List of Battery Sizes - Battery Chemistry

Battery Chemistry

The terminal voltage of a battery depends on the chemicals and materials used in its construction, and not on its physical size. For example, primary (non-rechargeable) alkaline batteries have a nominal voltage of 1.5 volts. Rechargeable NiCd (nickel cadmium) and NiMH (nickel metal hydride) typically output 1.25 volts per cell. Devices intended for use with primary batteries may not operate properly with these cells, given the reduction in voltage. Mercury batteries, no longer common, had stable terminal voltages around 1.35 volts.

Dry Leclanche (carbon-zinc), alkaline and lithium batteries are the most common modern types. From the late 1940's until the middle 1990's, mercury batteries were made in many consumer and industrial sizes, but are no longer available since careless disposal can release toxic mercury into the environment.

The full battery designation identifies not only the size, shape and terminal layout of the battery but also the chemistry (and therefore the voltage per cell). For example, a CR123 battery is always LiMnO2 ('lithium') chemistry, in addition to its unique size.

The following tables give the common battery chemistries for the current common sizes of batteries. See Battery Chemistries for a list of other electrochemical systems.

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