The Common Primary Cell

The most common form of primary cell contains sulphuric acid, or a sulphuric acid solution, as the electrolyte, with zinc for the anode, and carbon, instead of copper, for the cathode.

The ends of the zinc and copper plates are called terminals, and while the zinc is the anode or positive element, its terminal is designated as the positive pole. In like manner, the carbon is the negative element or cathode, and its terminal is designated as negative pole.

Fig. 21 will show the relative arrangement of the parts. It is customary to term that end or element from which the current flows as positive. A cell is regarded as a whole, and as the current passes out of the cell from the copper element, the copper terminal becomes positive.

Fig. 21. Primary BatteryFig. 21. Primary Battery

Battery Resistance, Electrolyte And Current

The following should be carefully memorized:

A cell has reference to a single vessel. When two or more cells are coupled together they form a battery

Resistance is opposition to the movement of the current. If it is offered by the electrolyte, it is designated "Internal Resistance." If, on the other hand, the opposition takes place, for instance, through the wire, it is then called "External Resistance."

The electrolyte must be either acid, or alkaline, or saline, and the electrodes must be of dissimilar metals, so the electrolyte will attack one of them.

The current is measured in amperes, and the force with which it is caused to flow is measured in volts. In practice the word "current" is used to designate ampere flow; and electromotive force, or E. M. F., is used instead of voltage.