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Nowadays, batteries exist in every corner of life, and our lives are inseparable from batteries. So, how much do you know about the history of the battery?
A battery works on the oxidation and reduction reaction of an electrolyte with metals. When two dissimilar metallic substances, called electrode, are placed in a diluted electrolyte, oxidation and reduction reaction take place in the electrodes respectively depending upon the electron affinity of the metal of the electrodes. As a result of the oxidation reaction, one electrode gets negatively charged called cathode and due to the reduction reaction, another electrode gets positively charged called anode.
The cathode forms the negative terminal whereas anode forms the positive terminal of a battery. To understand the basic principle of battery properly, first, we should have some basic concept of electrolytes and electrons affinity. Actually, when two dissimilar metals are immersed in an electrolyte, there will be a potential difference produced between these metals.
It is found that, when some specific compounds are added to water, they get dissolved and produce negative and positive ions. This type of compound is called an electrolyte. The popular examples of electrolytes are almost all kinds of salts, acids, and bases etc. The energy released during accepting an electron by a neutral atom is known as electron affinity. As the atomic structure for different materials are different, the electron affinity of different materials will differ.
If two different kinds of metals are immersed in the same electrolyte solution, one of them will gain electrons and the other will release electrons. Which metal (or metallic compound) will gain electrons and which will lose electrons, depend upon the electron affinity of these metals. The metal with low electron affinity will gain electrons from the negative ions of the electrolyte solution.
On the other hand, the metal with high electron affinity will release electrons and these electrons come out into the electrolyte solution and are added to the positive ions of the solution. In this way, one of these metals gains electrons and another one loses electrons. As a result, there will be a difference in electron concentration between these two metals.
This difference in electron concentration causes an electrical potential difference developed between the metals. This electrical potential difference or emf can be utilized as a source of voltage in any electronics or electrical circuit. This is a general and basic principle of battery and this is how a battery works.
All batteries cells are based only on this basic principle. Let’s discuss one by one. As we said earlier, Alessandro Volta developed the first battery cell, and this cell is popularly known as the simple voltaic cell. This type of simple cell can be created very easily. Take one container and fill it with diluted sulfuric acid as the electrolyte. Now we immerse one zinc and one copper rod in the solution and we connect them externally by an electric load. Now your simple voltaic cell is completed. Current will start flowing through the external load.
Zinc in a diluted sulfuric acid gives up electrons as below:
These Zn + + ions pass into the electrolyte, and each of the Zn + + ions leaves two electrons in the rod. As a result of the above oxidation reaction, the zinc electrode is left negatively charged and hence acts as a cathode. Consequently, the concentration of Zn + + ions near the cathode in the electrolyte increases.
As per the property of electrolyte, the diluted sulfuric acid and water have already disassociated into positive hydronium ions and negative sulfate ions as given below:
Due to the high concentration of Zn+ + ions near the cathode, the H3O+ ions get repelled towards the copper electrode and get discharged by absorbing electrons from atoms of the copper rod. The following reaction takes place at the anode:
As a result of the reduction reaction taking place at the copper electrode, copper rod gets positively charged and hence it acts as an anode.
Batteries are a collection of one or more cells whose chemical reactions create a flow of electrons in a circuit. All batteries are made up of three basic components: an anode (the ‘-‘ side), a cathode (the ‘+’ side), and some kind of electrolyte (a substance that chemically reacts with the anode and cathode).
When the anode and cathode of a battery is connected to a circuit, a chemical reaction takes place between the anode and the electrolyte. This reaction causes electrons to flow through the circuit and back into the cathode where another chemical reaction takes place. When the material in the cathode or anode is consumed or no longer able to be used in the reaction, the battery is unable to produce electricity. At that point, your battery is “dead.”
Batteries that must be thrown away after use are known as primary batteries. Batteries that can be recharged are called secondary batteries.
Without batteries, your quadcopter would have to be tethered to the wall, you would have to hand crank your car, and your Xbox controller would have to plugged in all the time (like in the good old days). Batteries offer a way to store electrical potential energy in a portable container.
The invention of the modern battery is often attributed to Alessandro Volta. It actually started with a surprising accident involving the dissection of a frog.
Invention of the Battery
One fateful day in 1780, Italian physicist, physician, biologist, and philosopher, Luigi Galvani, was dissecting a frog attached to a brass hook. As he touched the frog’s leg with an iron scapel, the leg twitched. Galvani theorized that the energy came from the leg itself, but his fellow scientist, Alessandro Volta, believed otherwise.
Volta hypothesized that the frog’s leg impulses were actually caused by different metals soaked in a liquid. He repeated the experiment using cloth soaked in brine instead of a frog corpse, which resulted in a similar voltage. Volta published his findings in 1791 and later created the first battery, the voltaic pile, in 1800.
Volta’s pile was plagued by two major issues: the weight of the stack caused the electrolyte to leak out of the cloth, and the particular chemical properties of the components resulted in a very short life span (about an hour). The next two hundred years would be spent perfecting Volta’s design and solving these issuesThe First Rechargeable Battery
In 1859, the French physicist Gaston Planté created a battery using two rolled sheets of lead submerged in sulfuric acid. By reversing the electrical current through the battery, the chemistry would return to its original state, thus creating the first rechargeable battery.
Later, in 1881, Camille Alphonse Faure improved Planté’s design by forming the lead sheets into plates. This new design made the batteries easier to manufacture, and the lead acid battery saw wide-spread use in automobiles.
Although batteries exist in every corner of life, you must remember to use batteries reasonably and dispose of used batteries reasonably, otherwise it will cause serious environmental pollution.