An Overview of the Chemical Components of Forklift Batteries

As a forklift operator, you probably know how to charge your battery. However, have you ever wondered which chemicals allow the battery to function?

In this guide, you will learn which chemicals are in a forklift battery, how they function with each other, and the purposes of each chemical. With this in mind, here is an overview of the chemical components of forklift batteries.

The Chemicals in a Forklift Battery

There are two main types of forklift batteries: lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries. They both operate differently and contain separate sets of chemicals. Lithium-ion batteries use a chemical combination of lithium, iron, and phosphate to power the battery.

This chemical combination, along with carbon electrodes, provides a direct line of power for the forklift because the chemicals remain stationary since they are all sealed inside. On the other hand, lead-acid batteries use a chemical reaction to power the forklift, which could lead to a chemical leak.

The chemicals in a lead-acid battery are plates of lead dioxide, soft “spongy lead” plates, and sulfuric acid. The reaction between these chemicals provides voltage to the battery’s two output terminals.

How the Chemicals Interact in a Lead-Acid Battery

Lead-acid batteries contain alternating layers of spongy lead and lead dioxide plates. When these plates come in contact with the acidity of the sulfuric acid, the result is a chemical reaction that imbalances the electrons of each plate.

At the subatomic level, the electrons will flow from the plate with a negative charge toward the plate with a positive charge, seeking to create balance. Since the spongy lead plate attaches to the negative terminal and the lead dioxide plate attaches to the positive one, these two terminals create an adequate circuit for the electrons to power the forklift.

Chemical Reactions in a Lithium-Ion Battery

Although there are several types of lithium-ion batteries, the most commonly used type is the one that manufacturers make out of lithium, iron, and phosphate (LFP). Other types include lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt oxide (NMC) and the lithium, nickel, cobalt, and aluminum oxide (NCA) models.

The three main components of a lithium-ion battery are the electrolyte, cathode and anode materials, and the membrane. The lithium salt electrolyte transports positively-charged lithium ions between the cathode and the anode to power the battery. The membrane serves as the barrier between the cathode and the anode so that the battery cell can perform better at higher temperatures.

Overall, forklift batteries have highly complex chemical reactions happening underneath the exterior. After reading this overview of the chemical components of forklift batteries, you should have a greater appreciation for the technology that powers your forklift. If you are looking for forklift truck batteries for sale, be sure to reach out to Green Power Forklift Batteries for high-quality products.