There are many types of batteries that we use in everyday life. The ones in our phones are different from the batteries in our cars, which differ from the ones in our analog clocks, and so on. Still, the basic way to categorize batteries is either rechargeable or non-rechargeable.
All these batteries have been made in different ways, and so they have varying internal makeups. Of course, they can’t all be made exactly the same because that would interfere with their purpose.
With that said, let’s analyze what you find inside a battery.
What is on the inside of a battery?
Understanding what is inside of a battery helps you know what each part is meant for and how they all come together to make the battery work.
First, when you observe a battery on the outside, you notice the outer case. The main purpose is to hold everything together and serve as a protective barrier.
What you’ll find inside a primary battery
In simple terms, this is the type of battery you cannot recharge once dead. They are commonly found in stores and cost less initially. They’re used to power toys, clocks, and other simple devices that don't drain batteries at a fast rate.
Typically, a non-rechargeable battery will have three main components, which are the electrodes (anode and cathode) and the electrolyte.
The anode is negative electrode and is made up of zinc. This is where there is a buildup of electrons that move to the circuit.
The cathode, on the other hand, is the positive electrode in a battery. It’s mainly made of carbon, and it's the point in a battery that absorbs electrons from the circuit.
The reaction between these two electrodes is known as the reduction and oxidation process. This is because the anode is where the oxidation process takes place while the cathode is where the reduction reaction takes place.
In these batteries, you’ll also find the electrolyte, usually made up of potassium hydroxide. This is a medium through which electrical energy is created. The presence of an electrolyte is important because it prevents the direct contact of the anode and cathode. If the two connect directly, there will be no current flow. It, therefore, introduces ions, which then react with the two electrodes to facilitate the chemical reaction that converts chemical energy to electric energy.
These are the major parts you’ll find inside a non-rechargeable battery.
Now that we’ve talked about one type of battery, we need to identify how their internal components differ from rechargeable batteries.
Such batteries are also known as rechargeable batteries. They last longer than primary batteries because they can be topped up whenever they’re fully discharged. These are the types of batteries you’ll use to run your car, camera, smartwatches, and other types of devices that drain power quicker.
Similar to the primary batteries, you’ll find both anode and cathode electrodes. There will also be an electrolyte present, just like in non-rechargeable batteries.
The main difference is that the chemical reactions can be reversed through charging. And although the internal structures are more or less the same as primary batteries, the materials and chemicals used vary depending on the type of secondary battery.
Since the battery is constantly recharged, there is bound to be a lot of wear and tear. That is why you’ll often find the addition of different chemicals and metal coatings to protect the electrodes from corrosion when they come into contact with the electrolyte so as to ensure it has a longer life span.
So, what’s the difference between one company and the other if the internal makeups are basically the same? Why are some batteries better than others? We can admit that certain batteries last longer than others and that some companies are widely known for their quality products as compared to others. Top companies usually put in the effort to make sure that they put the customer’s needs first. At the same time, you are in control when it comes to how you use, store, and maintain your batteries.
Is there liquid inside a battery?
This all depends on the battery type. There are those batteries that are dry cells and those that are wet cell batteries. The main thing that tells the difference is the type of electrolyte present.
Dry cell batteries have a paste or gel-like electrolyte present. This is common with primary batteries. The paste electrolyte you’ll find in many dry cell batteries is potassium hydroxide.
On the other hand, there are wet cell batteries that are typically linked to some secondary batteries. This means that the electrolyte present is in liquid form. The type of liquid electrolyte you'll find is the sulfuric acid solution, as in the case of lead-acid batteries, for example.
One of the main problems associated with wet cell batteries is the risk of spilling.
The inside of a battery contains other materials like fibrous fabric, plastic, brass, and other types of materials that aren’t toxic. However, the main cause of concern is the chemicals that are present. Electrolytes like potassium hydroxide and sulfuric acid are highly poisonous and corrosive. They can cause a lot of damage when ingested or when they come into contact with your skin.
Also, inhaling large quantities of those gases produced inside the battery could cause some lung damage.
Some of the safety tips to remember are:
Always check for cracks and leaks.
Inspect your battery before touching it epically after long periods in storage. You’ll be able to see signs of a leakage, which should indicate that you need to be extra careful while handling it.
Wear protective clothing when doing battery maintenance
You should have gloves on, protective eye gear, and even protective clothing when handling your battery. This will keep you safe in case of acid splashes, which could cause permanent damage to the eyes and serious chemical burns on the skin.
Be cautious of excess gas leaks.
In some cases, like overcharged lead-acid batteries, poisonous gases are released. You should let the room air completely to prevent health risks and fire-related accidents. As a precautionary measure, always work in a well-ventilated room when doing battery maintenance.
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