Which Brand of AA Battery Lasts the Longest?
Rechargeable vs. Disposable

Researched by Nathaniel H.


The first purpose of this experiment was to determine which brand of AA battery lasted the longest.  

My second purpose was to determine whether rechargeable batteries would last longer than disposable batteries.

I became interested in this idea when I went on a field trip that focused a lot on electricity. I thought it was very interesting so I took this time to study more about batteries and electricity.  

The information gained from this experiment could help consumers everywhere so they know which brand of batteries is best to buy.


My first hypothesis was that Duracell would produce electrical output the longest.

My second hypothesis was that the disposable batteries would last longer than the rechargeable batteries.

I based my first hypothesis on the fact that alkaline batteries provide charge longer than nickel cadmium batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries are like nickel cadmium batteries, and Rayovac and Eveready are nickel-metal hydride batteries. Alkaline cells last longer than carbon-zinc cells and Energizer has carbon in it so that leads me to believe that Duracell will lasts longer than Energizer and any other battery being tested.

I based my second hypothesis from http://www. sciencenet. org. “How Rechargeable Batteries Work. ” It said, “Normal cells are actually distorted and largely destroyed in the process of making electricity. ” That led me to believe that disposable batteries would lasts longer than the rechargeable batteries.

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The constants in this study were:
• Temperature (21 degrees Celsius) during testing
• Size of battery (AA)
• Voltage of battery (1. 5 volt) 
• Battery tester
• Size of battery holder (AA)
• Testing procedure
• Surface tested on
• Clock
• Time starting on the clock (12:00)
• Type of wire (22 gauge)
• Length of wire (60 cm)
• Voltage of light bulbs (1. 2)
• Size of light bulbs

The first manipulated variable was the brand of AA battery. The second manipulated variable was whether the battery was rechargeable or disposable.

The responding variable was the time the battery provided current.

To measure the responding variable I timed how long the battery provided current to the electronic clock.

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5 AA Energizer Batteries
5 AA Duracell Coppertop Batteries
5 AA Rayovac Batteries
5 AA Eveready batteries
2 Wires (60 cm. long)
2 Light bulbs
2 Alligator clips
2 Light bulb bases 
1 AA battery holder
1 Single AA battery clock
1 Soldering gun
1 roll Solder
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Creating the Battery Tester:

1. Solder one of the 60 cm wires to the wire already attached to the positive end of the battery holder.
2. From about 17 cm from where you last soldered cut the wire.
3. Strip the insulation off both ends of the wire.
4. Solder both ends of the wire one of the terminals on the light bulb base.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 for the negative wire, except solder the two ends on the other terminal of the light bulb base.
6. Screw a light bulb into the light bulb base.
7. Approximately 28 cm from the first light bulb base repeat steps 2-6 for the next light bulb base except you just cut the wire.
8. Cut the insulation off the end of the positive wire.
9. Solder the positive wire to one of the alligator clips.
10. Clip the alligator clip to the positive terminal of the alarm clock.
11. Repeat steps 8-10 for the negative wire except you connect the alligator clip to the negative terminal of the alarm clock.
12. Set the battery tester on a smooth surface.

The Experiment:

13. Set the clock at 12:00 exactly.
14. Place a AA Duracell battery into the battery holder.
15. Make sure the lights are on and the clock is ticking.
16. Come back later to the battery tester when the clock stops ticking and record the amount of time the battery provided current.
17. Take out the AA Duracell battery.
18. Repeat steps 13-17 for trials 2-5 for the Duracell battery.
19. Repeat steps 13-18 for trials 1-5 for the Energizer, Eveready, and Rayovac batteries.

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The first purpose of this experiment was to determine which brand of AA batteries would produce electrical output the longest.

The second purpose of this experiment was to determine if disposable batteries lasts longer than rechargeable.

