Sciencemadness Discussion Board
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
 Pages:  1    3
Author: Subject: Lithium from Batteries
Saerynide
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 954
Registered: 17-11-2003
Location: The Void
Member Is Offline

Mood: Ionic

[*] posted on 6-7-2004 at 21:22
Lithium from Batteries


Today I managed to extract lithium from energizer batteries :D Theres quite alot of Li in there. It is not as scary as I thought it would be. I managed to cut open the battery AND remove enough of the case to pull out the coil without shortcircuiting enough it to cause it to burst into flames. The net has no real documentation of dismembering Li batteries (Theodore Gray has one, but its kinda confusing), so I'll post one here :)

Lemme get some lunch first though :D

[Edit]: Procedure is here :)

Anyone who's not foolish like me, will wear a pair of fireproof gloves. I did it barehanded (cause I didnt have fireproof gloves), but I dont think thats something to be proud of :P
Then get pair of diagonal cutters, and large pair of heavy duty pliers that can firmly grasp the battery, a small pair of long nose pliers, and the optional stuff includes: a hack saw, oil, lotsa dish washing soap (a must if you're using the oil :D)

DO THIS OUTSIDE IN A FIREPROOF PLACE!! :D

I dont have any pics of the procedure cause I had to work kinda fast. Sorry guys :(

First, peel off the wrapper of the battery. You'll notice theres a "neck" (that indented part) near the top of the battery and that the negative terminal IS the ENTIRE CAN (see pic below).


If ANY part of the can touches the positive terminal, you'll see a tiny but bright spark indicating a short circuit. Because of this, we can't open the battery like the conventional carbon batteries where you open and peel from the top. Instead, use the diagonal cutters to cut the top off at the neck while holding the battery with the large pliers (like decapitating the thing ;) ). Do this as quickly as you can because you may be short circuiting the battery. If it continues to short, it'll heat up really badly in a few seconds and may catch fire. Cutting off the top will remove all the stuff in the positive terminal and make life a bit easier. If its too slippery to cut, use the hack saw make a nice rough spot to start cutting.

Once the top's gone, you'll see a plastic ring on top of the inner coil (it's held in place by the remnants of the neck). Cut and then peel away the can using the long nose pliers, starting at the severed neck. Peel off bits until you can easily pull out the coil. Do this carefully and try not to dement the coil or touch the top of the coil, as that will shortcircuit the battery because the coil contains the anode and the cathode.

Unwrap the outter most layer of plastic (its thin and has lines on it). If you want to keep the Li, grab onto a tad of the next piece of plastic (its thicker than the previous one), then dunk the coil into oil and unroll the coil under there using chopsticks or something (its *not* an easy task ;)). Most of the Li will be already dark brown, but some of it that was wound deep in the coil will still be metallic. Some of the dark brown stuff in the coil is very thin and sticks to the plastic. It sinks in the oil and is not Li (thats the iron sulfide and it turns dark green in water). The Li is the thick sheet that floats in the oil. Some other crap in the coil includes a sheet of aluminum foil.

[Edit 2]: Posted some pics :)


Thats the top severed at the neck and the remains of the can after my peeling spree.


The unrolled coil under canola oil. Still some shiny Li floating there.


Lotsa shiny Li :D


Heres the Li foil reacting with water

Cleaning up was NOT fun. I had oil everywhere and enough dishwashing foam in my yard to drown in it :D

[Edit3]: I tried to make the procedure a bit more understandable.

[Edited on 7-7-2004 by Saerynide]




"Microsoft reserves the right at all times to monitor communications on the Service and disclose any information Microsoft deems necessary to... satisfy any applicable law, regulation or legal process"
View user's profile View All Posts By User
tom haggen
National Hazard
****




Posts: 488
Registered: 29-11-2003
Location: PNW
Member Is Offline

Mood: a better mood

[*] posted on 6-7-2004 at 21:37


What type of solvent did you use for extracting the lithium?



