Battery and battery

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. It is a practical way of storing energy, since it does not lose energy over time, which is why it is widely used, especially in household appliances.

A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy, but will lose energy over time if it is not recharged. They can have domestic and industrial use.

DefinitionEnergy generation and storage device with an electrolytic cell.Power generation device with one or more electrolytic cells.
Energy storageYes.No.
Amount of energyLimited by device size.Limited by the number of charges in its useful life.
VoltageFrom 1.5v to 9v.From 2v to 14.8v.
  • Common
  • Alkaline
  • Alkaline manganese.
  • Nickel-cadmium batteries.
  • Nickel-metal hydride batteries.
  • Lithium ion batteries.
  • Polymer-lithium batteries.
  • Lead acid batteries.
ApplicationsBatteries for flashlights, toys, pacemakers, calculators.Batteries for cars, mobiles, electric cars.

What is a stack?

A battery is a primary generator of electrical energy, (it generates energy by itself), composed of an electrolytic cell, two metal electrodes (one positive, called the cathode, and one negative, called the anode) and a liquid or pasty medium called the electrolyte.

The energy stored in the battery is not lost over time; that’s why they can be kept for a few years and still work. However, its internal components do degrade over time, causing the battery to deteriorate and cannot be used.

Origin of batteries

The first pile was created by Alessandro Volta in 1800 and was called the voltaic pile. Although its presentation was far from the current industrialized batteries, its creation allowed not only to discover a form of energy storage, but also to verify that if several batteries were connected in series, it was possible to increase the voltage at will, which was a discovery .

As a result of the creation of Volta, many experiments arose, especially in Europe, to improve this invention. However, the one that gave rise to the pile we know today is the Leclaché pile, the result of the research of Georges Leclanché, a French scientist and engineer.

This battery, invented in 1868, consisted of two zinc and carbon electrodes, immersed in a solution of ammonium chloride. A paste of manganese dioxide surrounded the carbon electrode, while the carbon powder acted as a depolarizer.

With the Leclanché battery, a more efficient way of storing energy was discovered: dry batteries. They consist of a zinc cylinder, which is the negative pole, a carbon rod in the center, which acts as the positive pole, and an electrolytic filler. The cylinder is sealed, preventing leakage of toxic compounds.

Today, dry cells are produced industrially and are essential for the operation of many devices in everyday use.

Operation of a battery

The battery electrodes react to the electrolyte paste or gel, which generates an oxidation process at the anode (negative electrode) that activates the production of electrons. For its part, in the cathode (positive electrode), a reduction process is generated that causes a deficit of electrons.

When the excess electrons from the negative electrode pass to the positive electrode through an external conductor, an electric current is generated.

Battery characteristics

Batteries have a number of characteristics that influence the generation of energy and its duration.

  • The series connection of a set of batteries allows to multiply the electrical voltage at will.
  • The energy of a battery is not infinite, it is limited by the size of the electrons and the distance between them.
  • Batteries are made up of a perfect voltage source, which means that their internal resistance is zero. As the battery wears out or deteriorates, the resistance begins to increase and the greater the resistance, the lower the voltage. Therefore, the energy will be increasingly insufficient.
  • The components of a battery are sensitive to changes in temperature, hence very high or very low temperatures can affect the operation of the device.
  • Current battery voltage ranges from 1.5 volts (for a typical low-priced battery) to 9 volts.

Battery types

Depending on their electrochemical characteristics, batteries can be ordinary, alkaline or alkaline manganese.

Common batteries

They are dry cells made up of a zinc cylinder (negative pole), an ammonium chloride electrolyte paste and a carbon bar in the center (positive pole).

They are the cheapest batteries on the market, so they are usually included in many new devices.

Alkaline batteries

They are similar to ordinary batteries, except for the electrolyte paste that contains potassium or sodium chloride, the inside of the zinc cylinder, which is rough. This serves to create a larger contact surface.

Alkaline batteries last longer than a regular battery and the current is more stable. In addition, they operate at a higher temperature range than a typical battery.

Alkaline Manganese Batteries

They are alkaline batteries whose positive pole is made of zinc or lithium, while the negative pole is made of manganese dioxide or silver oxide. They are widely used in precision devices, such as watches, pacemakers or calculators.

What is a battery?

A battery is a secondary generator of energy, made up of one or more electrochemical cells. Each of these cells has its positive and negative electrodes and an electrolyte.

It is a secondary generator because it requires a primary device to transform energy.

Batteries are also known as accumulators.

Origin of the battery

After Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile in 1800, he was followed by other researchers and scientists who tried to improve on what he had shown.

One of them was Gastón Planté, a French scientist who created a lead-acid battery in 1860, which although it was not well received at first, it did have a great relevance with the rise of electricity at the end of the 19th century.

It was precisely at this time that the Swedish scientist Waldermar Jungner invented a battery with nickel-cadmium electrodes and potassium hydroxide electrolyte. His model was so successful that it began to be produced and marketed in the United States in the late 1940s.

American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, creator of the incandescent light bulb, took Jungner’s idea and created his own battery, which is still being produced and marketed today.

In the seventies when the first lithium batteries began to be sold, which today are very popular because they are used for the operation of electric cars.

Battery characteristics

Batteries have characteristics in terms of their process of loss, recharge and accumulation of energy.

  • A battery will gradually lose its electrical charge, regardless of whether it is used or not.
  • The loss of charge of a battery is a reversible process, which gives them a much longer useful life compared to batteries.
  • Batteries accumulate an electrical charge that has previously been produced with a primary generator.
  • The voltage of a battery ranges from 2 volts (in lead batteries) to 14.8 volts in some lithium polymer batteries.

Battery operation

Batteries work through a process of reduction and oxidation, similar to that of a battery. In this sense, one of the electrodes loses electrons with oxidation, while the other electrode is reduced and gains electrons.

In the case of batteries, this process can be reversed by applying electrical current to return the device to its original state, initiating a new charge cycle.

Battery types

Based on their chemical components, batteries can be classified into four types:

Nickel-cadmium batteries

The positive electrode is nickel hydroxide and the negative one is cadmium, while the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide. They accept high voltages and overloads, but their energy density is very low, coupled with the fact that cadmium is a highly toxic element. They have domestic and industrial use.

Nickel-metal hydride batteries

Its negative electrode is nickel and the positive electrode is a metal hydride alloy. Their energy density is higher, but they do not work properly at low temperatures. They are the batteries used in electrically powered vehicles.

Lithium ion batteries

They have a negative graphite electrode, and a positive cobalt oxide or manganese oxide electrode. Their development is recent, they have high energy densities and can be recharged without the need for them to be completely discharged. However, they do not allow temperature changes.

They are the type of battery used by e-book readers and mobiles.

Polymer lithium batteries

They are similar to lithium ion batteries, but with a higher energy density. They are expensive and run the risk of exploding from overheating.

They are used in mobile phones and photographic equipment.

Lead-acid batteries

It is composed of two lead electrodes and a sulfuric acid dissolution electrolyte. Being lead, they are very heavy, and therefore impractical. Their useful life is limited since they do not support deep discharges or overloads, they are highly polluting and their energy potential is very low; hence they are the cheapest on the market.

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