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Investigating the Difference Between a Primary and a Secondary Cell

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Investigating the Difference Between a Primary and a Secondary Cell

A primary cell is a cell that has a voltage of 1.0V to about 1.5V
depending on if a simple cell or a dry cell is used, and a secondary
cell is a cell that has a voltage of 2.0V. In a primary cell, for
example a dry cell, zinc is used as the negative electrode and a
carbon rod is used as the positive electrode, where it is suspended in
the cell in a solution of manganese dioxide and ammonium chloride
which acts as the electrolyte. On the other hand, in a secondary cell,
for example a lead-acid cell, (also known as accumulator), the
positive electrode is lead oxide and the negative electrode is lead. A
solution of dilute sulphuric acid acts as the electrolyte.

A primary cell provides current until the zinc electrode is completely
used up but a secondary cell give large amounts of power for a short
period of time and it can be recharged unlike the primary cell. A
typical lead–acid battery (secondary cell) consists of six lead–acid
cells in a case. Each cell produces 2 volts, so the whole battery
produces a total of 12 volts. Unlike the dry cell which does not
operate in this manner. Primary batteries are used once and then
thrown away but secondary batteries have the ability to be recharged.
In comparison to primary batteries, secondary batteries are usually
better when it comes to high discharge rates and low temperature
performance, but primary batteries are generally superior in terms of
capacity and shelf life. Perhaps the most significant difference is
cost. Secondary batteries sustain twenty to ninety times the initial
cost per Watt-hour. However, secondary batteries can pay off in the
long term

depending on the drain rate and how often the device with the cell is

Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary cell

Advantages (Leclanche cell):

· Low Cost

· Large availability of variety

· Mass distribution

Disadvantages (Leclanche cell):

· Low energy density

· Poor high drain performance

· Poor shelf life

Advantages (Alkaline Manganese Dioxide Cells):

· High energy density than Leclanche cell

· High rate performance

· Long Shelf life

Disadvantages (Alkaline Manganese Dioxide Cells):

* High initial cost

Other cells include: Metal-AIR Cell

Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Cell

Advantages (Lead-Acid Cell):

· Low cost battery

· Available worldwide in many configurations

· Good high-rate performance

· Good charging efficiency (70%)

· High cell voltage (2.0V)

· Easy state-of-charge indication

· Good charge retention for intermittent charge

Disadvantages (Lead-Acid Cell):

· Relatively low cycle life

· Limited energy density

· Small sizes (500mAhr) not available

Primary Cell (Leclanche cell)

Leclanche cell

Cell Case Sizes

Secondary Cell (lead-acid)

Panasonic Nickel Cadmium


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MLA Citation:
"Investigating the Difference Between a Primary and a Secondary Cell." 17 Apr 2014

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