Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Johna Leddy


Incorporation of magnetic microparticles (~ 1 um) at electrode structures increases electron transfer e¢ ciency, observed as increased current, for multiple electrochemical systems. Current increases occur with magnetic field. Inclusion of magnetic materials into the cathode matrix of alkaline MnO2 batteries requires the materials to be stable in the strong base electrolyte, typically 6 to 9 M KOH. Samarium cobalt magnetic particles sustain strong permanent magnetic fields and are stable in base without surface modification. Studies were undertaken at fast (C/2), moderate (C/3), and slow (C/5) constant current discharges.

Here, alkaline MnO2 batteries generated increased power and energy when magnetic microparticles are incorporated into the cathode of the battery. Because of anode limitations in the battery, total coulombic output is not increased for the first electron discharge, but the available power and energy is significantly higher compared to nonmagnetic batteries at voltages above 0.9V. Constant current discharge curves of magnetic batteries demonstrate higher voltages than nonmagnetic batteries at a given time, which translates to greater power output. This effect is also observed by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, where charge transfer resistance is less for magnetically modified cells.

This work also developed voltammetric measurement protocols for acetone concentration collected in the liquid and vapor phase and measured in solution. Acetone on the breath is an indicator for physiological dysregulation. Measurements are demonstrated for acetone concentrations across the human physiological range, 1 uM to 10 mM at platinum electrodes in 0.5 M H2SO4. Effects arise through adsorption of acetone from the gas phase onto a platinum surface and hydrogen in acidic solution within the voltammetric butterfly region. The protocol is demonstrated to yield breath acetone concentration on a human subject within the physiological range and consistent with ketone urine test strip.


Acetone, Alkaline Battery, Breath Sensor, Manganese Dioxide


xii, 209 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 204-209).


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Copyright 2012 Perry Motsegood

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