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How Does a Battery Work

Batteries are used in many everyday objects such as remote controls, clocks, cell phones, laptop computers and vehicles. They are an integral part in keeping the world running. Batteries store electrical energy in chemical form for use when we are unable to access a power source. They come in all different shapes, sizes and power outputs. There is a battery to power almost anything that you can imagine. Have you ever wondered how a battery actually works? If so read on to find out more.

How a Battery Works In Simple Terms:
A battery is essentially a little can that holds certain chemicals that produce electrons. These chemicals undergo a chemical reaction known as an electrochemical reaction. Each battery contains one or more cells or areas in which the chemicals are stored to create electricity. Each cell has a positive electrode (terminal), a negative electrode, and a liquid or solid separating them called the electrolyte. When a battery is placed inside an object that has an electric circuit, like your cell phone, an electrochemical reaction takes place inside the solid or liquid separating the terminals. This causes atoms with a positive charge (ions) to flow through the electric circuit one way and negatively charged atoms (electrons) to flow in the opposite direction along the outer circuit (the battery cover). This flow of ions and electrons creates an electric current which runs through the electrical circuit inside the object such as your remote control.

A Closer Look at How a Battery Works:
Every battery has a positive and a negative terminal. In an ordinary battery likes those used in remote controls and game controllers the positive and negative terminals are the ends of the battery. In a car battery there are heavy lead posts which act as the terminals. A battery works by getting the negative electrons to flow to the positive terminal. Electrons collect on the negative terminal of the battery and wait for an opportunity to pass to the positive terminal. The positive and negative electrodes are separated by the electrolyte (liquid or solid inside the cell of the battery). This is usually a dry powder in household batteries and a liquid in car batteries. The electrolyte creates a barrier (insulator) between the electrodes that cannot be crossed. So the only way for the negative electrons to get to the positive terminal is to pass through an electrical circuit connected to the battery. Therefore when you connect an electrical object to the battery, by contacting both ends, the negative electrons go through the electrical circuit and onto the positive terminal passing through and powering the object in the process. This process continues to take place as long as the battery is connected to an electrical item and there is a pathway for the negative electrons to get to the positive terminal. Batteries become flat when the chemicals inside can no longer chemically react to produce positive ions and negative electrons.

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