Batteries are used constantly by the public, from cars, computers, laptops, radios, to portable MP3 players, cell phones, and clocks. A battery, in a nut shell, can be defined as a can filled with certain chemicals that produce electrons from electrochemical reactions. Alessandro Volta created the first battery in 1800. In order to accomplish his motives, he stacked layers of zinc, blotting paper soaked in salt water, and silver. He alternated the layers, making sure the top and bottom layers were different metals. With a wire attached, he managed to have each layer increase the voltage by a constant measurement.
Every battery has two terminals. One terminal is marked with a + (or a positive sign) where as the other is marked with – (or a negative sign). The ends of the battery label its terminals on standard AA, AAA, C, and D battery cells. In a car battery, the two heavy weight lead posts are the battery's terminals.
The electrons formed inside the battery cell collect the negative terminal from the battery. For example, when a wire is connected between the negative and positive terminals, the electrons flow from the negative to the positive terminal at a rapid pace. This method wears the battery quickly and can sometime be dangerous, especially with larger batteries. Typically, a type of load is available to connect the battery using the wire. A load can be anything from a light bulb, a motor, or an electronic circuit (i.e., a radio).
Devices typically use more than one battery. Batteries are normally combined to create a higher voltage or currents. A serial arrangement add voltages up where as parallel arrangement add currents up. For example, if each cell produce 1.5 volts, then four of the batteries in parallel will produce 1.5 volts with the current being four times that of a single cell. In a serial arrangement, the four voltages are added together to make 6 volts.
When the battery is safely connected, a chemical reaction occurs and produces electrons. The speed of the electrons being produced determines how many electrons can transfer through the negative and positive terminals. The electrons move from the battery into the wire, and then travel through the both terminals to achieve the production of a chemical reaction. The reaction only takes place when the wire is connected. Therefore, a battery can be left alone for years and still have enough power to be usable.