Batteries, Including the Rechargeable Research Proposal

Pages: 3 (939 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

Batteries, including the rechargeable ones used in computers, cellular phones, and digital cameras, are not environmentally friendly. Most batteries contain metals that, when released into the environment, are toxic to living creatures such as lead, lithium, and zinc. Those hazardous materials may find their way into groundwater as well, if batteries are disposed of haphazardly. Recycling batteries offers a sensible solution to the problem, but researchers are working on exciting new ways to power our portable devices without sacrificing environmental safety or human health.

The key to environmentally sound and safe batteries may come from the strangest place: viruses. These are not the malicious coding viruses that infect computers. Rather, the viruses that may be able to replace metals like lead and mercury in our common batteries are of the same ilk as those that cause the flu.

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All batteries work on basically the same principle. The object stores chemicals that create energy in the form of the electrons. Those electrons are essentially what power devices. Until now, the energy inside the battery came from a handful of toxic metals. Those metals include lithium, zinc, carbon, lead, nickel and cadmium. The lithium-ion battery is commonly used in portable devices because of the relatively low weight of the chemicals inside. Researchers have consistently discovered new ways to make batteries more efficient as well as lighter. The latest breakthrough in battery technology represents an evolutionary stem in manufacturing, because not only do viruses have the capacity to power batteries: they may also power them better.

Research Proposal on Batteries, Including the Rechargeable Ones Used in Assignment

Batteries would just be closed boxes of potentially reactive chemicals if they did not have any means of accessing the electrochemical reactions taking place inside. While laptop and cellular phone batteries look different from their AA, C, and D. counterparts, they all work on the same principle: batteries need terminals that connect them with the devices they are intended to power. The two terminals are called anode (negative) and cathode (positive). The anode terminal is where the electrons collect and flow from the battery, and must be connected to the device using some kind of conducting material such as a wire. Eventually the electrons must flow to the cathode terminal for the device to be powered. The connection of the anode and the cathode is what creates electrical power for portable devices.

Viruses don't change the basic principles of battery power. Viruses are not going to become like hamsters inside the cells that power our laptops, either. They can, however, be manipulated to make batteries more efficient, safer, and possibly more environmentally sound. Researchers discovered a way to genetically alter a living virus so that it would bind to tiny particles of iron phosphate, which is the material already used in the manufacture of batteries.

When their M13 gene is manipulated, some viruses have the potential… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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