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Choices of Primary Batteries
- Aug 21, 2018 -

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Zinc-carbon, also known as carbon-zinc, is one of the earliest and cheapest single-use batteries. It delivers a voltage of 1.5V and is often used in consumer devices. Alkaline, in the zinc-manganese chemistry, is a version evolved from the zinc-carbon battery and also delivers power at a 1.5V voltage.

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Alkaline, delivers more energy at higher load currents than zinc-carbon. Generally, an alkaline provides about 40 percent more energy than the average Li-ion but is weaker in loading. An alkaline battery has a very low self-discharge rate and does not leak electrolyte when depleted, but it is not totally leak-proof.


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Lithium manganese dioxide (MnO2 or Li-M) is safe for daily use. It is available in a coin shape and a cylinder ship, with the nominal voltage of 3.0V and specific energy of about 280Wh/kg. This type of lithium battery is popular for cost effectiveness, long life and ability to withstand high pulse currents at moderate loads. It can work at temperatures between -30°C and 60°C (-22°F to 140°F). Typically, Li-M is used in metering, medical devices, road toll sensors, memory backup power and cameras.


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Lithium-thionyl chloride (LiSOCI2 or LTC) can withstand high heat and strong vibration, so it is a perfect power source for horizontal drilling tools. Like alkaline, LTC features a comparatively high resistance and is used only when discharge loads are of moderate levels. If stored for a time, a passivation layer forms when a load is applied, and this layer helps achieve low self-discharge and a long shelf life.