Parts of a Battery

••• naumoid/iStock/GettyImages

The composition of a battery differs depending on the type--alkaline, lithium or zinc chloride. Batteries come in all shapes and sizes and are available in a wide range of strengths, in terms of power. The one thing in common with any type of battery is the way it works. Batteries move energy from one end of the cell to the other, creating a current that can be used to supply power to many devices.


Batteries have many uses. They can power hearing aids, cell phones, compact disk players, smoke alarms, computers and even cars. The ability to have electricity without being “plugged in” is an incredibly useful idea that has countless applications.

How it Works

A battery, or cell, is composed of a cathode, an anode and the electrolyte. A chemical reaction takes place within the cell, moving electrons from one place to another and producing an electric current. Half of the cell contains electrolyte and an anode. The other half contains electrolyte and a cathode. Electrons gather at the negative end of a battery (the anode). When a wire is connected from the positive end (the cathode) to the negative end, the electrons move through the cell from the anode to the cathode.


The anode is the part of the battery that gives up electrons. While discharging energy, the anode is the negative electrode. When charging a cell, the anode becomes the positive electrode. In alkaline batteries, the anode is usually made up of zinc powder. To limit corrosion, zinc oxide is usually added to the anode.


The cathode is the part of the battery that absorbs electrons. While discharging energy, the cathode is the positive electrode. When charging a cell, the cathode becomes the negative electrode. In alkaline batteries, the cathode is usually made up of manganese dioxide. To improve conductivity, graphite is traditionally used in the cathode.


Electrolyte is the conductive substance that transmits energy through the cell. The anode and cathode never touch; they are connected to each other via electrolyte. Electrolytes can come either in solid or liquid form. Materials usually used for electrolytes are potassium hydroxide, ammonium chloride or zinc chloride.

Related Articles

How Do I Tell if a Duracell Battery With a Tester Is...
Biomedical Engineering Project Topics for High School
The Future of Photovoltaic Cells
How to Convert Reserve Capacity to Amp Hours
How to Make a Simple Circuit
How Does a Potato Clock Work?
What Are Some Possible Materials You Could Use to Make...
How to Calculate Emf
Lithium Ion Batteries Vs. NiCad Batteries
Lithium vs. Lithium Ion Batteries
How to Measure Wattage With a Multimeter
How to Convert 12 Volt Alternator to 120 Volts
Batteries Rely on What to Separate Positive & Negative...
How to Calculate How Long a Battery Will Last
Does a Larger mAh Number on Your Cell Phone Battery...
How to Use a 9-Volt Battery to Power LEDs
How to Wire a Battery in Series
How to Build a Potato-Clock Science Project
How to Convert 12 Volt to 6 Volt
How to Build DC to AC Power Inverters

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!