By looking at the schematic diagram of the AA battery design as in the picture below - perhaps we may still wondering what is it actually the battery is made off and how it works. So to get a realistic picture of the schematic I have cut open 3 used alkaline and 1 carbon battery to see the physical composition of the battery.
Safety precaution - please use rubber hand gloves to prevent from contacting with the chemical especially Manganese Oxide which is irritant agent to the skin and potassium hydroxide is corrosive if high concentration
Primary part of the Alkaline Battery that produce and transmit electric current
1. Zinc Oxide (Negative)
2. Manganese Oxide (Positive)
3. Separator (Absorptive paper wrap of the zinc oxide)
4. Potassium Hydroxide (Electrolyte)
2. Air gap
Manganese Oxide Powder Paste (Cathode) - Positive. Touching the manganese oxide with bear hands could resulting in chemical allergy. So use glove when dealing with this chemical.
Zinc Oxide Powder Paste (Anode) - Negative
Negative terminal of Alkaline battery is connected to the anode (zinc oxide paste)
These chemical powder paste can be re-used to make battery again. All you need is to add up electrolyte and change the casing.
The China's GP Ultra and Super Alkaline battery are lighter in weight and the composition of the chemical manganese powder and the zinc oxide are less dense compare to the Energizer battery. This perhaps the reason why it produces less power and have shorter charges life span in comparison to the Energizer.
Carbon Zinc Battery Material Composition
Primary composition that produce and transmit electric current - it is much simpler compare to the Alkaline battery but the concept is pretty much the same
1. Carbon Rod + (Carbon Powder and Manganese Oxide Paste)
2. Zinc Metal (Negative)
3. Ammonium Chloride (Electrolyte)
4. Separator (Absorptive paper layer)
2. Air gaps
Carbon zinc battery built are much simpler. However it is also less powerful and lower charges capacity compare to the Alkaline battery. Not exactly sure what is the reason but there is an evidence of less chemical reaction produce less current. And for that Carbon zinc battery are the cheapest you can find in the market.
Conclusion - from this we can learn how to make a homemade battery ourselves. All we need are the main composition of the battery as above namely the Cathode, Anode, Electrolyte, and Separator. We can even re-use an old battery chemical substances to make a battery. The casing we can design any shape or size we like. The most common voltage we can get no matter how big or small is at average 1.5 volt just like the standard manufactured battery unless we are using highly reactive electrolyte probably will result in higher voltage and amp.