A Battery is a chemical device that stores electrical energy in the form of chemicals and it converts the stored chemical energy into direct current (DC) electric energy by means of electrochemical reactions. The device for storing charge is known as Charge Storage Devices.
Some facts about Batteries & Charge Storage Devices:
Batteries are energy storage devices, which can store electrical energy whenever the supply exceeds the load demand and it provide energy whenever on-site generation is not sufficient.
The first battery was invented in 1800 by Alessandro Volta, an Italian Physicist.
Batteries are either galvanic cells, or a series of cells, that produce an electric current.
The potential of the battery is an integer multiple of the potential of a single cell when cells are combined into batteries
Electrons are transferred from one material to another called electrodes through an electric current by the electrochemical reaction in a battery.
The storage of energy is actually done in a Cell which is the basic electrochemical unit that is the source of electrical energy produced by conversion of chemical energy.
A cell typically contains three main components in its basic form. These include two electrodes and electrolyte. It also consists of terminals, separator and a container.
Electrodes are of two type called the Anode and the Cathode.
The Anode, also called the Fuel Electrode or the Reducing Electrode is the negative electrode which loses electrons to the external circuit and it gets oxidized in the electrochemical reaction.
On the other hand, Cathode, also called the Oxidizing Electrode is the positive electrode which accepts electrons from the eternal circuit and it get reduced in the electrochemical reaction.
Therefore, electrochemical oxidation-reduction reaction results in the energy conversion in a battery.
Electrolyte is the third important component of a cell which is a medium for transfer of charge in the form of ions between the two electrodes.
The electrolyte is referred to as Ionic Conductor as it is not electrically conductive but just have ionic conductivity.
Often, a battery consists of one or multiple cells which are electrically connected in either a series or parallel configuration to provide the necessary voltage and current levels.
Batteries can add up voltages as it consists of several cells connected in series.
A battery checker can be used to check whether the battery is flat, low or fully charged on an analog scale
Types of Batteries:
Batteries are classified into Primary (non-rechargeable) and Secondary (rechargeable) batteries.
Primary Batteries cannot be recharged electrically while the Secondary Batteries can be recharged electrically.
Primary batteries can be used only once and are called as single use batteries because they cannot be recharged.
Non-rechargeable or primary batteries should be disposed of once their stored energy has been used up
The dry cell is a common primary battery which is is a zinc-carbon battery..
One of the simple and convenient sources of power for several portable electronic and electrical devices is Primary Battery. These can be used in devices like lights, cameras, watches, toys, radios etc.
They are of use it and discard it when discharged as they cannot be recharged electrically.
Primary batteries are usually not so expensive, small, light weight and very convenient to use with relatively no or less maintenance.
Single cell type are the majority of the primary batteries that are used in domestic applications.
Usually these batteries come in cylindrical configuration. However, these are also available in different shapes and sizes.
Primary cells are available in all the standard sizes and voltages, such as AA, AAA, C, D and PP3 (MN1604)
Types of Primary Battery:
Zinc anode-based batteries were the most used primary battery types until 1970's.
A significant development in the battery technology took place during the period of 1970 to 1990, during which, Zinc / Alkaline Manganese Dioxide batteries were developed and they slowly replaced the Zinc-Carbon types as the main primary battery.
Zinc-Mercuric Oxide and Cadmium- Mercuric Oxide batteries were also in use during this period but these battery types slowly phased out due to the environmental concerns with respect to the usage of Mercury.
Batteries with Lithium as active anode material was then developed and becomes popular due to the high specific energy and longer shelf life of Lithium batteries over traditional Zinc batteries
The shape of Lithium batteries are like a button and coin cell for a specific range of applications like watches, memory backup, etc.
However, larger cylindrical type batteries of lithium are also available.
Zinc Carbon Battery:
Zinc Carbon were the first, widely available primary cells with a capacity between one quarter and one fifth that of alkaline cells
These are more suitable for low current drain devices such as radios, toys and low power torches because of their relatively high internal resistance.
High temperatures can dry out the electrolyte and hey don't perform well at low temperatures.
Zinc Chloride Battery:
Zinc Chloride batteries are an improvement on zinc carbon having a 50 percent greater capacity, higher current output capacity and improved leak resistance.
They also have longer shelf life and better low temperature performance
Alkaline Batteries can provide a high current output, they have good high and low temperature performance and also have a long shelf life.
The capacity of alkaline battery is three to five times greater, and it looses about 5 percent of capacity per year.
However, the capacity of alkaline cells depends on current load to a large degree.
Alkaline batteries are the most expensive as compared to zinc cells.
Voltages of Lithium battery range from 1.8 to 3.7 volts.
The batteries are expensive as compared to alkaline cells.
They are suitable for high current demand applications as have a higher energy storage density and the output voltage is constant during discharge.
Lithium cells have long shelf life and it looses capacity only about 0.5 percent per year.
An advantage Lithium battery over alkaline cells is that they don't tend to leak which is important when they are used in expensive equipment.
Serious corrosion of metal connections and other parts can be a result of battery leak.
Secondary Batteries are also called as Rechargeable Batteries as they can be electrically recharged after discharge.
Rechargeable secondary batteries can be filled with charge or energy and can be used multiple times.
These type of batteries are found in devices such as smartphones, electronic tablets, and automobiles.
A current is passed through the cells in the opposite direction of their discharge to recharge the chemical status of the electrochemical cells back to their original status.
Secondary batteries can be used in two ways. These include:
The secondary batteries can be used as energy storage devices where they are electrically connected to a main energy source and also charged by it. It also supplying energy when required.