N/A
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 6-7-2004 at 22:14


No solvent is needed to extract Li, I just recantly aqquired 5 large Li batteries, the best way I have found of gutting them is to use make a downwards slit for about a couple of cm from the top of the battery, and using long-nosed pliars to curl round the casing and peel it off like the ring-pull on one of those old style corned beef cans.

The problem I have, is not getting the Li out of the battery, but finding something to store it in that it doesn't float to the top
of it :mad:




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Saerynide
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 954
Registered: 17-11-2003
Location: The Void
Member Is Offline

Mood: Ionic

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 01:54


I dont think there is any thing we can use that it wont float on. It has a density of only 0.54ish :o



"Microsoft reserves the right at all times to monitor communications on the Service and disclose any information Microsoft deems necessary to... satisfy any applicable law, regulation or legal process"
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 01:58


I am thinking of glueing a long glass rod to the lid of a jar, with a section of a sieve or somesuch mesh spread out over it, i think that would do a good job of keeping the lithium down without displacing too much motor oil.

Great pics Saerynide :D
Now all we need to do, is come up with a good way to melt it into blocks:)

Have you by any chance heard of calcium batteries? apparently they have a calcium metal alloy as one of the electrodes, I think maybe a thread on battery chemistry would be a good idea, as there are just so many goodies to be had from batteries:D


[Edited on 7-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]

[Edited on 7-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Saerynide
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 954
Registered: 17-11-2003
Location: The Void
Member Is Offline

Mood: Ionic

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 02:38


Mwhehehee.. Battery abuse is always fun (not to mention scary) :D

Great idea about the lithium holding lid :d I'll do that with my next left over battery :D

About melting the Li, Im not sure if thats a good idea. Read this other page of Theodore Gray's. Li tends to explode when melted in ceramic crucibles... Maybe glass will be safe?

And where can we get these calcium batteries?




"Microsoft reserves the right at all times to monitor communications on the Service and disclose any information Microsoft deems necessary to... satisfy any applicable law, regulation or legal process"
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 02:44


Don't try melting lithium in glass, I have never actually done it, but from what I have heard, molten lithium has a nasty tendency to melt glass, and produce a big hot fireball in the process:D

As for the calcium batteries, I found one scavenging on my local waste dump for a power source for my Na experiments:D
I never opened it up, but maybe somehow the Ca could be extracted from its alloy, as to how, I have no idea though.:(




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Saerynide
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 954
Registered: 17-11-2003
Location: The Void
Member Is Offline

Mood: Ionic

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 03:03


If it's spent, I doubt there'd be any Ca left in it :(

I dont think any of us should try melting Li :P

And is it just me, or does Li smell really good?? :o Maybe its reacting with the oil...

Hmmm... Im in such a good mood today :D




"Microsoft reserves the right at all times to monitor communications on the Service and disclose any information Microsoft deems necessary to... satisfy any applicable law, regulation or legal process"
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 03:07


The dump near where I live has huge piles of quite well charged car and truck batteries, that's what I rely on for electrolysis, since I destroyed my father's car battery charger:D

I wouldnt be too surprised if there was still a fair amount of Ca alloy to be had in those batteries:)

Interesting....Aparently the plates are composed of a Pb/Ca alloy, and the positive grids are at least partially made of silver:D


DAMN!
It looks like there is about 1% or so tops Ca in those batteries, a couple of percent Ag, and about 6% antimony.
Looks like a non starter, but I wonder if a sort of fine spongy lead couldn't be produced by dissolving out the Ca with acid, leaving a sort of fine honeycomb-sponge structure.

[Edited on 7-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]

[Edited on 7-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
blip
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 133
Registered: 16-3-2003
Member Is Offline

Mood: absorbed

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 17:18


I was wondering when you were going to do this, I almost U2U'ed you. :) I also have done this but I opened it on the wrong side not wanting any chance of shorting, primarily because my needlenose pliers have one tip broken and I don't have many tools to handle it. When I did this, I had a plastic car wax top mostly filled with clear mineral oil (intended as a laxative, with a bit of vitamin e, too) and I immersed the battery in it while working. If I needed to see it up close, I would use a dropper to keep it soaked in oil, and of course I was wearing goggles. I learned soon enough that I couldn't use leather gloves for protection against heat, and besides I would have no idea how hot it was until a spark or flame formed.

