# Building a good working capacity NI Fe Battery.

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Where are you finding nickel sheet for twice the price of copper sheet? And what is the stated price of copper sheet you are referencing too?

Regards Bryan

##### Banned
Lead Acid chemistry is very very well understood. In order to do the same with the Nickle battery you'd have to learn the chemistry that is occurring to figure out how best to build the battery.

#### Oznog

##### Active Member
And regrettably 5 cent "nickels" are only 25% nickel. Maybe ripping up a nickel-metal-hydride cell would yield a nickel electrode to play with?

I don't see a lot of use of solid "plates". The surface area is quite low for the mass of nickel, and that will affect the performance. Unfortunately, I don't know where to get nickel "foil".

Note that neither the charged nor discharged electrode is Ni. Charged is NiOOH, discharged is Ni(OH)2. So no, putting nickel and iron in electrolyte doesn't make a battery. I'm not a chemist and can't say how to make a NiOOH plate. Fortunately, the iron plate is just Fe.

##### Banned
The silver changes the chemistry, you need very pure materials to make batteries. That website doesn't even list the silver content. I'm guessing the reason it's a silver allow is because of forming Nickle is very hard/brittle.

#### ben_englund

##### New Member
Actually "nickel silver" has no silver in it. Yes it is an alloy . I believe it has copper and zink in it along with nickel. I read somewhere on the net of somebody using "nickel silver" for this very purpose. Its possible that it would work better than pure nickel.

Ben

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
If you or anyone else has some practical information about it I would like to see it.
If its provable I will toss a few dollars at buying some!

#### shortbus=

##### Well-Known Member
So far no one has said much about the iron needed for this. Pure iron is going to be much harder to find than pure nickle.

What people call "iron" is in reality steel. "Wrought iron" and "black iron" sheet metal is today just hot rolled steel.

The "nickle silver" is also known as "German silver"

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
I have talked to the local steel suppliers and they said that the low carbon types they have is about 98+% iron with a small amount of carbon and other alloying elements in it. Which is likely why it rusts so fast once the outer manufacturing scale is ground off.
I have some high carbon alloy steel thats used for the manufacturing of agricultural equipment and commercial equipment that has sat outside in the weather for over a year with out much surface rusting on the places that had been ground clean.

I plan to try both and see what difference it makes if I can ever find the right nickel material.
Low alloy materials may work but I dont know as of yet.

#### Mloy

##### New Member
Nickel

I was looking into this for a school project some time ago and was put off by the high metal prices. These guys have nickel shim in rolled form, you might be able to buy it cut to order.

Order Nickel 200/201 Shim Stock in Small Quantities at OnlineMetals.com

Also Ebay has some auctions for nickel sheet:
Pure Nickel Sheet Square, Alloy 200/201, 6 x 6" x .005" - eBay (item 370309702397 end time Jan-19-10 22:36:13 PST)

Mesh would be the ideal material, some kitchen strainers are nickel plated, they might work, cut off the handles and presto.

I'm also curious about what the actual performance of these batterys is. The selling point it their ability to deep discharge without damage. The drawback is the huge self discharge rate and inefficient charging. Let me know if you find a source for nickel plates.

##### Banned
You'd have to do experimental cells with a wide variety of alloys to determine the best one to use. Sounds like an awful lot of work to avoid using Lead Acid batteries.

#### tcmtech

##### Banned
Actually I am just curious as to how difficult and expensive they may be to build just for the fun of it!

Being I have grid tie capability I have no actual need for any batteries in regards to my AE and RE stuff!

This ones purely a 'just for the curiosity' experiment in the making!

##### Banned
Well I'm sure you could get a passable cell using just about any majority nickle alloy, the danger with alloys is chemical reactions from the impurities that deposit a smut on the plates that inhibit them, or one of the alloy constituents doesn't dissolve in the electrolyte so the surface of the electrodes eventually become 100% of that metal, or at least enough to make it useless as a battery. I'm not a chemist though and the interactions especially with impure electrolytes and what not aren't easy to predict unless you are. See if you can get some scrap of the type of material you're interested in and put together a basic cell see what you get.

If you want any real capacity or current though you really have to get into the nitty gritty details. Aside from chemistry though the next biggest thing that will determine battery performance is total surface area of the anode/cathode and the ratio between the anode/cathode surface area, so flat plates are a bad idea.

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#### bryan1

##### Well-Known Member
TCMtech one reason In my link above was trying to make a lead acid battery first was to get the hang of it without any major expense. I do have some of my 6 volt 105AH gel cells that have died so I can rip the top off one and take some pic's. Also I have 2 dead 12 volt 200AH wet cells that I can rip the top off.

I have done some reading on the nife batteries and there is a good reason why they aint made in bulk. The chemical reaction between the plates must be spot on or they won't even resemble a battery. My nife bank in the shed only powers my hilux car radio these days and even the radio brings the voltage down at night. Well I got them 5 years ago and the electrolyte is that diluted it is time to give them a good wash out and put new solution in.

If your interested in building a battery TRY lead acid first mate, no use spending a few cartons of beer in material only to find failure.

Cheers Bryan

##### Banned
Depends on who you drink the beer with =)

#### Oznog

##### Active Member
Well I'm sure you could get a passable cell using just about any majority nickle alloy, the danger with alloys is chemical reactions from the impurities that deposit a smut on the plates that inhibit them, or one of the alloy constituents doesn't dissolve in the electrolyte so the surface of the electrodes eventually become 100% of that metal, or at least enough to make it useless as a battery. I'm not a chemist though and the interactions especially with impure electrolytes and what not aren't easy to predict unless you are. See if you can get some scrap of the type of material you're interested in and put together a basic cell see what you get.

If you want any real capacity or current though you really have to get into the nitty gritty details. Aside from chemistry though the next biggest thing that will determine battery performance is total surface area of the anode/cathode and the ratio between the anode/cathode surface area, so flat plates are a bad idea.
I agree, although in a NiFe battery the electrolyte can be changed. So if it's a soluble substance, it could simply be washed out after formation leaving a more pure plate- in theory. Or it could poison the reaction... I don't know.

I do agree on the surface area thing. That's a difficult problem, and NiFe have always been relatively poor on higher current discharges (C/2, C/4 even).

#### ajrn

##### New Member
New here-- but am interested in anyone who's built these..

Was looking at the Jane Kits site.. Did anyone notice they have "Nickel Electrodes?"

It says a "set of 10" (but no further description) is \$15.. Not sure if there'd be enough nickel there to do some "experimentation" or if it would just be a frustration.

Jane Kits : prices: nickel plating kits, zinc plating kits, copper plating kits, gold plating kits

Wondering also if steel "re-bar" would be a good source for iron..

Rebar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I know rebar rusts just being stared at... The fact that it's generally considered unsuitable for welding also tells me it's not "steel" in any conventional sense..

Anyway-- looks like this topic has lay dormant for awhile. Figured I'd be the irritating new guy who comes in, and stirs the pot..