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DIY SuperCapacitor (Home Made Super Battery)

I found this great video with instructions on youtube showing you how to build a supercapacitor with simple household items commonly found in your kitchen. The original video uploaded by chemicum won a Novaator science video contest.

 

 

You need only some chemicals from the kitchen, such as water cleaning filter’s active carbon, sewer cleaning liquid (NaOH, but KOH is better), iron mesh, epoxy glue, shade cloth or paper for membrane and an empty Tic-Tac case. It is important to add only small amount of epoxy glue and it works when the size of carbon particles is between 0.2 and 2 mm

 

Tic-Tac SuperCapacitor

Taken from www.chemicum.com

 

The capacitor consist of 2 oppositely charged conductive plates with a dielectric layer in between and can reversibly store electric energy. Supercapacitor electrodes consists of large surface-area porous carbon. Instead of dielectric, there is electrolyte which consists of salt and a solvent.

 

In this experiment we are going to prepare a supercapacitor using water cleaning filters and carbon which we will glue with epoxy onto an iron mesh plus iron wire from a pot scouring pad. The electrolyte is sewer cleaning liquid – 10% NaOH (5 M KOH gives better durability and power but might not be easily available in some stores). To avoid a short-circuit, a shade cloth membrane (polypropylene) or paper towel will be placed in between the electrodes.

 

The Electrodes and the membrane are then put into a Tic-Tac case and the plastic cover welded with a soldering iron. The case must be waterproof so check this first by submerging into a bowl of water. A small hole is then made into the lid and electrolyte solution is injected using a syringe. Then weld the hole and cover with quick epoxy glue.

 

NB: Hydroxide is a corrosive liquid so please handle with care!

 

Now we have a supercapacitor with a working potential of 1-1.2 v, capacitance of 400-800 F and short-circuit current up to 6 A. Total charging takes 0.5 to 2 h and discharging 10-30 min (1st charge takes overnight because of oxygen reduction). It may last a few years if its below 1.2 v and 50 °C.

 

A properly prepared supercapacitor can be used for powering a clock, radio or some electric motors. For higher voltage, several capacitors can be connected in series (It is wise to charge these in parallel though because the capacitances may vary). You can then use it as a battery for garden lamps with solar cells, to store electric energy produced by a wind generator or start a car engine instead of using the car battery etc…

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