Today we are almost as dependent on batteries as we are on electricity. We use batteries everywhere – in our cars, cell phones, laptops, music players. So today we will investigate a little about how the batteries that power our many portable devices work and how we can use them effectively.
The modern development of batteries started in about 1800 when an Italian physicist, Alessandro Volta, invented the Voltaic pile. Volta made a large pile of pairs of alternating metal plates of zinc and silver (electrodes) separated by cardboard soaked in brine (electrolyte). When the top and bottom contacts were connected by a wire, an electric current flowed through the wire and the voltaic pile. Volta worked to measure the electro-force which is now measured in volts, after him. As the pile became higher, the force became stronger. Although in some countries batteries are called “piles” after the Voltaic pile, they are more commonly referred to as “batteries.” This was an expression that was coined by Benjamin Franklin after the term “artillery battery” which refers to a unit of artillery grouped together to facilitate better performance.