The Battery


The above diagram is of a simple dry cell battery — like the ones found in a flashlight.  These typically generate a potential of 1-1/2 Volts and have a reserve capacity of about 8 amp hours.  The simplest of these batteries has a cathode made from a zinc outer can (1) that is filled with a chemical mix of electrolyte and carbon powder with a gel like layer of Zinc Chloride next to the can.  The anode is typically a carbon rod center post.  It will have a positive charge. The outer can will be negatively charged.  Electrons flow from the can to the post when connected with a wire.  The carbon matrix in the can facilitates the electron flow back to the gel which supplies more electrons to the zinc can — and on and on.  The battery will supply power as long as the zinc chloride and zinc metal interface is chemically active.   The chemistry is the exchange of electrons on a sub-atomic level and the battery is depleted when the chemical reaction is complete.  For our purposes, this is a convenient source of electron and we will use it for our simple circuit diagrams to follow.

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