Batteries come in all shapes and sizes. We use a multitude of battery-powered devices in our homes and at work. We take their capabilities and usefulness so much for granted that we really don’t think much about them — until we notice that something that runs on a battery has stopped and we have to replace the battery.
The first practical battery was invented by Alessandro Volta in 1800. His voltaic pile used alternating pieces of copper and zinc with brine-soaked cardboard placed between each layer of metal. His configuration of different metals separated by a wet conductive solution was successful in creating electrical current and provided the basic archetype by which modern batteries are constructed today. During the decades that followed, different chemicals were used to improve upon Volta’s design. In 1859, French inventor Gaston Plante designed the first lead-acid battery, which was also the first rechargeable battery. The invention of the nickel-cadmium battery by Walmar Jungner and the alkaline battery by famed inventor Thomas Edison came in the early years of the 20th century. The first mass-market alkaline battery that we are accustomed to today was produced by Lew Urry in 1959 for the Eveready Battery Company (Energizer).
In the articles that follow, we are going to discuss batteries as they apply to our work in the field of helicopter maintenance. We will see that not only are there different types of batteries commonly in use, but less we forget, they also come in different shapes and sizes to fit the requirement.