Most people learn about the basic anode and cathode chemistry of batteries in elementary school. In fact, you might remember making a battery from two different strips of metal and a conducting liquid. While the basic principles of batteries remain valid, the technological developments obviously go beyond just the basics. Batteries are used in so many applications today — smart phones, cosmetics, advertisements, etc. — that many people don’t even think about the science behind them.
However, if you are in the process of developing a new product that requires a battery, you know that there are many options available and that the decision you have to make is an important one. You have likely decided on whether you need a primary (disposable) or secondary (rechargeable) battery. But maybe you have other questions – What form factor is required and can the power and energy demands of your application be met with the stock options available to you. Energy density, power density, capacity – what do these all mean and how do they affect your application?
If you have already started down this path, you have likely stumbled upon some educational websites to help you dig deeper into the many types of battery technologies you might be considering. Having some valuable resources at your fingertips is a good start toward selecting the right battery for your needs.
Batteries for Beginners
If you are looking for general or introductory information about batteries, or you have not read about or worked with batteries for quite some time, have a look at these educational websites:
Khan Academy – For people who learn best by watching, Khan Academy offers videos that demonstrate basic battery principles.
Mainstream battery websites – The major producers of batteries offer information on their sites that goes beyond just product details. The Duracell FAQ page answers common questions about batteries, but does not dive too deeply. The Energizer Learning Center provides good visual content about how batteries work and also has a Science Center with lessons and projects for students. The site is geared more toward beginners, so it is a good place to start if you are new to battery technology or simply need a refresher course.
Broad-based Battery Information
These websites offer more comprehensive information about batteries and are appropriate for both beginners and those looking to dig deeper:
Battery University – This content-rich website provides a broad range of information about batteries, battery types, different chemistries, performance characteristics from the basics to more advanced topics. Three main sections (The Basics You Should Know, The Battery and You, and Batteries as Power Source) are divided into dozens of subsections to help you quickly find the answer to almost any question you might have.
The Electropaedia – This website offers a broad range of information on energy supplies and storage, including batteries, battery chemistry, battery failure modes, reliability, accelerated testing and manufacturing techniques.
Batteries in a Portable World – This online textbook provides details on different battery chemistries, cell design and construction, and power and energy densities. With eighteen chapters of information, this resource is an excellent primer for anybody who wants to learn more than just the basics.
Wikipedia – As the first stop for many people doing online research, Wikipedia offers a good overview of the history of batteries, the basic principles behind how they work, the types of batteries available, and more. Because it is an open-source platform, it is important to remember that the information found in Wikipedia is not always accurate or complete, but in general it is a good resource.
The FlexEl blog is another great resource for learning about battery technology and potential applications. Subscribe today to get automatic updates in your inbox.