Alkaline Battery Chemistry and Capacity. Alkaline batteries meaning

Powering Alkaline Batteries with Potassium Hydroxide

Alkaline batteries have literally become an essential part of our lives. They are used in everything from hearing aids to remote controls, toys and video games. In fact, the industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry since its inception in the 1950s. The market for alkaline batteries is expected to grow to a value of 8 billion euros by the year 2022.

However, it was not always this way. One of the first batteries to make its way into commercial use was the lead acetate battery. It was invented in 1859, but still remains the primary technology in rechargeable car batteries. The alkaline battery as we know it today was first introduced in 1959. It is this battery, with some refinements to its technology over time, that has become widely popular due to its cost and effectiveness.

How alkaline batteries work

Alkaline batteries are basically a contained chemical reaction. Each cell consists of an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte material that facilitates a transfer of electrons. In a standard alkaline battery, the cathode is made of manganese dioxide, which forms a layer on the inside of the battery casing. The anode consists of zinc powder dispersed in an electrolyte solution. Potassium hydroxide is the standard electrolyte solution for alkaline batteries. Other components in a battery include the separator to keep the anode and cathode electrically separated and a current collector to capture electrons.

When an alkaline battery is wired into a circuit, the chemical reaction takes place. A reduction reaction takes place at the cathode to produce hydroxyl ions. At the same time, the zinc anode is oxidised by consuming hydroxyl ions during which electrons are released. It is these electrons that power electrical devices.

An alkaline battery goes flat when the resources to complete the chemical reaction are depleted. The first chemical to run out is the magnesium dioxide, which means that no more hydroxyl ions can be formed, and no more electrons released.

Factors affecting the performance of alkaline batteries

It is important to note that the voltage of a battery will reduce over its life. This is acceptable because electrical devices can function normally in a range from 0.9 to 1.5 volts.

Battery manufacturers describe the operation of alkaline batteries and the factors that affect their performance as follows:

    The colder the temperature, the less efficient an alkaline battery is. Cold temperatures inhibit the movement of ions. The slow-down in chemical activity reduces the battery voltage while the current drawn remains constant.

Advantages of potassium hydroxide alkaline batteries

Prior to the invention of alkaline batteries, the most common type of battery in use was the zinc carbon battery. But, the performance of alkaline batteries far exceeds the earlier technology. They have double the energy intensity and last between four to nine times longer. Alkaline batteries also have a very good shelf life – lasting up to ten years without experiencing a noticeable deterioration in performance.

Rechargeable batteries like nickel-metal hydrogen batteries and lithium ion batteries have grown in popularity due to the reduction in waste from recharging. Lithium ion batteries are high performance batteries, which are able to deliver a significantly higher capacity than alkaline batteries. They are also much more expensive, which makes them less suitable for many of the day to day electronic uses of alkaline batteries.

Alkaline batteries waste and recycling

Potassium hydroxide alkaline batteries are not harmful to the environment. They do not contain toxic chemicals like mercury, which are controlled substances. As such, they can be disposed of as non-hazardous waste. However, it is always better to recycle materials than send them to landfills where they will slowly decompose. Each alkaline battery contains small amounts of zinc, manganese and steel, each of which can be reused if recovered.

Contact Vynova

Vynova is a leading European producer of potassium hydroxide. We have manufacturing sites in Belgium and France. Our production processes use the best available technology ensuring efficient performance and environmental responsibility. Contact one of our potassium sales representatives here or view our website to find out more about us.

Alkaline Battery Chemistry and Capacity

Alkaline batteries get their name from the fact that their electrolyte is an alkaline potassium-hydroxide. They deliver relatively high energy density, and shelf-lives when compared to zinc-carbon and zinc-chloride batteries. Yet they are able to provide the same voltage when new. In today’s post we consider factors affecting alkaline battery chemistry and capacity.

Chemistry Delivering Alkaline Battery Performance

Alkaline batteries have negative zinc electrodes, and positive manganese-dioxide electrodes. Some of these materials are recycled during the electrochemical reaction. However, the potassium-hydroxide alkaline-electrolyte remains constant throughout.

The capacity, or total amount of energy generated is greater than zinc-chloride alternatives, because the manganese-dioxide is purer and denser. In fact, an alkaline battery can have three-to-five times more capacity than an acidic one.

