Friday, August 29, 2008

JJNN Friday: Technology - 05

Welcome again to JJNN for Friday August 29th, 2008. Today we will be taking about a new type of battery.

Well, Matsushita did it again! Of course I am saying that in a good way. Matsushita is known in Japan and around the world as a maker of various types of electronics. They are the company that makes electronics under the brand name of Panasonic and Technics. That all means that Matsushita makes everything from electronic home appliances to professional music equipment.

Today's news story is about one of the smaller things that Matsushita makes. You can see the original story here. Matsushita announced yesterday that they are going to be selling a new type of rechargeable battery under the name Evolta. Evolta will be Nickel-Metal Hydride (or NiMH) battery. These types of batteries have been in uses for about 20 years now.

So what makes the Evolta different? Good question. Matsushita decided to use a very thin exterior case along with a top and bottom that have been put though some secret process to increase the volume of material that can actually fit inside of the battery. If the volume of the battery increases, than the the capacity to hold charge a long time also increases. Compared to another of Matsushita's rechargeable battery line (the HHR-3MPS) the number of times that the battery can recharge has gone up 20% and the life of the battery has increased. It seems that you can recharge the Evolta up to 1200 times and the amount of time the battery will stay active for its 800th charge has gone up by an astounding 10 percent.

This is a good thing. It leads to less batteries in our landfills and a happier earth. Also, it seems that the engineering that Matsushita stuck onto top and bottom on of the batteries causes the batteries to be stronger in the end. This leads to less battery explosions. Nothing stops a geek party faster than a lot of exploding batteries.

As an aside, do you know how rechargeable batteries work? It is actually very interesting. I am going to write down a couple of equations, but don't let that scare you away. In the equations H is hydrogen, O is oxygen, M is the special metal that is on the inside of the battery, e is an electron and Ni is nickel. There are two equations because there is a positive side of the battery and a negative side of a battery. The equation for the negative electrode (side) of the battery is thusly:

H2O + M + e-  <->  OH- + MH

If you read this equation from left to right the battery is being charged. The electron (what gives the battery its juice) goes from being free for use to being stored in the metal. If you read the equation from the right to the left the electron is being freed so the battery is being used for something. The equation for the positive electrode is given thusly:

Ni(OH)2 + OH- <-> NiO(OH) + H2O + e-

Notice that the equation for the positive electrode is just the opposite that of the negative electrode when it comes to the positions of things like H2O, OH- and e-. This is what truly makes these batteries rechargeable. The metal and the Ni are just things that help to get the electron and the OH to run around at the right time.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 電池(でんち). It is pronounced denchi and means battery. This reminds me that I should really be charging the batteries to my wii so I can do more of that wii fit.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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