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February 18th is National Battery Day

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If you're looking for something to do today then get charged up because it's National Battery Day!  How many devices will you be using today that require batteries?  Let's get right into celebrating National Battery Day!

WHY IS THIS A HOLIDAY?  

Today is a holiday that is set aside to celebrate the birth of the inventor who made the first battery: Alessandro Volta. Volta was born on this day way back in 1745.  Before we get into things, yes, there is a dispute that the "Baghdad Battery" is the first battery ever to be made but we're still not exactly sure what they used it for. If it was used as a battery of some sort, then it would be the first.

But, back to Volta... he was an Italian physicist who discovered things like methane. He also created the first electrochemical battery cell in 1800. He had a zinc electrode and a copper electrode and put them in an electrolyte liquid, either sulfuric acid or salt water. The zinc would react to the negatively charged sulfate and the copper would interact to the positively charged hydrogen ions. The hydrogen ions would pull electrons from the copper and form bubbles of hydrogen gas.  So the zinc is the negative electrode and the copper is the positive electrode and, if you connect the two, a current will pass through them. And that's how the first battery came about. We've come a long way since then, our batteries are a lot safer to handle and we use them in so many different things. Can you really imagine life without batteries?

HOW TO CELEBRATE 

So how can you celebrate today?  Well, you can do a simple exercise and see if you could truly do without batteries for a day.  Go around your house and jot down ALL the things you use that have batteries in them.  Now go through that list and check off the things that you don't really need to use today.  Do you still have things on your list that you didn't check off?  You can't go without them, huh?  Well, then you have a great reason to celebrate this invention!
 
So why don't you go to the store and pick up some batteries that you normally use on a daily basis.  It never hurts to have extras, just incase.  You know the things that you hate having run out of batteries.  Things like your watch, remote control, flashlight, cell phone and so on.  And it wouldn't hurt to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors either, or at least have some on hand for when they start beeping.  Or you could do your own experiment to see what you can draw power from.  All you need is some zinc, copper, some wires and then something that doesn't need a lot of power to run it.  Something like a watch or LED light.  It's pretty cool to see the different things you can use for power, like the ever so common potato clock.  Regardless of how you celebrate today, I hope that you're running on full charge!





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