A battery produces electricity by pushing and transfering electrons through materials that produce chemical reactions. For a battery to work, oxidation and reduction must be present where, an Anode, usually made of powdered zinc metal in alkaline batteries are oxidized and transfers its electrons into a Cathode where all the reduction takes place. Cathodes on a common alkaline battery are usually made of Manganese dioxide and carbon mixture. For a controlled reaction to take place, a separator is placed between the Anode and the Cathode soaked in an acidic mixture which serves as the electrolite that initiates the chemical reaction between the Anode and Cathode. A nail or a collector serves as a sealant for the battery container and as a conductor for the electricity produced in the reaction when an electric circuit is connected to the terminals.
For rechargeable batteries, a Lithium carbon compound is used as an Anode and Cobalt oxide is used for the Cathode. The flow of Lithium ions go from the Lithium carbon compound to the Cobalt oxide where a separator is also used in between to prevent a quick burst of energy. The process is reversed when an external electric current is applied to the battery where the flow of Lithium ions leaves the Cobalt oxide and goes back to the Lithium carbon compound. Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) was replaced by and nickel-cadmium (NiCd) because NiMH loses its capacity if the battery is charged before it is fully drained. Lithium-ion (LiOn) batteries which is used as an example here hold more charge than the NiCD.
Evidence of batteries streched back as far as 200 B.C in present day Iraq where clay jars containing
an iron rod wrapped in copper were believed to be filled with vinegar or other acidic substance to produce an electric charge. Alessandro Volta in 1799 was credited for inventing the first modern battery by alternately stacking Silver and Zinc plates separated by a layer of cloth in between which produced a steady current. The Colombia dry cell was the first practical and commercially available battery manufactured by National Carbon Company which owned the Eveready Company. Eveready was bought by Union Carbide Corporation, a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company and later sold to Ralston Purina Company for US$1.4 billion in 1986. In 2000 Ralston spun off Eveready as Energizer Holdings, Inc with Eveready as a subsidiary.
Major battery manufacturers
Energizer Holdings Inc. (NYSE : ENR
Proctor & Gamble Company (Duracell) (NYSE: PG
Spectrum Brands (Rayovac) (NYSE: SPB
Panasonic Corporation (TYO: 6752
Toshiba (TYO: 6502
Hitachi (TYO: 6501