The Good Old Alkaline Battery

All of us know about the good old alkaline battery as guaranteed within the course of our lives is the use of these cells to power any number of devices in and around the house. The alkaline battery was first introduced in the early 60's, as a solution to portability issues within commercial installations, but of course with the explosion of the portable market and carry all gadgets, these were then introduced to the consumer market in the truck loads and the revolution of energy started from there.

They come in two types – usually they are either rechargeable or disposable and they are made up of a number of materials that can include either zinc, iron and manganese oxide. The chemical make up of the batteries differs greatly from the old zinc chloride batteries, and where they may contain the same voltage as these batteries, the one advantage that they do have is that the have a much larger energy density and the self drain status is much lower than the zinc chloride counterpart. This means that you can keep your alkaline batteries on the shelf for much longer before it drains all the power away through normal electrical decay. The reason they are called alkaline batteries is because they have an alkaline inside the battery matrix made of potassium hydroxide, which is far different from the acidic electrolyte used in the older zinc chloride and carbon batteries.

In this case the negative terminal, or the anode, is made of a material of zinc powder, which gives the aspect of the battery much more surface area and a higher rate of reaction for good electron flow, and it also contains a positive terminal, or a cathode that is made from manganese. The capacity of the battery is quite standard fare, with 1.5 volts being the normal rating that you would get, but because of the denser energy storage within the cells, it can last up to 5 times longer than older zinc batteries. 1000mA is the normal current that can be provided by the alkaline battery, and that increases with size. Higher rated and larger alkaline batteries like the D and C cells, are much larger and have much larger current storage. One thing you should note about the alkaline battery is that over time and misuse, there might be leakage issues.

This is pretty common and the leakage of the battery usually is the potassium hydroxide, which when coming into contact with the skin, can cause problems and irritations. What ever you do, do not mix battery types and recharge batteries not meant to be recharged – a well as storing them properly and keeping them out of the heat. As of late, the alkaline battery is being replaced with the more expensive and much more effective lithium ion battery but we should not forget the many years that the good old alkaline battery has served the world of portable gadgets and electronic devices well and will continue to as a cheap alternative to the more expensive solutions out there.

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