What is Battery? Its types and different uses

An electrochemical oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction is used in batteries to directly transfer the chemical energy found in their active components into electric energy. Electrons are moved from one component to another via an electric circuit in this kind of reaction.

Despite the fact that the word “battery” is frequently used, the real electrochemical component that produces or stores electric energy is the cell.

When comparing a cell to a battery, it helps to picture a battery as a set of one or more of these cells linked in series, parallel, or both, depending on the output voltage and capacity required.

Batteries that are readily available on the market are created with market considerations in mind. The market price sought for any given product reflects the caliber of the materials used as well as the complexity of the electrode and container designs. But even with older battery systems, performance can occasionally go up by significant amounts if new materials are discovered or the qualities of old ones are improved

Components of Cell and Battery

There are 3 key parts that make up cells.

  1. Anode: The anode is the negative or decreasing electrode that undergoes electrochemical reactions and delivers electrons to the external circuit while oxidizing.
  2. Cathode: The positive or oxidizing electrode known as the cathode is decreased during the electrochemical process after receiving electrons from the external circuit.
  3. Electrolyte: The electrolyte is the fluid that acts as a conduit for ions moving between a cell’s cathode and anode. When thinking of electrolytes, liquids like water or other solvents are frequently pictured as having dissolved salts, acids, or alkalis that are necessary for ionic conduction. However, many batteries, including the common (AA/AAA/D) batteries, have solid electrolytes that function as ionic conductors at ambient temperature.

Cathode, anode, and electrolyte selection factors:

The following list includes the ideal characteristics for anode, cathode, and electrolyte materials.

The following characteristics should be present in anode material:

  • Efficient reducing agent
  • High coulombic output
  • Good conductivity
  • Stable
  • Ease of fabrication
  • Low cost
  • Metals like lithium and zinc are often used as anodes.

The following characteristics should be present in cathode material:

  • Efficient oxidizing agent.
  • Stable when in contact with electrolyte
  • Useful working voltage
  • Ease of fabrication
  • Low cost
  • Metal oxides, like, are often used as cathode materials.

The following characteristics should be present in cathode material:

The anode-cathode material combinations that produce lightweight cells with high voltage and capacity are the most preferred. Due to aggravating circumstances including difficult material handling, reactivity with other cell components, difficult production, polarization tendencies, and expensive materials, such combinations might not always be feasible.

The following qualities should be present in electrolytes:

  • Strong ionic conductivity
  • Lack of electrical conductivity
  • With respect to electrode materials, inertness
  • Characteristics of resilience to temperature changes
  • Protection when handling
  • Low price
  • Electrolytes are frequently made up of soluble substances, acids, and alkalis in aqueous solutions.

How do Batteries Work?

The electrochemical cell releases its chemical energy in favor of electric energy when it is in function. Electrons travel from the oxidized anode and are accepted by the cathode, which is then reduced if the cell is connected via an external circuit from the cathode to the anode. Cations and anions from the electrolyte flow to the cathode and anode, correspondingly, to complete the electrical circuit.

Different types of batteries:

There are many different sorts of batteries and each is made from a substance that is best suited to the task.

Classification of Cells or Batteries:

There are four broad categories for electrochemical batteries.

The two main categories of batteries are primary batteries and secondary batteries, or storage, batteries. Primary batteries are intended to be used up until the voltage becomes insufficient to power a specific item, at which point they are discarded. Secondary batteries have a variety of unique structural elements and specific electrode materials that enable reconstitution (recharged). Direct current (DC) voltage can be used to recharge them after a partial or full discharge. Even though the original state is typically not fully restored, commercial batteries only lose a tiny fraction of 1 percent of their capacity per recharge cycle.

A primary cell or battery is one that must be thrown away after use because it cannot be easily recharged. Dry cells are defined as primary cells that use electrolytes that are encapsulated within absorbent material or a divider (i.e., no free or liquid electrolyte).

Electricity can be used to electrically recharge a secondary cell or battery to its initial state prior to discharge by applying the circuit with the current in the opposite way from the discharge current. The process of recharging is illustrated in the following graphic.

Primary battery VS Secondary battery:

The advantages and disadvantages of primary and secondary batteries are outlined in the following table.

Primary battery:Secondary battery”
Lower initial costHigher initial cost
Higher life-cycle cost ($/kWh)Lower life-cycle cost ($/kWh) if charging is convenient and inexpensive.
DisposableRegular maintenance is required.
DisposablePeriodic recharging is required.
Alternatives are easily accessible.While replacement batteries are made, they are not produced in the same volume as primary batteries. Possibly requiring a preorder.
Usually smaller and lighter, making them more ideally suited for portable applications.Although recent developments in Lithium battery technology have resulted in the development of smaller/lighter secondary batteries, they have historically been less suitable for portable applications.
Better charge retention and longer service per charge.Traditional secondary batteries, especially aqueous secondary batteries, have poorer charge retention as compared to primary battery systems.
Performance with big loads and high discharge rates is not optimal.Superior performance at high discharge rates with heavy loads.
Not the best choice for load-leveling, backup power, hybrid batteries, or expensive military applications.Ideal for load-leveling, backup power, hybrid batteries, and expensive military applications.
Restricted historically to particular purposes.Secondary battery systems can be used and continue to be researched for a broad range of applications due to their overall inherent adaptability.

There are four broad categories for electrochemical batteries.

A primary cell or battery is one that must be thrown away after use because it cannot be easily recharged. Dry cells are defined as primary cells that use electrolytes that are encapsulated within absorbent material or a separator (i.e., no free or liquid electrolyte).

The reserve cell is a frequent name for the third group of batteries. The reserve cell differs from primary and secondary cells in that a crucial component is kept apart from the other components until right before activation. The electrolyte is the component that is most frequently isolated. This type of battery structure is frequently seen in thermal batteries, where the electrolyte is solid and inactive until the melting point is reached, allowing for ionic conduction and turning the battery on.

Reserve batteries efficiently reduce chemical degradation and the danger of self-discharge. The bulk of reserve batteries is wasted after being used just once. In missiles, torpedoes, and other weapon systems, reserve batteries are utilized in timing, temperature, and pressure-sensitive detonation mechanisms.

The following four categories commonly describe reserve cells.

  • Water-activated batteries.
  • Electrolyte-activated batteries.
  • Gas-activated batteries.
  • Heat-activated batteries.

The fourth class of batteries is the fuel cell. The difference between fuel cells and batteries is that not all of the active ingredients are built into the device (as in a battery). Active components are injected into batteries from an external source in fuel cells. In contrast to batteries, fuel cells are capable of producing electrical energy as long as active materials are delivered to the electrodes, but they are unable to do so in the absence of these materials.

Cryogenic fuels used in spacecraft have been a well-known application of fuel cells. Although recent developments have reignited interest in a variety of systems with applications such as utility power, load-leveling, on-site generators, and electric cars, the use of fuel cell technology for terrestrial uses has been slow to emerge.

Uses of battery:

As was already said, there are several batteries in use today. This section offers a thorough analysis of three of the most popular battery systems as well as a fourth battery that is heavily used by the US Navy.

  • The conventional battery
  • The automobile battery
  • The laptop battery
  • The torpedo battery
  • Emerging/evolving applications