A type of secondary cell that has molten electrodes of sodium and sulphur separated by a solid electrolyte consisting of beta alumina (a crystalline form of aluminium oxide). When the cell is producing current, sodium ions flow through the alumina to the sulphur, where they form sodium polysulphide. Electrons from the sodium flow in the external circuit. The opposite process takes place during charging of the cell. Sodium-sulphur batteries have been considered for use in electric vehicles because of their high peak power levels and relatively low weight. However, some of the output has to be used to maintain the operating temperature (about 370°C) and the cost of sodium is high.
Subjects: Chemistry — Physics.