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Chemical energy to electrical energy (Essay Sample)


Chemical energy to electrical energy


Functioning of batteries
Chemical energy to electrical energy
General overview
Batteries are devices that are made of one or more electrochemical cells. The cells carry out the function of converting stored chemical energy into electrical energy. In an overview, a battery has two terminals, a positive and a negative terminal. The positive terminal is referred to as cathode while the negative terminal is referred to as anode. Electrolytes are responsible for current flow. They create a medium of ion transfer between the electrodes and the terminals. This allows the current to flow outside the battery in order to carry out the intended chore (Linden & Reddy, 2003: 10).
Batteries are categorized in different levels. There are those that are meant for single use such that after using them, they are disposed. They cannot be used again after using once. This means that the electrode materials cannot be reversed during discharge. Examples of this kinds of batteries are the alkaline batteries, normally used for flashlights and other portable devices. Example of a portable device is a radio. There is also the group of rechargeable batteries normally referred to as secondary batteries. These kinds of batteries are rechargeable upon discharge after use, and they are reusable (Kang & Ceder, 2009: 12). Examples of such batteries are the lithium ion batteries and lead-acid batteries, which normally used in vehicle among many other uses. Lithium ion batteries are those that are used for portable electronics such as phones. Batteries are made assuming many varied shapes and sizes. The assumption is based on the ultimate use of the battery. For instance, a watch will require a small battery that will fit inside it. Car batteries are a bit larger and heavy in weight so that they may be able to hold enough material to generate enough power for vehicle use (Kang & Ceder, 2009: 13).
Compared to other fuels, batteries have lower energy specificity. Researchers stipulate that the difference in the two forms of energy bearers is that batteries deliver their energy in the form of electricity. This makes it easy to convert the energy mechanical work when it is stored in the form of electricity. On the other hand, fuels pass through several processes before conversions before mechanical work can be attained. Fuels are used in engines, which derail the efficiency of conversion to work. Example of such fuels is gasoline (Rich, 1994: 31).
Primary batteries are capable of releasing current instantly when they are assembled in a complete circuit. Primary batteries are used mostly for alternative power source in areas where power is not sufficient. Their chemical reactions are not reversible after use. Secondary batteries are rechargeable. They are using active materials at their discharged state. To charge them, electric current is applied so that it can reverse the chemical reactions that take place when the battery is in use. Rechargeable batteries are fed with liquid electrolytes. The battery is supposed to be kept upright and be properly ventilated. This ensures that hydrogen gas is dispersed safely during the process of charging. The lead-acid battery used in cars can generate up to 450 amperes of power (David & Thomas, 2002: 15).
Other ways of classifying batteries are wet cells and dry cells. The wet cells contain liquid electrolyte. The liquid covers all internal parts of the battery and the gas produced during use escape to the air. Wet cells technology can form both the primary cells and secondary cells. On the other hand, dry cells use paste electrolyte. During manufacture, only enough moisture is left for the sake of current flow. The advantage of dry cells is that they are portable because they do not have wet liquids that may spill (David & Thomas, 2002: 15). Example of a dry cell is the zinc-carbon battery. Its normal voltage is 1.5 volts. The battery is made of a zinc anode and a carbon catho...
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