POWER IN POCKET

HOW DOES THE BAT­TERY IN YOUR PHONE OR THE FLASH­LIGHT WORK?

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - KNOW TECH - TEXT AND GRAPH­ICS BY SAN­TOSH KUSH­WAHA

Bat­ter­ies are a por­ta­ble source of elec­tric­ity—an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity in these days of de­vices that ride in your pocket or your purse. Some bat­ter­ies are dis­pos­able, oth­ers are recharge­able, but all bat­ter­ies work on a sim­i­lar mode. A bat­tery has a pos­i­tive and a neg­a­tive elec­trode, the first called a cath­ode and the other called an an­ode. Elec­trons move be­tween these two to cre­ate a cur­rent. In bat­ter­ies, each elec­trode con­sists of a dif­fer­ent metal. For in­stance, in an al­ka­line bat­tery, the an­ode metal is man­ganese diox­ide, while the metal in the cath­ode is zinc. Sep­a­rat­ing the an­ode from the cath­ode is an elec­trolyte which al­lows the pas­sage of elec­trons. The neg­a­tively charged ion (an­ion) nat­u­rally tends to mi­grate to­wards the an­ode, while the pos­i­tively charged cation moves to­wards the cath­ode. To power a light, for ex­am­ple, the ions go though a cir­cuit, power the light and ar­rives at the pos­i­tive ends of the bat­tery.

When you recharge a bat­tery,

you change the di­rec­tion of

the flow of elec­trons us­ing a

power source, such as elec­tric-

ity or so­lar panels. The elec-

tro­chem­i­cal pro­cesses hap­pen

in re­verse, and the an­ode and

cath­ode are re­stored to their

orig­i­nal state and are ready to

again pro­vide full power.

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