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What Is an Alkaline Battery?

It took nearly half a century for the alkaline battery from Edison’s first successful experiment to Lewis Urry’s invention and manufacture of the first true alkaline battery. Nowadays, a century has passed. Alkaline batteries have already become part of our electrical appliances. It is the alkaline batteries that promote the emergence of many electrical appliances. Alkaline batteries were also a small revolution in the battery industry in the 20th century. In the 21st century, we are looking forward to a new battery revolution that can push us to big development.

1. Who Invented the Alkaline Battery?

When we mention alkaline batteries, we have to mention Edison. As a great inventor, Edison can be said to be the forerunner of the invention of alkaline batteries. On May 28, 1902, Edison announced the invention of a new type of storage battery. This battery is lighter than previous lead-acid batteries, but has a longer life span. The prolific inventor said that this battery is made of nickel, iron and alkaline solutions. It can make electric cars comparable to gasoline engine cars, because the electrolyte inside is alkaline, which we call alkaline batteries. In the era of Edison, alkaline batteries were not actually produced and used in daily life.

alkaline battery invent - Edison

Until the late 1950s, the development of alkaline batteries entered the fast lane. On the one hand, it stems from the advancement of science and technology, and the other is people’s demand for new power sources.

Nowadays, alkaline batteries have become an indispensable power source in our daily life. Our remote controls, electric toys, etc., because of the emergence of alkaline batteries, we can use a lot of electrical appliances to use them normally. Our current alkaline batteries are very different from those invented by Edison in terms of raw materials and technology. Strictly speaking, the alkaline batteries used in our lives were invented by Canadian engineer Lewis Urry. Lewis Urry worked in the Eveready battery department and was transferred to Eveready’s Cleveland laboratory in 1955. He was 28 years old as a young engineer. He developed the first practical alkaline battery at this time. In 1959, Eveready alkaline batteries went on sale.

The development of alkaline batteries has allowed us to use any electrical appliances. In recognition of this great inventor, in 1999, the Smithsonian Institution enrolled him in the Hall of Fame, where he displayed the first prototype alkaline battery and the first cylindrical type to the museum’s collection.

Modern alkaline batteries still have zinc negative electrodes and manganese dioxide positive electrodes. The performance of the cylindrical battery depends on the energy requirements of the device.

After years of development, many outstanding companies have been born in the field of alkaline batteries, as shown below: Duracell Inc, Zhongyin (Ningbo) Battery Co., Ltd, Energizer Holdings, Maxell Holdings, Ltd., Camelion Batterien GmbH, Sanyo, Sony, Nanfu Battery Co., Ltd., Panasonic Corporation, GPB International Limited.

After entering the 21st century, with the progress and development of China’s science and technology, foreign companies have gradually moved their production bases to China, and many local alkaline battery manufacturers have also been born in China. At present, 80% of alkaline batteries in the world are produced in China.

2. What Is the Alkaline Battery?

Alkaline batteries currently on the market are mainly disposable batteries that use zinc and manganese dioxide as electrodes, and the electrolyte is generally potassium hydroxide. The current main models are AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, LR1, 23A, 27A, CR series, and AG series button batteries such as AG0/LR63, AG1/LR60, AG2/LR59, AG3/LR41, AG4/LR66 …..AG8/LR55, AG10/LR54, AG12/LR43 and AG13/LR44.

Microcell Battery Types: Alkaline Battery, Zinc Carbon Battery
Microcell Battery Types

Alkaline batteries have a stable voltage, low self-discharge, and can be stored for a long time. At present, they can basically be stored for 5 years. Compared with carbon batteries, it has better energy density and leakage resistance. This is mainly due to the different battery structures. The cathode material manganese dioxide is purer and has a higher density, which reduces the space occupied by internal components.

At present, AA and AAA alkaline batteries are the two most widely used models. C, D, and 9 V sizes are suitable for specific applications where stability is required. Alkaline batteries have become one of the indispensable commodities in life, leading to an increasing demand/demand for these batteries. Alkaline batteries are primary disposable batteries and need to be replaced after they are fully discharged. However, there are many types of alkaline batteries, and various sizes of alkaline batteries can be provided according to the application. All these configurations may be used for gadgets immediately after purchase, which makes them suitable for use even in emergency situations. In addition, these batteries have a long shelf life and are very suitable for storage. Compared with other chemical rechargeable batteries, this feature of alkaline battery chemicals is expected to provide a competitive advantage.

Microcell AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, LR1, 23A, 27A Alkaline Battery
AA, AAA, C, D, 9V, LR1, 23A, 27A Battery

In addition to the high capacity of alkaline batteries, its safety performance is very good, and it has a low leakage rate. The current leakage rate is three out of 100,000. This makes it also available in medical, industrial, infrastructure, and life safety. Very high application range. Especially in the medical field, it is widely used in infusion pumps, pulse oximeters, sphygmomanometers, electronic thermometers, etc. In other industrial applications, such as smoke alarms, portable transmitters, scanners, digital voltmeters, door locks, remote controls, and laser pointers. Alkaline batteries are also used in the military field, such as remote controls and emergency power supplies.

Microcell Dry Cell Battery Application: Medical, Industrial, Infrastructure, Life Safety
Microcell Battery Application: Medical, Industrial, Infrastructure, Life Safety

3. Some Questions About Alkaline Batteries?

Alkaline batteries are widely used in our lives, and therefore we will encounter some common problems. Please see the summary below to help you solve your doubts.

– Are Alkaline Batteries Toxic?

Alkaline batteries contained mercury when they were first produced, and mercury is a toxic substance. Prior to the passing of the “Mercury and Rechargeable Batteries Management Act” (“Battery Act”) in 1996, the manufactured alkaline batteries contained mercury. Since 1996, alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury. According to the requirements of IEC60086, as well as the EU Directive 2006/66/EC and its Article an amendment of Directive 2013/56/EU- Heavy Metals Content in Batteries and Accumulators. The current alkaline batteries are mercury-free and are approved by the EPA Classified as non-toxic or harmless.

Microcell Battery Certificates:IEC, ISO, CE, ROHS, KC, MSDS
Microcell Battery Certificates

– Can Alkaline Batteries Be Recycled?

The main raw materials of alkaline batteries are steel, zinc, copper, manganese dioxide, plastics, etc. Most of these materials are naturally occurring metals and will not pose a threat to the environment. These types of batteries do not have any of the following criteria classified as hazardous by the EPA: flammability, corrosivity, reactivity, and toxicity. Therefore, according to the Resource Conservation and Recycling Act (RCRA), they are not classified as hazardous wastes, so they can be safely disposed of as household garbage or ordinary garbage.

Especially in the medical environment, some disposable equipment needs to be powered by alkaline batteries. Because alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury and are not harmful to the environment, they are treated as general garbage. This makes them ideal for single-use disposable medical devices and helps prevent cross-contamination between patients.

Because of these advantages of alkaline batteries, alkaline batteries are very popular in both developed and developing countries.

Carl Zhang

Carl Zhang

I am a senior sales with 15 years in the battery industry and a bachelor's degree in economics.
I will be sharing some of my expertise on batteries and my insights into the battery industry in my blog, which should help you with your purchases in China.

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