Batteries: A Chemical Innovation

Chemical Innovation

Every modern electronic device we use today, be it mobile phones, tablets or laptops all use a form of battery. All sorts of other appliances which we use in our day to day lives also use some sort of battery or the other. A very rudimentary form of batter called the lead-acid plate battery is still widely used today. This device was invented in 1859 by a French physicist Gaston Plante. Despite multiple drawbacks such as low energy-to-weight and energy-to-volume ration; their main advantage is the ability to supply high surge currents which give them a good power-to-weight ratio. It has seen a fair bit of upgrade over the years; from being a liquid-based battery to relying on a grid of lead pressed on a paste of lead oxide. Nowadays a Valve Regulated Lead-Acid (VRLA) battery is being used; it uses a gel, which meant it could be used in any position.

It is very cheap to manufacture, which is why almost all motor vehicles use them.

These batteries can be seen everywhere and some of its uses are:

  • Most of the world’s lead-acid plate batteries used are called Starting, Lighting and Ignition (SLI) batteries. Since the vehicles require a high current to start up. An estimated 450 million units were shipped in 2002, and around 4 million tonnes of lead was used for the same purpose.
  • Wet cell standby batteries are designed for deep discharge and are commonly used in grid energy storage, large backup supplies for cell towers and computer centres, off-grid household power systems. They are also used in emergency lighting and to power sump pumps in case of any power failure.
  • Traction batteries are used in golf carts and other battery-powered electric vehicles.
  • 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.
  • Valve Regulated Lead-Acid batteries, which cannot spill is used as backup power for smaller devices like smaller computer systems (particularly in an uninterruptable setup; UPS), electric wheelchairs, scooters, electrified bikes, marine applications, micro-hybrid vehicles, battery- electric vehicles and motorcycles.
  • In early vacuum tube radio receivers, these batteries were used to supply the filament (heater) voltage.
  • Portable batteries for miners’ cap headlamps typically have two or three cells.

India is a country where, there are many places which still lack an electrical power supply, let alone be it uninterrupted. It is critical that these places have access to a lead- acid plate battery. In any big market in a village or small town, one can buy flat plate battery in India with a lot of ease. And in suburban areas in cities where people experience power cuts on a day to day basis, it is easy to buy online flat plate battery.

It is a device that has stood the test of time, despite a host of advancements in this field. Many factors like its ease of usage and its low manufacturing cost make it a go-to option. Lead-Acid Plate battery is a true tale of innovation and ingenuity.

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