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How a Battery Works


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What is a Nickel Cadmium Battery?
Nickel Cadmium Battery

From top to bottom: "Gumstick", AA, and AAA Nickel-Cadmium rechargeable batteries.

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The first NiCd battery was created by Waldemar Jungner of Sweden in 1899.

This battery uses nickel oxide in its positive electrode (cathode), a cadmium compound in its negative electrode (anode), and potassium hydroxide solution as its electrolyte. The Nickel Cadmium Battery is rechargeable, so it can cycle repeatedly. A nickel cadmium battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy upon discharge and converts electrical energy back to chemical energy upon recharge. In a fully discharged NiCd battery, the cathode contains nickel hydroxide [Ni(OH)2] and cadmium hydroxide [Cd(OH)2] in the anode. When the battery is charged, the chemical composition of the cathode is transformed and the nickel hydroxide changes to nickel oxyhydroxide [NiOOH]. In the anode, cadmium hydroxide is transformed to cadmium. As the battery is discharged, the process is reversed, as shown in the following formula.

Cd + 2H2O + 2NiOOH —> 2Ni(OH)2 + Cd(OH)2

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