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Jan 3 2018

The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

Warm hints: The word in this article is about 2500 and reading time is about 15 minutes.


A battery means a part of a cup, tank or other container or composite container that contains electrolyte solution and metal electrode to generate electric current, and can convert.Focus on the theme of battery types,common battery category;several battery applications and etc;the article is mainly talking about some basic knowledge of battery in great detail.

Article Core

Battery Basic Knowledge


Simple structure, easy to carry

English name





A device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy



I.Apple‘s “Battery Gate” Event3.4 NiMH batteriesV.Battery Sizes
II.Battery Types3.5 Li-ion BatteryVI.Precautions for Battery Use
III.Common Battery Category3.6 Li-polymer BatteryVII.Harm of Waste Batteries and Their Recycling
3.1Carbon-zinc batteriesIV.Several Battery applications
3.2 Alkaline batteries4.2 Laptop battery


3.3 Nickel-cadmium batteries4.3 Mobile Phone Battery


I.Apple‘s “Battery Gate” Event

On December 29th morning, Apple issued a statement to apologize for its controversial decision to slow down the speed of older iPhones in order to protect the battery and promised that the cost of those out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement will drop down to $29 。

In its statement, it said that “We’ve been hearing feedback from our customers about the way we handle performance for iPhones with older batteries and how we have communicated that process. We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize. There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making.

First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”

Apart from this apology statement, Apple also made a separate article in its official website, "A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance," which said some of the battery technology with the processor as well as the function problems, here are the main points for you to do briefly read:

iphone7 battery--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

About the battery:

  • 1. All the rechargeable batteries are consumable components that will decrease their chemical efficiency as they age. The use of device can also affect the performance of the battery lifespan. 

  • 2. There are many factors that affect the battery life, Apple put forward the concept of "chemical age".

At the beginning of that article, Apple popularized electrochemical knowledge, hoping to let users understand the current status of lithium batteries.

About Frequency Reduction:

  • 1. Aging Batteries can not provide heavy loads, especially at low battery conditions, which can cause the device to  shut down suddenly.

  • 2. Apple thinks it is unacceptable to shut down unexpectedly, so this kind of decision has been made (that is the processor frequency reduction);

Apple acknowledged that the iOS 10.2.1 system (released in January 2017) will reduce the frequency of the older models and listed the models: iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 6s / 6s Plus and iPhone SE; and iPhone 7/7 Plus in iOS 11.2; however, they also emphasized "the dynamic management of instantaneous performance spikes (ie Frequency Reduction) only when needed."

In this “Battery Gate”, we noticed the electrochemical knowledge about batteries. Batteries play an important role in our daily life. Lighting, mobile phones, cameras, watches, microphones, laptops, electric cars, new energy vehicles, electric toys, remote controllers ... all of these devices need batteries. There are many types of batteries, lithium batteries, solar batteries, fuel cells, air batteries, lead-acid batteries, carbon batteries ......Here let me introduce you more about batteries. First, it is about battery types. 

II.Battery Types

By the type of electrolyte

By the working nature and storage way

By the material of battery polarity

Alkaline batteries(potassium hydroxide solution-based): Alkaline zinc-manganese dioxide batteries (commonly known as alkaline manganese batteries or alkaline batteries), nickel-cadmium batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries

Primary batteries (original battery: batteries that can not be recharged ): zinc manganese batteries, lithium batteries; Secondary batteries(rechargeable batteries): lead-acid batteries, NiMH batteries, lithium-ion batteries

Zinc series batteries: zinc-manganese batteries, zinc-silver batteries, etc .;

Nickel series batteries: nickel-cadmium batteries, nickel-metal hydride batteries

Acid batteries (mainly use sulfuric acid as a medium): lead-acid batteries

Fuel cells (no active substances in battery polarity but need to be added from outside):hydrogen fuel cells

Lead series batteries: lead-acid batteries;

Lithium series batteries: lithium-ion batteries, lithium manganese batteries

Neutral batteries(salt solution as electrolytes): zinc-manganese batteries and seawater batteries (magnesium silver batteries)

Reserve batteries( electrolyte will be added when the battery is used; when stored,there is no direct contact with the electrolyte): seawater batteries

Manganese dioxide series batteries: zinc-manganese batteries, alkaline manganese batteries

Organic electrolyte batteries (organic solutions as electrolytes): lithium batteries, lithium-ion batteries

Other batteries: solar cells ( convert light energy into electricity) ; nuclear batteries(devices that convert nuclear energy directly into electricity) .

Air (oxygen) series batteries:zinc-air batteries, lithium-air batteries, aluminum air batteries.

