Think of a battery as a small power plant that converts chemical energy through a reaction into electrical energy. First of all there is the container (1). This is a steel cylinder housing the cell’s ingredients.
Then you insert the positive element of the chemical reaction, which is a mix of finely ground Manganese dioxide mixed with conductors (like Carbon) which carry a naturally occurring electrical charge. This is called the cathode, and it is molded inside the empty wall of the container (2).
A separator paper is inserted to keep the cathode from touching the anode (3).
The anode, which carries a negative electrical charge – powdered zinc metal and potassium hydroxide – is put into the container (4) and a brass pin, which forms the negative current collector, is inserted into the battery (5).
The chemical reaction starts when you insert a battery into a circuit (6). Most chemical reactions produce energy in the form of heat, but by confining the chemicals inside the container, the battery produces power.
The brass pin (collector) within the battery conducts the electric current out of the battery to an external circuit such as the contact points on a flashlight bulb (7).
As the battery is used, the available manganese dioxide depletes and becomes less and less active as a cell cathode (8).
This article was written by Melissa Tamura, who blogs on topics like online education degrees for the Zen College Life Blog.
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