Batteries are used for a wide variety of services throughout technology today. To
begin to study battery operation and characteristics, a few terms that are used
with batteries must be understood.
DEFINE the following terms as they relate to
batteries and voltaic cells:
The term voltaic cell is defined as a combination of materials used to convert chemical energy
into electrical energy. A voltaic or chemical cell consists of two electrodes made of different
types of metals or metallic compounds placed in an electrolyte solution.
A battery is a group of two or more connected voltaic cells.
An electrode is a metallic compound, or metal, which has an abundance of electrons (negative
electrode) or an abundance of positive charges (positive electrode).
An electrolyte is a solution which is capable of conducting an electric current. The electrolyte
of a cell may be a liquid or a paste. If the electrolyte is a paste, the cell is referred to as a dry
cell; if the electrolyte is a solution, it is called a wet cell.
Specific gravity is defined as the ratio comparing the weight of any liquid to the weight of an
equal volume of water. The specific gravity of pure water is 1.000. Lead-acid batteries use an
electrolyte which contains sulfuric acid. Pure sulfuric acid has a specific gravity of 1.835, since
it weighs 1.835 times as much as pure water per unit volume.