III.Common Battery Category

3.1Carbon-zinc batteries

ZincCarbon--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

Zinc-manganese batteries, commonly known as carbon batteries, is commonly used batteries in daily life and is also the cheapest kind of battery. This kind of battery has low battery capacity and is easy to leak. It is used in TV remote control and other products. Common products: No. 1, No. 2, No. 5, No. 7, buttons batteries. Primary battery. Voltage: 1.5V

3.2 Alkaline batteries

Alkaline batteries are most commonly used batteries recently. Its advantage is its durable power, which can be 7 times the carbon battery power. Its current output is stable.Also there is no leakage. It can be used in equipment with large power consumption. Common products: No. 1, No. 2, No. 5, No. 7, buttons batteries. Primary battery. Voltage: 1.5V

3.3 Nickel-cadmium batteries

Nickel-cadmium batteries--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in HistoryNickel-cadmium batteries--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

Disadvantages of nickel-cadmium batteries: large size, heavy weight, small capacity, self-discharge, memory effect, not environmental friendly. Advantages: can be repeatedly charged more than 500 times, which is very economical; small internal resistance, high current discharge. Therefore, this product is commonly used in electric tools. Common products: No. 1, No. 2, No. 5, No. 7, buttons batteries. Rechargeable battery. Voltage: 1.2V

3.4 NiMH batteries

nimh_batteries--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

Compared with nickel-cadmium batteries, NiMH batteries has a shortcomings that they can not be used in high current discharge (there are already factories producing high-current discharged NiMH batteries). The advantage is that the capacity is more than twice at the same size of nickel cadmium. With its small memory effect and non-polluting characteristics, it is known as green batteries. Common products: No. 1, No. 2, No. 5, No. 7, buttons batteries. Rechargeable battery. Voltage: 1.2V

3.5 Li-ion Battery

lithium-ion--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

The shell of lithium-ion battery (Li-ion Battery) includes steel and aluminum shell. Aluminum shell has 10% to 15% higher capacity than steel shell. Advantages: small size, high capacity, high voltage. Shape: cylindrical, square, dysmorphism. Commonly used in mobile phone batteries, PDA batteries, laptop batteries. Voltage: 3.7V

3.6 Li-polymer Battery

Li-polymer Battery--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

Lithium-polymer battery (Li-polymer Battery) and lithium-ion battery comparison: Outer packaging is aluminum-plastic packaging, which is different from the lithium-ion metal case. Due to the soft packaging technology, thinner batteries can be produced. Shape can be freely changed. Advantages: light weight, higher capacity, small resistance, high-current discharge support. Common used in high-end mobile phone batteries, laptop batteries, all kinds of electric tools and model batteries. Voltage: 3.7V

IV..Several Battery applications

battery application--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

Among the many types of batteries, which battery should be used? In general, household appliances, such as radios, clocks, toys, remote controls and so on are using primary batteries. Many portable electronic products such as: laptops, cell phones, electric cars, etc., will use secondary batteries. In practical application, there is usually a battery or several batteries in series-parallel to form a battery pack.

4.1 Electric vehicle battery

4 kinds of power batteries are used for electric vehicles: valve-regulated lead-acid maintenance-free batteries, colloidal lead-acid batteries, Ni-Mh batteries and lithium-ion batteries. The majority of electric vehicles are equipped with lead-acid batteries because of their low cost and cost-effective.

4.2 Laptop battery

NiCd batteries are the first batteries to be introduced, but as this battery had a "memory effect" and had to be discharged before each charge, it is inconvenient to use. So it was soon replaced by  NiMH batteries. Not only did NiMH have no "Memory effect", but its power capacity can be inproved to more than 10% per unit weight.

4.3 Mobile Phone Battery

Mobile phone batteries are generally using lithium batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries. mAh is the unit of battery capacity.


V.Battery Sizes

battery sizes--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

  • Type AAA(No.7)

No.7 batteries: height 44.0mm, diameter 10.0mm, is often used in the remote control, electric toothbrushes, cameras, radios, alarm clocks, wireless mouse, children's electric toys, razors and other devices that has restrictions on the size but with not too much power consumption. Flashlights are also using this type of battery, but mostly in multi-section combination used.

  • Type AA(No.5)

This type is most commonly used, with a size of the height of 49.0mm, diameter 14.0mm. Mostly used in electric razors, electronic toys, digital devices, etc. Many AA-type rechargeable batteries are also used as battery packs.

  • Type C(No.2)

No. 2 battery is smaller than No. 1 battery, with a height of 49.5mm and diameter of 25.3mm. Mostly used in flashlights, toys, audio-visual equipment, and also used in gas stoves, water heaters.

  • Type D(No.1)

This type is as commonly used as No.5 battery, with a height of 59.0mm and diameter of 32.3mm. It can be used in electronic ignition equipment, flashlights, gas stoves and many other occasions. 

  • Type AAAA(No.9)

Height 41.5mm, diameter 8.1mm. Mostly used in some high-end electronic devices, such as Bluetooth headsets and stylus.

