Battery Facts

 

Volta
1800
Daniell
1835
Leclanche
1866
Jungner
1899
Ruben
1930
Today
????
1780
Galvani
1830
Sturgeon
1859
Plante
1887
Gassner
1903
Edison
1950
Urry

 

William Sturgeon (1783-1850)

William Sturgeon was an English electrical engineer. In 1825 he built the first practical electromagnet, in 1832 invented the commutator for electric motors and in 1836 made the first moving-coil galvanometer.

A major problem with the Voltaic pile was that it could not provide current for a sustained period of time. Sturgeon worked on the problem and in 1830 produced a battery with longer life than that of Volta by amalgamating the zinc.

Contributing to the major problem with batteries was a thin film of hydrogen bubbles that formed over the positive electrode. The thin film of hydrogen caused increased internal resistance of the battery that reduced its effective electromotive force (voltage). This process of a thin film of hydrogen collecting on the electrode is known as polarization.

TheVolta cell had certain inherent weaknesses - any impurity in the zinc plates used caused erosion of the electrode. Sturgeon developed a long lasting battery that consisted of a single cell cylinder of cast iron into which a cylinder of amalgamated rolled zinc was placed. Discs of millboard located between the cast iron cell and the cylinder of zinc prevented contact by the different metals. Dilute sulfuric acid was used to charge the battery.