Good To Know

How do Batteries Work?

An interesting thing to consider about life is how fleeting things are and how much the world keeps changing. And yes, there might even be factories out in the moon and farming out in space years from today. However, it’s hard to imagine a technology filled world without batteries. It is therefore safe to assume that in a world where new things keep replacing the old ones batteries are here to stay, with expectations of further improvements.

From a simple battery that was first discovered in 1799, scientists have gone the extra mile to improve Count Volta’s original design, a very remarkable feat. What was once just metal plates and its components is now an improved battery that can power countless of devices. Because of this invention, you do not need to constantly have your devices plugged to a power source. Mobility is no longer limited and portability of devices guaranteed. 

The Parts of a Battery


There are three main parts that make up a cell. A cell is the fundamental power unit in a battery. The three main bits comprise of two electrodes and an electrolyte in the middle. The electrolyte is a solution of potassium hydroxide in water. Other than the three internal parts, a battery has an outer case which in turn has two other electrical terminals that are identified as either minus (negative) or plus (positive) and connected to the inner electrodes.

Keep in mind that although cathode refers to the negative and anode to the positive electrode, those terms are only used in electrolysis and batteries do not fall under that category. Therefore, the terms are switched around as batteries can be looked at as electrolysis moving backwards. And in case you are wondering what the difference between a battery and a cell is, a battery is made up of either two or more cells linked to each other to sum up all their power.

How do Batteries Work?


Batteries usually work the same, whether you go for some of the best d batteries, c batteries or AA batteries. The bubbling observed in the eruption process of a baking soda and vinegar volcano is as a result of the chemical reaction that takes place when the two are mixed. The difference between your handmade volcano and a battery is that the latter’s reaction is contained in a battery case.

Now that you have a simplified idea of how a battery works, it is time to get into the nitty-gritties of how the chemical reaction that happens within a battery creates the electrical energy that is then supplied to the circuits. You have probably come across so many types of batteries in your lifetime but the fundamental concept of how they all work is similar. Before jumping into how batteries work, a mental image of you inserting alkaline batteries into a flashlight is necessary.

Typically, batteries are labelled as either A, AA, C or D.  The batteries have a cathode mix that comprises of ground manganese dioxide and conductors. The electrolyte between the two electrodes then acts a medium that facilities the movement of the ions inside the cells. It also carries the current within the battery.  As long as you have inserted the batteries in the correct order, the result is a complete circuit. 

The electrodes are submerged in a chemical within the battery that causes a reaction that leads to a build-up of excess electrons on the negative electrode. On the other hand, it also results in a scarcity of electrons on the positive electrode. A voltage is created owing to that difference in the electrons on both electrodes which then purposes to evenly distribute the electrons. It therefore pushes the excess electrons from the anode to the cathode.

Since you connected your batteries to complete the circuit, the connection creates an alternate path from through which the excess electrodes moves to the positive electrode. The path followed is therefore a flow of the excess electrodes out of the battery from the through anode through the circuit that and right back inside the battery through the cathode. This flow of electrons continues and is what is referred to as electric current. 

Batteries have a certain lifespan which is as a result of a lengthy connection of the battery in a circuit. Eventually, the battery will die once the chemicals contained in the battery are spent. This means that the battery can no longer supply electrical energy. This then means that whether your batteries are labelled as A, AA, C, or D or you should always go for the best type that can meet your needs, be it heavy duty use or everyday use.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 8 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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