Nickel-hydrogen electrochemical cells with capacities of 350 ampere-hours have been developed. These cells are intended primarily for use in government and commercial satellites; they have been fully qualified to satisfy performance requirements for operation in geosynchronous satellites for as long as 15 years. They may also prove useful in terrestrial applications in which there are requirements for long-life, lightweight, high-capacity cells that retain capacity over a wide temperature range and retain integrity when subjected to severe acceleration.

Each cell has a diameter of 5.5 in. (≈14 cm). Notable features of the cell design and construction include the following:

  • Electrochemically impregnated, sintered nickel positive electrodes;
  • Single-layer zirconium oxide cloth separators;
  • Platinum-catalyzed hydrogen electrodes;
  • High-current cell terminals; and
  • A lightweight nickel-alloy pressure vessel.

In a test, a pressure vessel of the type used in these cells withstood a pressureof 2,100 psig (gauge pressure ≈14.5 MPa) without bursting. In another test, a cell exhibited both electrical and mechanical integrity after exposure to a sine burst of acceleration with an amplitude of 50 times normal Earth gravitation. In still another test, a cell exhibited charge/discharge capacities above those of acceptance requirements at temperatures from –22 to +42 °C.

This work was done by Robert K. Taenaka, Allen R. Powers, W. Rex Oswald, and Joel A. Schwartz of Hughes Space & Communications Co. for Glenn Research Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at  under the Electronics & Computers category.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to NASA Glenn Research Center, Commercial Technology Office, Attn: Steve Fedor, Mail Stop 4–8, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44135.

Refer to LEW-16867.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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