B atteries are used everyday by people for many different portable devices, automobiles, boats and more. Learn some interesting facts and important history about batteries. Batteries were discovered before mechanical generators and turbines to created a steady stream of electricity. With the discovery of batteries people began to understand the importance of having a source of electricity. Find out more facts about batteries.
Alkaline batteries of all types are popular in toys and other inexpensive electronics because of their low cost and replacement batteries are easy to find in stores.
Facts about Batteries
- A battery is able to create a continuous flow of DC (direct current) electricity until all of the energy in the battery is used.
- A battery uses chemistry, not mechanical movement to create a continuous flow of electricity.
- A battery is also known as a voltaic cell. Some batteries use multiple cells to provide higher amounts of voltage and current.
- In 1800 Alessandro Volta invented the first voltaic cell battery. This battery did not look like modern batteries, but still worked the same.
- The battery was invented before the electric generator.
- In 1836 the first rechargeable battery was invented by a chemist from England. This battery was a lead-acid battery which is still used today in most automobiles.
- The 6 most popular batteries used today are lead acid, alkaline, NiMH, NiCd, Li-ion and LiPo.
- Lead acid batteries are large, but also provide a large amount of current. Lead acid batteries are used in cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and back-up power devices. The 3 main types of lead acid batteries sold are wet cell, absorbed glass mat (AGM) and gel cell.
- Alkaline batteries are very popular and used in devices like toys, portable radios, flash lights, calculators and more. Alkaline batteries are sold in multiples sizes such as AAA, AA, D, C and 9 volt. Most alkaline batteries provide 1.5 volts, except 9 volt batteries provide 9 volts.
- NiMH or Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are used in portable home phones, toys and other portable electronics. This type of battery is used less today because they take a long time to recharge. NiMH batteries also discharge relatively quickly, which means when the batteries sit without being used, the batteries power will get lower.
- The NiCd or Nickel-cadmium battery was invented in 1899 by the Swedish inventor Waldmar Jungner. NiCd batteries recharge faster than NiMH batteries. They can also store more energy. NiCD have a problem called memory effect. If these batteries are not fully discharged, then fully charged they will hold less energy the next time it is used. Over time NiCd batteries will only hold a short charge. Cadmium is considered a toxic material.
- Li-ion or Lithium-ion batteries can provide the same amount of output as NiMH batteries, but charge faster, weight one-third less, do not suffer from memory effects and contain no toxic materials. Many new electronics like game systems, music players, tablets and computers use li-ion batteries. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and Apple iPhone 4S both use a lithium-ion battery.
- Li-Po or lithium-polymer batteries are very popular in remote control vehicles and robotics because of their high current output capabilities and light weight. The charging time of the lithium polymer batteries is known to be longer than lithium-ion batteries.
- Rechargeable batteries are typically given a power rating. This is how much power the battery can provide and for how long it can provide the power. For example, a battery rated at 1800 mAh can provide 1.8 amps of current for 1 hour. If more current is used, the amount of time goes down. If the electronic uses an 1800 mAh batter and needs 3.6 amps, it will only last 30 minutes.
- You can make an electrical battery by using fruit or vegetables by trying this simple experiment.
- Try to make your own simple battery with this simple experiment.
NiMH batteries like this one used in a walkie-talkie are used in many portable communication devices and small portable electronics.
An assortment of Li-ion batteries from a laptop computer, digital camera, digital camcorder and cell phone. Li-ion batteries are popular in new technology because of their light weight and amount of energy storage.