One of the things people tend to take advantage of in our society is power. Being able to use a flashlight, play games, or use a tv remote is not something you have to think about. Batteries are innocuous to the point that no one thinks about them in a significant capacity, yet, they are an important product in our everyday life. Let’s have a close look at batteries and learn what batteries are and what makes them work.
What Are Batteries
Batteries are a device used for storing chemical energy which converts the energy into electrical energy when necessary. These convenient and reliable power supplies come in different sizes. Some are small and portable or sometimes as large as a trunk. Regardless of sizes and shapes, they all function to generate electrical energy and discharge as needed.
How Do Batteries Work
To generate electricity is the mission of the batteries. Electrical energy produced by batteries is achieved through the flow of electrons when the batteries are discharging. The discharge processes an electrochemical reaction happening inside the batteries. Three conditions are needed to make a battery a battery. Firstly, the two terminals (known as the anode and cathode) are made of different chemicals (metals or other conductive materials) with varying chemical activity. Secondly, the electrolyte is indispensable to separate these two electrodes and function as a chemical medium, allowing the electrons to flow from the anode (or negative electrode) to the cathode (the positive electrode) and create the electric current to power a device. The last thing is to use the electrical energy by completing the external circuit. Just put batteries into an electronic device such as a flashlight. When the light turns on, it indicates the chemical reactions that occur inside are creating the flow of electrical energy, which lights up the bulb.
We need to point out that the materials of electrodes and electrolytes matter a lot in the chemical reactions. In other words, the materials determine the batteries’ performance, efficiency, and durability. They decide how much energy the batteries can store and how much they could release. Some release for months, while some last for years. It depends on the power consumption of the electronic devices and as well as the quality of batteries.
Battery types differ from each other, but they all function the same and share the same principle. However, rechargeable batteries are more complex. For single-use/primary batteries, the chemical reactions inside are not reversible. The movement of electrons inside the batteries is a one-way trip, and there is no way back for them. Once the chemical energy depletes, you must safely dispose of them and change them for new ones. As for rechargeable batteries, they have different chemical compositions and can recharge them once they complete the discharge process. That’s to say, for electrons inside the rechargeable ones, they are doing the roundtrips for repeated times. During the charging process, the electrical energy transfers back into chemical energy for the next use.
Now, this is the general idea of how batteries work. Understanding how different types of batteries work may help with making the correct selection on which battery you need.