Alkaline batteries are one of the most popular disposable battery types in the market. They are mostly used in small electronic devices like clocks, battery-operated toys, remote control, portable radios, etc. In this blog, let’s discuss in detail what is an alkaline battery. Let’s also throw some light on alkaline battery advantages and disadvantages.
What is an Alkaline Battery? Are Alkaline Batteries Rechargeable?
Particularly, an alkaline battery is a dry cell primary battery. It works on the chemical reaction between zinc and magnesium oxide. To generate electricity, it uses an alkaline electrolyte based on potassium hydroxide. Primarily alkaline batteries were made as single-use batteries but with the boom in technology, their few rechargeable variants have also been developed.
Alkaline batteries are marketed as disposable or single-use batteries. One can attempt to charge such a battery but a full recharge isn’t quite possible. Moreover, recharging alkaline batteries comes with inherent risks cause these batteries aren’t built to be recharged.
Additionally, you can only recharge an alkaline battery 7 to 10 times. Putting time and expense into this is wasteful. Now that you have discovered what is an Alkaline battery and are alkaline batteries rechargeable, let’s dig deeper to know the alkaline battery advantages and disadvantages.
3 Alkaline Battery Advantages and Disadvantages
Alkaline batteries have been quite popular in the market and you must have used them too. These disposable batteries are used in a variety of devices. They have certain pros and cons you should learn about. Let’s discuss in detail alkaline battery advantages and disadvantages.
Alkaline Battery Advantages
These are a few alkaline battery advantages-
1. High Energy Density
Alkaline batteries have a quite high energy density. In fact, such batteries have double the energy density of primary or disposable batteries such as zinc-carbon batteries and Leclanché cells. Additionally, these batteries have four times the capacity of equivalent nickel metal hydride or nickel-cadmium batteries. The alkaline batteries are able to produce or provide the same energy while lasting longer than other batteries.
2. Safe and Fewer Risk
One important advantage of alkaline batteries is their relative safety. Modern alkaline batteries are recyclable and don’t require special disposal methods as mercury and other heavy metals are absent from them. Thus, modern alkaline batteries have lesser environmental and health impacts in comparison to lead-based batteries or acid-based batteries.
3. Longer Lifespan
In comparison to Li-SOCl2 or lithium thionyl chloride batteries, alkaline batteries have a longer lifespan while being unused. Even while being non-operational and losing about 5 percent of the charge every year, the alkaline batteries can last up to seven years. Their leakage rate is lower than that of Leclanche cell batteries’. Moreover, they also remain usable in low ambient temperatures.
Alkaline Battery Disadvantages
These are a few alkaline battery disadvantages-
1. High Internal Resistance
Due to high internal resistance, there is a drop in voltage and a buildup of heat. Resistance is responsible for determining the runtime of a battery and thus the power output of a battery is reduced cause of high internal resistance.
2. Bulkier Form Factor
A bulkier form factor in consideration of energy density is a major disadvantage of an alkaline battery. It limits the use of this battery in electronic devices in which minimal dimensions are critical selling points, for example- in smartphones, portable computers, etc.
3. Leakage and Damage
Well, all batteries leak when they are mishandled. In the case of alkaline batteries leakage results from mixing different battery types within the same device, self-discharge, recharging disposable variants and leaving them placed inside an unused device. You should keep it noted that it’s highly likely for alkaline batteries to leak or explode. This happens majorly due to the internal pressure caused by gas buildup from self-discharge.
Leaked chemicals are corrosive and have the tendency to damage your device. Don’t touch these chemicals directly as they can also cause minor skin irritations. With this, you have learned about alkaline battery advantages and disadvantages. After this, let’s see what is a lithium battery.
What is a Lithium Battery?
A lithium battery is made up of four main elements. It has an anode that enables the electric current to flow through an external circuit. The lithium ions are stored in the anode when the battery is charged. It also has a cathode that is responsible for determining the voltage as well as the capacity of the battery. It is the source of lithium ions.
The third element is the electrolyte which is formed of solvents, salts, and additives. It serves as the final channel for lithium ions between en cathode and anode. Finally, the fourth element is a separator, it’s a physical barrier responsible for separating the anode and cathode. After this, let’s learn about lithium vs alkaline batteries life and answer your question can I use alkaline batteries instead of lithium?
What is Lithium vs Alkaline Batteries Life? Can I Use Alkaline Batteries Instead of Lithium?
After learning about what is a lithium battery, let’s learn about lithium vs alkaline batteries life. There is a major difference between lithium vs alkaline batteries life. Lithium batteries have many advantages over alkaline batteries and their lifespan is one of the major advantages they have. The lithium batteries are designed to last longer and thus they are very suitable for smart and high-tech devices. Generally, alkaline batteries can last for about 10 years whereas lithium batteries can last for about 15 years.
Lithium batteries have superior performance because it has low internal resistance and they can even operate in extremely low temperatures.
Alkaline batteries work just like lithium models. However, alkaline batteries are only able to transfer ions in one direction. The battery will lose voltage and drain as ions move from the anode to the cathode. This will not allow the system to be recharged. This is why you should try using alkaline batteries instead of lithium batteries. In certain cases, lithium batteries can be used in place of alkaline ones. Now you must have understood can I use alkaline batteries instead of lithium or not? After this, it’s time to explore are alkaline batteries recyclable.
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Are Alkaline Batteries Recyclable? How are they Recycled?
Alkaline batteries are recyclable and in most communities, they can be safely put in your household trash. This is how alkaline batteries are recycled-
Step 1: Used alkaline batteries arrive at the recycling plant. However, many other batteries come along with alkaline batteries. The batteries are taken to the sorting station and the non-alkaline batteries are sorted out and sent to a different facility to be recycled.
Step 2: The main aim behind recycling alkaline batteries is to get the manganese and zinc from them. using a hammer mill, the batteries are crushed. After this, the crushed casings and zinc/manganese powder are all that remain. These chemicals are further dumped onto a conveyor belt.
Step 3: To separate the casings from the powder, the conveyor belt uses a strong electrical current. The casings are discarded but the powder is transported to another facility. Here, the powder will be turned into useful things.
Step 4: The manganese and zinc are mixed up. They are converted to pellets that are used to create new batteries or produce fertilizer to grow plants. After this, let’s see are alkaline batteries good.
Are Alkaline Batteries Good?
Yes, alkaline batteries are good all-rounder batteries. They are used in everyday electronic devices. They last longer than some other types of battery and non-rechargeable alkaline batteries are environmentally friendly. Moreover, alkaline batteries are recyclable.
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