TWO OF TOXCO'S TYPICAL CHEMICAL ANALYSES * 1. Lithium Sulfur Dioxide Battery Analysis

One of the most common lithium primary battery chemistry is lithium sulfur dioxide. It is lightweight and is used in a wide range of communications devices. The lithium sulfur dioxide battery provides power over a wide temperature range (-20 to +140° F) and has rather constant output until depleted.

The basic chemical reactions for these lithium sulfur dioxide battery packs are shown below. (Samuel C. Levy while at the Sandia National Laboratories under a grant from the U. S. Department of Energy developed this analysis).

*The following analyses and conclusions are applicable to the Toxco process only and should not be applied to other recycling processes without careful examination by a qualified professional.

The BA5590 is one of the most common radio batteries used by The US Military

1.1. Battery Constituents

The BA5590 consists of 10 lithium sulfur dioxide (Li/S02) 'D' cells wired in a cardboard container which also contains diodes, electrical and thermal fuses, a connector, and a resistor with a manual switch to fully discharge the battery prior to disposal. When fresh, each battery contains the following materials:

Chemical Weight (grams)

Lithium metal 23.5

Sulfur dioxide 242

Acetonitrile 58

Lithium bromide 18

Carbon black ~50

Other materials within the battery include the nickel-plated cold rolled steel cans, -500 g, plus small amounts of copper, nickel, aluminum, molybdenum, Teflon, polypropylene and glass.

During discharge, the lithium reacts with the sulfur dioxide to form lithium dithionite via the following reactions:




2Li 2Li+ + 2e" 2S02+2e" S204'2 2Li + 2S02 -> Li2S204

Since this cell design has a slight excess of SO2, all of the lithium will be reacted when the battery is fully discharged. Therefore, contents of a discharged cell should be:

The inert materials of construction will be the same as in a fresh battery. The actual batteries that arrive at the Lithium Recycling Center will be somewhere between the two levels of constituents shown above.

1.2. Recycling Process

The following chemical reactions are likely to occur when the batteries are shredded and immersed in an alkaline water bath.

• Lithium dithionite will undergo alkaline hydrolysis:

3Li2S204 + 6LiOH 5Li2S03 + Li2S + 3H20 f.w. 3(142.01) 6(23.94) 5(93.94) 45.94 3(18) 426.03 143.64 469.70 45.94 54

A fully discharged battery will have 240 g of lithium dithionite; therefore approximately:

469.70 =x x = 264.60 g Li2S03 per battery

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