Types of batteries and their applications

A battery is a gadget or a device which is a combination of a single or multiple electrochemical cells. A battery produces electrons that contain positive (+) and negative (-) terminals. A battery is capable of transforming chemical energy directly into electrical energy. When a battery is linked to an external load, a redox reaction takes place which in turn results in the crossing of electrons from the negative (-) terminal to the positive (+) terminal. Due to this reaction, an electric current is produced. Batteries are essential to store electrical energy. Batteries are capable of storing only DC and not AC.
Battery cells are made up of three main components:
  1. The anode (negative electrode)
  2. The cathode (positive electrode)
  3. The electrolytes
Researches and advancement in battery technology have proved to be very beneficial to the whole world. Read on to know about different types of batteries and their applications.
Types of batteries:
The two major types of battery depending on chemical composition, form factor, size, and use cases are:
  1. Primary batteries
  2. Secondary batteries 
  3. Primary batteries
Primary batteries are non-rechargeable. These are made up of electrochemical cells whose electrochemical reaction is irreversible. From coin cells to AA batteries, primary batteries exist in many forms. They are usually used in military-grade types of equipment or devices and battery-powered devices. The systems fitted with primary designs are designed to consume less power in order to make the battery last for a longer period. Primary batteries are also used in pacemakers, wristwatches, children’s toys, animal trackers, remote controls, etc. The most preferred primary batteries are alkaline batteries.
Some of the characteristics of alkaline (primary) batteries are:
  • High specific energy
  • Environment-friendly
  • Cost-effective
  • Do not leak when fully discharged
  • Storage capacity of several years
  • Great safety record
  1. Secondary batteries
Secondary batteries are rechargeable batteries whose electrochemical cells can reverse the chemical reactions. They are usually used in high drain applications. They are used to power electronic gadgets like mobile phones, laptops, etc. as well as diverse electric vehicles. They are also used in electricity generation.
The chemistry of secondary batteries determines some of its attributes such as specific energy, shelf life, life cycle, and price. According to their composition, they are of four types:
  • Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
  • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
  • Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
  • Lead-Acid
  • Nickel Cadmium batteries:
It is a type of rechargeable battery that consists of nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium. They are used in electronics, portable devices, and toys as well as in aircraft, electric vehicles, etc.
Properties of Nickel-Cadmium batteries are:
  • Specific Energy: 40-60W-h/kg
  • Energy Density: 50-150 W-h/L
  • Specific Power: 150W/kg
  • Charge/discharge efficiency: 70-90%
  • Self-discharge rate: 10%/month
  • Cycle durability/life: 2000cycles 
  • Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries:
NiMH batteries are rechargeable and have applications in high drain devices due to their energy density and high capacity.
Properties of NiMH batteries are:
  • Specific Energy: 60-120h/kg
  • Energy Density: 140-300 Wh/L
  • Specific Power: 250-1000 W/kg
  • Charge/discharge efficiency: 66% - 92%
  • Self-discharge rate: 1.3-2.9%/month at 20oC
  • Cycle Durability/life: 180 -2000
  • Lithium-ion batteries:
They are rechargeable and are found in appliances like mobile phones and smart devices. They have also got applications is military and aerospace due to their lightweight.
Properties of Lithium-ion batteries are:
  • Specific Energy: 100: 265W-h/kg
  • Energy Density: 250: 693 W-h/L
  • Specific Power: 250: 340 W/kg
  • Charge/discharge percentage: 80-90%
  • Cycle Durability: 400: 1200 cycles
  • Nominal cell voltage: NMC 3.6/3.85V
  • Lead Acid batteries: 
They are used to store solar-panel energy. They are also used in the ignition of vehicles and lights, used as backup power and in power generation.

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