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 Alkaline Manganese Dioxide Batteries

Typical Alkaline Battery (click for full cutaway view)The alkaline battery offers real improvements for consumers. It offers higher energy capacity, better high and low temperature performance, and longer-term storage. Since its introduction in the 1970's, it has continued to drop in price as manufacturing volume increased. Although an alkaline battery in 1985-1990 could cost two to three times the cost of a Carbon Zinc or Zinc Chloride battery, it would outperform those batteries by up to ten times, depending on usage.

An alkaline battery has a different electrolyte chemistry and is constructed differently than a Carbon Zinc or Zinc Chloride battery. It's this difference that provides the higher electrochemical efficiency, which in turn influences its increased capacity, longer storage life, and better performance at both high and low temperatures.  And, although its voltage does fall a little bit every time it's used, it is not as steep a slope as carbon zinc. Alkaline batteries may be stored for two years at room temperature and still hold 90 percent of their original capacity (80% after four years).

The cutaway at left shows the typical construction of an Alkaline Manganese Dioxide battery; click on the image to see a larger view with additional information. Technical information is given below for alkaline batteries in general. Technical information is also provided for the two categories of RadioShack alkalines -- RadioShack Standard Alkalines and RadioShack Premium Alkalines. The table under each category provides links to our on-line datasheets.


General Alkaline Battery Characteristics

Type Primary
Chemical Reaction 2Zn + 3MnO2  KOH-->  2ZnO + MN3O4
Operating Temperature See each type.
Initial Voltage 1.5 volts or 9.0 volts.
Capacity Alkaline batteries do not have a standard capacity rating; see the Capacity heading for a full explanation.
Discharge Rate Sloping. Products with a high current drain are particularly hard on batteries; the higher the current drain is, the steeper the discharge slope will be.
Internal Resistance Very low. It remains almost constant until the end of its life when it will increase rapidly.
Impedance Very low (much less than that of carbon zinc batteries).
Storage Life See below.
Storage Temperature See below.
Disposal Not recyclable; can be safely thrown away.

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