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Author: Subject: anyway to recover and purify the zinc from old batteries?
Little_Ghost_again
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anyway to recover and purify the zinc from old batteries?

Hi,
I was wondering (seeing as I have a huge amount) if there was any way to recover the zinc from old batteries like AA batteries and such? They are a wide mix of batteries including alkali and many other kinds. I looked at the Nurd Rage video on recovering MNO from old batteries but he mentioned that process couldnt be used on alkali batteries.
Alot of the batteries are corroded so I was thinking maybe some kind of electrolysis method? I wouldnt normally bother but the school collected huge numbers in a recycle bin but the company that supplied it didnt show up again! Sooo I scrounged them , probably not worth the effort but has to be over 1000 batteries I am sorting through to see if there is any lithium ones

LG

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aga
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Probably not worth the effort, unless you discover a quick and automated way to recover the components.

1000 is a lot of batteries, but if you work out the Time taken to process them, the results are simply not worth it.

Finding the Li ones would be most fun.

j_sum1

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Electrowinning might be your best bet.
Melt your contaminated Zn into a crude ingot. Immerse as an anode into a Zn solution. Run a current and collect purified zinc at the cathode, catching impurities in your electrolyte.
Repeat as needed.
Little_Ghost_again
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 Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1 Electrowinning might be your best bet. Melt your contaminated Zn into a crude ingot. Immerse as an anode into a Zn solution. Run a current and collect purified zinc at the cathode, catching impurities in your electrolyte. Repeat as needed.

Thanks for that, I got a cheap graphite crucible that should do the job!

I have found loads of lithium batteries in the box, I am guessing I could build a box with gloves attached fill with N and take the lithium out if its in any fit state.
I want to clean the MNO as I am wanting to make a large home made battery with potassium hydroxide as electrolyte, no reason for it just kinda interested. MNO seems expensive at the mo

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blogfast25
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 Quote: Originally posted by Little_Ghost_again I have found loads of lithium batteries in the box, I am guessing I could build a box with gloves attached fill with N and take the lithium out if its in any fit state.

Spent Li batteries don't contain any Li metal anymore: it's all been oxidised, remember? It's what batteries do!

diddi
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if it is an academic exercise then go ahead, but to be honest, you can buy 999 bullion of Zn for a few \$ a pound, so why bother?

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Little_Ghost_again
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Quote: Originally posted by blogfast25
 Quote: Originally posted by Little_Ghost_again I have found loads of lithium batteries in the box, I am guessing I could build a box with gloves attached fill with N and take the lithium out if its in any fit state.

Spent Li batteries don't contain any Li metal anymore: it's all been oxidised, remember? It's what batteries do!

Not all are spent, a fair few are showing above 1V.

Its a bit of everything exercise really.

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Justin Blaise
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 Quote: Originally posted by Little_Ghost_again I have found loads of lithium batteries in the box, I am guessing I could build a box with gloves attached fill with N and take the lithium out if its in any fit state.

Another problem is that Li reacts with N2 at room temperature. You'd need Ar ($$) for that job. Edit: Glove bags aren't so expensive, though. http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/labware/labware-products.html?Ta... Alternatively, you could make one as per the attachment. [Edited on 27-8-2015 by Justin Blaise] Attachment: ed072p96.pdf (944kB) This file has been downloaded 116 times [Edited on 27-8-2015 by Justin Blaise] Little_Ghost_again International Hazard Posts: 985 Registered: 16-9-2014 Member Is Offline Mood: Baffled Quote: Originally posted by Justin Blaise  Quote: Originally posted by Little_Ghost_again I have found loads of lithium batteries in the box, I am guessing I could build a box with gloves attached fill with N and take the lithium out if its in any fit state. Another problem is that Li reacts with N2 at room temperature. You'd need Ar ($$) for that job.

Edit: Glove bags aren't so expensive, though.

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/labware/labware-products.html?Ta...

Alternatively, you could make one as per the attachment.

