The battery acid is an important part of the battery that ensures it performs its functions correctly. It can also be described as an electrolyte that conducts electricity in the battery to complete the circuit between the negative and positive terminals.
The battery acid would contain a combination of water and sulfuric acid. Depending on the type of battery, you may have to keep topping up the acid after a couple of months to maintain the correct level for proper operation.
Now onto what it looks like.
Battery acid is mostly clear in color before it is used. You can have some being yellowish or other colors depending on the type of battery and the chemicals used in the acid.
A good example is that the nickel-cadmium batteries would have their acid green while the lead acid would have black or brown battery acid.
Here is a video on how lead-acid battery works to see the importance of battery acid:
How to Tell it is Battery acid
As much as battery acid can be in different forms, you can easily identify them by the smell. Expect most battery acid to have a strong sour smell.
The most common smell would be that of sulfur. It is quite distinct, so you would not miss it. Also, your hands become white and you get a slippery feeling from the moment you touch the battery acid.
It is vital to rinse your hands in a lot of cold water in case you come into contact with the battery acid.
There is still the option of using a baking soda solution. This involves mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of water. The resulting solution is good for neutralizing the acid.
Those who might end up with serious burns are advised to seek medical help.
What if you have battery acid to get onto your clothes? Remove the clothes and have them washed in cold water right away. A diluted bleach solution can also help with removing the acid.
Leaving the acid on the clothes for too long leaves you with bleached spots.
Battery Acid in AA and AAA Batteries
You may have encountered the AA and AAA batteries and wondered if they also have battery acid. Well, these batteries are known for being lightweight while still having high energy density.
As they age, they tend to leak out some contents. It is likely to be white powder. That is why some people might think it is battery acid. In most cases, it is lithium hydroxide.
Just because you see a white powder on the battery it means it is not acid. It is best to always assume it is battery acid to be on the safe side. As always, make sure to keep such defective batteries from kids.
The car battery acid is different. When it leaks, you will quickly see its effects. One thing is for sure and it will be corrosion. The acid will eat into any metals or insulation around it.
Whenever you see a battery leaking, that is a sign that it might need replacing. This is because it is going bad and might leave you stranded.
What Leads to Battery Acid Leaking
A couple of things may lead to the battery’s acid leaking. The most common is that the battery may be overcharged.
Overcharging the battery makes the fluid boil and start vaporizing. This means the acid now escapes the battery which can be dangerous. Also, boiling creates a lot of pressure in the battery which could lead to a battery explosion.
In case the battery is dropped or something hits it hard and damages the case, then it can start to lead the acid. Also, the seals on the top of the battery can get worn creating room for the battery to lose acid.
It could also be because of age. An older battery might have many things wrong with it. Only replacing it could help resolve the problem. So, when you see battery acid leaks, it is time to change that battery.
This video has more details on why battery acid may leak:
How can you be safe from a leaking battery?
Make sure to handle the battery with protective clothing including gloves, goggles, closed shoes, and more. For the best safety, simply replace the battery as it might be damaged beyond repair.
How do you handle battery acid on the skin?
The first thing is to rinse the acid off the skin with a lot of water. This is to keep the acid from causing irritation. If you can also keep the acid out of reach for children, then you will have fewer accidents to worry about.
What do you do with a car battery that leaks acid?
Car batteries are not supposed to leak acid. If it does, then it could be damaged. Check for potential damage around the battery. The effective solution for a leaking battery is to replace it.
Can the sealed batteries also leak?
Many car batteries nowadays are sealed or called maintenance-free units. Because of their design, you will not find them leaking battery acid. You may however have to replace the battery in case of physical damage.