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How Much Sulfuric Acid Is in a Forklift Battery? 

 September 19, 2021

By  Phil Borges

Forklifts are usually equipped with lead-acid batteries, which are essentially large-capacity batteries that can be recharged. These batteries are quite reliable. And, if you are planning to purchase a forklift battery, you may be curious to know the various components of a forklift battery, including how much sulfuric acid is in a forklift battery.

A forklift battery acid is essentially a lead-acid battery that is made up of multiple individual cells, which contain lead alloy plates that are immersed in an electrolytic solution, which usually comprises 65% water and 35% sulphuric acid.

So, if you’re purchasing a forklift battery to replace the existing one, there are many factors to consider that can impact the operational cost, as well as efficiency of the battery so that you end up with the right one for your forklift.

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How Many Pounds of Sulfuric Acid Is in a Forklift Battery

Typically, a forklift battery i.e., a lead-acid battery consists of an electrolyte, which is a solution of water and sulfuric acid and plates of lead dioxide, as well as pure, soft lead. You can determine the weight of sulfuric acid in a forklift battery by using the following example.

We will assume that the sulfuric acid in the battery to be 18% of the weight of the battery and the amount of lead at 70% of the weight of the battery. So, if you consider a typical forklift battery, the average weight is around 2,400 lbs (approx.), it will contain around 2,400 x 0.18 i.e., 432 lbs of sulfuric acid and 2400 x 0.70 i.e., 1,690 lbs of lead.

How Many Gallons of Sulfuric Acid Are in a Forklift Battery

If you want to know how much sulfuric acid is present in a forklift battery in gallons, then here are some facts and figures. The sulfuric acid content will vary depending on factors such as the voltage and the AH/6hr rating of the forklift battery.

  • In a 12-volt forklift battery, where the AH/6hr rating range is between 170 and 850 and the electrolyte content in gallons is between 3.24 and 16.08, the sulfuric acid content in gallons is typically between 0.85 and 4.26 gallons (13.02 and 65.10 pounds).
  • In a 24-volt forklift battery where the AH/6hr rating range is between 170 and 1,000 and the electrolyte content in gallons is between 6.48 and 37.68, the sulfuric acid content in gallons is typically between 1.70 and 10.1 gallons (26.04 and 153.18 pounds).
  • In a 36-volt forklift battery, where the AH/6hr rating range is between 510 and 1,360 and the electrolyte content in gallons is between 28.98 and 77.22, the sulfuric acid content in gallons is typically between 7.66 and 20.44 gallons (117.18 and 312.66 pounds).
  • In a 48-volt battery where the AH/6hr rating range is between 425 and 1,020 and the electrolyte content in gallons is between 3.24 and 77.28, the sulfuric acid content in gallons is typically between 8.52 and 20.44 gallons (130.32 and 312.72 pounds).

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Forklift Batteries Contain Sulfuric Acid?

No, all forklift batteries do not contain sulfuric acid. Forklifts mainly use 2 types of batteries—lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries.

Most of the forklifts on the market work on the old-school lead-acid batteries, which are also known as wet cell batteries. These lead-acid batteries contain cells and an electrolyte (a mixture of water and sulphuric acid) and lead plates, all contained in a plastic housing. These generate a chemical reaction that occurs between the sulfuric acid and the lead plates, thus powering the forklift. Lead-acid batteries usually last up to 1,000 to 1,500 charge cycles.

On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries, which are becoming quite popular in recent years contain a cathode, anode, electrolyte, separator and negative and positive terminals.

These are relatively smaller in size, low in maintenance, energy dense, charge more and are more efficient quickly compared to lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries last up to 2,000 to 3,000 charge cycles.

How Do You Calculate Sulfuric Acid in a Battery?

It is possible to estimate the amount of sulfuric acid in a forklift battery if you know the following details:

  • The volume of the electrolyte in the battery i.e., sulfuric acid solution
  • The density of the electrolyte in the battery i.e., lbs/gallon
  • Percentage of concentration of sulfuric acid in the electrolyte

Using the formula, you can determine the weight of the sulfuric acid in the battery:

  • Sulfuric acid (in lbs) = Gallons of electrolyte x Percentage of sulfuric acid x Density of the electrolyte

About the author

Hi, I'm Phil Borges.. thanks for reading.. My wife says I can't shut up about batteries so to save my marriage I've started this blog .. where I'd be ranting about batteries! Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I'm happy to help!

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