In this video we’ll explain how alkaline based batteries are made.
Over 200 years ago Alessandro Volta invented the first battery. He discovered that by placing copper and zinc discs on top of each other, and separating each with a brine soaked cloth, he could create an electrical power source.
His invention was called the Voltaic Pile in honour of the inventor and because it was, well, a pile of materials.
The basic principle of battery construction has not changed to this day.
Batteries are made up of cells. Each cell has a positive cathode and a negative anode.
The anode and cathode are kept physically apart with a separator but, for the cell to work, both are placed in contact with each other via electrolyte.
In this state the cell is almost inactive, it only has the potential to create electricity.
When connected to an appliance a chemical reaction takes place within the materials which causes electrons to flow through the circuit.
The materials which make up the cathode, the anode, the separator and the electrolyte vary depending on the type of battery or, as it’s known, the battery chemistry. There are numerous chemistries. And numerous types within each chemistry.
In this video we’ll look at how Alkaline based batteries are made.
The process starts with a one piece metal case which incorporates the positive terminal of the battery. This case is sometimes referred to as ‘the console’ and is open at one end.
The cathode is a manganese based hollow cylinder which is inserted into the case.
The case is then indented to hold the cathode in place.
An ion conducting sheet of paper is used as the separator.
Liquid alkaline electrolyte is then injected into the case and given time to be absorbed by the separator.
Once the separator has absorbed the electrolyte a seal is inserted at the positive end to ensure the cathode is completely isolated from the hollow center of the battery.
A zinc based paste or gel anode is then inserted into the remaining space and a collecting pin is inserted into the center of the anode. This will connect the anode to the negative terminal.
The negative terminal cannot make contact with the positively charged case so a gasket is placed around it before it is put in to place.
As you can see the positive case and the negative case are close together. They could easily be accidentally shorted by a coin in someone’s pocket or if packaging is broken and they came into contact with a metal shipping container.
To avoid this, and for obvious marketing purposes, a foil is wrapped around the battery.
Alkaline batteries also come as coin or button cells. They have a simple structure. A metal base case in direct contact with the positive cathode material. An ion conducting paper separator soaked in alkaline electrolyte. And anode material in direct contact with the negative terminal – both sealed in a gasket to avoid contact with the positive charged case.
Now you know how an Alkaline Battery is made remember to check out our other videos about Lead Acid, Zinc Carbon, Lithium and Nickel battery types.