applicable analysis metrics data was only yielded from one set of trials, and because there is no temperature value that repeats. 

- Our data makes sense. An increased output of voltage would mean it exhausts quicker. Because voltage and resistance are directly proportional because of V = IR, and because increases in temperature results in increases in resistance—voltage output increases with temperature increase.

 

Conclusion

  • Batteries at -18°C had the longest battery life in our study. This was likely in part due to the voltage manufacturing, but is was primarily due to the temperature differences that affected the chemical reactions within the batteries.
  • Batteries at 20°C and 50°C have similar battery lives. Despite the temperature difference, effects were marginal, indicating that above room temperature environments do not influence the voltage depletion rate substantially. Battery life will be fairly constant within that certain temperature range. 
  • Non-rechargeable batteries appear to have a longer battery life than rechargeable batteries. It should be noted, however, that the tested non-rechargeable batteries have a higher manufacture voltage (1.5 V) than the rechargeable batteries (1.2 V).
  • It appears that voltage drop amplifies significantly proximate to the end of the life of secondary cells. The opposite is true for non-rechargeable batteries, which had a drop in voltage near the beginning of the test, and remained constant until the end of the battery life. 

 

Application

As society is slowly moving away from non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels and natural gas, batteries have become increasingly prominent in  society increasingly governed by technology and it’s efficiency. A confident and thorough approach to developing and sustaining technologies that use batteries necessitates a nuanced understanding of how its conditions play a role in the performance of them, especially during the timeframe of its use. 

On a more individual level, as many of our household appliances use batteries, understanding the distinct benefits and disadvantages of specific batteries can maximize the efficiency of basic household appliances, or positioning machines that demand battery power consumption in order to function in areas of one’s residence that remain at a certain temperature and controlling one’s temperature to match optimal conditions. 

On a corporate level, an analysis on battery performance can influence the producing and designing of products which have the location of batteries in advantageous positions. 

For example, by knowing which batteries have the longest lifespan at specific temperatures, one can choose a battery that best suits specific situations.

Furthermore, as batteries have precedent over non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels and natural gas, a comprehensive understanding of batteries can maximize efficiency and waste little to no resources.

One more minor observation that can be drawn is that multiple batteries being used in one circuit will vary in the rate at which their voltage/battery life decreases. Meaning, if the device stops, it likely is not the case that every battery is out of juice. Rather, it is more likely that one exhausted before all others, causing a complete stop in functionality in the entire device. It would conserve resources in times of need to cycle through batteries through their full lifespan before throwing them all out at once.

 

Sources Of Error

There a number of error sources that if patched in future experiments, would likely yield more accurate results

1. There may have been manufacturing problems with the batteries themselves that may have skewed results. This can be seen when one of the rechargable batteries simply stopped working after 25 minutes with an unnaturally low voltage that did not rise as the other batteries did after sitting. These types of uncontrollable errors could have been mitigated with multiple trials.

2. There might have been error in the amount of wire that was inside the fridge/inside the freezer. Segments of the wire in different temperatures may have had inadvertent effects on the data. More wire in colder temperature would likely decrease voltage exhaustion. 

3. Inconsistencies in usage of the multimeters are also possibilites. Because the multimeters were needles and not alligator clips, the different placements/angles/surface area exposed to the ends could have affected the voltage readings in unintended ways.

4. Specifically in the freezer, contents of the freezer may have come into contact and encapsulated the battery cells at times. Close proximity of items in the freezer to the battery cells may have reduced the effects of the cold temperatures, acting as a jacket. 

5. Given the fridge/freezer/sous vide's close proximity to the kitchen, external temperatures may have affected results when kitchen appliances (ex. stove, oven) were being used to prepare food. 

6. The battery holders that partially melted due to the short circuit in failed trials likely did not transmit the electrical energy generated as well due to the damages to the original construction. 

7. Voltage would rise upon the batteries being taken out of the cell. Hence, the batteries left to sit out longer during the 20 minute voltage checks likely had higher voltages than the other batteries when they were measured.

 

Citations

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“Battery Capacity.” PVEducation, www.pveducation.org/pvcdrom/battery-characteristics/battery-capacity.

“Charging at High and Low Temperatures.” Charging Batteries at High and Low Temperatures – Battery University, batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_at_high_and_low_temperatures#:~:text=Lithium%2Dion%20performs%20well%20at,C%20(122%C2%B0F).

“Different Types of Batteries and Their Uses & Applications.” Components101, components101.com/articles/different-types-of-batteries-and-their-uses.

Libretexts. “11.5: Batteries.” Chemistry LibreTexts, Libretexts, 14 July 2020, chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/General_Chemistry/Map%3A_Chemistry_(Zumdahl_and_Decoste)/11%3A_Electrochemistry/11.5%3A_Batteries.

Libretexts. “Definitions of Oxidation and Reduction.” Chemistry LibreTexts, Libretexts, 15 Aug. 2020, chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Analytical_Chemistry/Supplemental_Modules_(Analytical_Chemistry)/Electrochemistry/Redox_Chemistry/Definitions_of_Oxidation_and_Reduction.

Libretexts. “Rechargeable Batteries.” Chemistry LibreTexts, Libretexts, 15 Aug. 2020, chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Analytical_Chemistry/Supplemental_Modules_(Analytical_Chemistry)/Electrochemistry/Exemplars/Rechargeable_Batteries#:~:text=Rechargeable%20batteries%20(also%20known%20as,by%20passing%20currents%20of%20electricity.

Mischa. “How a Battery Works.” Curious, 5 Mar. 2018, www.science.org.au/curious/technology-future/batteries#:~:text=A%20battery%20is%20a%20device,be%20used%20to%20do%20work.

“Temperature Effects on Batteries.” Intercel Services B.V., 9 July 2020, www.intercel.eu/frequently-asked-questions/temperature-effects-on-batteries/#:~:text=Even%20though%20battery%20capacity%20at,life%20is%20cut%20in%20half.

Acknowledgement

We would like to express sincere gratitude to a number of people who were just as imperative as we were throughout the experiment.

For one, we would like to thank both of our parents for being there to help us coordinate through logistical difficulties in experiments that proved to be frustrating. Being there as a reference for research and places to look into for more information. Being there also as a constant morale booster and sense of support during the entire process.

We would also like to extend thanks to our science teacher, Ms. Grelowski for checking up on us when we slacked off — and always being happy to help and answer our questions. 

We could not have done it without them.