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Vernier Software & Technology
Innovative Uses

Battery Life Comparison

Brian Lamore, physical science teacher at the Chinquapin School in Highlands, Texas, wanted to get his students to investigate which battery was the best. Based on their experiences (and with a little help from advertising) the students made their predictions.

Using four Voltage Probes connected to a LabPro, Brian’s students measured the changes in voltage as the batteries supplied power to a simple circuit. Each battery was in a circuit that powered a 6.2 W lamp. The results were fairly close for the alkaline batteries, but that was only part of the story. Brian then asked his students to determine which battery is the best value for the money, and that’s when things got interesting. Brian’s class found that Brand R was the most cost-effective battery, which surprised his students. You will definitely want to try this activity to see if you get similar results.

Battery Life Comparison: Voltage vs Time

Here are some additional questions your students should consider:

  • When is a battery “dead”?
  • Do the results depend on the type of load placed in the circuit?
  • Do the results change if the power is supplied intermittently rather than continuously?
  • Do the results change if you monitor the current delivered by the battery rather than the voltage?

This is the second innovative use submitted by Brian Lamore. Check out the data he collected as the 2005 Hurricane Rita passed near his home in Texas.

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