I chose to use my mom's latex gloves (she's a nurse so she has boxes upon boxes of them ;)) but after a while they'd soak up some oil and their pores would become visible. I was SOOO freaked out while doing this, not wanting to initiate any undersired reactions. Everytime I did, by shorting or pressing the Li against the black stuff (I thought it was MnO<sub>2</sub> but not sure), I would usually see a red spark and take the battery outside in a glass container full of oil as far from buildings as possible and quit for the night.

I began at the bottom cutting sort of diagonally with an okay pocket knife, dulling it by the time I finished. Next, I cut another slit so that I could grip the point with pliers and pull it to expose some of the innards. I kept pulling away the casing until I had no good place to pull. Too bad it was only partly opened. I got the small Li strip out, but the much larger one was impossible without a small set of scissors to cut the plastic layers so I could get to some Li each time. To say the least it was quite time consuming and I only got a small fraction out in a test tube. My mineral oil allows Li to sink if there are absolutely no bubbles attached, which takes a while. Currently there are crystals forming on the edges as sometimes the top would pop off due to hydrogen (I tried to add a droplet of water to test once and it seems to have sort of dissolved) and when it comes off the 60%+ humidity can get in.

The battery still remains in mineral oil and I'm considering making lithium isopropoxide with some hopefully anhydrous isopropanol just to get rid of it, and to be able to have an alkali alkoxide. I still need to make sure that reaction won't be too violent and won't catch anything on fire. I have 7 more batteries to take apart "the right way", and the entire pack was bought for $20. The reason I took the first battery apart wrong was because my internet connection wasn't very stable and I proceeded to do it anyway after weeks of waiting to see <a href="http://www.rhodium.ws/chemistry/lithium.batteries.html" target="_blank">this page</a> to check the methods.

I had my twin brother always watch me in case I needed something or something really bad happened. I need to get better tools, but the ones I can find at local stores are much too expensive. Perhaps I'll ask my mom or sister to buy me a couple of items. One time my sister came in while I was doing it, and she was mostly fine with it. My older brother however came in later and I felt that I had to show him the reactivity of it so he wouldn't go poking around (like he tends to do) and really hurt himself. By the way, there is a <a href="http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=1974" target="_blank">related thread</a>.




View user's profile View All Posts By User
Saerynide
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 954
Registered: 17-11-2003
Location: The Void
Member Is Offline

Mood: Ionic

[*] posted on 7-7-2004 at 21:46


Oooohhh. Thanks for showing me the Rhodium page. That one always escaped my google searches.

I understand how freaked out you mustve been. I was terrified last time I tried it. As soon as my cutters touched it and I saw the first orange spark, I stuffed the battery into a glass jar and called it a day. That was two weeks ago I think. But yesterday, remembering a line from Theodore Gray's page: "Don't be put off by small fires", I just made myself do it :D

It was acutally safer for me to not use gloves. I didnt have any gloves that were fire proof or that I could rip off easily should they catch fire. I didnt use goggles either. Im so bad :P

And there's no wrong way to dismember it. Its interesting how 5 people all did it their own different way. Pick which ever way works for you :) But I dont recommend Theodore's way though, his battery kept on catching fire ;)

And you're lucky you had someone with you. IMy brother freaked and stayed far away from me as poss...:mad: He almost ran away from me when I showed him the Li :o

About those crystals.... what *are* they? They remind me of how people describe AP. Are you sure they're not peroxides or anything dangerous like that? :o




"Microsoft reserves the right at all times to monitor communications on the Service and disclose any information Microsoft deems necessary to... satisfy any applicable law, regulation or legal process"
View user's profile View All Posts By User
blip
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 133
Registered: 16-3-2003
Member Is Offline

Mood: absorbed

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 10:24


I always refer to rhodium's site if I'm wondering about some reaction. Particularly if you search for "lithium" the first hit will be the battery deconstruction page. It's useful for more than drug synths. I remember the time I read and reread the birch reduction document by mr clean there.

