Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Battery: Introduction, Types of Batteries and Applications Alkaline batteries, Zinc-Carbon Batteries

Types of Batteries and Their Applications


           A battery is a source of electrical energy, which is provided by one or more electrochemical cells of the battery after conversion of stored chemical energy. In today’s life, batteries play an important part as many household and industrial appliances use batteries as their power source.

Types of Batteries


  • Batteries can be divided into two major categories, primary batteries and secondary batteries. 
  • A primary battery is a disposable kind of battery. Once used, it cannot be recharged. 
  • Secondary batteries are rechargeable batteries. Once empty, it can be recharged again. This charging and discharging can happen many times depending on the battery type. 
  • Alkaline batteries, Mercury batteries, Silver-Oxide batteries, and Zinc carbon batteries are examples of primary batteries whereas Lead-Acid batteries and Lithium batteries fall into the secondary battery's category.

Alkaline Batteries
Alkaline Battery
Alkaline Battery

  • Alkaline batteries are non-rechargeable, high energy density, batteries that have a long life span. This battery obtained its name because the electrolyte used in it is alkaline (potassium hydroxide). 
  • The chemical composition features zinc powder as an anode and manganese dioxide as the cathode with potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte.

  • The chemical reactions are:

Zn (s) + 2OH− (aq) → ZnO (s) + H2O (l) + 2e−

2MnO2 (s) + H2O (l) + 2e− →Mn2O3 (s) + 2OH− (aq)

  • If we compare the capacity of an alkaline cell with a zinc-chloride cell of same size, the former can provide about four to five times more energy under equal load conditions. 
  • The supply voltage level decreases over time so the minimum required voltage level for a particular load may not match the supplied voltage level and thus results in no operation. 
  • But the rate of decline of alkaline batteries is lower than the Leclanche cell, thus longer life. 
  • The typical values of voltage and current supplied by a single alkaline cell are 1.5V and 700mA respectively. 
  • These batteries are distributed in various standard cylindrical shapes.


  • Alkaline batteries are the most common type of batteries used in the world with major consumption in the US, UK and Switzerland. 
  • Designed for long lasting performance, these can be found in remote controls, clocks, and radios.
  • The high run time makes alkaline batteries ideal for digital cameras, hand held games, MP3 players etc.

Zinc-Carbon Batteries

Zinc-Carbon Battery
Zinc-Carbon Battery
  • Zinc-Carbon batteries are also known as dry cells (as the nature of electrolyte used in these cells is dry), which come in a composition of a carbon rod (cathode) surrounded by a mixture of carbon powder and manganese dioxide (to increase the conductivity). 
  • This whole combination is packed in a zinc container acting as the anode. The electrolyte is a mixture of ammonium chloride and zinc chloride. 
  • The typical voltage value is a little less than 1.5V. These batteries are durable and have longer lives.
  • Zinc-Carbon batteries can be used effectively at moderate temperature but do not work well at low temperatures.


  • These general purpose batteries are available for lower prices which is why many electronic devices are sold with these batteries included free.
  • The basic use is in low power drain applications such as flash lights, remote controsl, toys, and table clocks.



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