Science students at Hazard High School often fail to integrate scientific principles into everyday situations or see the relevance of applied research. We believe that the level of their engagement may be a contributing factor. While in the classroom, engagement varies greatly, both within science classes and individual classes themselves. Research, is a necessary component of science, will be conducted that has real-world applications. This, we believe will increase student engagement. Students for the project will be selected based on interest. The project itself will be based on researching the properties of available materials for the purpose of creating and improving on an efficient and cheap power source called an Aluminum-Air battery. Aluminum-Air batteries are a relatively recent arrival but offer great potential in the field of energy storage. An accurate, in-depth explanation of Al-Air batteries may be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
In summarizing the importance of this type of battery, it can be said that they have the potential of eight-times the energy density of standard batteries, can be made easily at home with everyday materials, and produce a standard voltage of approximately 1.2 volts. The voltage is created by the degradation of the anode or aluminum side of the battery. Because the source of the electricity is the aluminum metal itself, a relatively large supply of electrons is available to produce current. Currently, the main drawback to Al-air batteries is an issue with the electrolytic solution used to conduct the electricity. During the electrochemical process that produces the electrical current, the electrolytic solution begins to change into a material that doesn’t easily allow the conduction of electricity. Our project will be to evaluate several materials that could be used for the components of an Al-air battery, including the type of electrolytic solution, and attempt to develop an improved version that can easily be manufactured and utilized. Since one of the main components is simply aluminum metal, we intend on utilizing a source from another grant project, Recycling Hazard, if funded. Ideally, we will be able to use an Al-air battery to charge a smartphone by the end of the project.