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... but they don't deliver it as efficiently. That's one reason it can be harder starting your car in the winter. Unless you've kept your auto toasty warm in a garage (or live in a climate where it doesn't get cold), the battery may have trouble delivering the charge required to turn the engine over on a really cold day. Temperature is one of the factors that affects the rate of a chemical reaction. Batteries are electrochemical cells, so they behave predictably. The reaction that delivers charge proceeds more slowly at cold temperatures than at warm temperatures. Hot batteries delivery charge better; they also run the charge down faster. Two take-home messages from this are:

1) You can prolong the shelf-life of batteries by keeping them refrigerated (in a sealed container, to minimize condensation and risk of an electrical short when the batteries are used).

2) Expect hot batteries to run down more quickly; cold batteries to delivery a weaker charge. If you store batteries in the refrigerator, let them warm up before using them.

Make a Potato Battery | Battery Fires & Explosions
Photo: Temperature affects how charge is held and released. (Eyup Salman, stock.xchng) Add to Technorati Favorites

Comments

June 15, 2009 at 8:14 am
(1) Lydia Craemer says:

This is a fantastic site for chemistry Q and A. I’m helping my daughter with a chemistry project ; the information is clear and most informative and has answered some sly little questions that were added to the task :) I’ll be coming back to this site and this blog !

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