How do batteries work? Before I conducted this research, I wasn’t quite sure. If I had to guess, I’d say it has something to do with electrical currents and storage of that electricity? That sounds about right, right? Turns out, the idea of batteries goes back to the 1780s, with Alessandro Volta. Volta came up with the basic idea of what a battery is, copper and zinc oxidizing and reacting. The zinc oxidizes, which means it loses electrons which are gained through the ions in the water separating the zinc and copper in a process called reduction. This produces hydrogen gas. Today, we’ve changed the process a little bit, but the basic concept remains the same. Instead of water between the copper and zinc, it’s now filled with a chemical paste. But what happens with our phone batteries? Obviously, once the battery dies within out phone, we have to recharge it somehow. Rechargeable batteries work by making the oxidation-reduction process reversible. When you plug your phone in, electricity allows electrons to flow back in the opposite direction, which regenerates the metal. Batteries are so common, sometimes I feel like I take for granted the genius of their creation.



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