Leclanche Cell

It saw extensive usage in telegraphy, signaling, electric bells and similar applications where intermittent current was required and it was desirable that a battery should require little maintenance.

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Detailed Description for Leclanche Cell

Definition: A Leclanche cell is a dry cell battery that uses a moist paste as the electrolyte solution.

                 These batteries are the most commonly used worldwide in flashlights, toys, radios, compact disc players, and digital cameras. There are three variations: the zinc-carbon battery, the zinc chloride battery, and the alkaline battery. All provide an initial voltage of 1.55 to 1.7 volts, which declines with use to an end point of about 0.8 volt.

                  The zinc-carbon battery, also called the Leclanché cell, is a traditional general-purpose dry cell. Invented by the French engineer Georges Leclanché in 1866, it immediately became a commercial success in large sizes because of its readily available low-cost constituent materials. It remains the least expensive dry cell and is available nearly everywhere.



              The chemical process which produces electricity in a Leclanché cell begins when zinc atoms on the surface of the anode oxidize, i.e. they give up both their valence electrons to become positively charged ions. As the zinc ions move away from the anode, leaving their electrons on its surface, the anode becomes more negatively charged than the cathode. When the cell is connected in an external electrical circuit, the excess electrons on the zinc anode flow through the circuit to the carbon rod, the movement of electrons forming an electric current.

            After passing through the whole circuit, when the electrons enter the cathode (Carbon rod), they combine with manganese dioxide(MnO2) and water(H2O), which react with each other to produce manganese oxide(Mn2O3) and negatively charged hydroxide ions. This is accompanied by a secondary reaction in which the negative hydroxide ions react with positive ammonium ions in the ammonium chloride electrolyte to produce molecules of ammonia and water.

               Zn(s) + 2 MnO2(s) + 2 NH4Cl(aq) → ZnCl2 + Mn2O3(s) + 2 NH3(aq) + H2O

Alternately, the reaction proceeds further, the hydroxide ions reacting also with the manganese oxide to form manganese hydroxide.

               Zn(s) + 2 MnO2(s) + 2 NH4Cl(aq) + 2H2O(l) → ZnCl2 + 2Mn(OH)2(s) + 2 NH3(aq)

Reaction occurring at electrodes in the cell:

At cathode: 2NH4+(aq)+2MnO2(s)+2e- → 2MnO(OH)+2NH3

At anode: Zn → Zn2+ + 2e-



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