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Electrochemistry - Inventing Better Batteries

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ST JOSEPH'S NUDGEE COLLEGE Extended Experimental Investigation Inventing "Better Batteries" Year 12 Chemistry Student Name: Kirk Richards Teacher: Ms Corley Final Due: Monday 16th March Abstract Ever since Alessandro Volta invented the first battery, the improvement of batteries has been phenomenal. The investigation was to explore three hypotheses that our group had designed to increase the voltage and/or current from the Daniell Cell to form a "Better Battery". The group performed different procedures that catered for each hypothesis. Firstly the concentration of the electrolytes was changed, then the half cells and then the salt bridge. A current and voltage measurement was taken after each experiment was tested which formulated our data tables. The highest increases in voltage as the half cells are further away from each other on the Standard Reduction Potentials for Half-Reactions table was 192.78% and the current was increased by 159.1%. When the concentration was increased in the cathode and the concentration in the anode is decreased the percentage difference from the Daniell Cell was considerably higher with the current increasing by 127% and the voltage by 14.43%. When using a porous pot as the salt bridge the percentage difference in voltage and current were as follows, 11.34% for voltage and 12172.73% for current which was an outstanding result. The Daniell Cell can be improved by implementing these three hypothesises into practice as the results show the current and voltage readings have increased dramatically. After applying these three hypotheses to our investigation it then formed the "Super Cell" which was the aim of the experiment. The results of the Super Cell were exceptional, with the voltage increasing by 216.91% and the current increasing by an amazing 53,990%. It is recommended that further research is be conducted into using higher concentrations in electrolytes, different types of salt bridges and stronger reducing and oxidizing agents to achieve more improved results that have come about after this investigation. ...read more.


+ 2e- --> Mg(s) E0 = -2.37 V Cu2+ (aq) + 2e- --> Cu(s) E0 = 0.34 V Mg(s) --> Mg2+ (aq) + 2e- Cu2+ (aq) + 2e- --> Cu(s) Mg(s) + Cu2+ (aq) --> Mg2+ (aq) + Cu(s) E0C = E0ox + E0red = 2.37 + 0.34 E0C = 2.71 V 5 Mg2+ (aq) + 10e- --> 5 Mg(s) E0 = -2.37 V 2 MnO4- (aq) + 16 H+ + 10e- --> 2 Mn2+ + 8 H20 (l) E0 = 1.52 5 Mg(s) --> 5 Mg2+ (aq) + 10e- 2 MnO4- (aq) + 16 H+ + 10e- --> 2 Mn2+ + 8 H20 (l) 5 Mg(s) + 2 MnO4-(aq) + 16 H+ --> 5 Mg2+ (aq) + 2 Mn2+ + 8H2O (l) E0C = E0ox + E0red = 2.37 + 1.52 E0C = 3.89 Method Daniell Cell 1. Using two beakers place them close together and fill the beakers half way with the chosen electrolytes. 2. Place the Copper and Zinc metals in their respective salt solutions which are both 0.1 M in concentration 3. Connect the wires to each electrode (metal) and connect the wires though a voltmeter/ammeter 4. Saturate the salt bridge (filter paper) with Potassium Nitrate and insert each end into both half-cell solutions. 5. Record Results for both current and voltage Hypothesis One 1. Setup the original Daniell Cell 2. After setting up and functioning the original Daniell Cell, change the concentration of the CuSO4 solution to 0.5M. 3. Record the results shown on the voltmeter and ammeter 4. After this, change the concentration of the CuSO4 solution to 1M 5. Record the results shown on the voltmeter and ammeter. 6. Repeat this with the zinc half cell, by changing the copper half cell back to 0.1M and increasing the zinc sulfate to 0.5M then 1M. 7. Record the results of the voltage and current for these two experiments. ...read more.


Further investigation could possibly be to test many other hypotheses such as the surface area of the metals to make our results more thorough. More electrodes could have been added to the half-cells. This would create a cell with a larger surface area in which the reactions would take place. This would then allow a larger current and voltage as there would have been more electrons to create a higher current. There would have been a larger amount of area in which the electrons would be able to be taken from. The larger the surface area, more electrons are able to be attracted to the electrode, consequently producing more voltage and current. <Russian Chemical Views, 2009> Cutting edge battery research and development have allowed improvements such as changing the metals in the half cell to still make it more efficient eg. Lithium. Lithium-ion batteries are incredibly popular these days. They're so common because, pound for pound, they're some of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available. Lithium batteries are disposable batteries that have lithium metal or lithium compounds as an anode. The term "lithium battery" comprises of many types of cathodes and electrolytes. The most common type of lithium cell used in consumer applications uses metallic lithium as anode and manganese dioxide as cathode, with a salt of lithium dissolved in an organic solvent. (Brain, 2008) Improvements such as the electrodes being further apart in the redox table, eg lithium and silver would have been able to create a higher voltage. Again this is a problem because it is very unsafe as lithium is so reactive that it will react with the oxygen in the air. Therefore it may not be possible to create a Daniell Cell out of those materials. Further research into looking into ways of creating more reactive yet stable electrodes we could create a cell which supports the claims of the Redox table but is also able to be completed within a class room environment. ...read more.

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