Different Types of Batteries

There are many different types of batteries available on the market and there has been a consider boost in technology from the days of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who started the modern development of the battery with the Volta Pile. Today there are different types of batteries and battery chargers, depending on their usage and application.

As said above, there are different types of battery cells available. The generally available ones are the types of electrochemical cells, like the fuel cells, electrolytic cells, galvanic cells, voltaic piles and flow cells. A battery's features depend upon many different factors, like the current drain, internal chemistry and temperature. Let's discuss the two broad categories of batteries:

Primary Batteries

Once assembled, primary batteries can immediately produce a current. Disposable batteries are a type of primary cells and are supposedly to be used once and thrown out after. Primary batteries are most commonly used in low drain appliances or portable devices that do not require a very high voltage. Disposable batteries can not be reliably recharged, as the chemical reaction in the battery can not be reversed and also the active materials do not get converted back to their original form. It is advisable that you do not attempt to recharge primary cells. In some cases of primary batteries, like the batteries used in the telegraph, circuits were restored back to operation after replacing the components of the battery cell that was consumed during the chemical reaction.

Common types of primary disposable cells are alkaline and zinc carbon batteries. These batteries generally have a high energy density as opposed to the rechargeable batteries, but it should be noted that disposable batteries do not perform well in high drain applications, which requires a load under 75 ohms (75)).

Secondary Batteries

Secondary batteries are also called rechargeable batteries. Secondary batteries must be charged with electricity before using them. The rechargeable battery has active materials that are typically assembled in the discharged form. The electric current used while recharging reverses the chemical reaction that occurs during the usage of the battery. Secondary batteries are also not indefinitely rechargeable, as the active materials used in the cell get dissipated and also there is internal corrosion and loss of electrolyte.

You require proper devices to charge the batteries called chargers or rechargers. The oldest rechargeable battery is the lead acid battery, which is a type of a wet cell. This battery is noted for containing a liquid within an unsealed container that requires it to be kept upright. The battery even needs to be kept in an open ventilated area so the hydrogen emitted during overcharging can get dispensed properly. A lead acid battery is used commonly in cars.

VRLA, Valve Regulated Lead Acid, is an improved liquid electrolyte battery type, which is a popular battery in the automotive industry. The VRLA uses an immobilized sulphuric acid electrolyte, which reduces the leakage and improves the shelf life of the battery. VRLA has the electrolyte immobilized by one of the following two ways:

o Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) – These batteries absorb the electrolyte into special fiberglass matting.
o Gel Battery – These are also called Gel Cells and they contain a special semi solid electrolyte that prevents leakage.


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