Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Lutz-Rechtin, Tammy

Committee Member/Reader

Walters, Keisha

Committee Member/Second Reader

Foley, Kayla


This thesis explores the construction, characterization, and application of anodic zinc batteries for powering a small electric motor for the ChemE Car competition. Two zinc galvanic cell batteries were studied: zinc-carbon and zinc-air batteries. Prototype batteries were constructed and tested for voltage, amperage, and power production. In the zinc-carbon trials, a 3:1 mixture of manganese dioxide and graphite was determined to be the best cathode for power production. The size which allowed for sufficient power while maintaining the smallest footprint on the car was a zinc can six cm tall and two cm in diameter. Analysis of paper zinc-air battery prototypes showed insufficient voltage and amperage to power the motor. However, significant advances were made in the zinc-air battery assembly. Mixing zinc-air battery ink components with a ball mixer produced 192% more power. Additionally, novel ionic polymers and an ionic liquid were tested for use as electrolytes for increasing paper battery power production. The ionic polymers were more conductive than dry 3M NaCl impregnation in the battery membrane but less conductive than wetted 3M NaCl.


Batteries, zinc, carbon, galvanic, cathode, anode