What happens inside a Forklift Battery ...


There are three substances that interact within the cell of a lead-acid forklift battery:

  1. Plates of lead dioxide.

  2. Plates of soft lead.

  3. An electrolyte mix of sulphuric acid and water.

Each battery cell contains lead dioxide and spongy lead in alternating plates. When the acidic electrolyte comes into contact with these compounds, various chemical reactions create an imbalance of electrons between the plates. Electrons will naturally flow from the negative plate to the positive plate, attempting to correct the imbalance of these particles.

Forklift Battery Maintenance & Chemical Reactions

Like any chemical reaction, the interplay between sulphuric acid, water, and lead produces new substances. When left un maintained, these substances can limit the efficiency of batteries, and can damage the battery cells.

Forklift batteries generate lead sulphate and water as they discharge. This creates sulphate, and it can reduce the effectiveness of batteries. Regular washes in a dedicated battery wash area can help remove the chalky lead sulphate that builds up on terminals.

Discharging forklift batteries will transform a lot of the electrolytes into water, which splits into hydrogen and oxygen. As these molecules escape, the water level in the cell will drop. This creates a danger to the plates because if plates are exposed to the air, they will oxidise, permanently and lose capacity.

Under some conditions, batteries also give off hydrogen and oxygen gasses during the charging process. This is called “gassing,” and this is the reason that lead-acid battery ventilation requirements are so strict. Gassing also leads to water loss. Keep on top of monitoring battery cells, replacing water whenever necessary. Installing an integrated watering system will automatically water the entire battery when the charging process is complete.

Don’t worry if maintenance tasks start to seem overwhelming. We can assist with helping you maintain your battery. It’s always easier to follow maintenance schedules when you know exactly what’s going on inside the battery.

For more information on our Lucas forklift batteries please get in touch