[Edited on 27-8-2015 by Justin Blaise]

[Edited on 27-8-2015 by Justin Blaise]

We have a MIG welder and I think thats got Argon , I will check later

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Keith Fletcher
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Recovering Zinc from Zinc Carbon Batteries

Disassemble the battery remove the carbon electrode and then dissolve the zinc in Nitric acid or some other Mineral acid to make zinc nitrate. Then decompose the zinc nitrate to get pure zinc metal.

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gdflp
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 Quote: Originally posted by Keith Fletcher Disassemble the battery remove the carbon electrode and then dissolve the zinc in Nitric acid or some other Mineral acid to make zinc nitrate. Then decompose the zinc nitrate to get pure zinc metal.

That's nowhere close to as simple as you make it seem. Zinc nitrate will decompose to zinc oxide and nitrogen oxides at moderate temperatures, but reclaiming the zinc from the oxide the way you propose would be quite difficult. Zinc oxide decomposes at nearly 2000°C, at which point the zinc would be gaseous. Condensing this without reoxidation would be nearly impossible on an amateur scale, and most certainly not worth the effort for relatively small amounts of zinc. Substituting the direct decomposition of zinc oxide with a carbothermal reduction would lower the necessary temperature to around 1000°C, but you still have the issue of condensing the zinc under an inert atmosphere to prevent reoxidation. Electrolysis of zinc sulfate may be plausible, and would certainly be easier than a high temperature reduction, see older relevant threads on SciMad.

Keith Fletcher
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2 ZnO + C --> Zn + CO2

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diddi
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re MIG gas: it often contains CO2. there is a pure Ar gas which is used for TIG welding, but you can use pure Ar in MIG, but it is dearer, so make sure you check carefully on the label.

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Little_Ghost_again
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 Quote: Originally posted by diddi re MIG gas: it often contains CO2. there is a pure Ar gas which is used for TIG welding, but you can use pure Ar in MIG, but it is dearer, so make sure you check carefully on the label.

its my dads welder so I wont need to check, my dad being my dad is gonna go cheap, so I am betting its not pure ....................

ran outside to check, just in case I was wrong about my dad being a tight arse.

Nope I was correct, it is not pure

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macckone
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Lithium batteries are generally disassembled under
oil to recover the lithium. Where Little Ghost lives
it is probably legal. However in the 'Land of the Free',
it is illegal in some places.

As for the recovery of zinc from the oxide, this is
one of the earliest ore recoveries. The carbothermic
reaction occurs at modest temperatures but vaporized
zinc is a hazard although usually not fatal.
Little_Ghost_again
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 Quote: Originally posted by macckone Lithium batteries are generally disassembled under oil to recover the lithium. Where Little Ghost lives it is probably legal. However in the 'Land of the Free', it is illegal in some places. As for the recovery of zinc from the oxide, this is one of the earliest ore recoveries. The carbothermic reaction occurs at modest temperatures but vaporized zinc is a hazard although usually not fatal.

Thanks.
Any yep where I live most things are legal due to the seclusion .
In the uk you allowed to do most things except make ethanol (tax issue). Nitric acid (in case you hurt yourself). Hydrogen peroxide over 12% (in case you over bleach your hair).
Oh and breathing is to be heavily taxed. But no where can I find anything that says I cant take the lithium out of a battery, I cant go on a plane with a lithium battery but I am allowed to take it apart!
I cant buy Ammonium Nitrate in small quantity because of possible bomb making, but I am allowed to buy it by the ton for spreading on the fields here!

Mad times in Europe and UK

LG

Dont ask me, I only know enough to be dangerous

 Sciencemadness Discussion Board » Fundamentals » Beginnings » anyway to recover and purify the zinc from old batteries? Select A Forum Fundamentals   » Chemistry in General   » Organic Chemistry   » Reagents and Apparatus Acquisition   » Beginnings   » Responsible Practices   » Miscellaneous   » The Wiki Special topics   » Technochemistry   » Energetic Materials   » Biochemistry   » Radiochemistry   » Computational Models and Techniques   » Prepublication Non-chemistry   » Forum Matters   » Legal and Societal Issues   » Detritus   » Test Forum