All batteries work by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. The purpose of a battery is to store energy until it is needed to power a device. Only when the device is turned on, creating a closed electric circuit, do the chemicals react and produce energy in the form of electric current. Disassembling a battery can help you understand how it works. However, be careful not to expose your battery to heat, and do not short-circuit it by connecting both terminals to metal; a build-up of internal heat and pressure could explode your battery.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Thin blade flathead screwdriver
- Needle-nose pliers
- Wire cutter
Wipe the battery clean of leaked chemicals. Be careful not to get any chemicals on your skin.
Find the negative (-) terminal of the battery. It has a flat cap, while the positive terminal cap has a raised nub in its centre. Notice that the battery cover, sometimes called the sleeve, is made of metal and folds over the caps to secure them in place.
Pry up the circular edge of the sleeve from the negative cap, using your screwdriver.
Bend the edge of the sleeve outward with the pliers, away from the cap, until the sleeve begins to separate along its length. Remove the cap and sleeve with your pliers.
Notice that the battery is enclosed in a metal case, and that a plastic grommet with a rivet seals the battery.
Insert the screwdriver blade between the grommet and the edge of the battery case, then pry out the grommet.
Pry up the folded edge of the battery cover from the rectangular snap terminal assembly, using your screwdriver.
Bend the edge of the battery cover outward with pliers, away from the battery.
Remove the snap terminal assembly, and cut the wire with a wire cutter.
Remove the six AAAA batteries inside.
Tips and warnings
- The positive terminal of a cylindrical battery has a + sign on the cover near the cap.
- Attached to the grommet is a brass pin, called the current collector.
- The six AAAA batteries that make up a 9-volt alkaline battery are each 1.5 volts. These can be used in many devices that specify AAA batteries.
- The ring of black material inside cylindrical alkaline batteries is a mixture of manganese dioxide (MnO2) and carbon (C). This material is known as the cathode.
- The bluish paste in the centre, to the inside of the fabric separator, is a mixture of powdered zinc metal (Zn) and potassium hydroxide (KOH). This material is known as the anode.
- Put on protective gloves, clothing and eye wear before taking apart any battery.
- Disassembling batteries can be dangerous. There is risk of chemical leakage. Battery chemicals are corrosive and should be prevented from coming in contact with skin.
- Rupture, or even explosion, can occur if a battery is short-circuited or overheated. Personal injury can result.
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