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Preparation of Organic Rechargeable Battery Using Phenols.

Byline: Nadia Bashir, Zahid Hussain, Nisar Ahmad, Khalid Mohammed Khan and Shahnaz Perveen

Summary: Phenols are antioxidant compounds and have the property of electrochemical oxidation. Exploiting the antioxidant properties of the phenol a rechargeable battery was prepared by coupling phenol with resorcinol through salt bridge.

The voltage power and stability of this battery was found to depend upon the concentration of the phenols, concentration of the electrolyte, power/voltage of charger and porosity of the salt bridge which connects the two solutions. The salt bridges used for this battery include piece of card board and wicks made of the loose and tightly woven cotton threads i.e. the wick of spirit lamp and the wick used in lantern. Sodium hydroxide solution was used as electrolyte and conductivity improving medium.

The concentration of the electrolyte was investigated using its solutions of various concentrations in separate experiments. The voltage of the charger was investigated by using charger/transformers of 6.15 and 3 volt. This five cell phenol battery gives a maximum voltage of 8000 millivolt at the optimum conditions. This battery was recharged using a 15 volt DC power supply. The charging and theoretical aspects of the battery are also discussed in this communication.

Keywords: Phenol battery, Antioxidant, electrochemical redox, Organic battery, Phenol analysis

Introduction

Phenols are useful organic compounds having widespread uses both at home and industry. Phenols are used as antiseptic agents [1, 2], as starting material for the preparation of polymers like Bakelite and as properties enhancing additives in polymers blends. Phenols are compounds of widespread distribution in the nature. These are found in the plants and most of the fossil fuels [3-7]. Among the fossil fuels it occurs in oil, coal and coal is one of the rich sources of the phenols [4-7].

They also occur in the soil rich of the organic material, where the source is the decay of the plant and some of the algal materials. Due to their widespread distribution and variety of forms and structures, phenols play an important role in the living system. One of the roles of phenols is their ability to act as antioxidant. Antioxidants are the compounds or radicals which react with the free radicals in most of the in vivo processes.

These compounds convert into their oxidized forms and acts as sacrifice moieties. The antioxidant activities of the phenols are important both in the biological and industrial processes as well as products [8]. The properties of the phenols vary according to the number of the aromatic rings, the nature of rings, and the number of OH groups [9]. The antioxidant properties also vary with the position of OH group at the ring [10].

The metabolic activities are associated with the generation of free radicals in the body [11] and these free radicals are strong oxidizing agents i.e. convert some of the compounds into their oxidized form and quench them into their reduced forms.

The free radicals are intercepted by the reducing agents called antioxidants [12,13]. In many of the cases phenolic compounds acts as antioxidants. Electrochemical oxidation and reduction of phenol is also reported [14-17].

If the antioxidant activities of the phenols are compared with each other than some of the phenols having greater potential of being oxidized and may act as reducing agents while others as oxidizing agents. This difference in antioxidant activities can be exploited for the analysis of these compounds and the formation of energy storage devices like batteries.

Organic compounds were considered as the electrode active material by Nigrey et al. in 1981 [18]. They used a film of acetylene as cathode active material in the attempts to make light weight batteries. There are also reports of the cathode active organic radicals and polymers [19-23]. None of these reported batteries exclusively used organic compounds on an inert electrode material. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first report on a battery The difference in the relative antioxidant activities of the phenols allows the use of phenols as oxidation or reduction half of a battery.

These activities are believed to be due to the vulnerability of the OH group to the anodic and cathodic reactions. The electrochemical oxidation and reduction of the phenols is a reversible reaction. The oxidized and reduced forms of the phenols remain in equilibrium. Coupling of phenols which have relative tendency of oxidation with those having the tendency of reduction through a salt bridge may form an electrochemical cell. This cell can generate electricity according to the difference in electrode potential of the two halves.

Effect of Salt Bridge on the Voltage and Stability of

Phenol Battery

The porosity of the salt bridge may also play role in the voltage of the rechargeable cell. An increase in porosity may increase the chance of the mixing of solutions in two halves of the battery which results the decrease in power and voltage of the battery due to less available free energy. The use of a salt bridge having more porosity results less stable voltage. It may also change the stability of the battery. These investigations were carried out using a single cell.

The recharging time was 20 minutes and the charger for these experiments was of 15 volt strength. The results of these investigations are collected in Table-1. If a salt bridge of a spirit lamp wick, composed of loose threads, was used the voltage and stability is less compared to the usage of a compact wick composed of waved wires as used in lanterns. In case of the use of a card board as a salt bridge, a further increase in stability and voltage was observed.

