How does a battery work?
Batteries might seem simple, but the delivery of packaged power is a complicated electrochemical process. Electric current in the form of electrons begins to flow in the external circuit when the device—a light bulb, for example—is turned on. At that time, the anode material, zinc, gives up two electrons per atom in a process called oxidation, leaving unstable zinc ions behind. After the electrons do their work powering the light bulb, they re-enter the cell at the cathode, where they combine with the active material, manganese dioxide, in a process called reduction.
The combined processes of oxidation and reduction couldn’t occur in a power cell without an internal way to carry electrons back to the anode, balancing the external flow of current. This process is accomplished by the movement of negatively charged hydroxide ions present in the water solution called the electrolyte. Every electron entering the cathode reacts with the manganese dioxide to form MnOO-. Then, MnOO- reacts with water from the electrolyte. In that reaction, the water splits, releasing hydroxide ions into the electrolyte and hydrogen ions that combine with MnOO- to form MnOOH.
The internal circuit is completed when the hydroxide ions produced in this reaction at the cathode flow to the anode in the form of ionic current. There, they combine with unstable zinc ions, which were formed at the anode when the electrons were originally given up to the external circuit. This produces zinc oxide and water. This completes the circuit (which is necessary to have a constant flow of electricity) and powers your flashlight.
What is an alkaline battery?
Duracell pioneered the Alkaline Manganese Dioxide electrochemical system nearly 40 years ago. In the 1960s, this battery system rapidly became the popular choice of designers in the ever-widening field of consumer electronics. Alkaline or Alkaline Manganese Dioxide cells have many advantages over zinc-carbon cells, including up to ten times the ampere-hour capacity at high and continuous drain conditions. Also, its performance at low temperatures is superior to other conventional aqueous electrolyte primary cells. Other significant advantages are longer shelf life, better leakage resistance and superior low-temperature performance. Its more effective, secure seal provides excellent resistance to leakage and corrosion. Today, Duracell manufactures two alkaline batteries: Quantum and CopperTop.
Do all batteries last the same amount of time?
No, different batteries provide different lengths of life and power output depending on the type and amount of chemicals used to compose them. Think of it like cooking a meal: Using different ingredients and amounts makes the meal taste different.
What is inside a battery?
Batteries may be small, but they’re far from simple. They’re highly engineered electrochemical cells. Chemical energy is converted to electrical energy by means of redox reaction. This process takes place between the three major parts of a battery: The anode, cathode and electrolyte. Different types of batteries use different materials for these parts. The materials for these parts are chosen depending on how well they give up or attract electrons, something that must happen for an electric current to be generated. The anode is often a metal, the cathode a metallic oxide, and the electrolyte a salt solution that facilitates the ion flow.
When should I remove batteries from my device?
Batteries should be removed from devices/equipment when:
- The device is not expected to be in use for several months
- The batteries are worn out (to prevent possible damage from battery leakage)
- The device is being powered by household (AC) current
Can alkaline batteries be recharged?
Only batteries that are specifically labeled “rechargeable” should be recharged. Any attempt to recharge a nonrechargeable battery could result in rupture or leakage. We recommend that you use NiMH Duracell rechargeables. Paired with one of our different chargers, they can be recharged hundreds of times.
Does it matter what type of battery I use in my device?
Always replace the battery or batteries in your equipment with the size and type specified by the manufacturer. Alkaline batteries are often recommended for best performance because zinc carbon batteries have inferior life spans and equipment might not operate properly if zinc carbon batteries are used.
How can I get a better life out of my batteries?
To help extend the life of your batteries:
- Turn off battery-operated radios and appliances when they’re not in use
- Remove batteries from devices that won’t be used for a while
- Store your batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature without the contacts touching
Are batteries affected by temperature?
We recommend storing batteries at room temperature in a dry environment. Extreme heat or cold reduces battery performance. You’ll want to avoid putting battery-powered devices in very warm places. In addition, refrigeration is not necessary or recommended.
How do Duracell batteries affect the environment?
In 1993, we voluntarily eliminated added mercury from our batteries. Our alkaline batteries are composed of primarily common materials—steel, zinc and manganese—and do not pose a health or environmental risk in normal use or disposal. What’s more, we are going green by eliminating PVC clamshells and replacing them with high-fiber content cards and RPET (Recycled PET) blisters. This is a complete, sustainable packaging solution, one of the best PVC alternatives available today.
As the world’s leading manufacturer of high-performance alkaline batteries, we recognize our responsibility to help protect the environment. We’re committed to designing, manufacturing and distributing batteries in a way that minimizes impact to the environment. We also participate in the Call2Recycle program to ensure the safe and proper recycling or disposing of batteries.