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How does Temperature affect Voltage and Life of Battery?

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Andy Zhao

on 4 January 2015

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Transcript of How does Temperature affect Voltage and Life of Battery?

65°F 35°F 5°F 65°F 35°F 5°F
Analysis and Conclusion
Intro and Question
Everybody has probably seen the warning labels either on electronics or batteries that states: "life and performance may vary in temperatures below or above a certain degree." But what exactly does that mean? What exactly happens when these critical temperatures are reached? In this experiment I will try to find out how exactly temperature affects the voltage and, consequently, the life of a battery.
Research and Hypothesis
The energy in batteries is stored in a chemical form in at least two half cells that contain different metals. When the two terminals are connected, current is produced as electrons are generated due to the potential difference in the terminals. Temperature affects multiple factors in a circuit including the chemical reaction speed, the resistance of the semiconductor, and the band gap (energy differences between the valence and conduction bands in a semiconductor). Thermal energy tends to increase the reaction speed of the chemical processes while at the same time also increasing the resistivity in conductors. The band gap, on the other hand, declines with increasing thermal energy and thus results in a lower circuit voltage. Because of these opposing factors, whether or not voltage increases with temperature depends on the prominence of these factors.
How does Temperature affect the Voltage and Life of a Battery?
In the research, both the increase of resistance and the decrease of band gap as thermal energy increases implies that voltage will decline while the Arrhenius equation (temperature dependence of chemical reactions) implies that voltage will escalate as temperature increases.
Because the temperature corresponds inversely with the voltage but directly with the battery life in the experiment, we can conclude that temperature does indeed have a greater effect on band gap and resistance than on the rate of chemical reactions. Even though the test on the battery life at 5°F was inconclusive, based on the trend, the data supports my hypothesis that claims that as temperature increases, the voltage decreases while the life also increases.
Experiment Process
This experiment was set to test two aspects of a battery under several different temperatures.

Voltage - a battery was tested in temperatures of 65°, 35°, and 5° Fahrenheit with a multimeter.

Battery Life - an iPhone was set to record at one frame per second from a 100 percent power capacity at temperatures of 65°, 35°, and 5° Fahrenheit.

Each process was tested three times.
The voltage output of a battery decreases with higher temperature because temperature has a greater effect on resistance and band gap than on the rate of chemical reactions.This will therefore increase battery life in warmer conditions.
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