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Characteristics of Alkaline cells

Alkaline batteries, which are usually disposable (primary cells) are the most popular premium general purpose battery.

In an alkaline cell the electrical energy is essentially derived from the reaction of a metal with oxygen.   The electrodes are zinc and manganese dioxide and the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide.

Performance data

  • Voltage: 1.5 Volt primary cell
  • Typical energy density
  • Typical power density
  • Spontaneous discharge
  • Type of cell: cylindrical and button


  • Radios
  • Toys
  • Cameras
  • Remote controls
  • Clocks

Advantages of alkaline cells

  • Similar to, and interchangeable with, zinc carbon Leclanché cells but with as much as double the energy density.
  • Four times the capacity of an equivalent size rechargeable Nickel Cadmium or Nickel Metal Hydride cell.
  • Constant capacity over a wide range of current drains.
  • Suitable for high drain rate applications.
  • Good shelf life
  • Better low temperature performance than zinc carbon. Continues to function in sub-zero temperatures.
  • Available in a wide range of sizes including AAA, AA, C, D and 9 Volt sizes.
  • Suitable for a wide range of consumer applications
  • Made from non-toxic chemicals


  • Higher cost than the basic competing zinc carbon Leclanché cells
  • Not normally rechargeable

25% heavier than Leclanché cells