Find the energy contained in standard battery sizes

The table below shows the battery volume for cell sizes AAA, AA, C, and D. The volume does not change with the type of battery, but the weight does, as shown here.

Battery
Cell Size
Volume
ml
Alkaline
Weight g
Carbon-Zinc
Weight g
NiCad
Weight g
NiMH
Weight g
Lithium Ion
Weight g
AAA 3.9 12 9.7 11 12  
AA 8.3 24 19 29 26 24
C 26.5 65 48 85 82  
D 55.8 135 98 200 170  

Energy storage in AAA batteries


Battery
Type
Avg. voltage
During discharge
milli-Amp
hours (mAh)
Watt-hours
Wh
Joules
J
Alkaline
Long-life
1.225 1150 1.41 5071
Carbon-zinc 1.1 320 0.35 1268
Nickel-Cadmium 1.2 300 0.36 1296
NiMH 1.2 800 0.96 3456

Energy storage in AA batteries


Battery
Type
Avg. voltage
During discharge
milli-Amp
hours (mAh)
Watt-hours
Wh
Joules
J
Alkaline
Long-life
1.225 2122 2.60 9360
Carbon-zinc 1.1 591 0.65 2340
Nickel-Cadmium 1.2 1000 1.20 4320
NiMH 1.2 2100 2.52 9072
Lithium Ion 3.6 853 3.1 11050

Energy storage in C batteries


Battery
Type
Avg. voltage
During discharge
milli-Amp
hours (mAh)
Watt-hours
Wh
Joules
J
Alkaline
Long-life
1.225 7800 9.56 34398
Carbon-zinc 1.1 2172 2.39 8600
Nickel-Cadmium 1.2 2500 3.00 10800
NiMH 1.2 4500 5.40 19440

Energy storage in D batteries


Battery
Type
Avg. voltage
During discharge
milli-Amp
hours (mAh)
Watt-hours
Wh
Joules
J
Alkaline
Long-life
1.225 17000 20.83 74970
Carbon-zinc 1.1 4733 5.21 18743
Nickel-Cadmium 1.2 5000 6.00 21600
NiMH 1.2 9500 11.40 41040

Lithium-Thionyl Chloride -- Special Mention

Although non-rechargeable,Lithium-Thionyl Chloride has the highest energy storage per kilogram of any battery type. Lithium-Thionyl Chloride cells do not supply high discharge currents, typically 1/10 the current of other cell types. However they last for 20 years, and withstand temperature extremes of -55 to +150 degrees C. For more information on Lithium-Thionyl Chloride batteries, contact Tadiran Battery Co.

Lithium-Thionyl Chloride
(non-rechargeable)
Avg. voltage
During discharge
milli-Amp
hours (mAh)
Watt-hours
Wh
Joules
J
AA cells 3.6 2400 8.64 31104
C cells 3.6 8500 30.60 110160
D cells 3.6 19000 68.40 246240

Finally, if you would like a D-size battery that can supply 20 amperes of current for a short time (5 seconds), that will last for 10 years, check out the Ultracapacitor at Maxwell Technologies Inc. It is not really a battery at all, it is a 350 farad capacitor rated 2.5 volts. Yes, we said farads, not microfarads. As such it can store 277 Joules at 2.5 volts. This is not a great amount of energy storage, hence the limited discharge time. However, it can deliver more peak current than a lead-acid battery of the same size, and it recharges easily more than 500,000 times. The cost compares favorably with other D-size rechargeable batteries, but the cost per Watt-hour is not too good, $195.

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