This is an introduction to Alkaline Battery Corrosion and a guide on How to Clean Alkaline Battery Corrosion, we recommend that you follow all the safety instructions of the Battery Supplier. We've inserted at the end of this article links to useful documents and safety instructions.
The composition of an Alkaline Battery is:
Potassium Hydroxide – KOH - (35%)
When batteries are left unused for long time or are damaged there is the possibility of a leakage visible as a white powder in correspondence of the battery’s electrode that is caused by the alkaline battery corrosion.
The white powder seen on a leaked battery is Potassium Hydroxide that is used as electrolyte in alkaline battery or zinc / zinc oxide.
Potassium Hydroxide (KOH), known also as caustic potash and used in the soap and bleach industry, in concentrated solution is toxic and very corrosive for the skin and great care is necessary in handling this type of chemical substance.
The leakage can be the result of the corrosion of the zinc electrode or of a mechanical damage of the battery.
The mechanism of zinc corrosion in an alkaline battery is complex because it involves different factors like the type of electrolyte, operating conditions (temperature, rate of discharge …), and properties of the zinc electrode.
Corrosion of the zinc electrode in batteries is one the main factors for self discharge, short shelf life, and evolution of hydrogen gas with consequent failure of the batteries and release of chemical substances.
When a white powder is found on a battery electrode the recommendation is to avoid any contact with the chemical substance leaked from the battery and in case is appropriate to wear protective gear like protective glove (like neoprene, rubber or latex gloves) and safety glasses.
The damaged battery shall be disposed as indicated by the battery supplier.
Recommendations on How to clean alkaline battery corrosion: