Thionyl chloride is a hazardous and reactive chemical used as the liquid cathode in commercial primary batteries. Contrary to previous thinking, ASZM-TEDA.RTM. carbon (Calgon Corporation) reversibly absorbs thionyl chloride. Thus, several candidate materials were examined as irreversible getters for thionyl chloride. The capacity, rate and effect of temperature were also explored. A wide variety of likely materials were investigated through screening experiments focusing on the degree of heat generated by the reaction as well as the material absorption capacity and irreversibility, in order to help narrow the group of possible getter choices. More thorough, quantitative measurements were performed on promising materials. The best performing getter was a mixture of ZnO and ASZM-TEDA.RTM. carbon. In this example, the ZnO reacts with thionyl chloride to form ZnCl.sub.2 and SO.sub.2. The SO.sub.2 is then irreversibly gettered by ASZM-TEDA.RTM. carbon. This combination of ZnO and carbon has a high capacity, is irreversible and functions effectively above -20.degree. C.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between the United States Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy for the operation of Sandia National Laboratories.