Get a Charge out of Chemistry

Welcome to "Get a Charge out of Chemistry"

Did you know the world’s first-ever battery was made over 2,000 years ago? Today, batteries are everywhere!

A battery is a storage device for energy. It contains chemicals that allow it to store energy in the form of chemical energy. This stored energy can be converted to electrical energy whenever we need it (on page 4, read about how a battery works). With this electrical energy, you can power anything … from a flashlight to a car!

The HUGE role of batteries

Alternative energy sources (like solar and wind energy) are becoming more popular, as less and less oil is available for use. Fuels like oil and coal are called fossil fuels. Their use pollutes the earth. Alternative fuel sources, however, do not pollute the earth as much. They can replace fossil fuels, with the help of batteries (more about the role of batteries in Batteries Save the Sun’s Energy!).    

What types of batteries do you know about?

Certain batteries can be charged and reused (discharged) many times over. These are called rechargeable batteries. Common examples are cell phone and laptop batteries. However, other types of batteries have to 

be replaced with a new one once they “die.” They are called single-use batteries or disposable batteries. Old batteries of any type should be recycled (read more in Recycle That Battery!).

Other types of batteries include lead-acid batteries in gasoline powered cars; alkaline batteries in remote controls, flashlights, and smoke detectors; lithium or lithium-ion batteries in cellphones, hearing aids, electric vehicles (EVs), wheelchairs, etc. 

Batteries today are vital to our lives. But they also pose many challenges. Scientists are making batteries lighter and better, and also building batteries that pollute less with high-energy storage capacity. Obtaining the raw materials to make batteries is expensive and polluting (read more in Are Batteries Battering the Environment?). Scientists are making many such improvements that can help refine the batteries of tomorrow.

Batteries are everywhere and they make our lives easier. They give you instant power …  no matter where you are! Find out how they work and other cool stuff about batteries in this issue. (Fancy making your own? See Build-A-Battery Workshop!) Go ahead and get a “charge” out of chemistry!