Factors Governing Actual Battery Performance

However from a user perspective, capacity very much depends on the size of the load. In reality, it could range from 3000 mille-ampere hours (mAh) all the way down to 700. The voltage also declines steadily during use. This means that the actual capacity depends on the cut-off voltage of the application concerned.

The nominal voltage of a fresh alkaline cell should be at least 1.5 volts, although the actual zero-load could be as high as 1.65. The density of the manganese-dioxide, and zinc-oxide are determining factors in this regard. An individual cell is effectively flat when the voltage drops to 1.0 volt.

The actual current flowing through the circuit is proportional to battery size. For this reason, device manufacturers specify whether an AA, C, or D size cell is appropriate. Alkaline battery chemistry is not rechargeable at the time of writing. Much work needs to be done to encourage users to recycle their alkaline batteries at appropriate collection points.

About Author

I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. I live in Margate on the Kwazulu-Natal south coast of South Africa. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard

The ultimate comparative analysis of carbon zinc battery vs alkaline. which is better?

Which is better when it comes to carbon zinc battery vs alkaline. a common question many ask themselves before settling for one. It is important to select the ideal battery for daily applications in low drain applications, such as TV remote batteries, as it will save you money and time. This article is designed to help you understand the following concepts:

  • What a carbon-zinc battery is and how it functions?
  • What an alkaline battery is as well as how it functions?
  • The key differences between these two battery types.
  • How to care for these two battery types well?

.What are carbon zinc batteries, and what are their uses?

First things first. before diving deep into the application of carbon-zinc batteries, it would be best first to understand what carbon-zinc batteries are. the basics of carbon-zinc batteries. Carbon zinc batteries (aka zinc-carbon batteries) are dry cells that provide direct electric current to devices. Most carbon-zinc batteries are used to power small devices on a long-term basis. Such devices include remote controls, clocks, fire sensors, torches, etc. It would be best to check on these batteries periodically. they leak over time as their charge gets depleted. Carbon zinc batteries start to leak because zinc degrades over time. Now, you are probably thinking to yourself: “Is it possible to recharge my carbon zinc batteries?”

.Are carbon zinc batteries rechargeable?

No. Carbon zinc batteries are not rechargeable. Once their charge is depleted, it would be best for you to dispose of them safely by following the regulations set by your local authority on disposing of waste batteries. Charging carbon-zinc batteries will certainly cause an explosion which might start a fire, damage property, or even cause loss of lives.

.Are carbon zinc batteries the same as alkaline batteries?

Not entirely. the primary difference between them is the type of electrolyte used. Carbon zinc batteries use zinc chloride electrolytes, while alkaline batteries use potassium hydroxide. Carbon zinc batteries are used to power low-power devices on a short-term basis, while alkaline batteries are used to power devices on a long-term basis. Also, carbon-zinc batteries have a shorter life compared to alkaline batteries.

.Do carbon zinc batteries last longer than alkaline batteries?

Comparison of carbon zinc battery vs alkaline lasting duration. carbon-zinc batteries can last up to 18 months. They do not have a cycle count since they are not rechargeable. On the other hand, alkaline batteries can last up to 3 yrs. Although alkaline batteries can be charged, they are only partially charged. This method is generally called regeneration, which is different from the charging process of rechargeable batteries.

Alkaline batteries can be recharged 20 times under the condition of charging below 0.1C. Under normal conditions, they can only be charged from a partial discharge, and cannot be charged from a deep discharge like a true rechargeable battery. The limitations of regenerative charge and discharge and the short cycle life determine that the regeneration of alkaline batteries is very uneconomical. To sum up, carbon zinc batteries do not last longer than alkaline batteries. Still, alkaline batteries don’t last much longer than lithium batteries when alkaline vs lithium batteries.

.Using carbon zinc batteries instead of alkaline batteries

While it is possible to use carbon-zinc batteries instead of alkaline batteries, doing so is not recommended. Alkaline batteries have a higher energy density compared to carbon-zinc batteries. In addition to that, alkaline batteries last longer than carbon-zinc batteries. It would be best to consider using lithium batteries in places of carbon-zinc and alkaline batteries as they are rechargeable batteries that have longer life and are more environmentally friendly.

