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Gary, and all concerned,
The Optima IS a sealed recombinant SLI (starter, lights, ignition)
battery. The optima is also a spiral wound design which is what
makes it unique. The grid is cold rolled into a sheet of lead.
This inovation was first developed in Denver at the Gates Energy
Products Division by some freinds and colleages, and was sold
commerically for no auto applications in the Cyclops line of
batteries, which I helped test while working in Denver.
This technology was not pursued by Gates for automotive use.
I don't think they were interested in such a small niche market.
But I was NOT refering to a spiral wound (jellyroll style)
battery. I am refering to an earlier inovation by the team
at Gates in Denver. They figured out how to dope the standard
lead grids for a battery to allow oxygen and hydrogen to recombine
internally, reducing the need for a vent, eliminating the need
for watering, and extending the life of the batteries. This
is much better for SLI than the imobilized (gel) electrolyte
cells that were popular at the time for non-SLI apps. True
flooded electrolyte cells have higher rate capability (measured
by CCA in SLI apps than gel cells) The recombinant innovation
was quickly acquired by Yuasa Battery company through a very one
sided technology sharing agreement with Yuasa. The technology is
pretty common now, and any battery with pop off caps probably does
not have the recombinant technology.
So my point is, why search high and low for a old style battery
with a vent tube, when a newer design would not need one?
For academic interest, the Optima is not a flooded electrolyte
or a gel electrolyte. It is a starved electrolyte design, but
has a very high surface area, allowing high enough rate capability
despite the lower specific conductivity of the separator region.
If you read THIS FAR you might be interested in several other
developments. At JPL we developed a battery about as big as
two pizza boxes that would put out 50KW for 20 seconds. It
has been widely coped for EV batteries. Also, the spiral design
used on the Cyclops and Optima has been furthered. Gates was
also developing a thin film rolled battery for small portable
applications (i.e. power tools), But they ditched that effort.
The guys who left started their own company and it is now marketted
by Boulder Battery) Their batteries have absolutely outrageous
rate capability. You could start a car with a battery about the
size of a box of 10 each 5-1/2 inch disks. You reserve capacity
would be mighty small however!
I hope someone enjoyed this, "stepping down from the soapbox"
paul timmerman ( guess what area I work in?)