Guide to battery technology

Batteries are a part of almost every piece of technology, and without them the world we know wouldn’t not exist. Everything from CD-player, MP3-players, laptops, cell phones, all use batteries.

Battery Makeup

Basically, batteries are made from may layers of metals, interspersed with chemicals.

Metals and chemicals differ from one type to another. This is why the power of batteries differ. Some batteries have a lead core with chambers of sulfuric acid. A common battery makeup is zinc and carbon, but lithium, nickel and cadmium batteries are used more and more. Because of the compounds, batteries can be rechargeable or for single use.

How do batteries work

The process is quite simple. The chemicals inside the batteries produce electrons, process called electrochemical reaction. Every battery is equipped with two terminal: one positive and one negative. Electrons collect at the negative terminal. If you connect the positive side and the negative site, the flow of electrons will go to the positive terminal and the battery will discharge. This is why batteries use loads. By loads we mean motors, light bulbs etc. By connecting the battery to the load, the electrons first pass through it and then go to the positive terminal. This way the battery doesn’t waste all it’s power.

Types of batteries

There are many types of batteries. Lead acid batteries are used at cars. There are zinc carbon batteries, otherwise called AA, C and D batteries. Duracell and Energizer are just two examples of alkaline batteries that have a zinc core and manganese-oxide electrodes. Pacemakers use lithium iodide batteries, while laptops and cell phones use lithium ion batteries. Other types of batteries include nickel cadmium, zinc mercury-oxide and nickel metal hydrides.

Rechargeable or single use

If you apply electric energy to a battery, the flow of electrons is inversed. This means that they travel from the positive side to the negative side, restoring the batteries’ power. To recharge some batteries you will need a special adapter. Not all batteries are rechargeable though. Lead acid batteries, nickel metal hydride and lithium ion batteries are all rechargeable while zinc carbon batteries are not.

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