Table-1: Investigation of suitable salt bridge for the phenol battery.

S. No.###Salt Bridge###Voltage (milli volt)

1###Spirit lamp wick###120

2###Waved thread wick###190

3###Card board###230

Investigation of the Power of Charger on the Charge

Storage Capacity of Cell

The electrochemical reactions of the phenols are believed to be dependent upon the voltage of the charging recharger. Increase in its strength may change the equilibrium concentration of the active components which results change in voltage. The effect of the strength of the charger was investigated using a battery composed of five cells.

An increase in the voltage of power supply increases the voltage of the resulting battery. It is also believed that increase in strength of the charger decreases the charging time. Each of the experiment was carried out in triplicate. The charging time was 20 minutes for each of the experiments and results are given in Table-2. The effect of the power of the charger on the voltage of the cell was not explored beyond this range due to the non-availability of the chargers other than 6, 15 and 30 volt in our laboratory.

However, it is expected that this increase will occur until a limiting value. This limiting value is based on the availability of the active species which are coming to the solution through electrochemical reaction. Although the voltage is greater in case of the 30 volt charger but we used 15 volt charger for further research.

Table-2: Investigation of the power of charger on the charge storage and capacity of cell.

S. No.###Voltage of the###Voltage of battery

###Charger (Volt)###(milli volt)

1###6.00###4600

2###15.00###8000

3###30.00###11000

Investigation of the Optimum Time of Charging for

Phenol Battery

The voltage and stability of phenol battery is a function of the concentration of the electro-active species. The concentration of these depends upon the kinetics of the electro-chemical reaction. The concentration of the active species depends upon the charging time and the power of the charger. This study was carried out using a single cell and it was recharged using a 15 volt transformer.

Each of the experiment was carried out in triplicate and the average of each of the results of this study is given in Table-3. It indicates that the change in voltage takes place with change in charging time. It was also observed that after 20 minutes the maximum concentration of the active species become constant and the voltage get a limiting value. Based on the voltage of the cell, 20 minutes charging time was selected for further work.

Table-3: Investigation of the optimum time of charging for the phenol battery.

S. No.###Time of charging###Voltage (milli volt)

###1###5.00###1570

###2###10.00###1720

###3###15.00###1850

###4###20.00###1870

###5###25.00###1870

Investigation of the Optimum Amount of Phenol and Resorcinol for the Preparation of Rechargeable

Phenol Battery

The potential of an electrochemical cell depends upon the concentration and nature of the electro-active species. The activity of the phenol as oxidation half or reduction half mainly depends upon the number of the OH groups on the benzene ring. There are reports on the variation of the antioxidant activities of the phenols take place with changes in the number of OH groups [3-5]. In the present work phenol and resorcinol were used as electro-active species. Phenol is monohydric and resorcinol is dihydric in nature.

The oxidized and reduced forms are in a state of equilibrium. The energy transfer and storage reactions depend upon the concentration of active species in the cell. Therefore, change in concentration of the starting material also changes the active concentration which changes the capabilities of the cell. These studies were carried out using out in two sets of experiments with a single cell containing phenol half and resorcinol half separated by a salt bridge made of hard board.

The strength of the charger was 15 volt and the charging time was 20 minutes. The first set of experiments was carried out using 0.05% solutions of resorcinol with different concentrations of the phenol. Each of the experiment in both sets of the experiments was carried out in triplicate. The results for this first set of experiments are presented in Table-4. It can be observed from the results that the voltage of the half cell varies with changes in the concentration of the phenol.

Based on the maximum voltage, 0.05% of the phenol was selected as the optimum concentration and used as constant concentration of phenol in the second set of experiments. The results for the second set of experiments are given in Table-5. It can be seen from the results that the voltage increases with increase in concentration of the resorcinol until at 0.1%. This concentration contains maximum amount of the active species and was selected as optimum for onward studies.

Table-4: Investigation of optimum concentration of Phenol for phenol battery.

###Voltage in milli###Voltage in

S.###Concentration of

###volt before###milli volt after

No.###Phenol (%)

###charging###charging

1###0.01###455###1005

2###0.02###480###1005

3###0.05###555###1030

4###0.1###484###1006

5###0.25###462###1006

6###0.5###402###1020

7###1.00###410###1005

8###2.00###280###1010

9###3.00###393###1010

10###4.00###281###1005

Table-5: Investigation of optimum Concentration of resorcinol for the preparation of phenols battery.