The results of the experiment were that Eveready produced electrical output the longest at an average of about 193 minutes. Rayovac then lasted the second longest with an average of 146 minutes. Duracell lasted the third longest at an average of 101 minutes, and Energizer finished last with an average of 91 minutes.  

See my table and graphs.

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My first hypothesis was that Duracell would produce electrical output the longest. The results indicate that my first hypothesis should be rejected because Duracell discharged the third longest, while Eveready discharged the longest.

My second hypothesis was that disposable batteries would lasts longer than rechargeable batteries would. The results indicate that my second hypothesis should also be rejected. I thought disposable batteries would discharge longer than rechargeable batteries, but the rechargeable batteries lasted longer.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if the temperature would affect the battery’s output. I also wonder if the voltage of the light bulbs (load) would affect the burn time of the battery.

My findings should be useful to consumers around the world because now they know which brand of AA battery would last the longest.

If I were to conduct this project again I would do more trials and repeat my experiment again to see if my results were similar. The last things I’d do are using more battery brands of each type of battery and use higher voltage light bulbs.

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Electricity is used to power appliances and tools used in our daily life. Batteries are an energy source of electricity. They change chemical energy into electricity to power portable equipment.

“Electricity is a class of physical phenomena from the existence of charges and from the interaction of charges. ” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001. It is used to power appliances and tools used in our daily life so we can see, cook food, heat and cool our homes, and watch TV.

Charges are stationary or static. The charges make forces on objects that are in the area. A positive charge is called a proton and a negative charge is an electron. Like charges repel so two protons together would repel. Opposite charges attract so a proton and electron attract to each other.  

To see these charges you could use an electroscope. It shows whether the charges are positive or negative. Michael Faraday was the first person to use the electroscope. The electroscope is made up of two leaves of thin metal foil with a metal support and a container like glass, and a knob that conducts the charges.

Current Electricity
Current electricity is the flow of electric charges. Current electricity is used in electric circuits.

Electrons carry the electric charge in a current. When electrons move from atom to atom, it makes an electric current. Batteries and generators create electric currents. Electric current is in lightning. In an electric current electrons flow from the negative to the positive terminal all the way back to the negative terminal.  

An electric current flows easily through conductors. Conductors carry electric currents. There can be more than one conductor that sets the path for the electric flow.  

There are direct currents that flow one way and alternating currents that change directions.

Electrical Measurements
People need to know the measurements of electricity to determine how much is needed to run an appliance.

Voltage is the difference in charge between two points. The difference is called the electric potential, which drives the current ahead. Volt was named after Alessandro Volta. A flashlight battery is 1. 5 volts, and many household appliances run on 115 volts or 220 volts. Power lines that deliver electricity have tens of thousands of volts.

The rate of electric flow in a current is an ampere. The flow of charge is measured in coulombs per second. One coulomb per second equals 1 ampere. Ampere was named after Andre Marie Ampere. An ampere in a current is when 6 billion electrons flow past a point in a second.

The power of an electric current is measured in watts. It was named after James Watt. One ampere moving at one volt makes a watt. Multiplying the amperes by volts can tell the number of watts. Electric suppliers charge costumers on the amount of watts the customers use. When they do this, it is measured in kilowatts. One kilowatt equals 1,000 watts.  

A battery is a device that turns chemical energy into electricity. Batteries serve as a good source of electricity. They power portable equipment like a CD player, a Game Boy, or in some instances clocks. A battery can also power a car so people can drive, and it will power laptops so you can do work on them. Cell phones also run on batteries. Batteries give electricity for transportation such as a spacecraft and a submarine. When the power grid is out, batteries are the only electricity you can depend on.  

A battery has two terminals. The terminals are positive or negative. Terminals are the ends of a battery. If you connect a wire between the negative and positive terminals, the electrons will flow from the negative terminal to the positive terminal. This makes a battery wear out easily. With large batteries this “short circuit” could be dangerous. When you connect a load to the wire it makes it less dangerous.

