Recharge This: What Happens When a Lead Acid Battery Recharges?

When you are working to repair your car or truck, there is a very good chance you will need to replace the battery. Is this happening with your vehicle?

If so, do you want to know what happens when a lead-acid battery recharges? Make sure to keep reading, because we’ve got some answers for you!

How Does a Lead Acid Battery Work?

A lead-acid battery is a type of rechargeable battery. A chemical reaction takes place inside the battery.

The reaction allows electrons to be drawn out of the negative terminal. This process is known as discharging.

The chemical reaction used in a lead-acid battery differs from other types of rechargeable batteries like Lithium-ion batteries. This reaction is a chemical process between the Lead Dioxide on the plate and Sulfuric Acid. The Lead Dioxide converts into Lead Sulfate.

During discharging, the acid acts as both an electrolyte and a reactant. In combination with lead dioxide, it forms lead sulfate. It combines lead from lead dioxide with two oxygen atoms from the acid.

The lead sulfate reverts into lead dioxide and sulfuric acid through another set of reactions. It’s this process that charges up the battery when recharging.

The formula for the charge cycle is below:

2PbSO+ 2H2O –> PbO+ Pb + 2H2SO4

The formula for the discharge cycle is below:

PbO+ Pb + 2H2SO–> 2PbSO4 + 2H2O

How Does This Relate to Recharging?

When the battery charges back up again, the reaction gets reversed. During charging, there are more electrons at the negative plates. Plus, there are ions at the positive, as hydrogen ions become attracted to them.

This then causes the lead sulfite to separate the sulfuric acid, and in the end, the hydrogen rises. At the positive end, oxygen gathers, which rises from the positive plates. The sulfuric acid is then released, allowing it to react with the lead sulfate at the negative plates.

How Does a Lead Acid Battery Die?

A lot of people are under the impression that a dead battery is at the end of life. And to an extent, this is true; there isn’t enough electricity generated to power what you need.

But unfortunately, lead-acid batteries don’t die as cleanly as that. They degrade over time if you don’t correctly use them.

When a lead-acid battery discharges, the sulfate reacts with the electrolytes. As long as you charge your battery back up within a few days, you shouldn’t notice much at all.

Leaving The Battery Discharged

Suppose you leave it for a few weeks or months without charging it back up. Sulfate will start to build up on top of the plates and cause your battery not to work.

The same goes for a partial discharge. Leaving the battery part discharged for a long time will also cause sulfate buildup. Warmer climates are known for damaging batteries, so it’s even more important to look after them in the right way,

In this case, the sulfate reacts with the electrolyte and forms sulfation crystals within the plates, coating them and making it almost impossible for them to function again. So make sure you charge your battery as soon as you can if you’ve left it discharged for even a little while.

What Happens When You Recharge A Dead Battery?

When your battery’s depleted for a long time, sulfate builds up on your plates. If you try to charge your battery up too fast, the sulfate will not be reabsorbed back into the electrolyte and will cause the battery to overheat due to the current and damage the battery.

The lead sulfate on your plates makes it almost impossible for them to function again. That’s why some types of batteries can only charge at a certain rate while others can be fast-charged all day long. They have an indicator that tells you when they’re not ready for fast charging either.

How to Maximize Recharging Capability

There are a few ways to prevent this sulfate buildup. First of all, you should always use a quality tender / charger to keep it topped up. That’s the first thing.

Cheap or low-end chargers will not handle the extra load of charging a lead-acid battery and burn them out within a short period. If you use your car often, then a car battery will last several years as long as you make sure the connectors are cleaned once in a while to prevent build-up.

How To Prevent Battery Acid Corrosion

Battery acid corrosion can be a serious condition in lead-acid batteries. It occurs because of sulfate buildup and water leakage on the plates and internal parts of the batteries. It is important always to clean your battery, such as the following steps:

1. Make sure you are wearing gloves and protection. Car battery acid on the skin can cause permanent damage due to the battery acid pH.

2. Disconnect the lead-acid battery in the correct order.

3. Clean all corrosion from the top and bottom of the battery with a brush, cloth, hose, or low-pressure cleaner with a hose attachment.

4. Dry off any excess cleaning fluid and reverse the process.

5. Test the battery to make sure it works.

A Well-Kept Acid Battery Lasts Years

Check your water level every month. If the water is low and you can’t add any, it’s time to take the battery out.

The same is true for batteries that sit for too long. At least once a year, don’t let your battery sit unused for more than a month at a time. If you do leave it unused for an extended period, charge it up about once a month.

By looking after your acid battery using the correct steps and processes, it’ll keep your motor running for years to come!

Are you in need of a lead-acid battery? Contact us today and see how we can find you the perfect battery for your needs!