###Voltage in milli###Voltage in milli

###Concentration of

S. No.###volt before###volt after

###Resorcinol (%)

###charging###charging

1###0.010###726###1700

2###0.025###764###1765

3###0.05###815###1780

4###0.1###1070###1790

5###0.2###950###1700

6###0.3###643###1760

7###0.4###557###1734

8###0.5###505###1600

9###1.0###500###1640

The Effect of the Concentration of NaOH on the

Voltage of Phenol Resorcinol Cell

The aqueous solutions of both the phenol and resorcinol have high resistance to electrical conductance. These solutions also have the tendency of electro-chemical redox reactions. The resistance of the cell can be controlled by the use of electrolytes. In this work NaOH solution in different concentrations was used as electrolyte.

The use of NaCl or acid was avoided due to the formation of toxic gaseous products by the electrolysis of these compounds in charging of the cell. Optimum concentration of the NaOH solution was investigated using different concentration of NaOH in separate experiments.

It was observed that the voltage of the cell changes with the change in concentration of the NaOH solution as shown in Table-6. Based on the voltage after charging of the cell, 8% NaOH solution was selected as the optimum concentration of NaOH

Table-6: Investigation of the optimum concentration of sodium hydroxide solution for the preparation of Phenols battery.

S.###Concentration

###Voltage without

###Voltage after

###charging (m.volt)

No.###of NaOH (%)

###charging (m. volt)

###1###0.1###197###1710

###2###0.25###201###1890

###3###0.5###208###1910

###4###1.0###235###1830

###5###2.0###230###1945

###6###4.0###262###1990

###7###6.0###275###1970

###8###8.0###283###1995

###9###10.0###285###1994

10###15.0###284###1990

11###20.0###293###1995

Investigation of the Power of Phenol Battery

The stability and power of the phenol battery was investigated using a five cell battery that gives a relatively stable voltage of 8000 milli volts. This study was carried out using LEDs as power consumers. The specifications for which are given as:

1 V = 800-1000, V F (V) = 3.2-3.8, power dissipation = 80 mW. Although the voltage of the battery is high but the power is less and greater voltage drops were observed. On addition of the gum arabica to the half cells the stability and voltage increased. It can be observed from the Table-7 that a set 5 LEDs work for only for 42 seconds. Whilst in case of the gum added battery this time was found 1 minute and 10 second.

This change in free energy of the battery is due to the increase in viscosity of the media which lowers the movements of the species involved in storage of the electrical energy. It also retains the charge difference which leads to the conservation and stability of the voltage of the cell.

To check, whether this is the effect of the composition of the gum arabica or the viscosity which changes the power, a gum used by the book binders was added to the cells instead of the gum arabica. In this case the results were found similar to the gum arabica added battery. This indicates the effect of the viscosity of the media on the power and stability of this battery.

Table-7: Investigation of the power of phenol battery.

S. No.###No of LEDs###Time

###1###1###2.0 min 45 sec

###2###2###1.0 min 35 sec

###3###3###1.0 min 0 sec

###4###4###1.0 min 0 sec

###5###5###0.0 min 42 sec

Experimental

Material and Method

Rechargeable phenol battery is composed of 5 units and each unit is prepared by joining two cubical epoxy resin containers each of which has a volume of 3.2 cm3, a cut was made in the joining walls for facilitating the salt bridge. The electrodes for this battery were made of graphite. A circuit of five pairs of electrodes was prepared using a card board as supporting and insulating material.

The connections were made through copper wire according to the circuit requirements. All the five anodic and cathode halves were loaded with the aqueous solutions of the oxidizing and reducing phenols. The voltage was measured by the use of a digital multimeter. Charging was carried out using indigenously-prepared chargers of various strengths according to the procedure.

Conclusion

To the best of our knowledge, it is the first report on phenol battery and it was found to give a high voltage. The voltage of this battery is a function of the strength of the power supply for charging, the concentration of the phenols and the strength of the electrolyte.

The stability of the battery was found to increase with increase in the viscosity. It is expected that this battery can be made into a useful rechargeable battery by the use of proper inert coagulant which increases the viscosity of the medium. Based on variation in voltage of the battery with changes in concentration of the phenols, the use of this rechargeable system is suggested for the analysis of the phenols. It can also be used as a base for the electro-chemical measurement of the antioxidant activity. The best indicator for which is the use of one electrode as the oxidation and the other as reduction half in this work.

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1Department of Chemistry, Hazara University, Mansehra, Pakistan. 2Department of Chemistry, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, Pakistan. 3H. E. J. Research Institute of Chemistry International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan. 4PCSIR Laboratories Complex, Karachi, Shahrah-e-Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, Karachi-75280, Pakistan. khalid.khan@iccs.edu
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Publication:Journal of the Chemical Society of Pakistan
Date:Dec 31, 2013
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