.Benefits of using alkaline batteries over carbon zinc

There are several benefits associated with using alkaline batteries over carbon-zinc batteries. Check them out:

  • Carbon zinc battery vs. alkaline: Energy density. Alkaline batteries have a higher energy density than carbon-zinc batteries.When it comes to energy density, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries is undoubtedly the highest, much higher than the previous two.
  • Carbon zinc battery vs. alkaline: Longer lifespan. Alkaline batteries have a longer lifespan (of about 3 years), while carbon-zinc batteries can only last for around 18 months.On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries have a longer life and can be cycled 4000 times on the premise of one charge and discharge per day on average, that is, 10 years (4000/365≈10.96).

Carbon zinc vs. alkaline: Lower risk of electrolyte leakage. Alkaline batteries have a lower risk of leaking electrolytes than carbon zinc. Remember, carbon-zinc batteries will start leaking electrolytes as zinc degrades gradually. It should be noted that there is no risk of leakage from gel and solid-state lithium batteries.

.Are carbon zinc batteries the same as lithium batteries?

No. Carbon zinc batteries are not the same as lithium batteries. The performance of carbon-zinc batteries is far less than that of lithium batteries. They have a lower energy density and are primarily used to power devices such as remote controls (devices that require low power to run). It, therefore, goes without saying that zinc batteries are not better than lithium batteries.

.Are alkaline batteries better than lithium batteries?

Lithium batteries are way better compared to alkaline batteries. How so? First, lithium batteries have a higher energy density than alkaline batteries, meaning they are smaller, lighter, and stronger. Alkaline batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5V per cell, while lithium batteries (ternary lithium battery) have a nominal voltage of 3.7V per cell. Lithium batteries have wider operating temperature range and perform better than alkaline batteries in hot and cold environmental conditions. In addition, lithium batteries are more environmentally friendly than alkaline batteries.

.In summary

In the comparison of carbon zinc battery vs alkaline. carbon-zinc batteries are seems cheaper than alkaline and lithium batteries. Alkaline batteries are by far better than carbon-zinc batteries. However, lithium batteries have a longer service life than both carbon-zinc and alkaline batteries, and their performance is better than the other two, so their average daily cost is lower and more cost-effective.Alkaline batteries are used to power devices long-term, unlike carbon-zinc batteries, which are primarily used to power low-power devices. Consider the following table:

Carbon-zinc battery

Alkaline battery

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Lithium battery

What Happens Inside Alkaline Batteries

Around 80% of batteries made in the United States are alkaline. over, over 10 billion individual units leave factories worldwide annually. They find their way into familiar household applications, for example toys, radios, electronic cameras, and MP3 and CD players. These batteries come in C, AA, AAA, N, and 9V sizes where their density and longer shelf life come in handy. Despite this, most consumers have no idea what happens inside alkaline batteries.

The Chemistry Inside Alkaline Batteries

Alkaline batteries have alkaline potassium hydroxide electrolytes, hence the name. Whereas zinc-carbon batteries use acidic ammonium chloride or zinc chloride.

Waldemar Jungner came up with the idea in 1899. Thomas Edison, working independently produced his own version in 1901. However, the first commercial model only appeared in 1960.

The negative electrodes are zinc, and the positive ones manganese dioxide in all alkaline batteries. These materials sacrifice themselves during discharge, with the potassium hydroxide electrolyte playing no role in the reaction. The nominal voltage is 1.5V, although the duration of the charge depends on how much power the device draws. The amount of current produced depends on battery size.

Rechargeable Versus Single-Life Alkaline Batteries

Ruptured Alkaline Battery: Túrelio: CC 3.0

Most alkaline batteries are primary cells meaning they are redundant after their first discharge. Attempting to recharge them can have corrosive consequences if the electrolyte expands and bursts the case.

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That said, genuinely rechargeable ones do compare favorably in terms of cost. However, their life is only approximately 20 cycles following a deep discharge.

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Safe Disposal of Alkaline Batteries

While modern alkaline batteries are technically disposable as household garbage, regulations do vary between American states. Thus, we recommend checking first with your city authority, or licensed recycling depot. The cells play an important role in society. Now you can use them knowing what is inside alkaline batteries and tell your friends.

About Author

I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. I live in Margate on the Kwazulu-Natal south coast of South Africa. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard

alkaline, battery, chemistry, capacity, batteries

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