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Battery Knowledge

TONGYU--Battery Solution Expert

What is battery?

Battery is the device to take out directly the DC current converted from the potential generated by chemical reaction. 
As the method to generate a potential difference there is a radiation, a temperature difference, and light irradiation, in addition to chemical reaction. 
The main functions of the battery are charging and discharging electricity, and they are classified roughly into the primary batteries which are non-rechargeable and the rechargeable batteries which can be recharged again and again. 
The primary batteries include a dry battery used frequently in household, and the rechargeable batteries include lithium-ion battery used for cellular phones and lead batteries mounted on vehicles.
And they are classified into fuel cell and solar cell depending on the way to supply. 

the kinds of battery

Primary batteries that are not rechargeable

・Manganese dry cell
It has been used since the oldest. They are suitable for running on low power devices. It is recommended for clocks and wall clocks running long time with low electricity, or things that are used sometimes for a short time with a large electricity such as remote controller and auto ignition for gas or oil equipment.

・Alkaline battery
It accounts for the most of the dry batteries. It suits for the equipment that requires large amount of electricity. It can be used for twice or longer than manganese dry cell. It is recommended for digital cameras, CD radio-cassettes, stereo phones, and toys using motor that are used for long time. 

・Nickel-based battery
This battery is a new dry cell battery and has been sold since 21st Century. It can last 1.2~1.5 times longer than alkaline battery and twice longer if it is used for digital camera. It is suitable to the equipment that needs large electric power such as liquid crystal TV.

・Button shaped silver oxide battery
Its voltage is very stable. Since it maintain initial voltage almost until it become dead, it is suitable to precision equipment like crystal watched and exposure meter.

・Button shaped zinc-air battery
It can have a lot of zinc which is the material of anode in the battery because the cathode’s material is oxygen in the air. Thanks to that it has large electric capacity than other button type battery like silver oxide battery, which gives longer life span compared to other battery of same size. So it is recommended for a hearing aid and pager that is used continuously.

・Cylinder shaped lithium battery
This battery’s features are high voltage of three volts, light weight, and less self-discharges (the phenomenon the battery discharge while it is not in use). Because of the large power they generate, they are used for cameras gas meters and water meters. There is also 1.5 volts type with different cathode material which has larger electric capacity than alkaline dry cell, and it is used for cameras.

・Coin shaped lithium battery
The voltage (3 volts) is the same as the cylinder shaped one. They are used for clock function of computers, videocassette recorder, and rice cooker. They are also used for key-less entry for vehicle, electric dictionary, and flashlight.

Rechargeable batteries

・Nickel-Cadmium battery
Its voltage is 1.2 volts. It is compatible with alkaline with alkaline dry cell, and recommended for the equipment which requires frequent change of battery because it is economic. It requires a specialized recharger. It is used for cordless phone, electric tooth brush, shaver, the equipment that require large power, and emergency light.

・Nickel-Hydrogen battery
It has the same voltage (12 volts) as Nickel-Cadmium battery and compatible with alkaline dry cell. Its electric power is twice larger than Nickel-Cadmium battery in the same size. Small sized one is used for headphone stereo, shaver, and laptop PC, and medium sized one is used for hybrid vehicles and electric bicycle.

・Lithium-ion battery
The feature is 3.7 volts that is three times larger than Nickel-Hydrogen and the light weight. The use is for cellular phone, laptop PC, camcorder, and digital camera. It is the forefront battery necessary for mobile equipment.

・Lead storage battery
Each cell’s voltage is 2 volts. They are connected in series to make12 volts and used for auto mobiles. Besides automobiles and motorcycles it is also used for electric vehicles and forklift trucks. For industrial usage it is used for UPS, emergency power supply for hospitals and public facilities and so on as a versatile storage battery.

・Alkaline storage battery
Its size is larger than Nickel-Cadmium battery and is used for emergency power supply as is lead storage battery. It can be used for longer period compared to lead storage battery.

Other batteries

・Solar battery
Solar battery is the equipment that converts the solar light energy to electric energy. It is often used for calculator and wristwatch. Also it is used for unmanned lighthouse, radio repeater stations and road signs.

・Fuel cell
It is a power generator that react hydrogen and oxygen and converts directly to electric energy. And though this is still in experiment, it is used as an electric power for automobiles and domestic use, and small sized one is used for PC.

What is lead storage battery?

A lead storage battery is a rechargeable battery that uses lead dioxide for an anode (positive terminal), spongy lead for cathode (negative terminal), and diluted sulfuric acid for electrolytic solution. It is charged by the moves of sulfuric acid ions from both anode and cathode into electrolytic solution, and it is discharged by other way around. Since sulfuric acid ions move to the surface of anode and cathode, the specific gravity of electrolytic solution goes down when discharging, and it goes up when charging. Addition to that, the change of the specific gravity of electrolytic solution is related to that water is generated at cathode when discharging. Among the rechargeable batteries it is produced the most in the world because each cell can generate as high as 2 volts and price of lead which is the material of electrode is inexpensive. It is capable of discharging large current in short time and small current for long time. It does not have the memory effect that an alkaline storage battery does, but sulfation makes its performance worse when discharged fully. In extremely cold area it is recommended to charge quickly after using because it may be frozen and broken due to the decrease of the specific gravity. It is heavier than other storage batteries. There may be the danger caused by diluted sulfuric acid in leakage and damage. 

The use of lead battery

Lead battery is widely used as the starter battery for vehicle and for a back-up of commercial power supply and battery-powered forklift and golf cart. It is also used in small airplanes. Both for vehicles and airplanes, it is charged with a direct current commutated by a diode from an alternating current generated by an alternator. 

What is sulfation?

Sulfation is the phenomenon that happened the minute lead sulfate particles dissolved in electrolyte solution get saturated at a low temperature forms non-ring lead sulfate crystal. Because of this phenomenon that creates a coating of lead sulfate crystal around the electrodes in the repeated charging and discharging process it loses the power function and not be able to supply electricity. The non-ring lead sulfate has an electric non-conductance and become a resistance to electricity current when it adheres to the electrode. Addition to that, the reacting area of electrode become smaller and loses the charging and discharging capability as its condition get worse, and chemical reaction itself gradually ceases and becomes useless battery even though when it is charged.

But actually the crystalized inactive lead sulfate that doesn’t take part in the electrode reaction is generated at the anode and cathode, and it decreases gradually the electric capability of the battery and becomes dead eventually. When inactive lead sulfate is accumulated the charge won’t be done well because of the drop of the specific gravity and electric capacity significantly decreases. These phenomenons are caused by the sulfation. Generally the increase of the sulfation decreases the electric capacity to start engine, turn on lights and etc. Eventually the battery cannot function as a storage battery and become dead. But use conditions change greatly the life span of the battery.


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