The Physics
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Electric Current from a 1.5 Volt Battery

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Cutnell, John D. & Johnson, Kenneth W. Physics. New York: Wiley, 1995. "A new 'D' Battery has an emf of 1.5 V … a current of 28 A is produced" 28.0 A
Energy Density. Alkaline Manganese Dioxide. Duracell. [see chart] 1–15 A
Principal Dry Battery Systems and Typical Characteristics. Energizer. [see chart] 5 mA–45 A

A battery is a device that generates electrical energy. Batteries are a convenient portable source of energy and they differ from other energy-conversion devices in that batteries contain no moving parts. Batteries are used to provide energy for devices from space satellites to trucks, to radios. The Italian scientist Alessandro Volta invented the first electric battery in about the year 1800. Before that time, only static electricity an innovation with no practical value could be produced.

Chemical batteries convert chemical energy into electrical energy by means of a chemical reaction, which consumes the metal within the cell. All chemical cells contain three main parts: a positively charged electrode called the cathode; a negatively charged electrode, called the anode; and a chemical substance, called an electrolyte. The electrodes are submersed in the electrolyte. When the battery is connected to a circuit, a chemical reaction takes place within the cell and current flows through the circuit. When the electrodes are fully consumed after much use, the battery can no longer generate electricity. This is known as a primary battery. A secondary battery is a battery that can be recharged by regenerating the electrodes inside the cell. The battery can be reused ad recharged many times.

The voltage of a single cell is about 1.5 volts. Higher voltages may be obtained by connecting several cells in series so that their voltages add together. The discharge rate of batteries is expressed in ampere-hours. It is the current supplied by the battery, measured in amperes, multiplied by the number of hours the battery can supply that amount of current. Typically, the longer the discharge time, the more energy produced. Different batteries have different discharge rates.

Alkaline Manganese Dioxide Performance Characteristics (Source: Duracell)
MN1300 D 1.5 15.000
MN1400 C 1.5 7.800
MN1500 AA 1.5 2.850
MN2400 AAA 1.5 1.150
Principal Dry Battery Systems and Typical Characteristics (Source: Energizer)
  Le Clanche Zinc Chloride Alkaline/Manganese Dioxide Silver Oxide
Voltage Per Cell 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
Typical Service Capacities Several Hundred mAh Several Hundred mAh to 38 Ah 30 mAh to 45 Ah 5 mAh to 190 mAh

William Cruz -- 2001