This project has been sitting on the shelf for a few months so I decided to post it kind of "as is" as more of how to get the lead out rather than completely rebuilding them. I only got around to melting half of the plates but the concept is still the same. Originally I was going to reduce the lead oxide paste back into lead but due to lack of sufficient equipment (furnace wouldn't get hot enough) and other things coming up I wasn't able to finish but none the less, its still good information. Always dispose of chemicals properly and stay safe.
I had about 6 dead batteries laying around so I thought I'd have a go at extracting the lead from at least one of them.
Disclaimer: I hold no liability for anything resulting from your use of the information or lack of information contained within this instructable. You have been warned!
Chemicals you will be dealing with:
1. Lead (C.A.S# : 7439-92-1)
2. Sulfuric Acid (C.A.S#: 7664-93-9)
3. Water (yes it is considered a chemical) (C.A.S#: 7732-18-5 IUPAC Name: Oxidane)
4. Carbon (C.A.S#:7440-44-0 )
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Materials in no particular order:
1. Your dead battery
2. Gloves (either the heavy, chemical resistant ones, or latex free gloves (vinyl, nitrile, etc.) (not sure what sulfuric acid does to latex)
3. Something to cut with (I chose a grinder with a cutoff wheel but any appropriate cutting apparatus will do haha)
4. Safety glasses (sulfuric acid and flying debris seem to be bad for the eyes for some reason)
5. A funnel is always handy
6. Water (preferably distilled so as to not contaminate the acid when washing the plates off)
7. A 5 gal. bucket or other large mouth container
8. Filters (if you want to filter the acid but be forewarned- sulfuric acid can dissolve cellulose (paper, cotton, etc.))
Step 2: Dump the Acid Out
Now would be a good time to put on the safety glasses and gloves. Pop the caps open with a screwdriver and carefully dump the acid out into the bucket. The purpose of the over sized bucket is to catch the acid from all six cells (12 volt) at the same time without spilling (hopefully) any of the acid on the nice concrete floor.
Step 3: Cut the Battery Open
Fairly self explanatory.
Step 4: Scrap the Plates
Separate the into three piles- positive (often black), negative (often gray), and separator (that black rubber thing).
Step 5: Melt 'em
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