Thermal electrochemical batteries have been manufactured since 1946 to meet the needs of applications requiring instant power, short operating life, high energy density and a shelf life claimed by various manufacturers to be between 12 and 20 plus years. Thermal batteries contain an electrochemical system which is inert until activated by application of heat. They may be stored on load or open-circuit. The cell electrolyte used is a mixture of anhydrous salts which conduct current only when molten. A heat source, which can be ignited either by an electric match or a mechanical primer (percussion cap) is an integral part of a thermal battery. When the battery is ignited, this heat source develops sufficient heat energy to melt the electrolyte and thus permit the battery to deliver a considerable amount of electrical power. Activation times are rapid (0.3 to 2.5 s).
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