May 08, 2017
A zinc battery is a dry cell battery which provides a potential of 1.5 volts in between zinc metal anode (negative potential) and carbon cathode (positive potential) by electrochemical reaction between manganese dioxide and zinc in the presence of a suitable electrolyte like ammonium chloride / zinc chloride.
Zinc batteries were the first commercial made dry batteries which were developed wet Leclanché cell technology. They are used in flashlights, transistor radios, clocks, remote controls and other portable devices as the battery can work in any orientation.
The zinc chloride cell is an improved version of the original zinc–carbon cell which uses purer chemicals, has steadier voltage output and has longer shelf life. They are named as heavy-duty batteries, extra-heavy-duty batteries, or even super-heavy-duty batteries in market and have up to 4 times shelf life for use in high drain applications. Alkaline batteries has up to eight times the battery life of zinc chloride batteries
Storage- they are to be stored at room temperature. Storing at higher temperatures reduces their shelf life. They can even be frozen without any damage, however condensation on the battery jacket should be avoided, by the end of the 20th century, the shelf life of zinc batteries has become almost 4 times of that in 1910.
Durability- the shelf life of the zinc cells is short because zinc is eroded by ammonium chloride. As the cell is used, the zinc container becomes thinner as zinc metal is oxidized to zinc ions. When zinc container erodes enough, sticky zinc chloride may leak out of the battery. A more leak resistant "inside-out" battery with carbon cup and zinc vanes on the interior has been designed since 1960s.
Environmental impact- Thousands of tons of zinc batteries are discarded each and every year around the world and in most cases are not recycled.