There are currently many types of batteries. Most of them will fall into disuse with the entry of the new graphene batteries, but it is good to know the uses of the different types since for now, we can not use graphene in absolutely all applications.
Types of batteries exist and their characteristics
Disposable or rechargeable batteries
The batteries are mainly divided into disposable and rechargeable, also known as primary and secondary. Disposable batteries or accumulators are for single-use, then become unusable since the internal chemical reaction has run out. The most common of this type would be those of zinc-carbon or alkaline, the first of lower yield than the second. We use them in all kinds of objects such as remote controls, toys, or portable lights. Rechargeable batteries or accumulators offer the advantage of being recharged for new users when they have been discharged. The most conventional are those of lead-acid or known as wet batteries, have been used so far in cars or motorcycles, for example. The highest performance rechargeable so far has been the much smaller and lighter lithium-ion ones, with superior performance and faster charging. These are those used in portable mobile devices, such as tablets or smartphones.
In this section, we will present the main types of energy accumulators in the market, with their main uses, advantages, and disadvantages.
These accumulators are usually disposable and use potassium hydroxide as their electrolyte, as well as a chemical reaction between zinc and magnesium dioxide to generate the electric current. The alkaline batteries stand out for a current of great stability, used in most children’s toys, conventional flashlights or remote controls.
The alkaline batteries have advanced to eliminate the mercury contaminant that was produced inside, anyway, we must always throw them in recycling collection points since they are still highly polluting for the environment.
Precautions should be taken with disused alkaline batteries, especially with children, since they can generate potassium hydroxide leaks, visually a whitish foam out of the battery, which is highly polluting and can cause skin irritation, pathways respiratory or eyes It is always advisable not to mix batteries of different types, replace all batteries when one runs out, and store them in a dry place when we do not use the device.
They are the most common accumulators hitherto used in cars, motorcycles or boats, among many other uses. These batteries are formed by two lead electrodes, during the charging process the internal lead sulfate loses electrons and is thus reduced in lead metal in its negative pole while in the positive pole lead oxide is formed. In the same way, during the discharge process, the process is reversed and it will be the moment when the lead oxide formed in the positive pole is transformed back into lead sulfate, just as the elemental lead of the negative pole will oxidize to become also in lead sulfate. This process generates the exchange of electrons that we use to generate electricity through an electrical circuit. It is one of the best types of batteries used in cars.
The main advantage of lead-acid batteries is their low cost, as well as simple serial manufacturing. On the contrary, they are batteries that cannot be subjected to overloads or intense discharges, they are extremely polluting, they are not characterized by an energy density that is too high and they are very heavy.
We must know that lead-acid accumulators do not last a lifetime, these batteries form crystals and that is when the loading and unloading processes stop working properly. When this happens we will have no choice but to replace the battery, and it is known as a sulfated battery.
Most of these batteries have the first origins, used in industry and for machines. Nickel batteries stand out for their low cost, but against them, for their low performance.
Accumulators formed by thin tubes rolled by sheets of nickel-plated steel formed these batteries. Inside the tubes, nickel hydroxide was used and as an electrolyte a mixture of caustic potash in distilled water. These accumulators could charge and discharge perfectly without memory effect since it formed iron crystals that conserved the electrodes in the processes. A battery invented by Waldemar Jungner and patented and developed by the great Thomas Edison in the early twentieth century.
Nickel iron accumulators were easy to manufacture and at a low price. In addition, they are much less polluting than the rest of accumulators, they are estimated to have a useful life of more than 80 years and can operate at any temperature above the earth’s crust. Its main drawback is a yield of only 65%. Currently, we can still find some working, to store energy generated by solar panels or wind turbines.
Because of their similarities, it is said that graphene batteries have resurrected this type of nickel-iron batteries. Although, improving their performance inconvenience.
A class of batteries that use the cadmium anode and the nickel hydroxide cathode, with potassium hydroxide as electrolyte. Nickel-cadmium batteries are perfectly rechargeable, although its main drawback is its low energy density of only 50Wh / kg.
In their favor, they are accumulators that support a very wide operating temperature range and nothing happens to them with overloads. Faced with its low energy density and a very high memory effect against it.
Nickel Hydride Batteries (Ni-MH)
Accumulators that employ a nickel hydroxide anode, while the cathode is formed by a metal hydride alloy. Accumulators in which they do not worry so much about their charge for the memory effect since they withstand it better than the previous ones. Against them, they cannot be used at low temperatures since they lose a lot of performance. It is one of the best types of batteries.
This class of nickel-metal hydride batteries is perfectly rechargeable and has been the pioneer in the use of electric vehicles. Also in consumer electronics in the form of a rechargeable battery, which will require a specific charger.
Lithium batteries are currently known as the highest performance. The main competition for new graphene batteries. They are used in consumer electronics such as tablets and smartphones, due to their small size, reduced weight and excellent performance are so far proven with the rest of the market batteries. It is one of the best types of batteries used in a mobile phone.
Lithium-ion batteries have become the most used for small electronic devices. Thanks to its lithium salt used as an electrolyte, it generates the chemical reaction to make electric current. Lithium-ion batteries stand out for their high energy density, small and light accumulators with high charge units, and for a minimal memory effect, that is, they allow multiple charges and discharges without affecting the performance of the accumulator.
Anyway, in this class of batteries, not all are advantages. Their life is considered average, it is not estimated that they last more than three years approximately. And their duration in the main electronic applications is not more than one day as usual. A major drawback that graphene can improve. The estimated number of charges and discharges is also limited. It is estimated that after 1000 charges the battery may have already lost a lot of performance. When using flammable materials, when overheated they can explode. In the same way, at very low temperatures they can lose performance. Finally, its manufacture is expensive and the current output is quite unstable. For this reason, converters are used to stabilize the voltage.
Lithium polymer accumulators are a variation of the previous ones. With a higher energy density and improvements in the discharge rate. Despite being a class of batteries that improve lithium-ion batteries. Their main drawback is that they are practically useless if they discharge below their minimum of three volts. It is one of the best types of batteries used in a smartphone.
The batteries graphene are revolutionizing the world of technology. The use of this material is spreading on a large scale in the battery industry. And will be a breakthrough in many sectors. it is one of the types of batteries which will change the battery industry.
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