Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What Is A Dry Cell?

"Dry Cell" is a common name for a particular design of hydrogen electrolyzer, or HHO generator. The name sometimes confuses people because it still uses electrolyte in water like any other electrolyzer. But it has some properties that make it a better design, and we will show you how these properties could bring about the name of "dry cell". Perhaps a better name could have been found for this design, but it's pretty clear that the name is here to stay.

With the dry cell design, the whole cell is not submerged into an open bath of electrolyte as all other common types of HHO generator are. Instead, the dry cell's plates are separated by rubber (or similar material) gaskets, and the electrolyte is confined inside those gaskets. The edges of the plates, including all of the electrical connections are outside of the electrolyte bath. Here is an image of one of our cells that will help illustrate this.

You can see the edges of the plates between the black gaskets. What is not so clear in this picture is how the electrical connections to the plates are also outside of the electrolyte bath. But they are. Tabs on the plates are used to make the electrical connections. These are the only parts that are dry, and rightly or wrongly, give the dry cell its name.

So to summarize, the points that make a design a "dry cell", are that the edges of the plates and the electrical connections to the plates are dry, or are outside of the electrolyte bath. That's basically all there is to it.

Advantages Of A Dry Cell

So, what's all the commotion about? Why is this a better design? There are 2 main reasons:

  1. When the edges of the plates are submerged in the electrolyte a great deal of the electrical current passes from the edges of the plates. This current is largely wasted in terms of HHO production. When the edges are outside of the bath, all of the current is forced to travel from the faces of the plates. Therefore all of the current used is utilized in efficiently making HHO gas. This is the main reason the dry cell design has caught on so thoroughly.

  2. When the electrical connections are submerged in the electrolyte bath, the electrolyte attacks them and will eventually destroy them. The plates of our dry cells are made of 316L stainless steel . This has been found to have the best properties of resistance to attack from the electrolyte while still giving adequate electrical conductance. However, mounting hardware and wire and cable are very difficult to find in this material, and they are cost prohibitive to use. Therefore copper cable is usually used and a lower grade stainless steel nuts and bolts, and when these are submerged in the electrolyte, they rapidly get eaten away. With the dry cell design, all of these connections are outside of the electrolyte so this isn't an issue


So that's a "Dry Cell". It is a very simple concept. There are still a great many variations in this design from manufacturer to manufacturer. Number of plates, how the plates are powered, and how much voltage is applied from plate to plate, are just some of the parameters that can vary. But if they are dry cells they have the qualities described in this article.

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