Cardenas-Valencia, A. M., Adornato, L., Short, R. T., & Langebrake, L. (2008). Novel enhancement of thin-form-factor galvanic cells: Probing halogenated organic oxidizers and metal anodes. Journal of power sources, 184(1), 318-324.
The work reported herein demonstrates a novel method to improve the overall performance of thin-form-factor galvanic cells, fabricated via micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) processes. Use of solid, low cost, cyclic-halogenated, organic catholyte materials permits water activation of cells consisting of metal anode and catalytic platinum positive electrodes. Similar cells, employing aluminum and zinc anodes, have been activated using sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) solutions, i.e. bleach, in the past. The oxidizers chosen for this study (bromo-, chloro- and iodo-succinimides, and sodium dichloroisocyanuric acid) supply the cathode’s oxy-halogenated ions when in contact with water. Zinc, magnesium and aluminum anodes are utilized to fabricate galvanic cells. A comparison between these anodes, coupled with various oxidizers, is included herein. Results using aluminum anode cells show that, even though the utilization efficiency of the catholyte reagents is low (faradic efficiencies between 16 and 19%), the performance of the new water-activated cells (6 cm × 6 cm × 0.25 cm) is superior when compared to those activated with bleach. For instance, operational lives of 6 h (activation with 10% NaClO solution) increase to more than 30 h using the new approach, with a 100-ohm-load. It is also shown that specific energies of 90–110 Wh kg−1 (calculated to include both reagent and packaging mass) could be obtained using the described approach with with current draws between 10 and 20 mA. The specific energies obtained suggest that novel MEMS-type cells could have much broader application than low-current, bleach-activated cells.