A new magnesium — air cell for long-life applications
A novel type of magnesium-air primary cell has been evolved which employs non-polluting and abundantly available materials. The cell is based on the scheme Mg/Mg(NO3)2, NaNO2, H2O/O2(C). The magnesium anode utilization is about 90% at a current density of 20 mA cm−2. The anode has been shown to exhibit a low open-circuit corrosion, a relatively uniform pattern of corrosion and a low negative difference effect in the electrolyte developed above as compared to the conventional halide or perchlorate electrolytes. In the usual air-depolarized mode of operation, the cell has been found to be capable of continuous discharge over several months at a constant cell voltage of about 1 V and a current density of 1 mA cm−2 at the cathode. The long service-life capability arises from the formation of a protective film on the porous carbon cathode and fast sedimentation of the anodic product (magnesium hydroxide) in the electrolyte. The cell has a shelf-life in the activated state of about a year due to the low open-circuit corrosion of the anode. These favourable features suggest the practical feasibility of developing economical, long-life, non-reserve magnesium-air cells for diverse applications using magnesium anodes with a high surface area and porous carbon-air electrodes.
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