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Thermite powered battery

Posted by: Sigma - Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:36 am
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Thermite powered battery 
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Post Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:36 am
Could a thermite cell be built that allows super heated water to undergo thermolosis when contacting a catalytic cathode and diode powered by a thermionic. Then the seperated hydrogen and oxogen go.into a fuel cell?

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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:03 pm
Why would you want to do that?

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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:20 pm
I guess to generate power? But its a bit of a round'about way to do it. Lots of little technical problems that would have to be overcome.


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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:25 pm
Exactly, the idea is to convert heat into energy into dc at a high energy state in order to take advantage of efficient thermolosis instead of electrolosis and the bi-product is water, and aluminum oxide and iron, I was thinking that you could make a very strong short duration emergency battery or magnetically launch a vehicle with it.

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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:18 am
It would be very difficult to build it compact and light enough to be practical. Moderating the thermite reaction so that you don't overwhelm your fuel cell (both in gas throughput/pressure and energy) would be tricky. The energy capture ratio will be horrible, most of the thermite's energy goes out the tailpipe as boiled water unless you capture it somehow with thermocouples or recycling the water. Which adds weight and complexity. Like I said, just a brief thought about it turns up lots of technical challenges. It has more in common with nuclear propulsion than batteries...


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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Wed Dec 28, 2011 6:48 pm
The idea is to have the thermite ONLY cooled by heating the water, and by having the thermite in nanocells like some other experiments I have seen, the reaction can be gradually ignited. If the water is hot enough when it strikes the catalist that is has a current flowing through it, and ALL of the water is split.

People used to think the automobile went to fast........

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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:26 pm
The thermite isn't being "cooled", its undergoing a exothermic chemical reaction, ie: burning, and its energy is being transferred into the surrounding water via whatever is containing the thermite (and hopefully "cooled" below its melting or failure point).

Yes I was assuming that your dissociation process broke down all of the water into its constituents. The trick then becomes how to prevent your still highly energized (hot) hydrogen and oxygen from spontaneously recombining (exploding) back into water before reaching your fuel cell's catalyst plate.

I'm not saying your idea doesn't have merit, only that it won't be simple by any means. It would be a great engineering thesis subject (ie; get someone else to pay for the experiment) to see see if it has any advantages over conventional thermal electric generation.


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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:21 am
Sorry if I came back a little roughly, what I meant was that the current established through the catalist could sort the components like electolosis, but much cheaper energy wise

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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:22 am
Probably not "cheaper" as in more efficient, but possibly in a more practical package than storage in batteries or LH2 and LOX for certain applications. What you are trying to design is an "electron pump" to convert the thermal energy from *a* heat source (thermite in this case) into electrical energy without any of those fiddly turbines and generators.

Probably trumped by superconducting capacitor storage whenever those get around to being perfected, but one thing that does appeal about the ideas is that if you can get the rest of a solid-state closed cycle system running, the use of thermite as one of other thermal energy sources to drive the system (the others being solar, radiological, geothermal etc.) could be useful. One that comes to mind is on the Moon where you have 20 odd days of solar energy and then another three weeks of darkness where you could burn thermite (made locally), all on the same dissociation-reassociation cycle hardware.

That right there would be the prize (and the hard part).


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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:12 pm
You really seem to like thermite, so here's the problems. 1 it's a solid fuel, which means it's used up, and then has to be re-packed, just like any solid fuel rocket. Making it a hybrid boiler doesn't gain you much, except possibly the ability to throttle it, at the expense of mass fraction for the tank, and complexity for the extra piping. I've concidered cast thermite rocket boosters, but to make your proposal work, I'd have to have some idea of the aplication, and scale you'd be using it for.

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Post Re: Thermite powered battery   Posted on: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:48 am
Totally ignore that last post, if it passes mustre in the first place. Chalk it up to mmy obligatory Nijbe mistake. Try not to let it happen again.

Now, unfortunately, Thermite has a minimum ignition temperature to sustaing the reaction. It's also got a nasty habit of shattering explosively when exposed to water, so unless theres a window between those two where you can balance the cooling to prevent it going boom, and fizzling out, I can't see how this would work.

Have you concidered using an electrolytic substrate instead of steam to carry oxides between the Fe, and AL ions (Assuming that thermite reaction, which I would suggest, as they're both as common as dirt)? That would be closer to a battery than a fuel cell, but I'm not sure what electrolyte to use. Unfortunately, there is no ferrous, or alluminate acid that I'm aware of, but there could be interesting semiconductive feild effects in such a mix.

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