The History of the AAA Battery

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The AAA battery is a small device capable of storing chemical energy. The modern AAA battery can actually trace its history very far back in history. At some point between 640 BC and 250 BC, the very first known battery was created. These early batteries are known as “Baghdad Batteries” and we still know very little about them and why they were constructed. The Baghdad Batteries are tall terracotta jars equipped with a copper cylinder formed by a rolled-up copper sheet. Inside the copper, you will find an iron rod that is isolated by plugs or stoppers made from asphalt. If the jar is filled with liquid, the metal will be completely surrounded by fluid, and some historians believe that grape juice, lemon juice, vinegar or similarly acid solutions were used to start off an electrochemical reaction in the jars.

To put it simple: a battery consists of one or several voltaic cells. Chemical energy is transformed into electrical energy via chemical reactions that serve to transfer charge between the electrode and the electrolyte in the battery. This type of reaction is formally known as a “faradaic reaction”, and is what makes current flow through the battery cells.

A majority of the voltaic cells used in commonly available AAA batteries are 1.5 volt voltaic cells. Cells containing lithium will however sometimes give off 3 volts or even more since their chemistry is very different. Single-cell, rechargeable alkaline AAA batteries can be rated even lower than 1.5 volt; around 1.2 volt. Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL) are 12 volt units, and automobile electrical systems use 12 volts.

The modern development that eventually led to the construction of the AAA battery did commence much later than 640 BC. In 1745, Ewald Jürgen Georg von Kleist constructed a form of capacitor that became known as “the Leyden jar”. In 1748, Benjamin Franklin devoted himself to the study of electricity and began to use the term “battery” for electronic storage devices. In 1786, Luigi Galvani discovered how to construct a galvanic cell when he was researching the biological effects of electricity. The galvanic cell was capable of producing an electric current much greater than the currents produced by the earlier chemical devices. The galvanic cell did however produce the electricity at a lower voltage. The first galvanic cell consisted of two different metals. The metal pieces were in contact with each other while simultaneously having their other ends exposed to salty water. Today, galvanic cells are also know as voltaic cells and electrochemical cells.

In 1800, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta constructed the Voltaic pile. Volta understood how metal and chemicals can produce electrical current when they come in contact with each other. He used copper and zinc discs (sometimes silver and zinc discs) and separated them by cloth soaked in salt water. In 1801, Alessandro Volta showed his discovery to Napoleon Bonaparte and was later ennobled for his extensive research within the electric field. Another important experiment that took place in the year of 1800 was carried out by William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle. Nicholson and Carlisle managed to show how a battery could be used to break up water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Source by William Berg

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