Temperature rise (NASA)

Corrosion engineering consultant

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Silver-zinc Batteries

The Zn/AgO cell gives perhaps the highest energy and power densities of any aqueous rechargeable battery. Because of the cost of silver, its use has been limited to military and space applications as well as to portable electronic equipment. One good example of such an application is the Mars Pathfinder Lander Battery.

The chemistry of the silver-zinc rechargeable battery is little different from that of the primary silver battery. It offers a high energy density and high discharge rate capability but is costly and has a poor cycle life - typically only 5 to 50 cycles for high rate cells. The performance deteriorates badly below about 10oC. Normally stored without its electrolyte, it has a life of only 2 to 18 months once filled, depending on operating conditions. The main application is for electric practice torpedoes but they have been used in submarine vehicles, satellite and space probes, missiles, communications equipment, portable TV cameras, vehicle motive power, and other applications, which require a rechargeable battery of high energy density, and where cost is no object. The batteries cost about 3 times more than comparable nickel cadmium batteries.