6 Great Videos on Battery Working Principles

If you are searching the internet, trying to learn more about battery working principles, we have compiled a list of useful video resources for you.  We have included a range of videos from very introductory ones, to some that go into detail on battery chemistries- both primary and secondary.

Introductory Battery Working Videos

If you are looking for a very introductory refresher on the fundamental battery working principles, take a look at these videos:

  1. Batteries and How They Work– If you need to start with the basics; this is a nice video that explains the basic working mechanism in batteries. We like this one for its simplicity and for great visuals of electron and ion flow.

  1. How Batteries Work – Ted-Ed – This video from Ted Ed adds a little bit of historical context to the battery working principle. Galvani’s theory of ‘animal electricity’ derived from frogs and Volta’s early experiments with the Voltaic pile are described.

Primary Battery Videos

Primary or disposal batteries are meant for single-use after which they are discarded. The electrochemical reaction in these cells is not reversible, unlike in rechargeable or secondary cells. Check out these videos for the working mechanism of some primary battery chemistries.

  1. How Dry Cells and Alkaline Batteries Work– This video takes you through the basic working principle of dry cells with its outer Zinc can, immobilized ammonium chloride and manganese dioxide. Lewis Urry, inventor of the alkaline battery, was tasked with increasing the longevity of Zinc-Carbon batteries by his employer Eveready Battery. He used powdered Zinc, an alkaline electrolyte and a modified cell construction in his alkaline battery invention. Eliminating the Zinc can prevented corrosion/leakage from the can and related shelf life issues, common in Zinc – Carbon batteries. He is said to have raced a toy car with his invention vs older batteries, to get his managers on board! Alkaline batteries provide higher energy density, at higher drain rates, and higher cost thanks to Urry’s work.

Rechargeable Battery Videos

Secondary or rechargeable batteries typically provide lower energy densities than primary. Nickel Cadmium, Nickel metal Hydride, lithium ion, and lead acid are examples of secondary battery chemistries.

Here are a few rechargeable battery videos that we think you would find useful :

  1. How a Lead-Acid Battery Works – We love this video by Bill Hammack from the engineerguy series. Hammack reminds us that lead acid batteries are still the most popular battery chemistry and what makes our cars and trucks run, despite being so heavy and of course, old-fashioned. Hammack highlights two issue about batteries that we whole heartedly agree with  a)  No single battery is suited for every application. Some applications need the battery to be optimized for power, and others for energy (see our earlier post on power density vs energy density to learn more). Some need deep cycle discharging, while others may not. No battery can do it all!  b) Battery engineering is all about trade-offs – you give up on some attributes to gain on others.

    Bottom line- lead acid is here to stay – no other chemistry offers such high power density so cheaply!

  1. Working Mechanism of Lithium Ion Batteries – This animation video by Don Seigel from University of Michigan shows a nice depiction of the basic components, structural aspects and working mechanism of a lithium-ion battery. Seigel aptly describes the movement of lithium ions back and forth between the electrodes as a rocking-chair mechanism.

There are certainly other battery chemistries that we did not touch on in this post. If you would like to dig a little deeper, check out our post on 60 years of Battery Development Research Summarized – 6 Great Review Articles .

Have you found any engaging, informative battery videos? Share them in the comments section below! You can also subscribe to the FlexEl blog or follow us on Twitter to see all of our blog posts and more.


About the Author


Hi, I'm John, editor-in-chief of an Flexel Battery online magazine!

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