Carl Gassner Dry Cell Battery Inventor - WorldOfChemicals

Carl Gassner – inventor of dry cell battery

Carl Gassner

Carl Gassner Contributions to chemistry

Carl Gassner produced the first “dry” cell in 1886 with zinc as the container for the other elements as well as for the negative electrode. The first dry cell developed by Gassner consisted of an outer zinc can that served both as a container and as the negative electrode. The positive electrode, a carbon rod, was immersed in a manganese dioxide/carbon black mixture.

It was separated from the zinc container by a folded paper sack, soaked in a solution of ammonium chloride which acted as the electrolyte. During use, the zinc casing of the battery was gradually consumed by the chemical reaction. Gassner received the patent for dry cell battery on November 15, 1887. Gassner’s battery was much like the carbon-zinc, general-purpose batteries on the market today. He was also the first researcher to add zinc chloride to the electrolyte.

Dry cell battery

The dry cell battery is one of the most commonly used types, including AA, 9-volt, and watch batteries. Dry cell batteries are varied with wet cells because their electrolytes are contained in a low-moisture paste.

Components of dry cell battery are the center of each is a rod called a cathode, which is often made of carbon and surrounded by an electrolyte paste. Different chemicals can be used to create this paste, such as ammonium chloride and manganese dioxide, depending on the type of battery. The cathode and electrolyte paste is wrapped in paper or cardboard and sealed into a metal cylinder called an anode, which is typically made of zinc.


The anode in the dry cell battery has two terminals, one that is positive and one that is negative. When a load is connected to the battery's terminals, a chemical reaction occurs between the anode and the paste that produces roughly 1.5 volts of electricity.

A pin or "collector" in the middle of the battery conducts this charge out of the battery to an external circuit. This circuit physically connects to the electronic device the battery is in, providing the charge necessary for the device to function.

Each set of anode, electrolyte, and cathode acts as a single cell, and multiple cells can be connected together within one dry cell battery to produce a higher overall voltage. After the load has been connected for a long time, the battery's chemicals break down and no longer produce a charge.

Primary batteries should be discarded once they reach this point, while secondary batteries can be recharged through special devices. This effectively reverses the chemical reaction within each cell, allowing the battery to continue working.

Types of batteries

  1. Alkaline batteries

  2. Nickel/Cadmium batteries

  3. Nickel Metal Hydride batteries

  4. Lithium-Ion batteries

  5. Zinc-Carbon Batteries

  6. Button-Cell Batteries

Chemical reactions in dry cell batteries

2NH4 (aq) + 2e- → 2NH3 (g) + H2 (g)

2 MnO2 (s) + H2 (g) → Mn2O3 (s) + H2O (l)

2NH4 (aq) + 2MnO2 (s) + 2 e- → Mn2O3 (s) + 2NH3 (g) + H2O (l)

Zn (s) → Zn2 +2e-

Zn (s) + 2MnO2 (s) + 2 NH4 (aq) → Mn2O3 (s) + H2O (l) + Zn2 + 2NH3 (g)

To contact the author mail:

© WOC Article uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X