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O.T. Battery Fire works #185850 04/01/09 06:19 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 860
Just to have some fun on a weekend afternoon.

Ok safety first and this experiment has to be done outside.
goggles to be used and a glass shield between the batteries under test , camera and user / tester.

Old AA, C or D cell batteries, 10 Amp variac, 240 / 22 Volts 5 kVA transformer, heavy cables and a simple test rig.

Just force currents 60 to 120 Ampères through these old batteries and suprising interesting fire works or explosions may happen. Now you can understand why you don't throw them in a fire or short them out.

I will attach a YouTube link for more detail.

or look under RODALCO2007

A couple of stills are on the photo galleria.

Enjoy, Raymond

Last edited by Trumpy; 04/02/09 02:49 AM. Reason: Edited to correct thread title

The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.
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Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: RODALCO] #185878 04/02/09 05:08 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Alan Belson Offline
Rod this may be, [and looks like], a steam explosion. The current passing through the electrolyte forms superheated water. Temperature and pressure build in the sealed case till it splits, instantly forming about 2000 volumes of steam for 1 volume of water contained in the electolyte gel. Very thin seamless welded steel cans will sustain massive pressures - and that Duracell brand is a Rolls Royce of batteries in Europe. We can see that the end caps fail first, though the seam is coming apart. The chemicals in the cell are not intrinsically explosive, but sal ammoniac is aggressive and can damage your eyes. Steam is nasty stuff with over 1000 btus per lb latent heat and it produces horrific burns/scalds. Schrapnel is another hazard. You may get some explosive gasses too.

I worked in Gummint ammo factory for 30 years. Messing with stuff like this can eventually lead to the old 'familiarity breeds contempt syndrome' and then to getting hurt. I once took over, with another 'new boy' Engineer, an old office previously occupied by a sufferer from just this affliction. How I laughed like a drain when he found his old desk drawer to be stuffed full of detonators, all neatly wrapped up in a set of his divorce papers! - 'Till I found that the old leather Gladstone Bag under my desk, and upon which my size 11 boots had been beating a happy tattoo, contained about 10 pounds of TNT flake in an unmentionable state of decomposition! Boy, you should have seen us two idiots, jammed in that office doorway doing the Fred Flintstone Shuffle! Funnily enough, we we both laughing like drains! laugh

Something psychological in that, do you think?

Take care with the experiments, and make sure you educate that boy in Safety Fun!


Wood work but can't!
Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: Alan Belson] #185910 04/04/09 01:56 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,379
Trumpy Offline
To do anything like this without safety glasses and shields is just asking for trouble.
People injure themselves doing the simplest but also the stupidest things, because they never thought they could get hurt (What can go wrong?).

Having said all that, we had an old V8 engine at the local swap-meet,last year, it was drained of oil, no cooling system, we ran it until it died (at full revs).
It lasted 22 minutes, I wish I'd had a video camera at the time, it was fun and scary at the same time, I was there as the Fire Safety officer.
Can anyone say "catastrophic failure"?
Blowing things up is not silly as long as it is done in a controlled environment.

Ray, I have viewed your battery video's and they make for good watching.
Ever been keen to try a car battery?(obviously with more sheilding and outside.

If anything, this shows a destructive streak each and everyone of us men have in us, political correctness had better not try and get rid of it either.
There will be riots, I'm telling you now. grin

I worked in Gummint ammo factory for 30 years.

You never mentioned this before, sounds like a cool job, what were your duties?

Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: Trumpy] #185911 04/04/09 02:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
noderaser Offline
Even if it's one of the sealed types, I think a car battery would be less prone to explosion, because te plastic case would melt before enough pressure would build up inside.

Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: noderaser] #185912 04/04/09 06:33 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 860
I'm not too keen in the acid H2SO4 pooring all over the driveway.

I know what happens when a truck / tractor battery or accu short out and it is not funny at all.

We had on a farm tractor, Samé Atlanta, two six volts series 21 plate 105 Ah batteries short out under the hood while trying to pull a stuck load with a big jank.

The batteries were not secured and one welded itself to the hood, and the top blew off, acid all over the tractor, luckily no one hurt, lot of damage and corrosion afterwards and a big hole melted in the hood.

These AA and D cells are being thrown out at work when flat so they give us a bit of fun and smoke at home on our driveway.
The caustic components are easily contained after the experiments. Some D cell battery tops of course will decay somewhere in our garden and flower beds :-)

The remains get put in a plastic bag and goes to the councils battery recycling place.

More clips will follow with Nicads and Lithium cells.

The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.
Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: RODALCO] #185931 04/05/09 06:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Alan Belson Offline
Trumpy, you never asked!

I joined a Government Research Facility in desperation after my apprenticeship and a few years scribbling in the Design Office, successfully ensuring that the eminent Machine Tool company, [Alfred Herbert Ltd of sacred memory], sank without grace or trace! We made high-pressure diecasting machines and dies, casting zinc, brass and aluminum alloys. Once having got my feet under the table with the Gummint, I spent many happy years designing bloody helical springs mad, most of which ended up buried deep in the salt beds in Nevada. While my pen whistled across the starched linen most of the week, [ nothing but the best!], I continued part-timing at the local tech, getting a sheaf of harmless certificates of incompetance in maths, mech. engineering and science grin. Eventually I moved to another facility, far from civilisation, where the men were Welsh and the sheep were nervous. We made Ordnance and other naughty things. Barnes Wallace built his Bouncing Bomb there, [he had his own garden shed laugh ]. I said a glad farewell to the Drawing Board, [ my fingers are still deformed from gripping those flipping indian-ink Gummint pens], to develop things that go "phut!" in the night. In doing so, slowly I learned the hazards of playing about with superheated steam, [get someone else to do it!], gunpowder, [dont!], the chlorates, [ double don't!], TNT, HMX, Amatol, picric acid, the azides, red phosphorus, Debrix, CS powder, electric detonators [DO NOT!!] and the Factory Canteen's 'Killer Curries', [ OK but only once a week! crazy]. I also continued to study and blackmailed a Dip. Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from Warwick Uni, which one of my ankle-biters ate before it got framed frown.

Do I miss it? Naaah! Tell you the truth, sometimes I was really scared!

Correction- most of the time I was really scared! sick


Wood work but can't!
Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: Alan Belson] #186021 04/10/09 10:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
SteveFehr Offline
I was offered a job testing explosives for the US Gummint. It sounded really cool on the surface (I mean, blowing stuff up for a living??) but the reality of it just scared the hell out of me, so I walked away. You're a better man than me, Alan!

Re: O.T. Battery Fire works [Re: SteveFehr] #186023 04/10/09 11:17 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 860
I have just enhanced the test rig set up.

The set up will be with ammeter and voltmeter in view when the batteries get burnt out.

Unfortunately it is raining today so no experiments will be carried out.

Blowing stuff up is fun, explosives is a different matter though.

The product of rotation, excitation and flux produces electricty.


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