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Battery: Making our Devices Tick

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Almost all modern devices from wristwatches to advanced tech such as mobile phones all use some form of a battery.  It is basically an electrochemical cell that provides a current via a reaction. For heavier usage and applications that require more electrical power, a simple battery cannot do the trick. In 1859 a French physicist invented a form of battery called the lead-acid plate battery. The earliest designs consisted of two lead sheets separated by rubber strips and rolled up together. These batteries are still in heavy usage, but in its current iteration, it has been well modified. Despite multiple disadvantages such as a low energy-to-weight and energy-to-volume ratio; their main advantage is the ability to supply high surge currents which give them a good power-to-weight ratio.

Modern batteries are made of a gel of lead that is pressed on a paste of lead oxide, instead of the old liquid-based battery. A newer type of gel-based battery called a Valve Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) battery is being used increasingly. The advantage of the newer types is that it can be used in any position, without the possibility of a leakage. Cheap manufacturing techniques mean that almost all motor vehicles use some sort of a plate battery system.

Batteries are used worldwide and in many different ways, some of the more innovative and widely used methods are:

  • Wet cell batteries which are designed for a deep discharge, and are commonly used in grid energy storage systems, large backup supplies for cell towers and computer centres and also for off-grid household power systems. They are also used in emergency lighting and to power sump -pumps in case of a power failure.
  • Starting, Lighting and Ignition or SLI batteries as it is commonly referred to as is the most commonly used type of battery in the world. These batteries are used as vehicles require a high current supply for it to start. An estimated 450 million units were shipped in 2002, and around 4 million tonnes of lead was used for the same purpose.
  • Valve Regulated Lead-Acid batteries (VRLA), which do not spill due to its gel-based design, is used as backup power for smaller devices like computer systems (UPS), electric wheelchairs, scooters, marine applications, battery- electric vehicles and motorcycles.
  • Large lead-acid plate batteries are also used in diesel-powered submarines to power the electric motors. They are also used as standby power for nuclear submarines.

India is a country where there are many places which lack an electric-power supply, let alone be it uninterrupted. It is essential that these places have access to lead- acid plate batteries. One can easily purchase flat plate battery in most towns and village markets. In suburban areas like cities where people experience power cuts on a day to day basis, one can easily purchase an online flat plate battery.

Inventions like batteries are not going to go anywhere, and with an incoming host of advancements in the field, its usage will only increase more. Factors like its ease of use and its low manufacturing cost ensure that it will stay in operation for a long period of time.

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