How do batteries work?

Category: Science, Technology

Batteries are modified form of electrochemical cells, which are capable of generating electricity due to continuous chemical reactions within them. The working principle of batteries is related to chemistry. This is better explained in terms of “Redox” reactions. The “Redox” reactions are a combination of oxidation and reduction reactions. Both Oxidation and Reduction reactions regulate the flow of electrons which in turn generates electricity. These electrons also need a conductor to complete the process of electricity generation. It can give rise to magnetic fields, or light up the bulb or make a device work.

How Do Redox Reactions Make Batteries Work?

Batteries work when both Oxidation and Reduction reactions happen. As a matter of fact, both these reactions’ transfer electrons. For the correct functioning of a battery, both oxidation and reduction reactions should happen simultaneously. One electrode generates the electrons while the other one uses it at the other end. Both these reactions are termed as “half reaction”. The reaction attains completion with the flow of electrons from an electrode which is connected outside and follows the path of the circuit.

Batteries and Generation of Electricity

Electrons, on the other hand, are those particles which are negatively charged. If you look at the battery carefully, then you shall be able to determine how the oxidation takes place at one electrode, which witnesses the loss of electrons. This electrode is called the Anode. On a battery, one side is marked as (-) (negative) while the other side (Cathode) is marked as (+) (positive).

Battery Types; the Lead Acid Accumulator (Car Battery)

Lead Acid Accumulator batteries are popularly known as car batteries. They too witness chemical reactions within them and are capable of generating high power. These batteries are heavy and contain concentrated acid. Car Batteries are also employed to act as a backup to all solar system devices. The Lead Acid Accumulator battery is rechargeable and if maintained properly can work for over 2-3 years. This is the biggest advantage for this type of batteries. Besides serving as the backup for solar-powered devices, Lead Acid Accumulator batteries are also used as backup devices for generating electricity for residential and office establishments. They are used when the main electricity supply is non-existent or has been shut down for the homes, offices and other commercial establishments.

Nickel-Cadmium Battery

The Nickel-Cadmium batteries are sealed batteries and are smaller in size than the Lead Acid Accumulator batteries. These batteries are used chiefly for little devices such as cameras, torches, remote controls, toys, etc. The Nickel-Cadmium batteries are capable of generating a charge of 1.25 Volts. The Nickel-Cadmium batteries are meant for all those devices which need a steady backup for constant and regular use. Similar to the Lead Acid Accumulator batteries, the Nickel-Cadmium batteries are also rechargeable. They can be easily recycled. This means that the batteries help in reducing the pollution and waste content. This is beneficial for the environment too.

Portable devices need batteries to function. Without batteries, it would be very difficult to use equipment such as watches, cameras, electronic toys, remote controls, shavers, etc.

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