Inside Look at How Batteries Work (Infographic)

Diagram shows how batteries work.
Typical batteries are powered by a chemical reaction. (Image credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

A dry cell battery releases electricity though a chemical reaction that takes place between the zinc alloy outer can (the anode) and an electrolyte paste inside the battery (the cathode.) 

A porous cardboard separator keeps cathode and anode apart. The electricity is conducted through a carbon rod in the center of the battery.

When a circuit is closed, current flows through the battery. It can move in either direction, depending upon circuit design and conductive material.

A rechargeable battery is also powered by a chemical reaction between the cathode and anode. In a rechargeable battery, the chemical reaction is reversible, so that the battery can be recharged as well as be drained of energy.

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Karl Tate
LiveScience Infographic Artist
Karl has been Purch's infographics specialist across all editorial properties since 2010.  Before joining Purch, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University.