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The difference between alkaline and carbon batteries
- Jul 28, 2018 -

What is the difference between an alkaline battery and a carbon battery? 

According to reports, the full name of the carbon battery should be carbon-zinc battery, which is one of the most common dry batteries currently available on the market. Alkaline batteries, also known as alkaline zinc-manganese dry batteries, are suitable for high-drain instruments. Alkaline batteries have a lower internal resistance and higher discharge current compared with zinc-carbon batteries.


Carbon batteries are suitable for low-drain appliances such as quartz clocks, remote controls, radios, etc. Alkaline batteries are suitable for high-drain appliances such as CDs and PDAs. The essential difference between carbon batteries and alkaline batteries lies in the internal structure. Both carbon and alkaline batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5V, but alkalines have a much higher specific energy.


In addition, carbon batteries are composed of carbon rods and zinc case, with cadmium and mercury added which may cause harm to the environment. Alkaline batteries, however, do not any contain heavy metals. 


In this regard, carbon batteries must be recycled to avoid damage to the environment. Eco-friendly alkaline batteries contain only 0.025% of mercury, which is one of its selling points. In addition, the structure of alkaline batteries is completely opposite to that of carbon batterie. They use powder zinc, electrolytic manganese powder, a mixture of MnO2 and KOH as electrolyte, and steel cylinder as the outer casing. Therefore, they outperform carbon and lead-acid batteries in storge time and stability of voltage output.