You seemed eerily laid back about the whole thing in your initial post than you are about anything, but at least I know the reason and how careful you were being. Partly why I used gloves was that I kept the battery saturated with oil and bare-handed it would slip right through my fingers. Also, sharp edges in the cut metal would mangle my glove and not my hand. I actually had a glove tear up pretty well when I tried to take it off one night. Having a propylene carbonate and 1,2-dimethoxyethane solution of lithium perchlorate get in a cut is NOT my idea of having a good day. If my gloves did need to be pulled off quickly, I could grip them at the wrist and yank them inside out on a moment's notice. It's not so easily done with those kitchen cleaning gloves that are thicker.

I really doubt that those crystals are peroxides, because really only the other alkali metals form them upon combustion. It's probably just a mixture of oxides and hydroxides, and nitrides if they're brownish black. This would be yet another reason why I would rather deal with lithium than something else. I think it would take rather high pressures of pure oxygen to coax lithium to form peroxides, if it can even be done at all. <a href="http://www.chemguide.co.uk/inorganic/group2/reacto2.html" target="_blank">This page</a> down where it says "Why do some metals form peroxides on heating in oxygen?" explains why some metals form peroxides and others don't (yes they talk about alkaline earth metals but the point is also valid for alkalis, too).

Next time you do this I would recommend having a friend watch you in case something like a burning molten bead of lithium decides to embed itself in your arm when the thing catches fire. I had my twin wearing goggles and gloves and being just as scared as I was. I was doing it inside a store room that gets a bit of air conditioning sometimes just so I would be working in a less humid environment. I wasted a good deal of the metal testing whether it really was it or not, and even burned a small strip of it. I wore thick thick cloth gloves and it took a while to ignite due to the oil coating but burned very quickly and with a spectacular red flame with much oxide being thrown into the air.




View user's profile View All Posts By User
tom haggen
National Hazard
****




Posts: 488
Registered: 29-11-2003
Location: PNW
Member Is Offline

Mood: a better mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 17:12


In your last picture, the lithium doesn't seem to be reacting with the water very violently. No where near as violent as sodium. Do you think there would be a way to synthesize lithium carbonate from the elemental lithium in those batteries?

[Edited on 9-7-2004 by tom haggen]




N/A
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 17:17


As the lithium is in a thin foil, you could probably get away with burning strips of it in a chlorine atmosphere, what are you using the LiCL for?

Bugger, sorry, I misread your post as wanting to make LiCl:o

[Edited on 9-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
BromicAcid
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 3001
Registered: 13-7-2003
Location: Wisconsin
Member Is Offline

Mood: Legitimate

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 17:30


Lithium carbonate would be an easy one:

2Li(s) + 2H2O(l) ----> 2LiOH(aq) + H2(g)
2LiOH(aq) + CO2(g) ---> Li2CO3(s) + H2O(l)

Filter off your slightly soluble Li2CO3

Or evaporate your LiOH solution and leave the solid out exposed to the atmosphere, it will pick up CO2.

BTW: Good job Saerynide, any future plans for you Li? Oh, and melting in glass, not a good idea, I mentioned it somewhere that molten lithium redily attacks glass emitting green light and melting holes quickly in the glass (possibly with explosion) as it does so.

[Edited on 7/9/2004 by BromicAcid]




Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
tom haggen
National Hazard
****




Posts: 488
Registered: 29-11-2003
Location: PNW
Member Is Offline

Mood: a better mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:02


So reacting lithium with water gives you lithium hydroxide?



N/A
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
sanity gone
Harmless
*




Posts: 38
Registered: 25-4-2004
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:03


reacting metal or metal oxides that can displace hydrogen from water will give you the hydroxide.
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:07


Reacting any alkali metal with water gives the hydroxide, they skid about on water and from Na up they usually burn, Li skids about and fizzles on water, Na does the same, but is a lot more likely to catch fire.

