Electric batteries are made of two different kinds of metals. Since metals release and absorb electrons at different rateshttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png, a battery uses this imbalance to create electricity. When the anode and cathode of a battery are attached, electrons flow from one to the other. If a device such as a light bulb or other electric device is placed in the path of this flow, it can utilize the electricity that is created. When the flow of electrons has equalized the charge between the two metals in the battery, the battery is dead and needs to be discarded or recharged.

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1.   Zinc and Copper

o    Many batteries are made of zinc and copper. Each metal is submerged within a saline solution, into which the metal begins loosing electrons. Zinc emits electrons at a faster ratehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png than copper, so when the two solutions, one containing copper and the other containing zinc, are connected, electrons flow from the zinc solution to the copper solution and create an electrical charge. A unit that utilizes a piece of zinc and a piece of copper is known as a "cell." A battery can be made of a single cell, but is usually made of a large number of cells to increase its power.

Nickel and Cadmium

o    A nickel cadmium battery, more commonly referred to as a NiCad battery, utilizes the metals nickel and cadmium. It functions on the same principle as a zinc-copper battery, but using different metals. NiCad batteries are better than zinc-copper batteries for applications such as electric carshttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png and domestic solar systems because they can experience deep discharge without damage to their overall capacity.

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Lithium Ion

o    Lithium Ion batteries, popularly referred to as Li-Ion (pronounced "lion") batteries, use lithium and graphite to create an electrical charge. This type of battery is popular in portable applications such as cordless tools because it combines a high rate of charge with light weight and small size. In addition, lithium ion batteries don't exhibit the "memory effect" of some batteries. A memory effect causes a battery to lower its capacity if it is recharged prior to being completely discharged. When this is done, the battery tends to "remember" the point at which it was recharged, and to lessen its capacity to match that point. Tools that utilize batteries that do this need to be completely drained before they are recharged to maintain their capacity, but Lithium Ion batteries can be recharged at any time.


o    Lead acid batteries utilize lead and sulfuric acid. These are the oldest type of commonly used rechargeable battery, and are connected to car engines. Lead acid batteries are constructed using plates of lead submerged in a solution of sulfuric acid. Lead acid batteries are particularly problematic when it comes to disposal because the lead in them presents serious environmental hazards.

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