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Aircraft Batteries

Aircraft Batteries

↘↘ Aircraft batteries are used for many functions (ground power, emergency power, improving DC bus stability, and fault clearing). Most small private aircraft use lead-acid batteries. Most commercial and corporate aircraft use nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries. However, other lead-acid types of batteries are becoming available, such as the valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. The battery best suited for a particular application depends on the relative importance of several characteristics, such as weight, cost, volume, service or shelf life, discharge rate, maintenance, and charging rate. Any change of battery type may be considered a major alteration.

Types of Batteries:
Aircraft batteries are usually identified by the material used for the plates. The two most common types of battery used are lead-acid and NiCd batteries.

Lead-Acid Batteries:
Dry Charged Cell Lead-Acid Batteries
Dry charged cell lead-acid batteries, also known as flooded or wet batteries, are assembled with electrodes (plates) that have been fully charged and dried. The electrolyte is added to the battery when it is placed in service, and battery life begins when the electrolyte is added. An aircraft storage battery consists of 6 or 12 lead-acid cells connected in series. The open-circuit voltage of the 6 cell battery is approximately 12 volts, and the open-circuit voltage of the 12-cell battery is approximately 24 volts. Open circuit voltage is the voltage of the battery when it is not connected to a load. When flooded (vented) batteries are on charge, the oxygen generated at the positive plates escapes from the cell. Concurrently, at the negative plates, hydrogen is generated from water and escapes from the cell. The overall result is the gassing of the cells and water loss. Therefore, flooded cells require periodic water replenishment.
NiCd Batteries:
A NiCd battery consists of a metallic box, usually stainless steel, plastic-coated steel, painted steel, or titanium-containing a number of individual cells.  These cells are connected in series to obtain 12 volts or 24 volts. The cells are connected by highly conductive nickel-copper links. Inside the battery box, the cells are held in place by partitions, liners, spacers, and a cover assembly. The battery has a ventilation system to allow the escape of the gases produced during an overcharge condition and provide cooling during normal operation.
NiCd cells installed in an aircraft battery are typical of the vented cell type. The vented cells have a vent or low-pressure release valve that releases any generated oxygen and hydrogen gases when overcharged or discharged rapidly. This also means the battery is not normally damaged by excessive rates of overcharge, discharge, or even negative charge. The cells are rechargeable and deliver a voltage of 1.2 volts during discharge.

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