Na will explode if sufficient amount be present, K is VERY likely to explode,

I havent personally seen Rb and Cs hit water, but from what I have heard, explosion is a certainty and said explosion is extremely violent:D




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
sanity gone
Harmless
*




Posts: 38
Registered: 25-4-2004
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:21


Try some Fr on water, that would be violent. Too bad that there is like no Francium in the world :(
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Reverend Necroticus Rex
Hazard to Others
***




Posts: 196
Registered: 15-6-2004
Location: Right behind you.......
Member Is Offline

Mood: Poisonous

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:24


A chunk of francium reacting with water has been one on THE experiments I would most like to see, second only to maybe nitrogen tri-astatide:D

And I don't think "violent" would be sufficient to describe it......

[Edited on 9-7-2004 by Reverend Necroticus Rex]




The sun is shining on a brand new day
Blackened corpses burn where they were slain
Self-flagellation prompts him to confess, Bless me father, for I made this mess.
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
Saerynide
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 954
Registered: 17-11-2003
Location: The Void
Member Is Offline

Mood: Ionic

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:44


Quote:
Originally posted by tom haggen
In your last picture, the lithium doesn't seem to be reacting with the water very violently. No where near as violent as sodium.

Thats cause I only put about 5 drops of water on it. I didnt want to waste it all :D

Quote:
Originally posted by blip
You seemed eerily laid back about the whole thing in your initial post than you are about anything, but at least I know the reason and how careful you were being.

Sorry if it sounded like I didnt care about anything. Maybe it was the effect of the Li (the Li+ ion messes with your mind). I found myself in a really-happy-for-no-reason-while-not-thinking-about-anything kind of mood for a few hours. You dont know how hard it was to type that first post sensibly :o




"Microsoft reserves the right at all times to monitor communications on the Service and disclose any information Microsoft deems necessary to... satisfy any applicable law, regulation or legal process"
View user's profile View All Posts By User
tom haggen
National Hazard
****




Posts: 488
Registered: 29-11-2003
Location: PNW
Member Is Offline

Mood: a better mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:46


Is the lithium obtained from those batteries is contaiminated with lead, or any other toxic chemicals? Besides lithium itself being toxic in high concentrations in the blood stream.

[Edited on 9-7-2004 by tom haggen]

[Edited on 9-7-2004 by tom haggen]




N/A
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
BromicAcid
International Hazard
*****




Posts: 3001
Registered: 13-7-2003
Location: Wisconsin
Member Is Offline

Mood: Legitimate

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 18:53


I believe electrolytic lithium used in making lithium batteries is of an unusually high purity. I remember reading something on the incredibly stringent measures put into purifying the lithium and keeping the rooms of production clean. So I don't think there is any note worthy lead in the lithium obtained from batteries.

Any other contaimination would be surface contamination and removed by washing the freashly removed lithium strips with oil then acetone.




Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Cyrus
National Hazard
****




Posts: 397
Registered: 24-4-2004
Location: Ancient Persia
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 21:15


Saerynide, do you think the happy mood you got was because of the Lithium? How much would a person need to ingest to cause that? You were not touching the Li with your hand, were you? :)

This sounds like a lot of fun, got to try it, and I will find my OWN way to open the battery.;)

Good, other people have found Gray's site. It's great.




View user's profile View All Posts By User
tom haggen
National Hazard
****




Posts: 488
Registered: 29-11-2003
Location: PNW
Member Is Offline

Mood: a better mood

[*] posted on 8-7-2004 at 21:30


500mg would be a good healthy dose of lithium. You would be better of synthesizing lithium carbonate seeing as how that’s the actual medication doctors prescribe. I would be careful when ingesting internal components of a battery. It just seems like a bad idea.
I find it highly unlikely that someone absorbed a large dose of lithium through skin absorption.

[Edited on 9-7-2004 by tom haggen]




N/A
View user's profile View All Posts By User This user has MSN Messenger
 Pages:  1    3

  Go To Top