Batteries are used for several applications, from small toys to automobiles. We buy batteries depending on the device or application they are to be used. In this article, you will get to learn the most common battery types used in the world, their applications, and how to care for them.
1. Alkaline batteries
It is one of the most common types of primary cells. It draws its energy from a chemical reaction between metallic zinc and manganese dioxide. Alkaline batteries have a higher energy density and have a longer lifespan than other cells, such as the zinc-carbon batteries.
This type of battery is the most common type of cell used in cars and solar power storage devices. This is because a lead-acid battery provides high current and comes at a relatively low cost. It can, however, only store about 25-watt hours in every kg. Each of the cells of lead-acid batteries consists of electrodes immersed in a sulfuric acid solution. A lead electrode is usually coated with lead oxide. When 6 of these cells are connected in series, a 12 V battery is supplied.
Lithium-ion batteries are the most commonly used battery today. They are used in various computers, computing devices, and thousand consumer electronics -like smartphones, laptops, etc. There is research ongoing on how to adapt this type of battery to other applications due to their higher power density. The battery keeps about 150 watt-hours/ kg (150 wh per kg).
The electrodes are mostly made of lithium and cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) with graphite with solid lithium electrolytes.
The cell voltage is high, and up to 4 V., This is mainly for the transmission of the partially reduced Li +; -Graphite on partially oxidized lithium cobalt oxide.
This type of battery is liable to explosion if exposed to high temperatures. There is current research going on in this area as well. It is focused on revealing new and better electrode materials that are suitable for the electrolytes for better thermal stability of these batteries in larger applications.
4. Nickel metal hydride (NiMH)
The metal of nickel-metal hydride batteries is usually intermetallic AB5. The 'A' is a mixture of rare-earth, including praseodymium, lanthanum, neodymium, cerium. And the 'B' represents manganese, nickel, cobalt, and / or aluminium. The storage capacity of these types of batteries is up to 100 watts hours per kg and is even more thermally stable than lithium-ion batteries. Some of this type of cell has been designed for hybrid vehicles.
What are the applications of different types of batteries?
1. Alkaline battery applications
Alkaline batteries are easily the most widely used types of batteries in the world, with significant consumption in the United States, the United Kingdom, and even Switzerland. They are designed for long-lasting performances. The cells are found on remote controls, radios, and clocks. Due to the long run time, alkaline batteries are ideal for digital cameras, MP3 players, hand-held games, etc.
2. Lead-acid battery applications.
The main application of the lead-acid batteries is usually in the starting, lightening, and ignition systems of automobiles (also known as SLI). The other form of the battery -the wet cell battery, is used as a means of backup power for high-end servers, PCs, telephone exchanges as well as in off-grid homes using inverters. Lead-acid batteries are also used in Portable emergency lights.
3. Lithium-ion battery applications.
These batteries are usually long-life batteries, and they are used in portable consumer electronics such as calculators, digital diaries, wristwatches, iPods, stopwatches, toys, and even artificial pacemakers. Lithium batteries can also be used to replace alkaline batteries in various applications like in clocks and cameras. Lithium batteries may be more expensive, but they offer a much longer lifespan.
4. NiMH battery applications
This type of battery is available in all standard sizes and come in High power density. They are easy to charge and a very good alternative to alkaline batteries. Their application is quite similar to alkaline batteries, and they are also rechargeable. They can also be used in all applications of Ni-Cad batteries.
How do you care for different types of batteries?
In the following paragraphs, we will list out how to care for different battery types. Every battery type needs the same kind of basic care. Consequently, we will not list the basics as it is expected that every battery user should know those. So, we will list other care for batteries, feel free to apply them to yours where applicable.
1. Check your battery voltage regularly
If you have a data logger, it can be programmed so that the battery voltage is measured, recorded, and transmitted regularly. Recording the daily minimum battery voltage is a great way to check the condition of your battery. In fact, your data logger may be programmed to keep a record of the number of times the voltage of the battery drops below certain values.
It is pertinent to note that temperature and some other factors can affect your battery performance. Therefore, it is important to monitor your battery voltage.
2. Do not try to charge alkaline batteries
If properly connected to the device, a blocking diode in the system prevents user-supplied batteries from the charging of alkaline batteries. For this reason, alkaline batteries cannot be recharged, and the battery manufacturers do not recommend trying to recharge them. If backup power is required, use a user-supplied sealed battery.
3. Try to prevent your alkaline batteries from leaking
You have to ensure your alkaline batteries do not leak. Try the following tips to ensure that;
" Store your alkaline batteries in a temperature range of -25 ° C to +50 ° C.
" Do not mix used and new alkaline batteries.
" Maintain a minimum voltage of 9.6 V for alkaline batteries if you are connected to a data logger.
4. Pay attention to parallel connections
If you are connecting two batteries in parallel, ensure that two different batteries having several amp-hour ratings are not connected in parallel.
5. Do not leave your lead-acid batteries in their discharged state
If you leave your lead acid battery in its discharged state for a long time, there is a possibility of large sulfate crystals developing, and this can negatively affect the performance of the battery. In other to avoid this, endeavor to charge the stored batteries every few months.
6. Insulate your batteries in snowy climates and cold temperatures
In the snowy and cold climates, it is recommended that you store your batteries in an isolated case or battery box. This is to protect them from extreme temperatures.
You should also ensure you mount your solar panels in a manner such that there is no room for snow build-up, as this can block energy and cause some stress in your system.