Used to store energy and provide power to a wide range of electronic devices, batteries are ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives, but what exactly are they made of?
Every battery has three components, an anode, cathode and electrolyte. Energy is stored in the electrodes (anode and cathode) that stand at either end of the battery, with the electrolyte acting as a chemical medium between them. Cathodes are usually metallic in nature due to their chemical structure and conductive properties, while electrolytes can be in either a wet or dry state. The nature of the electrolyte is determined by the battery’s intended use: wet-cell batteries tend to be for large-scale use in cars, cell phone towers and planes, while dry-cell batteries are usually found in hand-held electronics.
When a battery is being used, a chemical reaction is triggered from the anode (‘-’) and flows across the electrolyte towards the cathode (‘+’), where it undergoes another chemical reaction prior to powering a device. Once the material in either electrode is consumed, the battery is empty. Batteries can be either single-use or rechargeable depending on their chemical makeup, but the latter has gained more traction as the world transitions towards renewable energy and sustainable development.