Did you know? 18th February is Battery Day
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Batteries never cease to surprise us. The Oxford Electric Bell has been continuously supplying current since 1840! Exactly how it does this is a puzzle, even for scientists. However, on 18th February we can take a moment to think about this phenomenon and the technical miracles which small galvanic cells perform every day – on the official Battery Day.
We are especially grateful to the Italian doctor Luigi Galvani, who in 1780 accidentally discovered that muscles contract on contact with two different metals. This knowledge formed the basis for the first galvanic cell. In 1800, the physicist Alessandro Volta used this principle for his Voltaic pile, in which he connected several galvanic cells and therefore invented the predecessor of our present day batteries. A great deal has happened since then, whereby we have set quite a few of these milestones ourselves. Just think about AGM, EFB- and lithium-ion batteries.
Electrical energy storage is now taken for granted. We rely on it every day – especially in car batteries when we drive to work, to the child care facility or to the local store. We never think that this could possibly not work. The battery in modern vehicles, with their complex electronics and automatic start-stop systems has a big job to do – even, and especially when the engine is switched off, if the seat has to be kept warm with a heater and the radio has to play our favorite music.
By the way, Battery Day is on the birthday of Mr. Volta, 18th February. How should we celebrate this anniversary? Perhaps by testing the batteries in the smoke alarms in our homes, or the battery in our car. Regular testing can prevent unpleasant surprises.
Here you can find the Oxford Electric Bell, which is still working: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Electric_Bell