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS), etc. are examples of such applications.
The secondary batteries can also be used in applications where the battery is used and discharged as a primary battery.
The battery is recharged with an appropriate charging mechanism once it is completely discharged or almost completely discharged.
All the modern portable electronics like mobiles, laptops, electric vehicles, etc. are examples of such applications.
Secondary batteries have relatively lower energy density than that of primary batteries but have high power density, flat discharge curves, high discharge rate, low temperature performance.
Types of Secondary Battery:
Lead- Acid Batteries, which were developed in late 1850's and Nickel- Cadmium Batteries, which were developed in early 1900's are the two oldest secondary batteries .
Lead- Acid Batteries are the first and the most commonly used rechargeable batteries which are based on the Lead- Lead Dioxide (Pb – PbO2) electrochemical couple.
Sulfuric Acid is the electrolyte used in these types of batteries.
Nickel- Cadmium Batteries are the second type of the rechargeable batteries which are based on Nickel Oxyhydroxide (Nickel Oxide) as the positive electrode and Cadmium metal based negative electrode.
An alkaline solution of Potassium Hydroxide is used as the electrolyte in these batteries.
Nickel- Metal Hydride Battery and the Lithium- Ion Battery are two new types of rechargeable batteries have been manufactured in recent years.
The lithium- ion battery has become very popular and became commercially superior because of its high specific energy and energy density figures (150 Wh / kg and 400 Wh / L).
Lead- Acid Batteries, Nickel- Cadmium Batteries, Nickel- Metal Hydride Batteries and Lithium- Ion Batteries are four major types of Secondary Batteries.
Lead- Acid Batteries:
The most popular and most used rechargeable batteries are Lead- Acid Batteries which are successful product for more than a century.
These are available in various configurations like small sealed cells with capacity of 1 Ah to large cells with capacity of 12,000 Ah.
Lead-acid batteries are are primarily used as SLI Batteries (Starting, Lighting and Ignition) in the automotive industry.
Emergency power, energy storage, electric vehicles (even hybrid vehicles), communication systems, emergency lighting systems, etc. are some of the other applications of lead-acid batteries.
Lead-acid batteries can be used in a wide range of applications because of its wide voltage ranges, different shapes and sizes, low cost and relatively easy maintenance.
Lead-acid batteries are the least expensive option for any application and also provide very good performance when compared to other secondary battery technologies.
The electrical efficiency of lead-acid batteries ranges from 75 to 80 percent which is suitable for energy storage (Uninterrupted Power Supplies– UPS) and electric vehicles.
Nickel- Cadmium Batteries:
The Nickel- Cadmium Batteries or Ni-Cd Batteries are one of the oldest secondary battery types.
These batteries have a very long shelf life and are very reliable and sturdy.
The main advantages of Ni-Cd Batteries is that they can be operated over a wide range of temperatures and can be subjected to high discharge rates.
These batteries is expensive than lead-acid batteries on per Watt-hour basic but it is less that other type of alkaline batteries.
Nickel Oxyhydroxide (NiOOH) is used as Cathode and Cadmium metal (Cd) as anode in these batteries.
It comes with an on-line voltage of 1.2V as a consumer grade battery.
Ni-Cd are just second to lead-acid batteries in industrial applications due to their low temperature performances, flat discharge voltage, long life, low maintenance and excellent reliability
Memory effect is the only disadvantage of Nickel- Cadmium Batteries in which they lose their capacity progressively when Ni-Cd cells are discharged partially and then recharged.
The lost capacity of the batteries can be restored with the process of Conditioning in which the cells are completely discharged to zero volts and then fully recharged.
Nickel- Metal Hydride Batteries:
Nickel- Metal Hydride Batteries are an extended version of Nickel- Hydrogen Electrode Batteries.
Nickel Oxyhydroxide (NiOOH) is used as the positive electrode while a metal alloy is used as the negative electrode of the cell, where hydrogen is stored reversibly.
Nickel- Metal Hydride Batteries are exclusively used in aerospace applications (satellites).
The metal alloy absorbs the hydrogen to form metal hydride during charge and while the metal hydride loses hydrogen during discharge.
Higher specific energy and energy density is one main advantage of Nickel-metal hydride batteries over Ni-Cd batteries
Nickel-metal hydride batteries are available commercially as sealed small cylindrical cells and are used in portable electronics.
Lithium- Ion Batteries:
Lithium- Ion Batteries are extensively used in laptops, mobile phones, cameras, etc.
These batteries have significantly longer cycle life, high energy density, and high specific energy.
Slow self-discharge rate and wide range of operating temperatures are other main advantages of lithium-ion batteries.
Applications of Battery:
Primary or rechargeable batteries can be used in a huge number of appliances in small form factor. For example,
These can be used in portable electronic devices such as Watches, Mobile Phones, Laptops, Camcorders, Calculators, Cameras, and testing equipment (Multimeters).
Primary batteries are used in Radios, CD Players, MP3 players, all infrared remote controls, keyboards. toys, and games.
These are used in household products like Clocks, Smoke Detectors, Flash lights, Emergency lights, UPS, tooth brushes, hair trimmers and shavers, Blood Pressure Monitors, pacemakers, Hearing Aids, portable power tools (drills, screw driver).
Performance and Cost are the main factors that needs to be consider while selecting a battery.
Primary or Secondary, Energy or Power, Shelf Life, Battery Life and Battery Temperature as well as Energy Efficiency and Recharge Rate are the determining factors in choosing the right battery for your application.
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