Cells and Circuits


We are using more and more devices which require small electric cells. These energy storage devices have been used for over two hundred years and their construction is becoming ever more sophisticated as their size gets smaller and smaller. In general, batteries which transfer a lot of energy have to be large. For example a car battery when it turns the engine over. Submarine batteries may weigh 250 tons with each cell being as big as a person.

We now need batteries to run our mobile devices, phones, laptops, watches and cameras. We see more electric cars As energy becomes more precious we will need ever better devices to store large amounts of electrical energy as for example these lorry sized batteries for the Olympic Games at Sochi.

Electric cells are basically all the same, two different metals separated by a conducting liquid called the electrolyte. These activities use the TI-Nspire CX as a voltmeter (it is a very good voltmeter because of its high internal resistance). Different metals will give different voltages and it is only the metals which determine the voltage. Which electrolyte is chosen does not affect the voltage but may be impact on the size of the current provided.