MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Why is there no current with an open circuit?

Date: Tue Aug 21 06:25:29 2007
Posted By: Chris Seaman, Staff, Electrical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Alcoa Technical Center
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1187234656.Ph

There is current in a galvanic cell, even when not part of a circuit.  This leakage current exists in any battery and will eventually cause an unused battery to go dead.  This is one of the reasons battery manufacturers now commonly put a “use by” date on packaging.

Leakage current can be minimized, but never completely eliminated. The manufacturer accomplishes this through the battery design. The user can also affect this through storage; storing a battery in a cool place slows the chemical reaction.

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