How Batteries Work

Today we are going to talk about how batteries work. Now this isn’t exact, but it will give you a general idea.

First off, an atom has a neutral charge. An atom with a charge, either positive or negative is called an ion.

In my right hand I have a negative ion or anion. All that means is that it is an atom with more electrons than protons. Electrons spin around the bunched protons in the middle. This ion wants to become an atom with a neutral charge or in other terms, the same amount of electrons as neutrons. It doesn’t like being crowded with extra electrons. At least one of its electrons is a “third wheel” because it doesn’t have a proton partner. It’s like a dance or party with too many dudes hovering around a smaller group of girls. This is the negative side of the battery.

In my left hand I have a positive ion or cation. It is an atom with less electrons than protons. It also wants to become an atom with a neutral charge or the same amount of electrons and neutrons. It doesn’t like missing electrons. At least one of its protons is a “third wheel” because it doesn’t have an electron partner. It’s like a dance or party with the opposite problem, too many girls, and not enough guys. This is the positive side of the battery.

Above me I have an electrical load attached to a conductive wire. This load requires electrons to pass through it to work. When the electrical load is attached to both the negative and positive sides of the battery with a conductive wire, it creates a pathway for electrons (or dudes in this example) to travel to more favorable ground. During discharge, Electrons fed up with the sparse number of protons, or girls in this example, travel out of the negative side of the battery through the conductive wire and load, (the electron’s job), and end up at the positive side of the battery where there are dances/parties going on with more girls than guys.

At the same time the electron (or dude) travels through the conductive wire, the ion (dance or party) moves within the battery through electrolyte to the other side.

When the battery is charging, the opposite occurs.


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