This clever and compact device that produces electricity from chemical energy, isn't as complicated to understand as you would first think. A brief and easy to understand explanation.
The battery is one of the most convenient power sources around, its compact model and easy to use concept makes it one of the most popular items of modern life.
We do however pay a fairly heavy price for this convenience as it takes 50 times more energy to produce then it actually creates.
Re-chargeable batteries are more expensive but are better for the environment in the long run, and solar batteries are the best choice for a planet conscious purchase.
Types of battery.
Primary cells: These are the batteries that are most commonly used and were invented by Georges Leclanche, a French chemist in the 1860's. You can only use them as a stand alone product and once they have run out they have to be thrown away.
Secondary cells: This battery can be re-charged by connecting it to a device that reverses the chemical reaction, back to its original state. A widely used secondary cell is called the alkaline cell and was invented by Thomas Alva Edison in the 1900's.
Solar battery: These work by using the photoelectric conversion process and can last forever. They are commonly used on spacecrafts and are now seen more frequently on peoples rooftops, providing energy for their homes.
How it works.
Either end of a battery is a terminal, one is negative and is indicated by a – sign, at the opposite end is the positive terminal which is indicated by a + sign. The battery itself is made of electric cells made up of an electrolyte that is a paste or liquid chemical on the inside and an external electric circuit. The electrodes in the negative end of the battery dissolves separating positive irons and electrons, the electrons then produce a flow of energy, around the circuit. The positive terminal also has a reaction to a chemical but to a lesser degree, so the negative terminal feeds the positive terminals depletion. Creating a flow of power, however the chemical reactions created by a conventional battery can only occur for a certain amount of time and the chemical reaction is a permanent change and can not be bought back to its original state, the ability to produce that chemical reaction eventually runs out. However due to advances in technology we can now use rechargeable batteries and solar batteries which are designed to have their power topped up.
How the life of the battery began.
The invention of the battery, originates from the study of anatomy and observation, of dead frogs, by Luigi Galvini in the 1780's. He originally believed that the animal may have electrical elements within his body and thats why their legs often continued to move even when they were dead. His theory was incorrect, but non the less he had sparked debate and questioning among other people.
Allessandro Volta of the university of Pavia, noticed that because the cooper hooks and the iron touched, the frogs legs had became part of an electrical circuit, and as the electrical current moved through them they continued to move.
In 1800 he invented the voltaic cell, this is what became the basis of the modern battery today. The term battery means 'lots of together' and the original battery was made up of many single cells.