Car batteries are designed to store current for later use. The storage ability of the battery is due to some chemical reactions taking place inside the battery. A car battery consists of 6 smaller batteries lined up in series combination. Thus, causing the voltage of each battery to add, giving the total voltage. Most battery types use this technology to come up with different voltages.
When an electric circuit is connected to the battery, electrons are allowed to move. Inside the battery, there are two connectors called the cathode and anode. They are both dipped into a solution. At the times of normal operations, a chemical reaction occurs between the solution and the anode. The anode produces electrons that travel through the circuit.
The electrons re-enter the battery through the cathode. In the cathode also, another chemical reaction is happening between the cathode and the solution. The electrons are incorporated in the product of this reaction. When a battery dies, one or more of the chemical reactants is more used up or less used up.
How does a car battery work chemistry?
The chemical components of a car battery, also known as a lead-acid battery, are lead dioxide (PbO2) in the cathode, lead (Pb) in the anode, and the solution is sulphuric acid (H2SO4). When the battery is in use, lead oxide in the cathode reacts with sulphuric acid to form lead sulfate (PbSO4)
The two reactions are as follows:
PbO2 + 4H+ + SO4- + 2e-_ PbSO4 + 2H2O and
Pb + SO4 _ PbSO4 + 2e-
One reaction produces electrons, while the other one consumes the electrons. Electrons can travel through the solution to get from the point of release to the point of use. These reactions occur if the electrons travel through an external electrical circuit. Sulphuric acid is always diluted by water produced in the first chemical equation. The reaction is complete when the battery is at full charge.
The reverse reaction occurs when the battery is being charged. This reaction produces about 2V; then, six cells add to give 12V needed to start a car.it is the reverse reaction that makes the battery be used again and again.
How does a car battery stay charged?
A car uses a lot of electricity during ignition and other electrical equipment. Therefore, a car has a rechargeable battery and a charging system that keeps it always charged.
The battery has two lead plates immersed in sulphuric acid and distilled water, also known as electrolytes. Half of the plates are connected to the battery's terminals. When electricity is supplied into the battery, a chemical reaction starts inside the battery. This reaction causes the deposition of extra lead on one set of plates.
When the battery is supplying power into the car, the exact opposite occurs. The extra deposited lead dissolves off the plates in a reaction that produces electricity. The battery gets charged by an alternator on current technology cars by older cars using dynamo—both the dynamo and the alternator driven by a belt from the engine. The alternator has a stationary coil of wire inside which a rotor rotates.
The rotor is an electromagnet that receives a small amount of electricity through a carbon or copper-carbon contacts. The contact is between the revolving metal rings on the shaft and the carbon-copper. Rotation of electromagnet inside the stator coils produces more electricity inside the coils.
The electricity produced is in the type of alternating current. The power moves back and forth each time the rotor turns. This electricity has to be rectified, turned into a one-way flow, or direct current.
A dynamo gives direct current but is not much efficient, especially at low engine speeds, and its weight is more than that of the alternator. When the battery is not receiving enough electric current during charging, a warning light is shown on the dashboard. Other cars have an ammeter that indicates how much electricity is generated.
Do you use your car battery in the right way?
There are many things you need to do and not to do so that one can say you are using your car battery in the right way. Let’s start with the do’s that show your battery usage is right;
Always check battery terminals and ensure that the cables are connected tightly. Also, clean the terminals and ensure that they have no corrosion. Also, it is good to ensure that the terminals are well lubricated to keep the cables clean.
Ensure that the battery is tightly mounted into the bracket; if a battery is not secured, it might get damaged and cause short circuits.
Always check the electrolyte unless it is a maintenance-free battery. Use a solution of soda dissolved in warm water to remove dirt that can discharge the battery. Scrub the surface using nylon bristle after wetting the case.
When replacing the battery, choose the right size for your car. Remove the connection in the negative terminal first, then the positive terminal follows.
Do not charge your battery when it is frozen. This might cause an explosion. A frozen battery is identifiable with sides that are bowed out. Replace the battery immediately you notice this condition because it cannot be repaired.
Switch your charger to a low-charge setting when charging your battery by yourself. Some chargers have this feature, but others do not.
Never use the car's alternator to charge a battery that is not in a good state. The alternator is meant to be used as a charger and may get damaged if misused.
Never lean over a battery when you are charging, testing, or jump-starting the engine. Do not disconnect the battery cables when the battery is in use. Always ensure that the battery does not overheat or the electrolyte boiling while charging.
Do not let your battery get fully discharged. This is because the battery uses lead cells submerged in an electrolyte that can get damaged if discharged.
Always use your battery in the right way for your safety and the safety of your car. Also, using the battery in the right way makes it last, thus eradicating the replacement cost. Maintenance practices in car batteries are straightforward, and everyone can manage them.
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