Chemical reactions produce the electron movement inside a battery. The electrons need to flow from the negative terminal of the battery through the wire to the positive terminal. Now a chemical reaction will happen. Electrochemical reactions produce electrons.

There are two ways a battery can be arranged. The arrangements are the serial arrangement and the parallel arrangement. When a serial arrangement is used, voltage is added. You use a parallel arrangement when you want current to be added.

Kinds of Batteries
Batteries can be categorized according to their basic design and the substance of the electrolyte. The amount of electricity provided is in the battery’s design. Primary batteries stop working and can’t be used after one of their cells is used, and secondary or storage batteries can be recharged after they become discharged. An electrolyte is a chemical substance that conducts the current. The electrolytes a primary battery can have are a jellylike, paste like, or a material that isn’t spillable. The electrolyte of a secondary battery is liquid.

The primary battery that is used the most is the dry cell. A dry primary battery has two different electrodes. They have a different kind of chemically active material. An electrolyte between the electrodes makes them different charges. They’re positive or negative. The electrolyte helps make chemical reactions at the electrodes. The battery can produce electrons and provide current.  

Battery Cells
Battery cells have a liquid, paste, or solid electrolyte. They have a positive electrode and a negative electrode. During an electrochemical reaction one electrode reacts producing electrons. The other accepts the electrons. The electrodes are connected to a load. Primary and voltaic cells can’t run after releasing electricity. Secondary cells can release electricity after being discharged. You have to recharge them to do this. There are three major dry battery cells.

A carbon-zinc cell is used for flashlights and toys. It contains a zinc can that is the anode with a carbon rod that serves as the collector. The cathode is a mixture of manganese dioxide and carbon powder with an electrolyte. A sheet of porous material that is soaked with the electrolyte is the separator.  

An alkaline cell lasts the longest of the three dry primary battery cells. An alkaline and carbon-zinc cells have a similar anode and cathode material and similar chemical reactions. The anode oxidizes faster than a carbon-zinc cell. The electrolyte is potassium hydroxide and conducts more electricity than the carbon-zinc cell. The alkaline cell lasts five to eight times longer than the carbon-zinc cell.

The last of the three dry primary battery cells is the mercury cell. The anode is zinc, the cathode is mercuric oxide, and the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide. The zinc changes to zinc oxide, and the mercuric oxide become mercury. The mercury cell has some advantages over carbon-zinc cells and alkaline cells because the voltage is constant, while the other cells drop their voltage, and it’s suitable for sensitive devices.

Electricity is a flow of electrons that is used to power tools and appliances. A battery is a device that releases electricity to power portable equipment used all over the world.

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“Battery. ” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001. November  5, 2003

“Battery. ” Hutchinson Dictionary of Science. October 29, 2003 <http://elibrary. com>

 Brain, Marshall. “How Batteries Work. ” October 27, 2003 http://science. howstuffworks. com/battery.htm

“Current Electricity. ” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe  2001. November 12, 2003

“Disposal Batteries. ” November 11, 2003 <http://www. duracell. com>

“Electricity. ” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001.   December 3, 2003

“How Batteries Work. ” November 11, 2003 <http://www. energizer. com>

“How Batteries Work. ” December 2, 2003 <http://www. rayovac. com > 

“How do Rechargeable Batteries Work?” November 5, 2003 <http://www. sciencenet. org>

“Industrial Batteries. ” November 11, 2003 <http://www. sanyo. com>

James, Stanley. "Battery," World Book Encyclopedia, 1999.

Weinberg, Alvin Yang, Chen. “Atom. ” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2001 December 3, 2003

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I would like to thank the following people for helping make my project possible:

  • My mom for buying the batteries I needed for my project.
  • My dad for buying all my other materials needed for my battery tester, and for helping me solder the battery tester together.
  • Mr. Newkirk for editing my project numerous times.
  • Mrs. Helms for helping me with my errors in my project.


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