  • Type A

Type A batteries are generally used as battery packs, such as smart meters, gas meters, video cameras, cameras, telephones, etc. The height of Type A batteries is about the same as the height of batteries No. 2 with a slightly smaller diameter and a height of 49.0mm and a diameter of 16.8mm.

  • Type SC

Type SC batteries are generally used as a battery pack, with a height of 42.0mm, diameter 22.1mm.

  • ype N

N-type battery is also generally used as a battery pack. Due to its small size, it will also be used on electronic devices with limited volume, such as the doorbell, etc., height 28.5mm, diameter 11.7mm.

  • Type F

Type F batteries are also used as battery packs;height 89.0mm, diameter 32.3mm.

  • Other Types

23A (12V),27A (12V), 10A (9V), 25A (9V), 6F22 (9V), F22 (6V), 11A (6V), 26A (6V), 476A (6V), 2X625A (3V)... these small square or cylindrical batteries, are usually stacked by the button battery, and often used in multimeters, smoke detectors and other instruments.

VI.Precautions for Battery Use

precautions1--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

  • 1. Electrical appliances and battery contacts should be cleaned, if necessary, wiped with a damp cloth, correctly labeled according to polarity after dried .

  • 2. Do not mixed use old and new batteries; Do not mixed use the same type but different electrochemical types or brands of batteries.

  • 3. Primary battery can not be heated or charged, otherwise it may explode.

  • 4. Do not disassemble the battery, do not heat the battery, do not short-circuit the battery (the positive and negative battery direct access by wire)

  • 5. Remove the battery in time if not in use, turn off the power after use.

  • 6. Do not discard batteries, separate them from other wastes as much as possible.

VII.Harm of Waste Batteries and Their Recycling

  • Harm of Waste Batteries

In waste batteries, the metal mercury can dissolve in fat, which will cause central nervous diseases, teratogenicity, mutagenic, carcinogenic and even death among animals. Cadmium will soften bones, cause bone deformation, if serious, it will cause natural fracture and even death; salt of zinc will result in protein precipitation, which has a stimulating effect on the skin and mucous membranes; lead will mainly lead to anemia, neurological dysfunction and kidney damage, inhibition of hemoglobin anabolism; Nickel dissolved in blood, which will damage the central nervous system, causing vascular variability; Manganese can cause neurological dysfunction, comprehensive dysfunction and even mental symptoms.

waste-hazard--The Most Comprehensive basic Knowledge of Battery in History

95% material of the waste batteries can be recycled, especially heavy metals. Waste lead-acid batteries can recycle 50 ~ 60kg lead. There are more mature technology to deal with recycling of cadmium batteries in foreign countries. About 20kg of metal cadmium can be recovered from 100kg waste battery containing cadmium. We can see the great practical significance of recovery of heavy metal resources. However, domestic waste battery recycling is still disputed. At present, only lead-acid batteries (car batteries) have their own waste battery recycling system, which other types of batteries don’t have.



Battery technology is pursuing new breakthroughs today. Electric car makers are looking for cheaper, lighter, more powerful and more durable batteries. Electronic equipment manufacturers are also looking for batteries that are more reliable, have longer life and charge faster. The wearable and medical implantable device manufacturers are more inclined to smaller, longer battery life technology. Renewable energy companies are also looking for battery technology that can charge and discharge tens of thousands of times. It is believed that the future of battery technology can help human civilization to reach a whole new level. For your further learning, you can watch this video:

Book Recommendation

  • The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution

Henry Schlesinger’s The Battery is the first popular history of the technology that harnessed electricity and powered the greatest scientific and technological advances of our time. If you like Wired Magazine and popular science books, you'll love the "hidden history" of The Battery.

--Henry Schlesinger (Author)

  • DIY Lithium Batteries: How to Build Your Own Battery Packs

Are you a hands on person? Do you prefer making things yourself? Are you working on a project that requires lithium batteries? If so, then this book is for you! We'll cover everything you need to know about lithium batteries. From choosing the right cells to designing a battery pack and building it yourself, this book includes all the steps for building safe, effective custom lithium battery packs.

--Micah Toll  (Author)

  • Linden's Handbook of Batteries, 4th Edition

Thoroughly revised throughout, Linden's Handbook of Batteries, Fourth Editions provides authoritative coverage of the characteristics, properties, and performance of every major battery type. New information on emerging battery systems and their applications is included in this definitive volume. International experts offer unparalleled technical guidance on using leading-edge technologies, materials, and methods in new designs and products, and selecting the most suitable battery for a particular application. All of the in-depth data you need is contained in this comprehensive resource. The book will be useful to graduate students, battery researchers, applications engineers, and all others interested in the state-of-the-art in battery technology.

--Thomas Reddy (Author)

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