What are the materials used in batteries?
Commercial Battery Materials. Commercially available batteries use a variety of metals and electrolytes. Anodes can be made of zinc, aluminum, lithium, cadmium, iron, metallic lead, lanthanide, or graphite. Cathodes can be made of manganese dioxide, mercuric oxide, nickel oxyhydroxide, lead dioxide or lithium oxide.
The cathode, a mixture of carbon and manganese dioxide, surrounds the anode and electrolyte, separated by a layer of non-woven fabric such as polyester. The figure below illustrates the construction of a Duracell alkaline battery.
- Duracell manufactures alkaline batteries in many common sizes, such as AAA, AA, C, D, and 9V.
- Energizer, Duracell rate as top batteries by Consumer Reports. Among flashlights, the battery life for an Energizer lasted about 7.3 hours. Falling short were Duracell batteries (6.8 hours) and Toys 'R Us brand cells (4 hours). Overall, that Energizer Lithium tested best, while Duracells tested well for alkaline cells.
- The anode and the cathode are kept apart by a plastic membrane that still allows hydroxide ion and water to flow back and forth. The overall reaction has a positive potential; the reaction is spontaneous, and it provides the driving force for the work that batteries do.
Updated: 2nd November 2019